I’m Not Into Politics. I’m Into Survival: The Running Man (1987)

It is time for our annual Stephen King film:

I’m not into politics. I’m into survival.

So I promised back in January that I would review this film as it takes place in 2019 and inspired this year’s Dystopian theme. Plus I love this movie.

I know lots of people don’t care for Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I love his films. I just can’t enough of the puns and the comebacks and of course action.

So when Rob Cohen purchased the rights to the Richard Bachman novella “The Running Man”, he had no idea that Bachman was actually a pseudonym for Stephen King. I didn’t know it was a Stephen King film either, until a few years back I was trying to pick a Stephen King film and it came up when I googled him.

Huh?

I know I was in shock too, it didn’t seem like the other stuff he made. So without further ado, it’s time to start… RUNNING!

So it is the film starts off in 2018-the economy of the world has collapsed due to a lack of resources and they are all ruled by a totalitarian government that controls everyone through TV.

The people are kept in line with anyone who steps out gets sent to prison, or worse to be on the TV show, The Running Man. “Runners”, the prisoners, have to compete in gladiator-type battles against “Stalkers” who all have a theme character and weapons-kind of like wrestlers.

Does this remind you of anything? Like:

Or maybe:

Yes, it is very similar but lots of Dystopian films/books share similar things. The nice thing is that while all of these are similar-there are enough differences that you aren’t feeling like you are watching/reading something that was regurgitated.

So our story begins with Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a captain of the militarized police force and is sent into Bakersfield to stop a revolt. When he does get there, he finds no dangerous revolutionaries, but just hungry people-women and children.

Dispatcher: Proceed with plan alpha. Eliminate anything moving.

Ben Richards: I said the crowd is unarmed. There are a lot of women and children down there. All they want is food for God’s sake!

Dispatcher: As you were, Richards. Proceed with plan alpha. All rioters must be eliminated.

Ben Richards: The hell with you. I will not fire on helpless people. Abort mission. We return back to base.

But the others open fire and kill all, and who do they blame? Ben of course-naming him “The Butcher of Bakersfield”. This scene always made me think of Fahrenheit 451 when they have to find a scapegoat.

He is dubbed “The Butcher of Bakersfield” and sent to prison where he serves 18 months.

He and few other prisoners work on a plan and manage to break out and get free from the electric collars. Ben heads to L.A. to find his brother. Instead he finds Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso), TV show jingle writer, residing in his brother’s apartment as he has been taken away for “reeducation”.

This is so 1984, they have to “reeducate” the troublemakers-really torture ad brainwash them.

Ben ties Amber up and investigates her apartment, taking money, her flight pass, and booking a flight to Hawaii. He wants Amber to come with as they will be looking for a single man, but she refuses. He won’t take no for an answer and convinces her by picking up the machine he strapped her to and threatening her.

This reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps when Richard Hannay gets framed for murder and team’s up with Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), an unwilling accomplice. She hates him and fights with him, but discovers he is telling the truth and falls in love with him.

They get caught in the airport, and Ben is sent back to prison. There he is offered to be on the show The Running Man by the owner, Damon Killian, instead of rotting in prison. He is amazed by Ben’s survival skills and knows he will be a GIANT HIT.

Unfortunately, Killian doesn’t know what we do-it’s a bad idea to go after Ben. Ben refuses until they threaten to send his compatriots from the prison escape to the show. He agrees, but then finds out that Killian lied and they are all going on the show.

Gosh, I love how cooly he delivers that.

Meanwhile, Amber is like Pamela (from The 39 Steps), and starting to wonder if maybe Ben told her the truth. She goes into the files of ICS (The Running Man station and government) to see what the original recordings were. She discovers Ben is telling the truth but is caught.

So how the game works is that they are in a abandoned area of Los Angeles and have to go through multiple levels and fight different “stalkers”. If they defeat a stalker, they progress to the next level-although many don’t ever do that. Only a few even make it to the very end and win.

The first one Ben has to fight is Sub-Zero:

I love Arnold’s quips and his delivery of them. LOL.

Now that I have sen Logan’s Run, like Ben and Amber are just a more hardcore version of Logan and Jessica.

They move to the next level and are joined by Amber, who has been found and thrown into the ring. One of Ben’s friends, the hacker, knows he can get into the system if he just gets a chance. He gives the uplink code to Amber to memorize.

Then then have to face Buzzsaw:

Ouch!

They then fight Dynamo:

But Richards doesn’t kill him. It is interesting why he chooses to spare his life and not the others? Maybe because he isn’t defending himself, but it would be “murder” in his eyes. Maybe because he realizes they are all stuck in this life, all prisoners running in the hamster wheel of life created by the government?

They then head to the final level, Fireball. There they discover that the winning Runners didn’t win after all. They were killed! Just like in Logan’s Run!

They defeat Fireball and then Ben threatens Killian-I love this:

Killian is at a loss, Ben cannot win. He is inciting people to rebellion. There is only one thing left to do-bring Captain Freedom out of retirement.

Captain Freedom doesn’t want to fight and lose and Killian needs him to win so they decide to lie. They bring in stunt doubles of Ben and Amber to fight and lose-just like on Fahrenheit 451

” They know they can hold their audience only so long. The show’s got to have a snap ending, quick!” –Fahrenheit 451

Meanwhile the resistance has made it to the games and busted Ben and Amber out. Ben’s friends have been killed in the game, but luckily the hacker shared the uplink code with Amber. They come up with a plan to hack the system, reveal the truth, and destroy Killian and the others.

I don’t do requests, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

In the end Killian is killed, the truth is revealed, Ben is a hero, and all ends well.

I really enjoy this film, but I think they could have focused more on deeper themes, but the director they had was let go a week before production and new one brought in. Knowing that, I’m surprised it was good as it was.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Stephen King, go to Ever Heard of the Tommyknockers?: The Tommyknockers (1993)

For more Arnold Schwarzenegger, go to Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)

For more dystopian future films, go to Tonight Has Been the Birth of the Planet of the Apes: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)

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 I’ve been trying to tell you, someone has erased his memory.

Your mind is the center of your being. It not only houses all the functional elements to keep your body going, but your memories. Inside your mind is the essence of yourself, the one place where you wear no mask, where you think your darkest thoughts, your happiest views, etc.

But what if you were to lose that all one day. What if everything you thought about yourself didn’t exist? What if you weren’t really you, but someone else?

OMG gasp

That my friends is Total Recall.

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So yes, I’ve decided to review on of the most known, discussed, and debated films in history. This film has a little of everything action-adventure, horror, spy thriller, and science-fiction.

The film is based on the short story by Philip K. Dick, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. The script was purchased in 1974, but then tabled as they felt they didn’t have effects needed to make the film. Ten years later, the team was once again discussing the possibility of the film.

What?

Of course it took a little while longer to get everything moving, but in the late 1980s they were ready to roll. One person who was all for moving it forward was Arnold Schwarzenegger. He had loved the idea and wanted to star in it, but unfortunately they didn’t want him.

Whattheheck

Weird right? By know Arnold was a big star; having Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, The Terminator, Red Sonja, Commando, Predator, and The Running Man all under his belt. Often times if he wanted something, he got it.

But strangely, the company preferred Patrick Swayze.

weird

They started filming in Australia, but before they got too far, the company went bankrupt. Arnold convinced Mario Kassar to purchase the script, it undergoing some changes; and before you know it Arnold is given the main role. And it wouldn’t have been nearly as good without him.

So let’s move onto the film.

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The film start out with two people climbing the Martian landscape; a brunette and Arnold’s character. As the two are walking, he trips and falls, cracking open his face mask.

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AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But then he wakes up. It was all a dream.

Yes this is Douglas Quaid (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), a construction worker living in the world 2084. And this isn’t the first time he’s dreamed of Mars or had such nightmares. No this internal horror has been going on for a while.

StarWarsBadDream

His wife Lori, (played by Sharon Stone), tries to get him to spill about what happened and who he was with, but Quaid doesn’t want to talk about it.

They move on with their daily routine; Quaid tuning on the TV and hearing about the rebellion happening on Mars. The mayor Vilos Cohaagen, owns the mines on Mars that house the mineral needed to run everything.

Dunecat

No, but the thought did cross my mind. People on Mars pay for their air, and lately the rebels have been lead by a psychic mutant, Kuato, to try and win more freedom, air, etc.

Even though things aren’t very nice and downright dangerous on Mars, Quaid really wants to visit. He’s tired of his boring life and yearns for excitement or adventure. Lori doesn’t want to go to Mars and nixes that idea. Instead of arguing, Quaid heads out to work.

DayRuinedbyRespnsibility

While on the subway commuting to work, he sees an ad for the agency Rekall. They implant memories of trips in your mind, it’s like going but for a fraction of the price.

The idea starts growing in Quaid’s mind. Maybe he should do it. He asks his friend Harry about what he thinks, but Harry tries to dissuade him from going.

Douglas Quaid: Ever heard of Rekall? They sell those fake memories.

Harry: Oh, “Rekall, Rekall, Rekall.” You thinking of going there?

Douglas Quaid: I don’t know, maybe.

Harry: Well, don’t. A friend of mine tried one their “special offers,” nearly got himself lobotomized.

Douglas Quaid: No s***?

Harry: Don’t f*** with your brain, pal. It ain’t worth it.

Douglas Quaid: I guess not. [Continues jackhammering, Harry watches in disbelief]

But Quaid can’t stop thinking about it. And he decides to go to Rekall. When he gets there he is at first hesitant about the trip, but the salesman McClane reassures him that the implants will be so real he won’t know the difference. Guaranteed fantastic experience or your money back.

Really?

Really?

Quaid decides to risk it and starts filling out the forms for his trip to Mars, but the salesman isn’t finished with the deal. For a bit extra they can improve the experience by altering his identity.

So here we go, one secret agent coming up. As they start the process, things don’t go quite as well as expected.

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Quiad freaks out insisting that they blew his cover as a spy. McClane believes that it was an implantation gone wrong, but the doctor insists that it can’t be.

Dr. Lull: [after Quaid goes crazy at Rekall] Listen to me, he’s been going on and on about Mars. He’s really been there.

Bob McClane: Use your head, you dumb b****! He’s just acting out the secret agent portion of his Ego Trip.

Dr. Lull: I’m afraid that’s not possible.

Bob McClane: Why not?

Dr. Lull: Because we haven’t implanted it yet!

They fear for their lives as messing something up that “The Agency” set up could be bad for them all. They scrub his mind clean and dump him in a cab.

When Quaid wakes up he doesn’t remember anything, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t after him. From his best friend Harry:

[Harry pulls gun on Quaid]

Douglas Quaid: What the hell is going on? What the f*** did I do wrong? Tell me!

Harry: You blabbed, Quaid! You blabbed about Mars!

Douglas Quaid: Are you crazy? I don’t even know anything about Mars!

Harry: You should have listened to me, Quaid. I was there to keep you out of trouble.

Douglas Quaid: Harry, you’re making a big mistake. You got me mixed up with somebody else.

Harry: Uh-uh pal, you got yourself mixed up with…

[Quaid kicks him in the chest, commencing the fight]

To his wife Lori:

Quaid doesn’t quite know what is going on, but is out to find out. He ends up fleeing and being contacted by a “friend” who gives him a suitcase of tools to help him. But he has to hurry as the Agency are following him by GPS.

Getting out of here

Getting out of here

He exchanges gunfire but manages to get away. This scene with the taxi driver, the Johnnycab, is my favorite scene. It expresses my feelings for most machines.

[Quaid enters a Johnnycab to escape from killers]

Johnnycab: Please state the street and number.

Douglas Quaid: Drive! drive!

Johnnycab: I’m not familiar with that address. Would you please repeat the destination?

Douglas Quaid: Anywhere just go! Go!

Johnnycab: I’m not familiar with that address. Would you please repeat the destination?

Douglas Quaid: S***! S***!

Johnnycab: Would you please repeat the destination?

Douglas Quaid: [Quaid rips the Johnnycab out and starts to drive himself] Aaahhh!

totalrecallmachinedestroy

When he manages to get away, he opens the suitcase given to him and finds a message from HIMSELF!

Hauser: Howdy, stranger! This is Hauser. If things have gone wrong, I’m talking to myself and you have a wet towel around your head. Now, whatever your name is, get ready for the big surprise. You are not you, you’re me.

Douglas Quaid: [to himself] No s***.

Hauser: All my life, I worked for Mars Intelligence, I did Cohaagen’s dirty work. But then I met someone, a woman. She taught me a few things, like I was playing for the wrong team. All I can do now is make up for it. You see…[Points to his head]…there’s enough s*** in here to f***Cohaagen good. But if you’re hearing this, it means is that he’s got to me first. Now, here comes the hard part, old buddy. Now it is all up to you.

Douglas Quaid: [displeased] Great…

Hauser: Now, let’s start by getting that bug out of your head. [Shows the nose deviceTake this out of the case, and stick it up your nose. Don’t worry, it’s self-guiding. Just shove real hard.

[Quaid takes a deep breath, and sticks the nose device up his nose.]

Hauser: When you hear a crunch, you’re there. Now, pull it out. Be careful! That’s my head, too.

[Quaid screams in pain while Hauser grins, then Quaid pulls out the bug]

Hauser: This is the plan. Get your a** to Mars, and go to the Hilton Hotel and flash the fake Brubaker I.D. at the front desk, that’s all there is to it. Just do as I tell you. You can nail that son of a b**** that f***** you and me. I’m counting on you, old buddy. Don’t let me down!

So Quaid finds himself in disguse headed for the red planet.

Once he gets there he finds himself caught up in figuring out what he knew and was trying to do, and to who’s side is he really on.

But as you watch this their is one question. Is this real? Or just the trip he paid for? He he really a secret agent? Or did his implants go malfunction?

Hmm...

Hmm…

I won’t reveal anymore as this is a film you need to check out for yourself.

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Of course our facebook cover/mini poster.

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to Haunted Harmonies of Halloween: Top 5 Songs to Play on Halloween

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For more on Arnold Schwarzenegger, go to I’ll Be Back: The Terminator (1984)

For more Horror-Scifi films, go to They’re Here Already! You’re Next!: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

For more films based on a book, go to What Are the 39 Steps?:The 39 Steps (1935)

Conan the Librarian

ConantheLibrarianConantheBarbarianArnoldSchwarzenegger

Okay I loved the original Conan films with Arnold Schwarzenegger, I thought they were absolutely great. (To read more of my thoughts on the first film, go here.)

So anyways, I found this pic on the internet and it is hilarious. 🙂 And it got me thinking…Wouldn’t Conan make an awesome librarian? I mean with him there would be no late fees, ever.

You kept items past the due date!

Let me show you what happens to people who keep items past their due date!

He would use all his strength and power to pass on the love of reading.

“Mongol General:  Conan! What is best in life?

Conan: To teach people how to use the online catalog, help people find the books they want, and create children and adult reading programs!”

Haha! LOL

Think about it people. Sometimes the way of the future can be pulled out of the past.

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Now in other news, today is a very special day in our world & nation’s history. Not only is it Veterans’ Day, but 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of WWI. I would just like to take the time to give a shout out to all the veterans who have served, and all the troops currently serving.  Thank you so much for everything you have done and for all the sacrifices you have made. I am so happy to live in a country that gives honor to those who deserve it for all that they do. Happy Veteran’s Day!

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For more on Conan go to Part XI: A Movie Line List’s Excellent Adventure

For more on Arnold Schwarzenegger, go to I’ll Be Back

For more on libraries, go to The America I Love

To read more book related posts, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?

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For more on Veterans’ Day, go to Let’s Hear It for the Boys

For  more on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

I’ll Be Back: The Terminator (1984)

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I’ll be back!

So The Terminator is one of the best Horror-ScFi films ever! It is also one of the best Sci-fi films ever! It is one of the best ’80s films ever! It is one of the best Arnold Schwarzenegger films ever! It is one of my all-time favorote films!

love it

I think it is incredibly awesome! Did you know the initial draft for the movie was sold to James Cameron’s wife, Gale Anne Hurd for the price of $1 only.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

So the film starts off in May 12, 1984 (We just celebrated it’s 30th anniversary. That’s why I had to review it) with two beings from the year 2029  (we have 15 years left! I’m going to be alive then, woah!!!) Anyways, one is the Terminator T-800 Model 101, the cyborg assassin who is there to hunt down Sarah Connor and take her out before she can get pregnant and give birth to the father of the future resistance and the only threat to computer control. I just love this opening scene as you see how BA and hardcore the Terminator is.

Arnold Schwarzenegger originally wanted to play Kyle Reese. But James Cameron had a different idea and saw Schwarzenegger in the title role of The Terminator. After all as Cameron told Schwarzenegger, “This movie is not about the hero. It’s about The Terminator”. Just like Barney said:

The second person is Kyle Reese, sent by Sarah’s son to protect her. I love this actor as I just think he is so cute! And its funny, because everything I see him in I always think of him as Kyle Reese.

Anyways, so as Reese is tracking him down, the Terminator is looking for Sarah. He starts going through the telephone book and just mowing down every Sarah he runs into.

Arnold Schwarzenegger worked with guns everyday for a month to prepare for the role; the first two weeks of filming he practiced weapons stripping and reassembly blindfolded until the motions were automatic, like a machine. He spent hours at the shooting range, practicing with different weapons without blinking or looking at them when reloading or cocking; he also had to be ambidextrous. He practiced different moves up to 50 times.

keanu Whoa

Meanwhile, Sarah is unknowingly is going on with her normal life. She makes plans to go out to the club, while her friend is going to hang out at home with her boyfriend. When Sarah’s out she sees a news report on the TV about Sarah Conner’s being murdered and calls her friend at home to warn her. Unfortunately, she’s just missed her. She has already been terminated.

Couldn't resist

I know, i know

The Terminator hears her message and tracks her down there. Before he can kill her, Reese makes it in time and knocks the Terminator down.

Back off bot!

Back off bot!

Of course he hasn’t actually killed him, as that is extremely hard to do, but he has managed to buy him and Sarah enough time to take off.

As the two are driving off, Kyle tells Sarah about the future. In the year 2015 (NEXT YEAR!!!), Skynet, a computer defense system, will become self aware and begin a nuclear war against the humans. Sarah’s unborn son, John, is the one who will lead the rebellion against the machines and is the only chance for humankind. With the resistance on the verge of victory, Skynet sent a terminator back. A Terminator is a being with a metal endoskeleton covered  by a layer of living tissue, so that he looks more humanlike and harder to determine as cyborg.

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Sarah is so freaked out that she doesn’t know how to make heads or tails of the whole issue. She doesn’t have very much time, as the Terminator has caught up with them and is chasing them down in a truck. Their two cars crash and the police show up.

The Terminator goes off to heal himself, and it is an uber crazy scene!

They take Reese into custody as they think that he purposely killed a man (the Terminator). They interrogate him, but think that he is crazy as they cannot find any proof that the Terminator exists. While Sarah is making a statement, we have one of the best and most quoted scenes of all time. 🙂

The Terminator: I’ll be back.”–The Terminator (1984)

Terminator

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Sorry about that. I’m back on track now. So While the Terminator marches in and starts killing all sorts of people, Kyle and Sarah escape.

They flee to a cheap motel where Sarah questions Kyle more about why he was picked to go on this dangerous mission as he can never return home. Reese tells her he volunteered. John had a picture of her and Kyle fell in love looking at it and hearing about her. He didn’t care if he couldn’t go back as it was worth it to be with her. Sarah is touched by his words and the two have sex.

Look at that hunky man

Look at that hunky man

The next day Reese takes off to get supplies and leaves Sarah alone in the motel. She calls her mom to let her know she is okay. That would be great…except that her mom is already dead and the woman she is talking to is actually the Terminator mimicking the voice. Than Sarah does the stupidest thing, she gives her “mom” the phone number of the place she is at. Why would you do that when there is a killer on the loose Sarah? Why? You know he already knows who you and is hunting you down.Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

So Kyle comes back and teaches Sarah everything she needs to know about creating her own weapons out of common products. While the two are having this sweet scene, the Terminator has tracked them down. Luckily, the dog belonging to the motel’s owner starts barking, warning Reese.

hear that?

The two get involved in a second car chase in which Kyle throws pipe bombs at the Terminator to try and stop him. Reese is wounded and the momentarily stop the Terminator, burning off all his flesh.

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He chases the two into a nearby factory. This part is pretty cool, as Sarah takes control of the situation, giving us a preview to how BA she will be in the sequel.

Reese attacks the Terminator, but realizes he doesn’t have much time left, as he’s wounded too bad. He stuffs a bomb into the Terminator’s stomach, the explosion killing Reese and severely injuroing the Terminator. It continues to try and take Sarah down, who leads it to a hydraulic press and crushes it. The only thing that survives is an arm.

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Sarah is later taken out of the factory by an ambulance as Kyle’s body is taken away and buried.

Months later a pregnant Sarah is traveling through Mexico and is recording audio tapes for John when he’s older. This is where we are introduced to the amazing Terminator paradox. John is 20 years older than his father. Sarah is like 45 years older than her child’s father. Plus John has to care for Kyle Reese and make sure he survives until he can send him back or else he won’t be born. Crazy! Makes your head spin.

keanu Whoa

And if you want the really abbreviated version, go to 30 Second Bunnies

Now even though I absolutely love this movie, I will say that How It Should Have Ended did a pretty good job.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

To go to the previous post, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

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For more on The Terminator, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more on Linda Hamilton, go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows

For more cyborgs, go to In Their Proper Place

For more on a resistance group, go to Na-Na-Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)

For more on ’80s films, go to The Anniversary of Its Formation

For more films that spanned sequels, go to Just Follow the Screams

For more on How I Met Your Mother, go to Fashionably Postworthy