Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Old 11-01-10, 11:43 AM
  #1  
Moderator
Thread Starter
 
Groucho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 70,875
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Sorry for the clumsy subject-header, but I wasn't sure how to word it.

This thread is a spin-off from The Waking Dead threads, and it concerns characters in movies who are completely unaware of the phenomenon that they are experiencing.

This is most prevalent in zombie movies, where typically NOBODY in the film has ever heard of a zombie, and you have the prerequisite scenes where they have to learn to shoot them in the head, that one bite is enough for infection, etc. It's pretty much a cliché at this point.

Compare to vampire movies, where everybody knows what a vampire is. However, the cliché here is the scene where somebody (usually the lead vampire) explains where the "rules" differ from typical vampire lore (for example, somebody says "How can you be a vampire -- I can see your reflection in a mirror!"). This is almost always followed by a variation of a line like "Don't believe everything you see in movies ha ha".

What other genres are dependent on the characters being completely ignorant of pop culture?
Old 11-01-10, 11:52 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
islandclaws's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Behind the Orange Curtain
Posts: 20,076
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Slasher flicks, although "Scream" did a good job of turning your notion on its head.
Old 11-01-10, 11:54 AM
  #3  
Moderator
Thread Starter
 
Groucho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 70,875
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Originally Posted by KillerCannibal View Post
Slasher flicks, although "Scream" did a good job of turning your notion on its head.
I always laugh at the scenes in the Friday the 13th movie where somebody laughs off Jason. "That's just a myth!" In reality, the massacres would have made national headlines.
Old 11-01-10, 11:55 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Legend
 
islandclaws's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Behind the Orange Curtain
Posts: 20,076
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
I always laugh at the scenes in the Friday the 13th movie where somebody laughs off Jason. "That's just a myth!" In reality, the massacres would have made national headlines.
Exactly. The only one that got it right was Jason Goes to Hell. Unfortunately, it sucked.
Old 11-01-10, 11:55 AM
  #5  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Augusta, GA USA
Posts: 2,131
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Avatar. The creatures had no idea they were CGI.
Old 11-01-10, 12:30 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 11,750
Received 9 Likes on 8 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

The 1950s equivalent would be an alien invasion/UFO movie where no one had heard of flying saucers. However, since those movies were inspired by the phenomenon of UFOs then in the headlines, the people writing those movies generally had their characters being generally aware of flying saucers and "little green men." So I can't think of an actual example of such a film where no one has heard of the phenomenon before.
Old 11-01-10, 12:57 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 440
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Donnie Darko and giant bunnies. It's as if Harvey never even happened.
Old 11-01-10, 01:16 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 4,771
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

"Men Who Stare at Goats" has a partial version of what you are describing. While the characters are aware of Jedi as a pop culture concept, the characters are conveniently unaware of the fact Ewan McGregor played one in the prequel trilogy.

I know it's a "wink, wink" joke to the audience, but the joke only works if the characters are ignorant of certain pop culture facts.
Old 11-01-10, 01:19 PM
  #9  
Moderator
Thread Starter
 
Groucho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 70,875
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
The 1950s equivalent would be an alien invasion/UFO movie where no one had heard of flying saucers. However, since those movies were inspired by the phenomenon of UFOs then in the headlines, the people writing those movies generally had their characters being generally aware of flying saucers and "little green men." So I can't think of an actual example of such a film where no one has heard of the phenomenon before.
I've seen a few of those movies (typically of the "B" variety), where people are genuinely astounded by the events, and a "scientist" character (usually smoking a pipe) explains the whole concept of interplanetary travel to the dumbfounded heroes (usually a teenaged couple).
Old 11-01-10, 01:20 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Numanoid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Down in 'The Park'
Posts: 27,882
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Mob movies. Every time some car screeches to a halt in front of another car, the guys in the now-pinned-in car get all irate like the new car is just some jerkoff driver that can't control their vehicle. Meanwhile, anyone who's ever seen a mob movie, let alone actually LIVES that lifestyle, knows that a hit is about to go down. Yet these guys are just yelling and flipping the bird rather than ducking or running.
Old 11-01-10, 01:33 PM
  #11  
Moderator
Thread Starter
 
Groucho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 70,875
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

How about movies where our hero has unearthed some giant government conspiracy. In all of these movies, the hero has a "friend" who is a government official. The hero always assumes that the friend is a good guy, and the friend always urges the hero to meet him somewhere, and it's always a trap.
Old 11-01-10, 01:46 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,181
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

In Watchmen, according to writer Alan Moore, superhero comics never existed, so the concept of the superhero was new to that universe when Doctor Manhattan came into existence. I don't include the unpowered mystery men since the pulp adventurers such as The Shadow may have been in pop culture there before the appearance of Nite Owl I.
Old 11-01-10, 02:05 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
Giantrobo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: South Bay
Posts: 57,609
Received 7 Likes on 5 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Japanese Monster Movies. You would think by the 30th G-attack they'd have buildings and technology built to withstand these incursions. Yet, they still act as if it's the 1st time being attacked and they barely know what to do.
Old 11-01-10, 02:43 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 11,750
Received 9 Likes on 8 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Originally Posted by Giantrobo View Post
Japanese Monster Movies. You would think by the 30th G-attack they'd have buildings and technology built to withstand these incursions. Yet, they still act as if it's the 1st time being attacked and they barely know what to do.
Good point, esp. about the '60s G movies, but in at least one of the series entries from either the 1990s or 2000s, the government had a whole anti-Godzilla agency established just to combat Godzilla attacks. Or maybe it was set up simply to deal with Godzilla, I'm not sure which. I know that the six Heisei-era G movies (1989-1995) all had a recurring character named Miki Saegusa (played by Megumi Odaka) who was a psychic capable of understanding G, and so she was always called in for each new G appearance.
Old 11-01-10, 02:54 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Somewhere between Heaven and Hell
Posts: 30,659
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Yeah, I thought after a while.. they created a special JDF task force just to deal with Godzilla (and the various monsters) just to herd them away.
Old 11-01-10, 03:21 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Navinabob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Bay Area, California
Posts: 8,941
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

I think in most vampire movies or shows there is an element of them hiding in plain sight spreading disinformation due to having been around so long.
Old 11-01-10, 03:34 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
Giantrobo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: South Bay
Posts: 57,609
Received 7 Likes on 5 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
Good point, esp. about the '60s G movies, but in at least one of the series entries from either the 1990s or 2000s, the government had a whole anti-Godzilla agency established just to combat Godzilla attacks. Or maybe it was set up simply to deal with Godzilla, I'm not sure which. I know that the six Heisei-era G movies (1989-1995) all had a recurring character named Miki Saegusa (played by Megumi Odaka) who was a psychic capable of understanding G, and so she was always called in for each new G appearance.

Originally Posted by devilshalo View Post
Yeah, I thought after a while.. they created a special JDF task force just to deal with Godzilla (and the various monsters) just to herd them away.

Yeah but they flip back and forth depending on the film series.
Old 11-01-10, 03:38 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,258
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...GenreBlindness
Old 11-01-10, 03:49 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
covenant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 4,926
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
The 1950s equivalent....
Old 11-01-10, 03:49 PM
  #20  
Moderator
Thread Starter
 
Groucho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 70,875
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Awesome link, and a great term for it "Genre Blindness".
Old 11-01-10, 04:07 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Dr Mabuse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: 75 clicks above the Do Lung bridge...
Posts: 18,950
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Nice.
Old 11-01-10, 04:59 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,638
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
I've seen a few of those movies (typically of the "B" variety), where people are genuinely astounded by the events, and a "scientist" character (usually smoking a pipe) explains the whole concept of interplanetary travel to the dumbfounded heroes (usually a teenaged couple).
Or everything about a particular giant insect has to be explained as if they have no knowledge of the regular variety.

On a side note. When somebody suspects a vampire, werewolf, etc. is at large no one believes them. If someone you really trusted came to you with the story of a vampire on the loose would you dismiss it or go with it.
Old 11-01-10, 05:07 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Pa
Posts: 11,857
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
I always laugh at the scenes in the Friday the 13th movie where somebody laughs off Jason. "That's just a myth!" In reality, the massacres would have made national headlines.
I still wonder how someone got that awesome Jason picture shown in the newspaper during F13 part 4.
Old 11-01-10, 05:44 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Des Plaines, IL
Posts: 6,726
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

I just spent a good part of my afternoon on that page. Thanks!
Old 11-01-10, 06:27 PM
  #25  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 11,750
Received 9 Likes on 8 Posts
Re: Movies where the characters are unaware of pop culture concepts (zombies, etc)

Originally Posted by devilshalo View Post
Yeah, I thought after a while.. they created a special JDF task force just to deal with Godzilla (and the various monsters) just to herd them away.
And wasn't Monster Island established (late '60s, early '70s) just to keep all the monsters in one place and prevent further rampages? And then aliens came and programmed the monsters to rampage again. Isn't that what happened in DESTROY ALL MONSTERS?

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.