Killing people for sport used to be one of our cultures most hallowed touchpoints. From short stories to novels to about 30 different episodes of Star Trek, the premise has been used in dozens of different forms. Which is great, when it's fiction. Normal healthy people like comedy writers have long learned to enjoy fiction as a release when we have those "I wonder what killing some dudes with a crossbow feels like" moments. So why haven't the Russians? It occurred to me that Russians haven't had nearly the same exposure to Western pop culture that I have, me having been born in a video store and raised by a tape of recorded
Death Race 2000 People hunted for sport: Pedestrians The low down: America is a dystopic wasteland in the quaintly old-fashioned futuristic year of 2000. A fascist government led by Mister President (that is his name), keeps the people entertained by staging bloody gladiatorial style contests. The most notable of these contests is the Transcontinental Road Race, where competitors get bonus points for running down innocent pedestrians while driving themed automobiles.
The Running Man People hunted for sport: Criminals The low down: Another one set in a dystopic future, The Running Man focuses on a popular game show where contestants are expected to run and die. Convicted of a crime he didn't
Hard Target People hunted for sport: Homeless people The low down: Jean Claude Van Damme is a homeless man who, like all homeless men, has a body of banded steel and a magnificent mane of hair. After agreeing to help a female who is probably a reporter, he begins investigating a group of wealthy businessmen who hunt homeless people for sport. Why it's awesome: Those glorious locks of hair for one. This was also Van Damme at his peak, but before he started playing two characters in the same movie--which math tells us should be twice as good, but somehow isn't.
Gymkata People hunted for sport: Gymnasts The low down: An Olympic gymnast is asked by the American government to participate in a deadly competition in the possibly fictional country of Parmistan. The competition, creatively called "The Game," is a sort of endurance race that features obstacles like ninjas and pitchforks. Our hero uses his twin skills of gymnastics and karate to win the game and kill some asshole who'd been hassling him.
The Man with the Golden Gun People hunted for sport: British Secret Agents The low down: Francisco Scaramanga is an assassin with an extra nipple and a taste for bloodsport. At multiple times during the film he hunts people on the grounds of his island in the South China Sea with the help of his pet midget.
Predator People hunted for sport: Wise talking soldiers The low down: An alien hunter lands on Earth and begins hunting the Earth's most powerful warriors, including Conan the Barbarian and Apollo Creed. Why it's awesome: Because it's fucking Predator, that's why. Broken down into its discrete elements, it's got gunplay, a ragtag group of soldiers, an alien and homemade booby traps. This movie won 28 Academy Awards in the imaginary land where I go when I sleep. __
Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.
How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.
It's easy to work the system and win these awards even if you don't deserve them.