Matt Stevens (kent_allard_jr) wrote,
Matt Stevens

Horrifying and Revolting, If Done Right

xanoside posted a Death Wish clip on Facebook recently, and out of a sick sense of curiosity, I followed up watching Death Wish III excerpts on YouTube. My god, it is a masterpiece of awfulness. It would be horrifying, revolting and disgusting, a reflection of the evil, stupid machismo of the 1980s, if it wasn't so preposterous and laughably amateurish.

Today, supposedly, many folks watch Death Wish III for the unintentional comedy. But not all. Read the YouTube comments (rarely for the faint of heart, I know) and you'll find stuff like "this's what we need to clean the scum off the streets!", "God Bless the 2nd Amendment!" etc. etc.

It reminds me that Poe's Law could be exploited for interesting stories, and not just parodies. Sometimes I think it's useful to take a morally questionable trope and drive it straight off the cliff of decency and good sense, if only to see who takes off his cowboy hat and screams YEEE-HAH while hurtling down the ravine.

For example, take a Walking Tall-style vigilante picture, in which a small town sheriff takes on a gang of criminals. One of these crooks, though, will be the sheriff's rebellious son. After the sheriff beats the gang, have him take his son into the woods, tie him to a tree ... and shoot him dead in the face. Cue soulful music and roll credits.

Another idea I had was a comedy called King Fitness. Tagline: "He whips America into shape ... Literally!" I don't have a specific plot in mind, just set pieces, such as gladiatorial "hunger games" in which high-BMI draftees have to kill each other over tins of protein bars, and stress tests with old folks racing through fields of cannon fire. Who cares about details? As they say in Hollywood, the story writes itself.

Could I write these scripts? I doubt it: I'd probably go crazy spending that much time pretending to hold beliefs I despise. Still, I see value in such works, both artistically and socially. It would be like holding a Sociopath Convention, if only to see who shows up.
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