The story concerns a quiet insurance agent and Vietnam War veteran named Bobby Thompson (Tim O’Kelly) who murders his young wife, his mother and a grocery delivery boy at home and then initiates an afternoon shooting rampage from atop a Los Angeles area oil refinery. Several motorists and passengers are wounded or killed on the nearby freeway. When the police respond and start to close in on him he flees and resumes his shootings at a Reseda drive-in theater where an aging horror film icon, Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff) is making a final promotional appearance before retirement. Orlok slaps the murderer into submission and the police arrive and affect an arrest. Thompson wonders aloud about the exact number of victims.
Peeping Tom is a 1960 British thriller film directed by Michael Powell and written by the World War II cryptographer and polymath Leo Marks. The title derives from the slang expression ‘peeping Tom’ describing a voyeur. The film revolves around a serial killer who murders women while using a portable movie camera to record their dying expressions of terror.
The film’s controversial subject and the extremely harsh reception by critics effectively destroyed Powell’s career as a director in the United Kingdom. However, it attracted a cult following, and in later years, it has been re-evaluated and is now considered a masterpiece.
Shock Corridor is a 1963 film, directed and written by Samuel Fuller. The film tells the story of a journalist who gets himself committed to a mental hospital in order to track an unsolved murder.
Peter Breck plays journalist Johnny Barrett, who thinks the quickest way to a Pulitzer Prize is to uncover the facts behind a murder at a mental hospital. So, he pretends to go insane and is locked up in the institution. While pursuing his investigation, he is sidetracked by the behavior of his fellow inmates. The three witnesses to the murder have all become insane owing to the stress of confronting American bigotry and war. After a hospital riot, Barrett is straitjacketed and subjected to shock treatment. Barrett begins imagining that his exotic-dancer girlfriend (Constance Towers) is his sister, and experiences many other symptoms of mental breakdown. He learns the identity of the killer, and writes his story, but the damage to his mind is irreparable, and he never leaves the hospital.
HAL 9000 is a character in Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction Space Odyssey saga. The primary antagonist in 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) is an artificial intelligence that controls the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft and interacts with the ship’s astronaut crew. Being a computer, HAL has no distinct physical form, though is visually represented as a red television-camera eye located on equipment panels throughout the ship. HAL is voiced by Douglas Rain in the two film adaptations of the Space Odyssey saga, and speaks in a soft, calm voice and a conversational manner, in contrast to the crewmen, David Bowman and Frank Poole, who speak tersely and with little emotional inflection. HAL became operational on 12 January 1992, at the HAL Laboratories in Urbana, Illinois, as production number 3; in the film 2001 the activation year was 1992, and 1991 in earlier screenplays. In addition to maintaining the Discovery One spacecraft systems during the interplanetary mission to Jupiter, HAL is capable of speech, speech recognition, facial recognition, natural language processing, lip reading, art appreciation, interpreting and reproducing emotional behaviours, reasoning, and playing chess.
Let Him Have It, is a 1991 British film, which was based on the true story of the case against Derek Bentley, who was hanged for murder under controversial circumstances on 28 January 1953. While Bentley did not directly play a role in the murder of PC Sidney Miles, he received the greater punishment than the gunman (who was below the age of 18). It stars Christopher Eccleston as Bentley, with Paul Reynolds, Tom Courtenay and Tom Bell and was directed by Peter Medak.
The title of the film is taken from Bentley’s alleged cry of “Let him have it, Chris!” shortly before Christopher Craig shot and wounded the first policeman on the scene. Crown prosecutors suggested that Bentley meant “Go ahead and shoot him,” whilst Frank Cassells for the defence argued that he meant “Give him the gun” (and thus, surrender).
Craig was sentenced to gaol “at Her Majesty’s pleasure”, and spent ten years there. He has been a law abiding citizen ever since.
Derek Bentley’s father bought an expensive bottle of wine in 1958 to celebrate their victory should Derek be proved innocent. However, Bentley’s parents never got to drink it. His father William Bentley died on 12 July 1974 and his mother died on 10 October 1976.
The film’s end titles state that Bentley’s sister, Iris, was still fighting for his pardon, however seven years after the film was made and after numerous unsuccessful campaigns to get Derek Bentley a full pardon, his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal on 30 July 1998. However, Bentley’s sister had also died by this point.
The Dice Man is a novel published in 1971 by George Cockcroft under the pen name Luke Rhinehart and tells the story of a psychiatrist who begins making life decisions based on the casting of dice. Cockcroft wrote the book based on his own experiences of using dice to make decisions while studying psychology. The novel is noted for its subversivity, anti-psychiatry sentiments and for reflecting moods of the early 1970s. Due to its subversive nature and chapters concerned with controversial issues such as rape, murder and sexual experimentation, it was banned in several countries. Upon its initial publication, the cover bore the confident subheader, “Few novels can change your life. This one will” and quickly became a modern cult classic.
The book went through a number of republishings – in the United States it acquired the even more confident subheader “This book will change your life”, in spite of its being a highly edited version of the original. It was initially less successful than in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.
The themes of the book are continued in two other novels, The Search for the Dice Man and Adventures of Wim and a companion title, The Book of the Die.
A Clockwork Orange is a 1962 dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess. A satire portraying a future and dystopian Western society with (based on contemporary trends) a culture of extreme youth rebellion and violence: it explores the violent nature of humans, human free will to choose between good or evil, and the desolation of free will as a solution to evil. Teenage gangs, enraged by the docile, clockwork society that they find themselves living in, are constantly on the rampage. The main character, Alex, is a fifteen year old boy who revels in Beethoven as much as he loves his nightly episodes of violence and rape. Burgess experiments with language, writing in a Russian-influenced argot called “Nadsat” used by the younger characters and the anti-hero in his first-person narration. According to Burgess, the novel was a jeu d’esprit written in just three weeks. He bemoaned the fact that the book had been taken as the source material for a 1971 film that was perceived to glorify sex and violence.
The brutality and gang violence of A Clockwork Orange was inspired by a terrible incident during a blackout in London at the height of the Second World War, where Burgess’ pregnant wife Lynne (Llewela Jones), was assaulted, raped and robbed by a group of American soldiers. Subsequently she suffered a miscarriage and the couple lost their first child.
The book was written as a form of catharsis and a severe warning about a future where the state controls the way we think, and everyone is turned into good, little citizens . . . without the power of choice.
I also know that the shock of Annabel’s death consolidated the frustration of that nightmare summer, made of it a permanent obstacle to any further romance throughout the cold years of my youth. The spiritual and the physical had been blended in us with a perfection that must remain incomprehensible to the matter-of-fact, crude, standard-brained youngsters of today. Long after her death I felt her thoughts floating through mine. Long before we met we had had the same dreams. We compared notes. We found strange affinities. The same June of the same year (1919) a stray canary had fluttered into her house and mine, in two widely separated countries. Oh, Lolita, had you loved me thus!
I have reserved for the conclusion of my “Annabel” phase the account of our unsuccessful first tryst. One night, she managed to deceive the vicious vigilance of her family. In a nervous and slender-leaved mimosa grove at the back of their villa we found a perch on the ruins of a low stone wall. Through the darkness and the tender trees we could see the arabesques of lighted windows which, touched up by the colored inks of sensitive memory, appear to me now like playing cards–presumably because a bridge game was keeping the enemy busy. She trembled and twitched as I kissed the corner of her parted lips and the hot lobe of her ear. A cluster of stars palely glowed above us, between the silhouettes of long thin leaves; that vibrant sky seemed as naked as she was under her light frock. I saw her face in the sky, strangely distinct, as if it emitted a faint radiance of its own. Her legs, her lovely live legs, were not too close together, and when my hand located what it sought, a dreamy and eerie expression, half-pleasure, half-pain, came over those childish features. She sat a little higher than I, and whenever in her solitary ecstasy she was led to kiss me, her head would bend with a sleepy, soft, drooping movement that was almost woeful, and her bare knees caught and compressed my wrist, and slackened again; and her quivering mouth, distorted by the acridity of some mysterious potion, with a sibilant intake of breath came near to my face. She would try to relieve the pain of love by first roughly rubbing her dry lips against mine; then my darling would draw away with a nervous toss of her hair, and then again come darkly near and let me feed on her open mouth, while with a generosity that was ready to offer her everything, my heart, my throat, my entrails, I gave her to hold in her awkward fist the scepter of my passion.
…we are present at the moment before or after the body twitches it’s last spasm and not when the death rattle is heard. However, once we cease to be seduced by the beauty of the designed formal space, the civilized moral consciousness asserts itself to challenge privileging the esthetic reaction. Slowly, as we begin to understand what we are looking at, we must question whether the unseen action is any less brutal and barbaric because we perceive its instruments with out witnessing it actually taking place.
Some great moral works of art, such as Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist drama Les mains sales, André Cayatte’s film Nous sommes tous des assassins or Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., in which viewers cannot read the list of the war dead without seeing their own faces mirrored among the names of casualties, are based on forcing our acknowledgment of participation in human tragedy.