‘Fallout’ Is Secretly a Great Splatstick Film

Ash from Evil Dead would give it two thumbs up — or at least he would if not for the chainsaw
‘Fallout’ Is Secretly a Great Splatstick Film

Going into Amazons new Fallout series, I was fully prepared for it to be a thorough attempt at a Prestige Video Game Show. Something chasing The Last of Us commercial and critical success. Which is to say, an intolerably beige show about survivors guilt and trauma with a capital T. 

To be clear, I loved The Last of Us, but I wasnt sure I could take some guy in a suit of armor that looked straight out of Warhammer 40,000 tossing and turning while he had a dream about his dead wife or whatever. What I didnt expect was for the first episode to be a hilariously over-the-top gorefest straight out of James Gunns pre-Marvel playbook. Right around the point where a lady with a fork in her eye was rattling off machine gun fire like a Restaurant Nightmares version of Rambo, I realized I was in for something different, and better, than I expected.

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I guess its probably worse to take it out?

Last of Us is a horror game. Fallout is not. Sure, its got survival elements and skeletons in creepy underground bunkers, but I dont think theres anybody who was ever scared to play it with the lights off. So its funny that Fallout is the one that ended up feeling like it could easily be half of a grindhouse double-feature. It charges right past even your Saving Private Ryan-style stomach entrails and into the kind of kills Michael Myers would tip his mask to. 

Showing an accurate estimation of what someones face would look like after having a glass blender smashed into it? That is an intentional choice and a flag-plant. Even most violent action movies still pretend that would result in not much more than a cloud of sugar-glass and a headache instead of the absolute waterworks thick jagged glass on a visage would actually create.

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Anyone can cover an actor in blood. Making sure theres a human-shaped outline in the blood behind him on the wall? That's dedication to gorecraft.

As long as you dont have a weak stomach, it works absolutely perfectly. Partly because it taps into a part of the video-game experience that people tend to shy away from in pursuit of proving these are Real Stories: the outlandishly over-the-top violence. 

Take to YouTube and look up gameplay clips and youre going to be treated to someone ragdolling into the side of a panel truck, or someone methodically exploding every chicken on some virtual farm. Skate 3's “Hall of Meat” mode is legendary, and Im shocked at how much Saturday afternoon nostalgia watching a 3D-modeled skateboarders spine crunch to the sound of Q. Lazarus' “Goodbye Horses” awakens in me. Even in family-friendly Nintendo fare like Zelda, theres entire meme templates built around Link getting absolutely bodied

Combine that with the fact that probably the second best known attribute of games by Bethesda Software, outside of their massive worlds, is their random, catastrophic glitches, and it feels like theyve not only done right in honoring the game, but also honoring some of its secondary, user-fueled content. Its a good instinct, since, in the minds of many, the clips of a Deathclaw making pink mist out of a settler mid-sentence is part of the Fallout world in their own way

Of course, you dont need to get nearly that intellectual about it to enjoy the absurdity of Kyle MacLachlan drowning a man in a barrel of pickles.

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You know it smells crazy in there.

One things for sure, though: If we ever get a live-action version of Splatterhouse, we know exactly who to call.


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