Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Horror! The rampant stupidity of American culture!

Americans, look away. I am about to trash your spotty teenaged male offspring...

Ok. This is an over-reaction mainly, to one of the many sins against humanity perpetrated by the American film industry. I briefly here considered trying to create a suitable acronym for them with 'DICKHEADS', but lost interest.

So, who is the main audience of this once mighty industry? That's right: the aforementioned spotty teenaged American male offspring. And they have been so for many years.

I think I will apply an acronym for spotty teenaged American male offspring though, to save some typing. Let's call them STAMO's.

STAMO's sustain Hollywood, and films are shaped in their image. One of the best places to glimpse the average STAMO mind is in user reviews at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Words like 'SUX' or 'AWESOME!!!' abound.

The focus of my present ire was when I came across a review for a 1972 horror-science fiction film called 'Night of the Lepus.' This film is based on a book by Australian author Russell Braddon called 'The Year of the Angry Rabbit', written in 1964. I read this book many years ago and it has always remained a favorite.

Briefly, it is a political black comedy, in which Australian scientists while trying to find a way to defeat a rabbit plague, accidentally discover a 'super-myxamatosis' drug which is ironically harmless to rabbits but lethal to humans. An attempt to kill the infected rabbits with an atomic bomb creates super mutant giant lethal rabbits, in an important subplot. Meanwhile the somewhat opportunistic Prime Minister of Australia, with a personality rather like Bob Hawke, successfully spooks the rest of the world with the Super-myx' virus and Australia becomes the world's controlling super power. To give the world's political leaders and military forces something to do, he rents out Central Australia as the world's battlefield, and makes a fortune. All is good for Oz, but the giant bunnies are on the move...

I just love this book. So, what happens, when Hollywood gets its claws onto it? With the STAMO's in mind, the concept of 'giant mutant killer bunnies' is retained AND THE ENTIRE PLOT IS THROWN AWAY, replaced with a dismally silly tale of Texas (not Australian) ranchers being attacked by giant mutant bunnies. And I have seen it and it reeks.

My ire? There are 95 user reviews of the film on IMDb. Only one knew the story of the book and was suitably horrified. The rest made Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd jokes. One insulted Russell Braddon for being on drugs when he wrote it. But of course, he DIDN'T write it. Some hollywood hack did that. And the credits proudly state the film is based on 'The Year of the Angry Rabbit' by Russell Braddon...


My hard cover edition of the book is a treasured possession. And I take some heart that this mostly forgotten and unfairly vilified book will cost you $179 if you get it from Amazon... :-)

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