Villain Spotlight: The Stalkers!!
Good day to you all in the dystopian wastes of the Geekdom. Today I have a special treat for you all, as this will not be just a standard Villain Spotlight. Today is a day of giving, and your boy Arthur is going to give it to you all ( take that however you like). A long time ago when I was a young lad, I stayed home from school feeling a bit “sick”, which for all intents and purposes means I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to be bothered by academics or bettering myself, so I decided to stay home and enjoy my free time. What a beautiful decision that was. Surfing through channels, I came across a supposed “Super” station, and I caught one of the greatest pieces of relatively modern cinema that I have ever seen. That movie…..The Running Man, or as I like to call it, Arnold kills everyone in the best possible fashion….Man. Based off of the Stephen King/Richard Bachman novel, the story follows a television show aptly named the Running Man, where convicted criminals are made to outrun and attempt to survive being hunted by “Stalkers”, men paid by the show to kill the contestants, in a bid to win their freedom. Naturally, nobody ever wins, however, that is because they have never met the man named Ben Richards, our titular hero played by Arnold Schwarzeneggar.
Ben is imprisoned for not following orders and firing upon civilians, including women and children, so he is framed and made to look like a demon. He escapes for a while, but is caught and brought to the show to be stalked by our villainous counterparts, led by TV show host Damon Killian, played fantastically by Richard Dawson. Dawson’s performance as Killian really made you want to break his fucking mouth apart, which really says something as normally you leave the killing to Arnold in these sorts of movies. Brazen and prick-ish, Dawson really makes the movie as you can see how much relish and enjoyment he is getting out of the whole thing. His love of the stalkers and dependence on them to finish the job really lends a nice touch to the whole dystopian setting in terms of feeling like…” this is it”, this is what society has come to. Having people killed in front of other people for entertainment….hmmmm sounds familiar , doesn’t it? Now that you have a general picture of the setting for the Running Man, and as much as it pains me to do so, this article is not about Arnold for the most part, it’s about the Stalkers. And it is my honor, and pleasure to introduce them to you. Strap in kids, this one is going to be a fun ride. (Side note, Arnold is known for amazing one liners in this movie, and if I am able to, I will include them with each corresponding stalker)
Behind curtain #1 we have……Sub-Zero!!
A mountain of a man, Sub-Zero has a hockey theme to his stalking, and prefers to take his kills on the ice. He brings Richards and his running mates to his rink from hell, and proceeds to terrorize them while skating around them and laughing, letting them know he is going to shred them into ribbons with his razor sharp hockey stick. Richards, not giving any more fucks that day, proceeds to choke the ever loving shit out of him with barbed wire, all while proclaiming that they all “ look at Sub-Zero! Now just plain Zero!!” in what could be the greatest line of shit talk ever spoken. One down, too many to go.
Behind Curtain #2 we have …….Buzzsaw! ( I know you all wish it was Bonesaw, but sadly, he is in heaven piledriving everything in sight)
Buzzsaw is our resident chainsaw wielding maniac, and uses it to absolute perfection. Riding a motorcycle and swinging the chainsaw like a flail, he attacks the runners in an attempt to make up for Sub-Zero’s failure. Almost taking out Richards, one of the other runners takes it upon themselves to save him, as they know he is their only chance at survival, and jumps in front of the chainsaw, critically injuring himself. Richards takes the opportunity to grab the chainsaw, and finish off our beloved stalker with his own chainsaw, adding slight insult to injury, he says “He had to split”. Nobody likes to be killed with their own weapons. It would be like Dr Doom being taken out by a Doombot…it just shouldn’t happen, but it does, and we are all the better for it. Buzzsaw was the first to take out one of the runners, and he sets the stage for the beautifully operatic performance of our next stalker. 2 Down! Lets keep this moving!
Behind Curtain #3…we have Dynamo! (my personal favorite)
Dynamo is exactly that…a dynamo. Using electricity and his beautiful opera singing voice to throw off and kill our runners, Dynamo is the “sophisticated” stalker. Being a larger man, Dynamo wears a suit that allows him to shoot electricity from himself, and it lights up nice and pretty….so you know where he is….at all times…in a dystopian future where everything is attempting to kill you on live television. Now you understand why he is my favorite. Not letting up a single bit. Dynamo is the second to record a kill when he manages to flash fry one of the runners that isn’t the girl or Arnold, until his reign is brought down by the girl in a most unsportsmanlike fashion. She messes with a sprinkler system and it winds up shorting out his suit and electrifying him. It’s a shame because I really enjoyed watching him sing opera while attempting to light everyone up in the most horrific of fashions. It was amazing. 3 Down! Chugging right along!
Behind Curtain #4 ….we have Fireball (fucking lame as fuck)
Fireball is our resident pyromaniac and uses a flamethrower to take care of his business. I wasn’t a huge fan of Fireball, mainly because I thought his name was lame, and I find a flamethrower to be brutal, but lightning much more brutal. Fireball is the “last” stalker to be sent in to take care of Richards and the girl, and is given the duty of do or die. Richards, still not giving any fucks about this, proceeds to immolate Fireball in fine fashion after cutting his fuel line and throwing a flare into him. This proceeds to warm him up a bit…to about a few thousand degrees, and Fireball is turned into a pile of ash. 4 Down! But what happens now?
Coming out of retirement for your pleasure and entertainment, we have our longest reigning champion and America’s soldier, Captain Freedom!
Captain Freedom was the most famous stalker of them all, is considered to be nearly untouchable in terms of his performances on the show, and is played by fucking Jessie”The Body” Ventura. Originally refusing to join because he was retired, Freedom was brought in as a last resort, mainly because there was nobody else. Freedom uses mainly his brute strength and killer instinct, rather than relying on a theme like the other stalkers. However, Richards, being the sly dog he is, kills Freedom, but Killian has the tape doctored to make it seem that Freedom actually won and killed Richards. Although Richards is still alive and coming for Killian. Which leads us to our final kill of this movie….
“Killian!!!!! But I hope you leave enough room for my fist because I am going to ram in your stomach and break your goddamn spine!!” Unmatched, this is the greatest line ever uttered in any movie. I don’t even care what anyone else has to bring to the table in terms of argument, this is the definitive line for Arnold’s career. It gives me chills just thinking about it. Richards takes out or wonderful host and rockets him into a wall in the chamber/roller coaster car that sends all contestants to the playing field. Talk about getting what’s coming to you!
Well there you have it geeks! Our definitive list of stalkers from the cinematic masterpiece that is The Running Man. I honestly thank Odin often for giving me the foresight to stay home that day and catch this modern marvel on television. A slight piece of Arthur trivia for you as well, this is the actual First DVD I had ever purchased, back when they were close to $40 a piece. Everyone called me dumb for spending that kind of money on this movie. They laughed at my purchase….I laughed at their funerals. Just joking. But really, this movie is great and I highly recommend picking it up or checking it out on tv or Netflix if available. You won’t be disappointed!
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