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Homicidal Fictional Reality Game Shows As A Movie / TV Genre

blessmycottonsocks

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On another thread, someone mentioned a Russian series called Igra Na Voizhivanye, which sounded strikingly similar to the US series from 7 or 8 years ago “Siberia”.

It struck me that these are just the latest in a vast catalogue of movies and TV series exploring a very similar theme; namely a supposed game or reality show in which killing is not only permitted, but is necessary if you want to be the winning contestant.

I did a little digging on this theme and found a 1953 novel by US author Robert Sheckley called “Seventh Victim”, featuring a legalised and televised murder game known as The Big Hunt. This was adapted into a 1957 radio series and a 1965 Italian movie (curiously renamed as La Decima Vittima/The Tenth Victim).
Is that what started the whole genre or can you find any earlier variations on the theme?

Subsequently, there have been far too many similar productions to list here (IMDB has several Top 100 Dystopian game show type lists), but a few that really stand out for me are the following:

1967: The Year of the Sex Olympics by the visionary Nigel Kneale, in which the accidental televised death of a presenter generates a massive viewer boost and persuades the TV channel to commission a dangerous reality show in which the contestants are likely to come to harm.

1975 Rollerball: the action gets bloodier and more thrilling with each round, to ensure the highest viewer ratings (avoid the dreadful remake though).

1987: The Running Man (based on the 1982 Stephen King novel). The movie is probably more famous than the novel and features Arnie at his brutal and wise-cracking best. Bunkum, but hugely entertaining.

2000: Battle Royale. One of the highest grossing Japanese movies of all time and a chilling and controversial variation on the theme, featuring high-school students. Without this, the tenth-rate, watered-down “Hunger Games” probably would never have existed.

2009: Gamer. Gerard Butler in (IMHO) his best role, as a veteran survivor in a murderous Doom-style game.

2013: Siberia. Contestants hoping to win $500,000 are helicoptered to a remote location and do everything they can to be the last one standing. The added spice here is that the backdrop is one of our favourite Fortean locations Tunguska (although actually filmed in Canada).

Any more favourites of the genre out there?
 

Swifty

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On another thread, someone mentioned a Russian series called Igra Na Voizhivanye, which sounded strikingly similar to the US series from 7 or 8 years ago “Siberia”.

It struck me that these are just the latest in a vast catalogue of movies and TV series exploring a very similar theme; namely a supposed game or reality show in which killing is not only permitted, but is necessary if you want to be the winning contestant.

I did a little digging on this theme and found a 1953 novel by US author Robert Sheckley called “Seventh Victim”, featuring a legalised and televised murder game known as The Big Hunt. This was adapted into a 1957 radio series and a 1965 Italian movie (curiously renamed as La Decima Vittima/The Tenth Victim).
Is that what started the whole genre or can you find any earlier variations on the theme?

Subsequently, there have been far too many similar productions to list here (IMDB has several Top 100 Dystopian game show type lists), but a few that really stand out for me are the following:

1967: The Year of the Sex Olympics by the visionary Nigel Kneale, in which the accidental televised death of a presenter generates a massive viewer boost and persuades the TV channel to commission a dangerous reality show in which the contestants are likely to come to harm.

1975 Rollerball: the action gets bloodier and more thrilling with each round, to ensure the highest viewer ratings (avoid the dreadful remake though).

1987: The Running Man (based on the 1982 Stephen King novel). The movie is probably more famous than the novel and features Arnie at his brutal and wise-cracking best. Bunkum, but hugely entertaining.

2000: Battle Royale. One of the highest grossing Japanese movies of all time and a chilling and controversial variation on the theme, featuring high-school students. Without this, the tenth-rate, watered-down “Hunger Games” probably would never have existed.

2009: Gamer. Gerard Butler in (IMHO) his best role, as a veteran survivor in a murderous Doom-style game.

2013: Siberia. Contestants hoping to win $500,000 are helicoptered to a remote location and do everything they can to be the last one standing. The added spice here is that the backdrop is one of our favourite Fortean locations Tunguska (although actually filmed in Canada).

Any more favourites of the genre out there?
Series 7 Contenders is brilliant and deserves to be on this list. In a future America, members of the public are chosen against their will for a government funded gameshow to track and kill each other. The film's shot as though you're watching real episodes of a TV show:

Full movie

 

Naughty_Felid

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I believe Sheckley's story inspired the real life game 'Killer'. Obviously you weren't allowed to hurt anyone; I read about one guy who had a pillow dropped on his head with "16 TON SAFE" written on it in large friendly letters :D

Sheckley was a very good writer and for those thinking that Philip K Dick was the be-all and end-all of predicting the future they should read him, (and of course John Brunner as well), fairly sure we have a thread about this.

Some of those guys, Willian Tenn included, could knock it out the park when it came to writing.
 

escargot

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We have discussed The Most Dangerous Game before. One of the stories I luckily read as a child which helped shape my taste in literature.
 

escargot

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Death Race 2000 (1975) with David Carradine - I had great fun for years later calculating which pedestrians were worth the most points.
Never mind that. What about Carradine dancing in his leather underpants?
 

Victory

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sherbetbizarre

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I did a little digging on this theme and found a 1953 novel by US author Robert Sheckley called “Seventh Victim”, featuring a legalised and televised murder game known as The Big Hunt. This was adapted into a 1957 radio series and a 1965 Italian movie (curiously renamed as La Decima Vittima/The Tenth Victim).
Sheckley also wrote another similar story. From Wiki-

The 1958 short story "The Prize of Peril" was adapted in 1970 as the German TV movie Das Millionenspiel, and again in 1983 as the French movie Le Prix du Danger. Written about a man who goes on a TV show in which he must evade people out to kill him for a week in order to win a large cash prize, it is perhaps the first-ever published work predicting the advent of reality television. There are many similarities between Sheckley's story and Stephen King's novel The Running Man, published later in 1982, of which a film adaptation was later made.

The German version (1970)...


French version (1983)...

 

blessmycottonsocks

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Neale's visionary 1967 prediction of Reality TV is available in its entirety here. Leonard Rossiter was perfectly cast and plays a blinder!
In a Guardian review of the UK Big Brother in 2000, Nancy Banks-Smith wrote that The Year of the Sex Olympics "foretold the reality show and, in the scramble for greater sensation, its logical outcome".


 

Victory

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Ernest is still alive! Unless you know something we don't...
I really thought he died about two years ago!

There is a thread about thinking someone was dead etc. isn't there?
 

EnolaGaia

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... There is a thread about thinking someone was dead etc. isn't there?

Yep ... There's a thread for generally being surprised to learn someone's still alive, and the Mandela Effect thread if you had reason to believe a false memory about his / her death ...

People You Thought Were Dead
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/people-you-thought-were-dead.2567/

The Mandela Effect: False Memory
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/the-mandela-effect-false-memory.60041/
 

JamesWhitehead

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Neale's visionary 1967 prediction of Reality TV is available in its entirety here.

Thanks for posting it. Despite its notoriety, I had never caught up with it, until now. I knew the title, but I was still in Primary School, when it first went out. Despite seeing odd clips and knowing the premise, I had always assumed that the most shocking thing about it was the title.

I was quite wrong. Nearly all it predicts has come to pass yet it still packs quite a punch! :oops:
 

GNC

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Thanks for posting it. Despite its notoriety, I had never caught up with it, until now. I knew the title, but I was still in Primary School, when it first went out. Despite seeing odd clips and knowing the premise, I had always assumed that the most shocking thing about it was the title.

I was quite wrong. Nearly all it predicts has come to pass yet it still packs quite a punch! :oops:

There's a nice DVD of it out from the BFI, good extras.
 

Zeke Newbold

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On another thread, someone mentioned a Russian series called Igra Na Voizhivanye, which sounded strikingly similar to the US series from 7 or 8 years ago “Siberia”.

It struck me that these are just the latest in a vast catalogue of movies and TV series exploring a very similar theme; namely a supposed game or reality show in which killing is not only permitted, but is necessary if you want to be the winning contestant.

Great thread idea!

Igra Na Voizhivaniye - Game of survival was broadcast on Russian TV last August. It was shown every evening for a week in two hour episodes a shot. I couldn't invest the time and, anyway, my Russian wasn't up to negotiating its endless twists and turns. I can tell you that it becomes more and more science fictional as it proceeds - featuring laboratory created zombies (or something). The production values were very high quality - we might not see its like again for some time - and it starred Alexandra Bortich (`the Russian Jennifer Lawrence`). My guess is that,like `To the Island` (known here as `Epidemia`), it will make it to Netflix soon.

Trailer:


Rather than being inspired by an American Tv show - it was more likely based on a rumoured real reality show in Russia - to be set in Siberia and to allow murder etc -which turned out to be a market research based hoax (and which fooled a great many mainsteam new outlets:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/controversial-russian-reality-show-turns-be-a-hoax-1019254

Meanwhile backin 2015 a Russian film called `Mafia: The Game of Survival` hit the cinemas. This was based on a card game of the same name, and the premise is that in 2072 it has been turned into a reality game in which the winner is given a huge cash prize and the losers die. It seems to have come out in the West in dubbed form and reveived very polarised responses from the critics. Here's the dubbed trailer:

 
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Zeke Newbold

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And then there's the Doctor Who TV serial Vengeance on Varos from 1985. This being the one where Colin Baker's undervalued Sixth Docror winds up on a planet where state executions are televised - but the convicts (many of them dissidents) are allowed ro fight for their lives by making their way through a booby -trapped labyrinth for added entertainment.

It was more or less pilloried at the time for its depiction of violence and general tatselesness. Now it just looks ahead of its time.
 

GNC

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And then there's the Doctor Who TV serial Vengeance on Varos from 1985. This being the one where Colin Baker's undervalued Sixth Docror winds up on a planet where state executions are televised - but the convicts (many of them dissidents) are allowed ro fight for their lives by making their way through a booby -trapped labyrinth for added entertainment.

It was more or less pilloried at the time for its depiction of violence and general tatselesness. Now it just looks ahead of its time.

Apparently it was inspired by the mid-80s video nasties craze (as opposed to the mid-90s video nasties craze).
 

GNC

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A movie that seems to have been forgotten, but was a big deal for five minutes, My Little Eye:

Spoofing the Big Brother phenomenon, the contestants are left in a remote farmhouse, unaware they are to be killed off one by one. The clue comes when they realise all the cameras are not broadcasting on TV, but to perverts on the dark web.
 

GNC

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The Hunt is a lot weirder than I was expecting. In fact, the lead actress Betty Gilpin is surprisingly great (and difficult to read).
 

Xanatic*

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Stretching this a bit, there is a movie called Yalda, A Night For Forgiveness.
A woman in Iran is accused of murdering her husband, but has a chance if she on a live TV-show can gain the forgiveness of her husbands family.
Apparently this stuff really happens.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The Hunt is a lot weirder than I was expecting. In fact, the lead actress Betty Gilpin is surprisingly great (and difficult to read).

It certainly wasn't what I expected either!
The blackest of black comedies and savagely satirical.
Also the most intense bitch fight since Kill Bill.
The SJWs sure picked the wrong victim in kick-arse heroine Crystal (Betty Gilpin)!

Didn't have the usual disclaimer about no animals being harmed at the end titles, so hope "Orwell" didn't end up as pork chops!
 

ravensocks

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