“The Boys” is an adaptation of a comic book series with the same title. It was created by the Irish writer Garth Ennis. Here are some interesting facts about “The Boys”.
Punisher kills the Marvel Universe
“The Boys” is an expansion of Garth’s idea from one of the first comics he created for Marvel – “Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe.” In this comic, Frank Castle’s family dies as a result of the actions of superheroes. It turns out that there are more people who have lost loved ones in similar circumstances. Punisher agrees to work for a secret organization that fights superheroes. From that point on, he systematically kills all Marvel heroes. In the end, only one hero, Daredevil, is left alive. Frank manages to defeat him, but to his horror, he discovers that he has killed his childhood friend. Seeing that he has become what he fights against, he decides to kill the last living superhero – himself.
The Boys film adaptation
The comic book was originally planned to be adapted as a movie. The director was Adam McKay (Succession). Unfortunately, after several years, the project got stuck in development hell. Several studios refused to produce it because they were afraid of the R-rating, which marketing experts believed would lead to a financial failure. It was not until a few years later that movies like Deadpool and Logan proved that even with an R-rating, a superhero movie can be sucesful.
“The Boys” was canceled after only six issues. The publisher deemed it too violent, vulgar, and obscene. The rights reverted back to the creators who quickly found a new publisher, and the work resumed. In total, 72 issues were produced.
In addition, a six-issue spin-off series titled “Herogasm” was created. The raunchy comic book depicts the sexual exploits of The Seven. Pretending to have a mission to save the world, the superheroes go to a Vought-owned resort and participate in orgies for a week. “Herogasm” was used in the sixth episode of the third season. In the TV series, the event is organized by former members of Payback.
Although the Amazon executives were aware they were making an obscene series, some scenes were blocked by them as too explicit. One of the scenes that fell victim to the cuts was the one where Homelander masturbates on a skyscraper. It was originally filmed for the first season, but only after the success of the first season were they allowed to use it in the second season.
One of the more well-known cast members is Simon Pegg. His presence in the cast is not accidental. Hughie was inspired by Pegg’s appearance. Actors are often very sensitive about their image and in many cases, this could result in legal intervention. However, Pegg not only had no objections, but even wrote an introduction to the first album in the series, “The Name of the Game.” Pegg also had the opportunity to play Hughie in an animated series spin-off called “The Boys Presents: Diabolical.”
Jack Quaid (Hughie Campbell) is the son of the queen of romantic comedies, Meg Ryan, and actor Denis Quaid. The parents met on the set of the thriller D.O.A.
Justice League vs The Boys
The Boys is inspired by the Justice League, but some characters are endowed with powers from the Avengers and X-Men. Homelander is obviously Superman. Queen Maeve is Wonder Woman. Black Noir is a combination of Batman and Black Bolt. The Deep is a parody of Aquaman. A-Train is Flash. Starlight is a combination of Dr. Light, Dazzler, and Jubilee. Translucent is modeled after the Invisible Woman from the Fantastic Four. In the comics, this character did not appear at all.
The fictional film Dawn of The Seven, an obvious parody of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
In contrast to his TV counterpart, the comic book Soldier Boy is cowardly and very naive. In one scene, he is sexually abused by Homelander, who convinced him it was a “test” to become a member of The Seven. The hero did not have a destructive beam – this is a creation of the tv series writers. Another difference is that Soldier Boy is not a character but a title in the comic book mythology. There were three successive Soldier Boys in the comics. The comic book Soldier Boy does not seek revenge on members of his team as it was not they who abandoned him, but he fled himself. Butcher kills the members of Payback.
In the comics, Stormfront is a man. The pseudonym comes from the name of an online neo-Nazi forum. The comic book Stormfront was the first superhero. More supes were created from his DNA, including Homelander.
The Deep is an obvious parody of Aquaman. However, his comic book counterpart resembles Black Manta – Aquaman’s enemy. The comic book version wears an old diving suit and claims he cannot take off his helmet due to a curse. In terms of character, the comic book Deep is the opposite of his TV counterpart. He is mature, serious, and often disgusted by his companions’ behavior. His biggest concern is money – he often initiates arguments about profit sharing.
Starlight is very similar to her comic book counterpart. The difference is the scene of her joining The Seven. In the series The Deep sexually assaulted her, but the other members are not aware of what happened. In the comics, Starlight was assaulted by Homelander, Black Noir, and A-Train.
Both Karl Urban (Butcher) and Antony Starr (Homelander) are from New Zealand. They both previously starred in the series Xena: Warrior Princess. Starr played two different characters, and Urban played four.
The shop robbed at the beginning of the film is called ‘Good Times Groceries’. This is a reference to the 2017 film Good Time. After watching it, director Matt Reeves decided that Pattinson would be the perfect candidate to play Batman.
Zodiac and Seven
Other film inspirations included two works by David Fincher: Seven and Zodiac. From Seven, the filmmaker borrowed the style, the bleak atmosphere and the character of a murderer enforcing his own sick sense of justice. Riddler was inspired by the serial killer Zodiac.
Comic book inspirations
Matt Reeves cites three Batman comics as the main influences on the film: “Batman: Ego”, “Batman: Year One” and “Batman: The Long Halloween”.
In Batman: Ego, Batman’s informant kills himself and his family in a bid to save his loved ones from the Joker’s wrath. Targeted by remorse, Bruce returns to the cave and begins an internal monologue. In the end, Bruce reconciles with himself, accepts his guilt and embarks on another mission.
From the comic Batman: Year One, Reeves borrowed the idea of the hero taking his first steps.
Batman: The Long Halloween tells a story a mysterious avenger who kills mob-related individuals. Originally, Reeves wanted his film to be a direct adaptation of the Long Halloween, but later on changed his mind.
In the finale, Batman injects himself with a strange green substance that instantly puts him back on his feet, but drives him mad. In the comic Batman: Venom tormented by guilt over not saving a young girl, Batman begins to take a drug that gives him greater strength and stamina. Unfortunately, the same drug begins to make him addicted and causes fits of aggression. Venom is the same drug that gives Bane superhuman strength and muscularity.
Near the end of the film, Selina Kyle says she is going to Bludhaven. In the DC comics, Bludhaven is the city between Gotham City and Atlantic City. Nightwing used the city as his base of operations
The journalist that Thomas Wayne is accused of killing is named ‘Elliot’. In the DC comics, Thomas Elliot is the assassin known as ‘Hush’.
There is a bust of William Shakespeare in the Wayne Manor. This is a reference to the 60s Batman tv series in which a similar bust was used to open the Batcave.
The “Secret friend” greeting card is a reference the card sent by the Zodiac Killer. The difference is the presence of an owl, which may be a reference to the Court of Owls – a secret group made up of members of Gotham’s wealthiest families.
Alfred recalls his years in the ‘Circus’. The Circus is the unofficial name for the headquarters of British intelligence agency MI6. It is named after the intersection of Cambridge Circus, where MI6 was based in John Le Carre’s novels. It implies that Alfred is a retired British intelligence agent.
Chopin’s Funeral March
The film’s main theme is inspired by Chopin’s Funeral March. Interestingly, the same piece inspired John Williams to compose The Imperial March.
2nd longest superhero film
175 minutes means that The Batman is the longest Batman film and the second longest comic book film, just behind Avengers Endgame (181 minutes). However, if we were to take into account the various types of special editions, the longest superhero film would be Watchmen: Ultimate Edition lasting 215 minutes (2hrs 35min).
The diner in which the Riddler is captured looks to have been inspired by Edward Hopper’s painting “Nighthawks”
Gil Colson and Rachel Dawes
Peter Sarsgaard, who plays Gil Colson privately, is married to Maggie Gyllenhaal, who played Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight (2008). In addition to their work in the district attorney’s office, both characters share the same fate – they died in an explosion caused by the main villain.
Bloodsport writer, Sheldon Lettich, says he came up with the idea for the film while talking to a martial artist named Frank Dux. Dux claimed that in the 70s and 80s, he participated in a series of secret martial arts tournaments held for the best fighters from around the world. Frank claimed he was the first American to ever win the tournament. The problem is that, apart from Dux himself, there is no one who can confirm the existence of such a tournament.
Other stories told by Frank involves: his fight against child kidnapping pirates, secret service for the CIA, Medal of Honor, and fighting in Vietnam war (despite being too young for that).
Canon Films did not believe in the success of the film and planned direct-to-video release. However, due to contractual obligations, limited screenings had to be carried out. Bloodsport was released to theaters only in five states. Not much of a turnout was expected, but to everyone’s surprise the film quickly made it to the lists of the most popular productions. After nationwide release film collected $11 million. When the film was released globally, it collected an additional $54 million making it Cannon Group’s most profitable film of 1988.
Kowloon Walled City
A portion of the scenes were shot in Kowloon Walled City. It was a densely populated, ungoverned settlement in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, over time evolved into a densely populated slum, characterized by its tall apartment buildings, narrow streets, and lack of basic services. The authorities initially tried to get rid of the wild tenants, but soon abandoned this intention. Thus, Kowloon became a no-man’s land. There was no state control, police, taxation or public utilities. Electricity was supplied illegally.
As buildings could only be located in a certain area, the city began to climb, eventually reaching a maximum height of 14 storeys (more was not allowed due to the nearby airport). This made it the most populated place on Earth. Due to criminal activity, the police only ventured there in larger groups and only in exceptional circumstances. For this reason, it was almost impossible to get there with a film crew, but the makers of Bloodsport succeeded. In 1993, the Hong Kong government demolished the Kowloon Walled City to make way for a park.
JCVD inspired Mortal Kombat
In the early 90s, company called Midway decided to pursue an fighting game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The creators, Ed Boon and John Tobias used a silhouette of Van Damme cut from Bloodsport to create a prototype. The game was planned as a tie-in for the film. Unfortunately, negotiations stalled as Van Damme was already involved in the production of another game (which never came out). Tobias and Boon willy-nilly had to abandon the film adaptation. Instead, they set the story of their game in a fantasy world. But they did not forget about Van Damme. The game features Johnny Cage, a self-confident, arrogant Hollywood actor whose signature move is split with crotch punch (a direct reference to the scene in Bloodsport). They also dressed him in the characteristic shorts.
Due to budgetary constraints, fighters were played by people without acting skills (real fighters, stuntmen and dancers). Some of them did not speak English, and therefore most of the fighters have no lines of dialogue.
Michel Qissi, who plays one of the fighters, is a friend of Van Damme’s. Together they flew to the US in search of fame. He is best known for his role as Tong Po in the film “Kickboxer,” in which he starred opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The film has spawned three sequels. Daniel Bernhardt plays the lead role in all of them. Bloodsport 2: The Next Kumite, tells the story of a Alex Cardo, who ends up in a prison in Bangkok, where he learns from a fellow inmate a martial art called ‘iron fist’ and with its help wins a Kumite tournament. The only actor from the original to return to his role is Donald Gibb as Jackson.
Bloodsport 3 is a direct sequel. After his mentor is murdered, Alex Cardo uses his martial arts skills and takes on the one responsible.
Bloodsport 4: The Dark Kumite also features Daniel Bernhardt in the lead role, but this time his character is agent John Keller, who goes undercover to infiltrate a dangerous prison that hosts Kumite.
The role has earned Van Damme a Golden Raspberry nomination – for “Worst New Star”. He ‘lost’ to Ronald McDonald from Mac and Me. JCVD won his only Razzie in 1998 for “Worst Screen Couple” with Dennis Rodman in the “Double Team”
Donald Trump’s fovourite movie
Bloodsport is one of Donald Trump’s favourite films (favorite one is Citizen Kane). However, the former US president admits that he only watches the fight scenes, and fast-forwarding the rest.
The game that Dux and Jackson are playing on the arcade machine is called Karate Champ.
In the mid-1980s, screenwriter Sheldon Lettich, who was gaining increasing fame in the profession, was introduced by his friend Richard Bender to a certain Frank Dux, a martial arts instructor who told him some interesting stories. One of them was his participation in a secret tournament called Kumite organised every five years by the International Fighting Arts Association (IFAA). The story was also confirmed by Bender. To back up his words, Dux showed a paper from the trade magazine Black Belt. The newspaper pointed out at the beginning that it had only been able to verify some of the facts, but there were enough of them to consider the story worthy of publication. According to Dux, the secret tournament involves fighters from all over the world, fighting in a full-contact format. Each fighter fought 20 bouts a day – 10 in the morning and 10 in the afternoon. This was made possible by the relatively fast fights, which were expected to last an average of 30 seconds. The fights took place three at a time (thanks to weight class divisions), right up to the final. The difficulty level increased. At first, the fights were carried out on a large mat, then on a smaller one, and finally, on the last day, on the roof of a building. The defeated opponent had to leave the tournament the same day. The competition lasted three days and determined the ultimate winner – the best fighter in the world. This tournament was won by Frank Dux.
Dux claims that he owes both the invitation and victory in the tournament to his master, Senzo Tanaka. It was he who was said to have trained Dux in the martial art known as Koga Yamabushi Ninjutsu from childhood. Tanaka himself was to win a Kumite tournament in his youth. To be admitted to the Kumite, one had to be a member of the IFAA, and the organization’s envoys would test the prospective fighter’s skills before sending an invitation. For an article in Black Belt, Dux posed with a large trophy received for his victory and boasted of having acquired a ritual sword. He also told Lettich about his experiences in Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor, and mentioned his work for the CIA. Sheldon was not interested in Dux’s war experiences, as he himself was a Vietnam War veteran, but he was very interested in the story of the secret tournament. He wrote a script based on it, which was bought out by Cannon Films, the legendary b-grade action film studio. The film was an incredible success, earning $65 million worldwide on a microscopic budget of 2.3 million, and made van Damme an action movie star. However, the success caught the attention of many. The words “the movie was based on true events” and Frank’s impressive record shown at the end of the movie were of particular interest to viewers.
Now let’s check Frank’s claims.
Kumite is a secret martial arts tournament held every five years. The only people who confirm its existence are Frank himself and those around him. The aforementioned Richard Bender, who not only confirmed Dux’s claims but even claimed to have seen the tournament with his own eyes, later recanted everything. According to his words, Frank was supposed to have persuaded him to lie. It is also hard to find any trace of the IFAA organization that Frank refers to. In his words, the organization is not secret but “does not seek publicity.” Anyway, in the 1980s, the organization was supposed to have been disbanded. Interestingly, a journalistic investigation revealed that such an organization had actually been registered in the states for some time and its official address was… Frank Dux’s home address. The man himself explained that his victory in the tournament was intended to show the IFAA’s management the prowess of the Americans and that Dux was thus to be appointed the organization’s unofficial spokesman in order to recruit more fighters from the United States. Another inaccuracy is the organization’s websites with that name. One is poorly made. The other website is a little better, under which we can find information about the organization, its history and members. The problem is that the gallery mostly hangs pictures of Frank and another very famous martial arts “expert” – Count Dante. More on him later.
According to an article in Black Belt magazine, each athlete had 10 fights in the morning and 10 in the afternoon. This means that there must have been at least 20 other fighters in addition to Dux. However, the same article also mentions a weight division, so the number must have at least doubled, if not tripled. An additional rule was that the defeated player had to leave the tournament grounds, the same day. Therefore, if on the second day, a fighter was fighting 20 fights again, there had to be even more competitors. How many are we talking about? 100, 200? In addition, there are the team members (coaches, medics) and the audience. Then there was the technical staff – the fights were to be recorded by 16 special cameras, which had to be operated by specialists in such matters. From a logistical point of view, this is a very big event. All the things involved, such as accommodation, catering, put into question the secrecy of such a tournament. Finally, we come to the financial side. It would have to cost a fortune to organize such an event. Where would an organization unknown to anyone get the funds to do this? Dux claims to have been misunderstood. There were to be 20 competitors and they were to fight each other one by one. That is, each fighter had to face the 19 remaining opponents. This explanation makes the case look even more absurd. Leaving aside even the bizarre structure of such a tournament (how do fighters get eliminated?) there remains the question of knockouts. Frank claims to have knocked out 56 opponents in a row in one tournament. How could he have done that if he was winning the tournament after beating the other 19? Well, unless his opponents didn’t care about such trifles as losing consciousness, they just got up and kept fighting. Given that the same people also fought each other (each had 10 fights in the morning and 10 in the evening), this meant that the average fighter was knocked out several times a day(!). Who would want to watch a fight with a frazzled person on the verge of falling into a coma?
Frank posed for a magazine with a large trophy as a prize for winning Kumite tournament. However, journalists discovered that the trophy had been ordered by Frank himself from a specialist souvenir and trophy shop. This shop is located just a few miles from where Dux lives. An invoice issued in the name of the “winner” was also revealed. The person concerned denied everything, claiming that anyone with access to a photocopier could have fabricated such a document.
Even more interesting is the case of ritual bushido sword that Frank received for winning the tournament. Dux claimed that with its help he had ransomed kidnapped orphans from the pirates. According to his version, while in the Bahamas, he stumbled upon the trail of a pirate shaykh trafficking children. Frank allegedly ransomed one of the orphans, giving up his sword in return.
No military documents confirm Frank’s presence abroad in the United States. Dux served in the military, but was never on any missions. A framed newspaper article praising his heroic service can be found in Dux’s apartment, but this newspaper does not have an article with such content in its archives. An investigation by an LA Times journalist revealed that Dux was only injured once during his military service – when he fell off a truck while painting it. Even more interesting is the story behind the Medal of Honor, the US military’s highest decoration. Dux was never able to present it, but as proof he would show friends a photo of him posing with a completely different medal. In 1998, the book Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History was published by B.G. Burkett, in which he focuses on imposters claiming military credit. Its author, exercising his right of access to public information, was able to gain insight into Frank’s file. It showed that Dux had never been to Vietnam and that he was not on the list of elite Medal of Honor winners. Frank responded by stating that his career in the CIA was classified and that an ordinary person, exercising his right to public information, was unable to obtain the relevant documents. The whole affair ended up in a lawsuit, which Frank brought against not the publisher of the book, but the trade magazine Soldier of Fortune. Why them? Because the magazine had published a review of Burkett’s book, praising it, and some reflections on the likelihood of Frank’s military career. Dux lost the trial.
One other unexplained issue is the duration of Frank’s service. According to Dux’s documents, he enlisted in the army in 1975 at the age of 18, while US troops had already withdrawn from Vietnam in 1972. Frank countered by claiming that he had performed some intelligence-related missions, although not in Vietnam but somewhere in the local area (the exact location cannot be given for reasons of official secrecy) and not during the war but after it ended. Dux’s unit mate does not recall him receiving any medals, as he had nothing to show for it. The medals were also alluded to by screenwriter Lettich, who confronted Dux with the facts, to which he denied mentioning any medal. Finally, it is worth noting that Dux’s official military papers mention mythomania.
Dux claims to have completed covert missions for the CIA between 1981 and 1987 under Director William Casey. He described these events in detail in his 1996 memoir The Secret Man: An American Warrior’s Uncensored Story (in the same book, Dux is credited with launching the MMA). Dux claims he was brought into the agency because Casey (CIA director) suspected a mole in it. Below is a direct quote from the interview with Dux.
The agency did and still does have counterespionage operatives – but Casey didn’t know exactly who he could trust. And when you’re dealing with problems at this level, and working within normal channels, information frequently leaks to the press or becomes public knowledge. Casey wanted to avoid that at all costs. In situations where things got really dirty and nasty, my job was to seek the truth. Once I discovered it I had authority to dispense justice as I saw fit. I was essentially acting as judge, jury and executioner.
Master Senzo Tanaka
Dux claims that he was taught to fight by Japanese master Senzo “Tiger” Tanaka. However, there has never been any Japanese associated with ninjitsu in the United States by that name. Nor are there any historical records of the Tanaka clan. Neither are any martial arts people familiar with him, including one of America’s most famous ninjitsu experts, Stephen K. Hayes.
Dux countered the allegations by claiming that his master was dead, but he was unable to provide the location of a grave, nor did he know anything about the Tanaka family’s subsequent fate. The persistent journalist searched the official death records for the period given by Frank and could not find even one person in California with that name who died during the period mentioned. Confronted once again, Dux said that Tanaka was not a real name, but a nickname, and that he would not give his real name. However, the journalist admitted that he had come across a lead. He told Frank that he had only found one person with the name Tiger Tanaka. It turned out that he was referring to the character Tiger Tanaka from the film “You Only Live Twice” Frank’s response to this was that his master had probably met Ian Fleming (the creator of the Bond character) and that’s where he got the idea for the name of the head of Japanese intelligence.
In 2017, a new twist to the story came to light. Frank Dux found evidence of Senzo Tanaka’s existence. He found not only a death certificate, but also a document issued to immigrants coming to the United States. Unfortunately, we won’t find out much from these documents, as they don’t show any other data, so a person who could have lived anywhere in the United States is involved. Well, and it doesn’t explain why Frank didn’t know anything about his master or his family living with him.
Process with JCVD
In 1998, Frank Dux sued JCVD. It was about an unrealized joint project called Kumite. The two men had been friends since Bloodsport, and Dux had even dated the Belgian star’s sister-in-law. In the first half of the 1990s, Dux and van Damme worked together on a script for a movie called Kumite. Unfortunately, the company producing this film, went bust. Van Damme abandoned the project and began filming his directorial debut, The Quest. Dux decided that The Quest was a mere reworking of their joint project and demanded a fee and inclusion in the credits. The case went to court. Dux claimed that he had a verbal agreement, with JCVD. Their conversation on the subject was supposed to have been secretly recorded on a cassette tape, unfortunately the recording was destroyed in the earthquake. However, the defence called Dux’s neighbor as a witness, who testified that Frank’s house suffered no damage during the aforementioned earthquake. Dux lost the trial.
After the success of Enter the Dragon, martial arts schools sprang up like mushrooms in the 1970s. By the 1980s, the market was already saturated. Some “masters,” in order to attract more customers to their schools, tweaked their resumes a bit. Such a person was a certain Count Dante, calling himself, “the most dangerous man on earth.” It was he who invented the Dim-Mak (the touch of death – i.e. killing an opponent with one blow), later copied by Frank. Dante also published a comic strip showcasing his adventures and extraordinary skills. Like Frank, he created among his friends a lot of legends about himself. This brought him great fame and clients. By creating fictional stories about himself, Dux probably wanted to replicate Dante’s success. His links to Count Dante, for example, can be seen from the above-mentioned photos on the IFAA website, and from certain recurring terms thrown around by both men (Dim-Mak, Black Dragon Society, etc.).
In 1977, Stephen King’s career flourished. His first three books, Carrie, Salem’s Lot and The Shining, had become worldwide bestsellers, and the author was already creating another blockbuster – over a thousand pages of The Stand. In addition, he had a drawer full of previously unpublished novels. With a frantic pace of creation (the author supported himself with stimulants), the writer had more material than he could publish. In those days, most publishers were limited to one book a year by a given author. The idea was not to over-saturate the market, which could negatively affect sales. To get around the restriction, King came up with the idea of publishing his old works under a pen name.
The birth of Richard Bachman
The first was the novel Getting It On. King chose the nickname Guy Pillsbury for it – after his grandfather on his mother’s side. Unfortunately, it turned out that some employees of the publishing house associated facts. This meant that this nickname would quickly become an open secret. King withdrew the manuscript and changed the title to Rage. It remained to come up with a new nickname. When the publisher called about it, King had no idea, so he started looking around the room. The music of the band Bachman Turner Overdrive was playing from the stereo and a Richard Stark novel was lying on the desk. King quickly combined the two names and thus Richard Bachman was born.
Rage was published in 1977. It was followed by the publication of: The Long Walk in 1979, Roadwork in 1981 and The Running Man in 1982. Although reviews were good, sales were low compared to books published under King’s name. Bachman was also not inundated with hundreds of fan letters. However, King liked the whole situation. He was amused by the compliments paid by the same critics who considered him a poor writer.
In 1984, Bachman published his fifth novel, titled Thinner. It was King’s first novel written as a contemporary. Bachman’s previous novels were old King drafts lingering in a drawer from his college days. This made them different in style and subject matter. Thinner resembled King’s other books and was a typical horror story for the author. As if that were not enough, King made several allusions to himself in the book, which also could not fail to catch the attention of readers. One of them was a bookseller from Washington, D.C., Stephen Brown. Brown had already noticed some similarities in the previous ones, but Thinner was so close to King’s style that the bookseller decided to conduct his own investigation. It led him to the Library of Congress, where he found the ultimate proof. The copyright of Bachman’s novel was registered to Kirby McCauley – King’s agent. However, it turned out that Bachman’s first novel, Rage, was registered to King himself.
Brown wrote McCauley a letter detailing the result of his investigation. To his surprise, in response he got a call from Stephen King, who admitted the mystification and offered Brown an exclusive interview. The writer wasn’t entirely happy with the discovery of his secret, as he intended to write under a nickname for a long time to come, but in the face of unmasking and growing suspicion, he decided to end the masquerade. The author also revealed another secret. The photo appearing on the back cover depicted Richard Manuel – a friend of McCauley. Manuel was chosen because he lived in the provinces, so there was less chance that someone would recognize him on the street.
The Dark Half
The creators of movie The Running Man, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, benefited the most from the whole affair, as they managed to buy the copyright to a book by one of the most widely read writers for a penny. King also took advantage of the situation, writing the novel The Dark Half in 1989. It tells the story of a writer who creates under a nickname. When the writer reveals his secret to the world, his “dark half” comes to life and starts murdering people around him. The novel lived to see a movie adaptation and a game with the same title.
Despite the mystery’s revelation, Bachman published two more novels. In 1996, a novel titled Desperation was published under King’s name, and a novel titled The Regulators was published under Bachman’s nickname. The books told different stories, but featured the same characters. Another easter egg were the books’ covers, which when pressed together, formed a single unit. As Bachman was already officially dead at the time, the preface stated that this was a posthumously found novel. Bachman’s most recent novel is Blaze, published in 2007.
Bachman’s novels are regularly reissued, but with the notation “Stephen King’s literary nickname,” or “The Bachman books.” The only book that King does not want to reissue is Rage. However, the reason is not the low literary value, but the subject matter. The book is about a school shooting, so King is afraid of negative connotations with real events of this type.
The last time King used his pseudonym was during his appearance in the series Sons of Anarchy. In it, the author plays a grim mortician who disposes of corpses for criminal groups. The character’s name is actually Bachman.
Chekhov’s rifle, also known as Chekhov’s gun, is a compositional principle invented by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. Chekhov is widely regarded as one of the great masters of Russian literature. The principle reads:
“One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.”
In practice, the idea is that the filmmaker should not focus the reader’s or viewer’s attention on things that have no meaning later on. Suppose we are watching a movie. The first scene shows the main character training at the gym. He is pushing a lot of weight, boxing and running on a treadmill. The scene tells us a lot about the character. He takes care of his physical condition, is very strong and knows how to fight. If we are dealing with action cinema, this scene is significant, as it makes clear about the main character’s skills. But what if we are dealing with a courtroom drama, during which the character does not use physical strength? The scene becomes completely unnecessary. This is what Chekhov’s gun principle is all about. A screenwriter shouldn’t focus on things that aren’t important, but on things that bring something to the work.
We can find examples of Chekhov’s gun in almost every movie. Tradition of the series about the adventures of James Bond is a scene in which the main character receives some gadget, which later helps him get out of trouble. In the movies about the adventures of Harry Potter the wizard, in almost every scene the character learns some spell that will be used in a dramatic moment. Unfortunately, this principle also has a drawback. If used in an unskillful way, it can make the movie predictable. In the film “Prometheus,” when we as the viewer are introduced to the surgical chamber, we can immediately guess that it will be used to remove an alien. Once this happens we do not feel any tension or surprise. For this reason, the filmmakers try to camouflage Chekhov’s gun.
NOTES. Below are spoilers from the TV series Breaking Bad and the movie Jaws
The following scene from the TV series Breaking Bad is an example. In it, a resigned character is playing with a gun. In the background we see a seemingly insignificant plant. However, as it turns out later, it was this plant (Lily of the Valley) that was used by the main character to poison one of the secondary characters, which launched a whole series of tragic events.
Another good example comes from Steven Spielberg’s film Jaws. When the character played by Roy Scheider causes an oxygen cylinder to fall out, he gets a rebuke from his colleague:
“Damn it, Martin! This is compressed air! You screw around with these tanks, and they’re gonna blow up!”
The scene looks natural, and it’s hard for the viewer to guess at this point that the scene with the cylinder was no accident.
Sometimes the rule is broken deliberately. An example is the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where the main character is confronted with a well-trained opponent armed with a powerful sword. After the demonstration of the opponent’s skills, the viewer expects a spectacular fight scene. Meanwhile…
Are the characters shown in the RRR movie real? Yes, but most of their on-screen adventures are fiction. The authors loosely mixed some facts, from the revolutionaries’ lives with conjecture and a healthy dose of horse imagination. Well, I guess we don’t have to explain to anyone that no one threw tigers at British soldiers.
Alluri Sitarama Raju
Alluri Seetharama Raju was born in 1897 (according to other sources in 1898). As a young man, he traveled around the country. After dropping out of college, he became interested in religion. Raju began practicing sannyasa, which means giving up materialistic desires and devoting to spiritual meditation. During his travels, he witnessed many atrocities committed by the British. He also became acquainted with the revolutionary movement. Eventually settled in the Visakhapatnam region where he lived among the Manyam tribes. His natural charisma caused him to quickly gain fame and respect. As Raju was an extremely religious person, people began to believe that he possessed superhuman powers and was some sort of messiah. Some of these myths were probably created by Raju himself.
For the tribes under him, the biggest problem was the British jungle regulations. The tribes practiced a technique called podu. Tribe would select an area of jungle, then burn it for farmland. This type of land was fertile and yielded a lot of crops. This disturbed the English, as they preferred to use the wood to build railroads and ships. Public discontent with the harsh regulations led to the Manyama Rebellion (also known as the Rampa Rebellion) in 1922, led by Raju.
Raju’s tactics were based on guerrilla warfare. The leader trained people in fighting techniques with white weapons (bows, spears) and developed methods of simple communication (whistles, beating drums). He and his trained troop ransacked police stations, seizing weapons and ammunition from them. In the movie, a reference to these events is the plan to give every Indian a gun. With each attack, his fame and number of followers grew. The rebel was becoming a folk hero. The British couldn’t catch him because they didn’t know the area, and local residents refused to cooperate. The manhunt lasted two years. On May 7, 1924, Raju was caught and executed by firing squad.
The circumstances of his father’s death, his career in the police, and his grand plan for revenge are the work of fiction.
Komaram Bheem was born in 1900 in the southern Indian village of Sankepalli. The area was the seat of an independent state of Muslim Nizams. The Nizams recognized British sovereignty in exchange for retaining power. Although they were subject to the British, their area retained partial autonomy. Muslim superiors enforced discipline in extremely cruel ways. A minor infraction was punishable by amputation of a limb and death for opposition. This is how Bheem’s father died.
In his youth, Bheem killed a tax collector terrorizing the village. This forced him to escape to Ćandrapur, where he took refuge with a publisher distributing anti-British press. Working at the publishing house was a substitute for education. Bheem learned to read and write English, Hindi and Urdu, as well as learned the basics of law. When his employer was arrested, Bheem fled to Assam, where he worked on a plantation. There he was arrested for participating in a protest.
After escaping from prison (after only four days), Bheem returned to his hometown. He became the village supervisor’s right-hand man. Using his knowledge of languages, he helped in legal disputes. This brought him local fame. At the same time he got married. After some time, he and his wife returned to the Gond tribe (from which he originated) to cultivate the land. There, the situation from his childhood repeated. The Nizams tried to force him to leave the inhabited land, arguing that it belonged to the state. At first Bheem tried to lodge complaints, directly with the Nizam (the region’s ruler), but when these went unanswered, he organized a militia and began a guerrilla war that lasted 12 years. His main demand was to recognize the lands of the Gond tribe as an area independent of the Nizam. His troops were extremely difficult to track, as Bheem was supported by the leaders of at least a dozen local tribes. Eventually, the Nizams hired a paid informant. The result was an ambush prepared in September 1940. Although Bheem’s men were armed only with primitive white weapons (javelins, bows, axes), Bheem refused to surrender and fell in the battle. In the movie, a reference is made in the scene of the death of Raju’s father. The legend claims that the enemies shot at his body until it turned into a shapeless mass, as they feared that Bheem, with the help of sorcery, would return from the afterlife.
Did Bheem and Raju ever meet?
Their paths probably never crossed. By the time Bheem was working on the plantation, the Raju rebellion was already underway, so Bheem must have heard of him, but the chances that they had at least brief contact are very small. It is also known that Bheem was motivated to revolt by the legend of another revolutionary, Ramji Gond.
Are there any other movies about Bheem and Raju?
Both characters in the movie have been portrayed before.
In 1974, the movie “Alluri Seetarama Raju” was released.
In 1990, a work dedicated to Bheem was filmed, entitled “Komaram Bheem.”
Several “talented” artists may contend for the title of the worst-ever filmmaker. There is Uwe Boll, an expert in failed adaptations of video game franchises, Ed Wood, a 1960s classic, and a self-taught amateur Tommy Wiseau, to name just a few. However, in terms of completed works, there is no match for a Hollywood legend – Alan Smithee. He made more than 60 very bad movies in his career. Who is this genius of bad taste?
Enormously powerful forces clash while making a movie. Theoretically, the director has the dominant power on the set, however in practice, s/he is subjected to the studio and producers. Film studios frequently try to influence directors to force a completely adverse vision of the movie. The director tries to make a gloomy work, whereas the studio wants the movie to receive a rating making it suitable for all ages. The director seeks flamboyance, but the producer wants to economize. Needless to say, some capricious actors may ruin the movie production. The director does his (or her) best to reconcile their vision with the requirements of others, however, sometimes even the best efforts are futile and the completed work has nothing to do with the planned movie. This is when Alan Smithee comes into play.
Death of a Gunfighter
Before 1968 the regulations of the Directors Guild of America did not make it possible to use pseudonyms. The aim was to protect directors against producers, who could blackmail this way the subordinates they find problematic. “If you don’t make the movie the way we want it, you’re out of the credits.” The situation changed in 1969, when the movie Death of a Gunfighter, directed by Robert Totten, was made. While the movie was being shot, the actor Richard Widmark forced an engagement of a new director – Don Siegel. Siegel spent 10 days on the set, whereas Totten as many as 25. Siegel concluded, then, that Totten should be credited as the director, however, the latter declined. The two men lodged a complaint with the Directors Guild, and the members of the board dealing with the dispute decided the movie does not represent the vision of either of the directors. For this reason, the solution of the Guild was to credit the movie to a fictional director, Alan Smith. However, when it turned out several directors bear this name, it was changed to Smithee. This is how a scapegoat was created, who was to take the responsibility for the movies whose authors did not want to recognize as theirs.
Ironically, the movie received critical acclaim. Even Roger Ebert, a famous film critic, was enthusiastic. Death of a Gunfighter proved to be one of the best-rated movies of 1969. Following the precedent, several directors requested the Guild to remove their names from the credits. Alan Smithee became an industry standard soon. Directors of dozens of movies used the name.
Although Smithee was supposed to be an industry secret, it soon became an elephant in the room. “An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn” was made in 1997. The movie is about the director named Alan Smithee, who is so dissatisfied with the work that he decides to renounce it, however, the only solution the Guild offers him is his own name. The movie was directed by Arthur Hiller. What is really ironic is the fact that as a result of the studio’s pressure Hiller denounced the movie and the film about Alan Smithee was credited with the name of a fictional director. The confusion surrounding the film caused the name Smithee to become mainstream. For this reason, the Guild gave up its use. Since then the directors have been choosing a pseudonym to be used in the movie. The Supernova director, Walter Hill, chose to be Thomas Lee, and Accidental Love director, David O. Russell, left the product credited to Stephen Greene.
Thanks to good acting, a suspenseful story and great special effects John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is without a doubt one of the best horror films ever made. Here are some interesting facts from this cult masterpiece.
Who Goes There?
John Carpenter’s film is mistakenly considered a remake of the 1951 film The Thing from Another World. In fact, both films are adapted from the novel by John W. Campbell Jr. Who Goes There?, except that Carpenter’s film is a fairly faithful adaptation, while the 1951 film is only loosely based on source material. In the 1951 film, the alien is something like Frankenstein’s indestructible monster.
Tobe Hooper, the creator of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was originally slated to direct and co-write the film. Hooper’s version would’ve been drastically different. He wanted the film to be a horror comedy, loosely based on Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick. The director was fired, and replaced with Carpenter.
The ending of The Thing
The Thing is famous for its ambiguous ending. There have been many fan theories about it. One of them claims that Childs is the Thing. At one point, MacReady offers him a drink. Some people speculate that MacReady gave Childs a bottle of petrol, since he was using Molotov cocktails earlier. This would prove Childs was the alien because the creature wouldn’t know the difference between alcohol and petrol.
However, this is contradicted by the fact that Childs has an earring at the end of the film. The Thing cannot replicate inorganic objects like clothes or jewellery. On the other hand, Childs appears for the first time in different clothes, and we know that the Thing destroys the clothing of the victim, so…
At the end, there is a strong implication that at least one of the two men remains infected by the Thing. In the video game The Thing from 2002 it is revealed that both men were human. MacReady survives, and is picked up by a rescue team, while Childs freezes to death. The game is a direct sequel to the film, and it was endorsed by Carpenter.
There is also an alternate ending. MacReady is rescued, and his blood is tested. The result is negative – he is human. This version was only shown in the TV version. In addition, there are two other endings. In one of them, the alien morphs into a dog and escapes from the camp. In the other version, the film ends right after the alien is blown up. Childs’ fate is then unknown. After test screenings, extra scenes were added due to the negative reaction of the audience.
Alternate death scenes
Fuchs was supposed to be found nailed to a door with a spade. There were also several other alternative death scenes planned for various characters, but due to budget constraints, they were abandoned.
Special effects artist Rob Bottin was only 22 years old at the time of filming. Before “The Thing” he had worked on King Kong, Star Wars, and Piranha, but it was Carpenter’s film that proved to be the most challenging for him. Originally, Bottin was supposed to play the character of Palmer, but deadlines prevented him from doing so. Despite a staff of nearly 40 people at his disposal, Bottin still had to personally supervise all of their work, so he practically lived in the studio for over a year. Upon completion of the film, he had to check himself into a hospital for two weeks to recover from exhaustion.
When Rob Bottin became overwhelmed with the workload, he reached out for a help to another industry legend – Stan Winston. Winston created dog-thing mutation (kennel scene). Despite the input, he declined screen credit, as he didn’t want to take away from Rob Bottin’s work.
Fire on the set
In order to create realistic looking mutations, Bottin used literally everything. The ingredients of the monsters were: animal entrails, sex lubes, rubber tubes, wax, mayonnaise, and various chemicals. Unfortunately, some of the chemicals he used were highly flammable. This created a problem during the filming of Norris’ transformation scene. When MacReady used the flamethrower, the flames engulfed the entire room. The fire was extinguished, but the crew lost an entire shooting day.
Bottin’s monsters were so realistic that during the autopsy scene, some actors had a gag reflex. The only one who didn’t was Wilford Brimley (Blair). Before acting, he worked on a farm, so removing organs was a normal experience for him.
In the defibrillation scene, a real-life double amputee stand-in was used. Fake hands filled with blood were placed on the stumps, and a silicone mask was put on the double to imitate Dysart’s appearance. The mask goes unnoticed thanks to clever editing, camerawork and distraction – the audience is focused on the bloody stumps.
What happened to Rob Bottin?
After The Thing, Rob Bottin worked on many other famous films. We could see his works in films such as Robocop 1,2 and 3, Total Recall, Seven, Mission Impossible, and Fight Club. His last film was a romantic comedy, Serving Sara. In 2002, he retired from the industry. In 2014 Bottin unexpectedly appeared on the set of Game of Thrones. Bottin oversaw special effects in the episode “The Lion and the Rose.” Most likely, the job was a favour to someone rather than an attempt to make a living. Or he hated Joffrey so much that he decided to personally ensure that he died as realistically and brutally as possible.
The Thing Soundtrack
The soundtrack was composed by Ennio Morricone. He was “honoured” with a Golden Raspberry nomination for his work. Portions of the same soundtrack were later used in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, and ironically, Morricone won an Academy Award for the film.
Keith David (Childs) broke his arm in a car accident shortly before shooting began. Because of that, he wore a glove painted to match his skin colour.
Michael Jackson was a true pop music legend. Unfortunately, much of his musical accomplishments are now overshadowed by numerous scandals concerning his private life. One such scandal was the apparent change in his appearance, especially his skin color. The Jackson of the late 1970s and early 1980s was undoubtedly African-American, but by the 1990s, his skin color was extremely white and Jackson looked like a Caucasian person. What happened?
In fact, the King of Pop suffered from a condition called vitiligo (albinism). It causes depigmentation of the skin through the death of melanocytes. Simply put, white discolored patches appear on the body, looking like the result of a sunburn. In the case of a black person they are even more noticeable as white patches appear on black skin. Vitiligo is very often accompanied by another condition called lupus erythematosus, which the King of Pop also suffered from. Lupus also contributes to skin pigmentation problems. Jackson suffered from both conditions, but the lupus was in remission.
When white spots started appearing on Jackson’s body, the King of Pop did what many other lupus sufferers do – he started masking them with cosmetics. However, after a while, the spots became too numerous to be easily hidden with makeup, and Jackson became irritated with the time it took to apply cosmetics every day. Consequently, the King of Pop used a different strategy: under the care of a dermatologist, he began the process of whitening his skin. In this way, over the years, Jackson’s skin became unnaturally white.
Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo in 1984, but didn’t speak about his condition for the first time until a decade later. Jackson was highly irritated by the rumors about him and wanted to put them to rest. Nevertheless, the speculation continued. The numerous plastic surgeries that the King of Pop had to undergo to make up for his displeasure with his appearance further increased the speculation. An autopsy revealed that Jackson had his head (to mask baldness), eyebrows and mouth tattooed. Those around him suggest he had at least ten plastic surgeries (six of which were related to his nose) and numerous beautifying cosmetic procedures such as botox injections. As a result of his constant alterations and increasingly eccentric behavior, some have concluded that Jackson changed his skin color intentionally because he was ashamed of being black.
Jackson took his secret to the grave, so it’s impossible to be 100% sure of his motives, but all indications are that it was his way of fighting the disease, not an attempt to change his skin color because of shame and prejudice.