Murder and death in Hollywood is usually to be found in a franchised script in which those who are killed are of no importance. They are unimportant without back story.
This post is about how we view killing in Hollywood culture, how that references American society and then world history.
This article is a more detailed examination of a post on the Facebook Page JackAdamsAuthor.
Murder and Death in Hollywood
The United States of America promotes a culture of violence that is rarely questioned without the threat of a violent response. This cultural violence permeates everything American and nowhere is it more openly brazen than in Hollywood films.
The cinematic output from Hollywood is a scalding lava from a constantly erupting cultural volcano.
Every 24 hours, Americans and people around the world sit and watch this noxious outpouring in which human life has no value. We are all swept into a pyroclastic storm of killing and murder disguised as entertainment. The only difference between the gladiatorial arena of Pompeii and the screen within a multi-plex is that the actors do not die.
Within any ten minutes of most American films, tens of people can be murdered before your very eyes and you do not even notice it. You don’t see it because the film propels you at a fast pace with music controlling your emotions through killing after killing after killing.
You are being desensitized to human slaughter. Your emotions are being controlled and your thoughts are being limited as Vulcan hammers on his anvil to produce an endless supply of coins.
In a glorification of guns and weapons, the hero of the silver screen can walk through a hotel or bank or government building or even a street killing people as he/she goes.
We write off these human executions as the death of the bad guys.
That the hero is a mass murderer, a serial killer, does not even graze our consciousness. It is not meant to any more than we are meant to give a momentary thought to the concept of law and judicial justice.
There is no law in Hollywood films except the cop with the gun shooting and killing bad guys. There is no court process, no legal protection, no rule of law just a stream of violence.
In a culture of violence, the voices of objection have to be silenced. That is a recurring theme of human history. Silenced with extreme prejudice. Hollywood churns out the lava of that prejudice film after film after film.
So successful are they at this propaganda that they can create franchises of particular models.
We commonly think of a franchise as something like McDonald’s. A concept of fast food built on the principle of reproducing an identical product which can be replicated exactly in any outlet anywhere in the world time after time after time.
Well, this is exactly the definition of a Hollywood franchise.
The same story, the same outcome, the same actors, the same people doing the same thing time after time after time is exactly what a Hollywood franchise offers.
Fast cars and guns, always guns, the glorification of guns and with that worship of the killing tool has to come murder and killing.
Law and justice are nowhere to be seen because law and justice are illusions in American culture.
In America, the richest country in human history, poverty is rampant, illiteracy is rife and you can only afford to be ill if you are above a substantial income level.
The law is bought by wealth and justice is completely manacled to politics as is politics chained to the needs of a rich elite.
If you are poor you inevitably go to prison, if you are rich you can buy your way out of anything unless you are particularly stupid.
Guns and killing are the lingua franca of American culture and film directors can make themselves extremely wealthy with a steady, regular burping out of the volcano. There is no back story to the murdered. They are just extras on a set, they are just images passing through the mind of the audience.
In ten seconds a dozen people can be shot and killed and none of them is a father or mother, a son or a daughter, none of them is really human. We just accept the killing, we skip over the implications and we are sanitised in the face of violence.
The death of a human being is unimportant to us because we don’t see it, we are immersed in the story.
In this way, we are conditioned. When we see the news or witness a killing on the streets we can just move on. We are only looking at the story.
A wedding party on the hills of Afghanistan is struck by a drone launched missile and it reminds us of the Jason Bourne franchise.
A man in a car surrounded by his family including young children is blown up by another drone and it reminds us of Syriana.
Never mind because The Equaliser will protect us from the bad guys. He will shoot and kill them all without mercy, without judicial process or any criminal sanction against his heroic deeds.
Outside, in the real world, the man with the gun bullies, intimidates, injures and murders our communities whilst we hide our fears away in an incarceration of the soul.
Sometimes there comes an event that breaks the hypnotic spell of this dreadful prison of the mind. A real event that shatters the world of American culture.
George Floyd became a human being people remembered rather than a statistic because the world witnessed the brutality, not in seconds but in dreadful minutes. We all watched a man die in 9 long and merciless minutes. If he had just been shot do we believe the same response would have happened?
No, we need obvious brutality to stir our emotions into protest and it needs to be long and painful. One bullet doesn’t do it because we see that every day in the cinema, on television and in the news media.
Only last week, Hollywood itself had to face their reality with the killing of a photographic director on a film set.
Those who have made fortunes killing people in films had to come to terms with the real, authentic tragedy of an authentic human being killed by a gun. This was not what was meant to happen, this was not in the script, the real world tore away the illusion and the actors and film crew saw the absolute reality of an action they have portrayed thousands of times in their careers.
What was a loaded gun doing on a film set? Why would you want to take a loaded gun onto a film set in which actors are filming people being shot? In the American gun culture, such actions are not even seen as strange.
Despite claims that this was a “one in a trillion” event, there have been 43 fatal shootings on American film sets since 1990.
Will it change American gun culture?
No, no more than the death of a black man under the knee of a policeman will change American racism.
America is a culture built on violence and oppression. The whole of its history is about this approach to human life and society.
Sadly, this is not new no matter how extreme it has become in American society. The most successful activity and most consistent achievement of the history of homo sapiens is our ability to butcher each other. We are the only species on the planet to have only one predator; ourselves.
We are living in the so-called 21st century. As homo sapiens, we have been around for 300,000 years. We are told that America represents the pinnacle of our success at social organisation. The most technologically advanced nation ever on this planet.
Will Hollywood learn from the death of one of its own?
Will Hollywood reflect on the culture of violence it actively promotes?
Will audiences go and see Rust when it is released and shake a sorrowful head at the dedication of the film to Halyna Hutchins?
Murder and Death in Hollywood films only exist because we homo sapiens look at it as entertainment. We are unable to question and thereby it is we who sanction the violence which kills us.
Image of Hollywood set at start of this blog is by Joel Muniz
and its use, for which I am grateful, is through Unsplash.
Other images are sourced as follows:
Jason Bourne Drone
BBC web article
All images are used for educational purposes and constructed under fair use principles.