No one familiar with films Jason Blum is involved in will be surprised his latest film is dark and bloody. Horror is one of his favorite specialties. It seems, though, that Blum went a little too far this time, at least where advertising is concerned. One Web publication said “movie executives” pulled the ads for his film The Hunt. Why? The film script specifically talks about “slaughtering a dozen deplorables” for sport.
Have recent mass killings impacted decisions about violent films?
America has long had a fascination with blood, gore, and horror. Those motifs are nothing new. What’s different, however, is that this film seems to echo politicians’ rhetoric about voters who disagree with those politicians’ policies. Filmmakers say the film is satire.
Outrageous satire isn’t new either. Recall Jonathan Swift’s satirical take on eliminating poverty by using children born to the Irish poor as food. That was in 1729. Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland, but his satire is on par with the rhetoric we see today in the US.
Would ads for The Hunt have inflamed another killer who chooses to murder innocent people? It’s hard to tell, but I can see the reasoning behind pulling the trailers. I’ve never seen a single Blum film, but he appears to be highly regarded by the industry and financiers. He also highly regards himself—his page on Twitter is extremely self-focused, although he did give a nod to a cousin of his who works for the government:
“My cousin is Annamartine Salick. She is the deputy chief of the Terrorism and Export Crime Section Here is an article about her. She is a baller.”
“Did anyone see what our ratf***er-in-chief just did?” one character apparently asks early in the screenplay. Another responds: “At least the Hunt’s coming up. Nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables.”
Regardless, in the US we have the First Amendment, and government cannot legally encroach on freedom of speech. The private sector, however, can limit and censor at will and those practices are rampant at present. In my opinion, Twitter is the worst, but that’s just a personal take based on my own observations.
Every day I see statements and memes on social media designed to incite one side of the political aisle or the other. Every day I see information posted that is either fabricated or cherry-picked out of context to persuade individuals regardless of the truth. People believe what they choose to believe, and fear is one of the most powerful persuaders. You can point out false information if you choose, but the poster of that false information will likely learn nothing from the experience.
Foregoing trailers for a politically charged satirical film may be a wise move at this time, but people will see the film and some may be inspired to act. Problems with violence, not just here in our country, but around the world aren’t caused by satirical films. Those problems stem in part from the dilution of the nuclear family and the role of the central government in dismissing the value of the individual while sacrificing the same for the benefit of the collective.
NPR, an outlet most perceive as left of center, ran an article recently about research on mass shootings. The research was published in 2015. Media largely ignored it then as they do now. The article is worth reading, and confirms something I have long claimed. Media are actors in much of the divisiveness and anger we see in our country right now. They have the right to do that as far as government goes, but we have the right to refuse to consume the messaging, and that is worth considering. NPR reported:
“[Sherry] Towers and her colleagues also found that what set apart shootings that were contagious was the amount of media coverage they received. “In the incidences where there were four or more people killed, and even school shootings, those tended to get national and even international media attention,” says Towers.
It’s increasingly fashionable for some activists to target the opposition personally, recommending cutting ties with family members who disagree with activists’ ideas or who vote for a candidate the activist doesn’t care for. Leading politicians routinely call Americans who disagree with them some very insulting names. That is something new in the politics arena, and that troubles me more than ads for a film that rehashes a basic theme of hunting for humans, a theme that’s been done before and will probably be done again.
(Kay B. Day/Aug. 8, 2019)
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