Cheesy 80s dystopian films constitute some of the best cinematic predictive programming, and 1987’s The Running Man is a fine specimen. Full of Schawrzenegger’s grunts and “aagghhhs” (as opposed to a script), even Bloodsport has a contender for wooden acting and silly fight choreography with Running Man. Nevertheless, Stephen King’s novel of the same name was transformed into an accurate description of where the U.S. is headed in full Hunger Games fashion: Although many dystopian novels and the films depict the great gladiatorial games scenario, but The Running Man has some unique insights that are worth highlighting.
“By 2017, the world economy has collapsed. Food, natural resources and oil are in short supply. A police state, divided into paramilitary zones, rules with an iron hand. Television is controlled by the state and a sadistic game show called “The Running Man” has become the most popular show in history. All art, music and communications are censored. No dissent is tolerated and yet a small resistance movement has managed to survive underground.”
From the outset, The Running Man projects a very likely near future. While the world economy may not globally collapse by 2017, as long as the stated plans to move towards an SDR-backed IMF plan continue, the older dollar system will fold. Economists have projected this transition for some years, but when this will occur is anyone’s guess. When it does, the partitioning of the various continents into trading unions (which is already long in process) will lead to the global federation of unions, headed by IMF, World Bank, and BIS. In the U.S., the FEMA Zones will likely constitute the new regions, precisely as our film projects, with a heavy-handed federal force quelling dissent – all of which is predicted with precision accuracy.
A complete panoptic society has been installed, where all of life is monitored, from cradle to grave. In order to keep the masses satiated, the old “bread and circuses” trick of bloody, gladiatorial spectacle has been reintroduced, mirroring the devaluation of human life. One need only turn on the television in our day to see the gladiatorial spectacle of trash that has evolved since the 80s, where transvestites are accounted heroes, morons compete in the most extreme forms of lunacy, and the latest “idol” is trotted out to record some pop song that will be forgotten in a few months. Make no mistake about it, we are only a few years away from the return of actual gladiatorial games and bloodletting, as Hunger Games style competitions will eventually exist.
And speaking of Hunger Games, boy does its plot resemble The Running Man, yet instead of Jennifer Lawrence in spandex tights, we’ll have to settle for Arnold and Yaphet Kotto. I might also add that the 80s were completely convinced that the fullest extent of the future’s technological advances, profound as they may be, never extend beyond Atari level screen displays. Setting aside spandex and Space Invaders, another surprising element worth noting is the film’s depiction of crowd control weaponry. Still retaining its class structure, the future megacity of The Running Man confines its classes to various zones, where enforced labor is conducted. Step outside that zone, and your RFID necklace explodes your noggin – something the deluded bureaucrats of our day have actually suggested, as well as micro-chipping. In fact, just as in the film, NBC reported a projection for 2017:
The Running Man thus exposes the Hollywood machine in its truest sense. As demonstrated in The Truman Show, the appeal to the narcissism of the ego’s desire to be an icon of reflected, mimetic glory is the trap of what I call the Serpentine Mirror. The result of this trap is the commodification of everything, including ones own being, as the trade off for imagined status will eventually lead to the complete transference of our identities to a digital Internet avatar (for example, watch Ari Folman’s The Congress). The title itself is indicative of the sense we are to feel as men on the verge of this great era of transition of the end of man – we should run. As Richards discovers, working in the system results in becoming a patsy for trying to do the right thing. Framed as a mass killer, Ben Richards is “chosen” to be the next victim of the Amerikan Gladiators.
Patterned after Soviet and Nazi governments, the police state of our film mandates that children and citizens report others for untoward thoughts or violations, even to the extent of wearing “unauthorized” clothing or possessing or distributing illegal art, along the lines of the East German historically-based film, The Lives of Others. All art and culture is tightly mandated by the state-controlled network, ICS, home of the one show everyone watches, The Running Man. Sound far-fetched? What if I told you the culture industry already exists, and that the state and the Hollywood corporate machine already work together as a symbiotic organism of culture destruction? The reality is, as readers of JaysAnalysis have seen now in hundreds of articles, the CIA and Hollywood are flip sides of the same coin. Movies and media are the new peep stones our shaman priests indoctrinate us with. (I must admit, the shows ICS advertises sound like a blast: “The Hate Boat,” “Climbing for Dollars,” and “Pain: American Style”).
Damon Killian, the dastardly network head, explains that all he is doing is giving the people what they want – American’s love TV. They wean their kids on it.