Friday, September 14, 2012

Pop Culture Mashup: Dystopia

What if Winnie The Pooh ended up living above the butchers shop in Delicatessen or shared an apartment with Charlton Heston in Soylent Green?

What if The Shopaholic found herself in Dark City?

Ever wondered what Holden Caulfield would do if he found himself transported to the island in Battle Royale?

Would Philip Marlowe investigate the strange disapearance of humans whilst starting an affair with Zira the only dame he could get his hands on if he crash landed on Planet of the Apes?

These kinds of questions have been puzzling me so I thought I'd investigate further, here, in my first Pop Culture Mashup.

The rules are simple, five characters taken from popular culture and implanted in to one of five dystopian futures. First let's introduce you to our five guinea pigs:

Travis Bickle

A former marine with an honorary discharge and not much education; an insomniac, fantasist and socially inept Bickle is a man who is horrified by the degenerate lifestyle on offer in New York in the 1970s and decides to cleanse the city of its filth. At his core he seems to be a good man in need of a strong guiding arm at all times, otherwise he's prone to wild behaviour and taking matters in to his own hands and believing in his own fantastic vision of himself.

James Bond

Secret agent, lover of fast cars, fine food and beautiful women. Writing his own code of behaviour, using coercion at the point of a gun, taking women when he pleases and killing in interesting ways, all in the name of and for the good of your country. Bond is a complex character who kills when he needs to but prefers not to, has suffered heartbreak in the past but consumes women like an addiction. He is full of confidence and regularly does as he pleases regardless of orders.

Philip Marlowe

Underneath the wisecracking, hard drinking, tough private eye exterior, Marlowe is quietly contemplative and philosophical and enjoys chess and poetry. While he is not afraid to risk physical harm, he does not dish out violence merely to settle scores. Morally upright, he is not fooled by the genre's usual femmes fatales. He is a heavy smoker and a consumer of copious amounts of bourbon.

Robin Hood

A heroic outlaw who robs from the rich and gives to the poor. A skilled archer and swordsman he generally relies on his group of merry men to back him up. A former member of the aristocracy who had his land and fortune stolen from him he found solace in the poorest of local folk and takes his vengeance out on those who take advantage of their place in society for selfish reasons.

Winnie The Pooh

A bear of very little brain, but capable of being both astute and helpful in a pinch. Definitely a gourmand, coveting honey especially, innocent of motive and apparently incorruptible. Trusts in his instincts rather than his intelligence, though also makes great efforts to apply his limited mental capacities.

Next we take a look at five dystopias:

Demolition Man

Following a massive earthquake in 2010 that destroyed much of Los Angeles, it merged with San Diego to form a planned city called San Angeles in which all crime has seemingly been eliminated from society. Referencing both Brave New World and 1984 the world of Demolition Man features an all powerful mayor/president/monarch in a seemingly pacifist-utopia that monitors its citizens' every action, but below ground a renegade band of anarchists plot a way to destroy the oppresive regime so they can run around in their underwear if they want to.

Fahrenheit 451

A totalitarian state that burns books as a way to control the minds of its people. Populated by a hedonistic citizenry who are taught the value of technology over nature and discouraged from asking "why," small groups of rebels memorise novels to keep the stories alive.


Post-apocalypse France, meat is scarce, employment scarcer still. People survive in lonely apartment buildings, some of them turning to canibalism thanks to the skills of a business savvy butcher. An underground vegetarian resistance movement are prepared to fight to the death in an attempt to educate and free France from the ideologically unsound idea of eating meat.


A near future built on the principle of creating genetically perfect human beings. Those who were born the natural way find themselves designated second class citizens who can never achieve anything above working for the janitorial services industry. A black market exists to provide perfect DNA samples for those born without it, enabling them to follow their dreams.

Children of Men

The near future, all women have become infertile, children are no longer being born, the government is controlled by the military, immigration laws are very strict. An illegal African immigrant arrives in the UK carrying the first child to be conceived in 18 years. Different millitant and scientific factions fight over the best way to move the human race forward.

And now we apply the particle accelerator for the fun part.

Winnie the Pooh might be perfect as a Sheriff in an Old West town but in the planned community of San Angeles he finds himself as the personal assistant to the famed Dr Raymond Cocteau, creator of this pacifist-utopia. One day whilst looking for a new pot of honey in the office of the great man, the fuzzy little tubby old bear stumbles across the diabolical plans to destroy the starving renegade anarchists, and in one foul act wipe out all dissent against Cocteau's leadership. His conscience won't allow him to assist in this matter and seeks help from Lenina Huxley in fighting back. Through cunning and heart the naive pairing manage to stop the Cocteau Plan from coming to fruition and in doing so installs Pooh Bear as the new leader of the city. His first decree providing free honey for all the resistance fighters who now come out of hiding in support of his leadership.

Recruited out of the Marines Travis Bickle is a night watchman in the Fire Brigade. Spending his nights driving around on the hunt for illicit book readers he slowly comes to realise that books are not bad. After setting an underground book group on fire whilst they discuss the impact of Oprah Winfrey on the history of the book, he starts to notice the decadant filth cavorting on the streets every night, encouraging him to kill and burn. With the help of young renegade high school teacher Clarisse he plots the assasination of the president and the reinstatement of the printing press.

People are disappearing every day and nobody seems to care. Nobody that is, until the beautiful Julie walks in to the office of Philip Marlowe and begs for his help in locating her little brother, missing for the past week. The kind of dame a man can't refuse, Marlowe finds himself walking the streets of post-apocalypse Paris asking questions that shouldn't be asked. Following a trail of breadcrumbs he finds himself at the butcher shop owned by Clapet and sucked in to a hellish plot to fill the bellies of the hungry masses.

Robin Hood, a naturally born son to the billionaire couple Ethel and Arthur Hood finds himself ostracised as DNA profiling comes in to force in favour of laboratory created perfect specimens, causing even the children of the rich to become persona non grata in polite society. Branded as In-Valid he joins a group of fellow outcasts in fighting back against the faceless media outlets who promote this unwholesome status quo; in the process uncovering an evil disabled genius, Norman Sheriff, who hates himself so much he wants to cleanse the Earth of imperfection.

With all the women of the world seemingly infertile, the British Secret Service refocus their activities on securing their borders against illegal immigrants, the locating of a fertile female to reestablish Britain as a super power and the destruction of internal terrorist cells intent on destroying the military controlled government. Bond is on a one man mission to create his own progeny and spends each night with a new beautiful woman. His legacy is assured however when former colleague Julian Taylor brings him the fertile nubian princess, Kee, all he has to do is get her to the government safe house, and his bedroom, before the Russians can capture her.


  1. Excellent post, Toby! I'd love to see these mashup films, but the titles are even better than the synopses. After all, who doesn't want to see Robin Hood and the In-Valids?

    Also, it strikes me that John McClane in something like Minority Report would be an interesting mashup.

  2. John McClane would certainly put a different spin on things. Chasing down Tom Cruise all Yippee Kiy-ah and shit. Would it take its cue from the Fast & Furious franchise and call itself Die 5 or Die & Hard maybe?

    1. Haha. Something like that. I was actually thinking of McClane in the John Anderton role, instead of Danny Witwer.

  3. Dude, holy shit. I don't even know where to start here. This post is ingenious. The Bickle stuff was priceless.

    Seriously great work.