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Why it’s fucked up: George Orwell’s popular novel, on which the film of the same title is based, is the original Big Brother. Citizens of the dystopian Oceania are brainwashed by a totalitarian government where history is rewritten, the meanings of words are redefined, and individualism is shunned in favor of being a walking, talking ant.
Chance of survival: Good, if you’re willing to give up literature, freedom, and your identity. If not, they’ve got the Thought Police and the Ministry of Love–factions hell-bent on torturing rebels in the notorious Room 101; a chamber designed around the victims personal phobias.
Why it’s fucked up: Part 1984, part Brave New World, and part Matrix, Equilibrium tells the story of John Preston (Christian Bale), a warrior-priest (cool term for law enforcer) in a world where artistic expression and emotions are suppressed with shoot-em-up drugs, heroin style! Preston misses a dose and soon finds that art and love are a few brushstroke’s better than numbing ignorance.
Chance of survival: Stop taking your meds and pretend to be a stoic, emotionless, could-care-less-about-art bag of bones. See, that shouldn’t be so hard, you’ve probably met two out of the three qualifications.
Why it’s fucked up: This neo-noir sci-fi thriller, set in 2054, is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. It poses the question: How can you be guilty of something you haven’t even done yet? In 2054, there's a government project called that PreCrime Unit that has psychics in its employ. What they do is to stop the crime before it even takes place, that to just think about a crime becomes a crime in itself. When PreCrime Unit Head John Anderton (Tom Cruise) finds a flaw in the system, the higher powers turn on him, and make him the victim of an elaborate cat-and-mouse game.
Chance of survival: If you’re a fortuneteller then you may be able to avert committing any criminal offenses. Stay away from shady business–unless you want to be locked up for a crime you have yet to commit.
A Clockwork Orange
Why it’s fucked up: Director Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ disturbing novella is a nauseating, and often stomach-churning experience. In a world that reek’s of violence, a teenager named Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his band of misfits rape, pilfer, and murder in nonchalance. They use a weird language called Nadsat, hangout at milk bars, and dance and sing to Gene Kelly’s "Singing in the Rain."††
Chance of survival: Avoiding harassment in this twisted England may be a problem. Should you decide to be as delinquent as the main character, brace yourself for the Ludvico Technique: a rehabilitation where you’re drugged, strapped down, your eyelids forced open as you watch various sadistic images. The result is that even the thought of a punch will make you queasy.
Why it’s fucked up: It is set in a fastansy-fueled past in the form of a 1950's sitcome and where teenagers say “golly” and “by gosh” and the concept of sexual intercourse does not exist. When siblings David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) are transported into Pleasantville they find that their sad pathetic MTV existence wasn’t so bad after all. Hey, and its helmed by the same director behind The Hunger Games.
Chance of survival: Do as the siblings did and introduce the Stepford-like residents of Pleasantville to the wonders of masturbation, French kissing, and knocking boots. Soon, your world and theirs will be filled with vibrant colors.
Why it’s fucked up: Star Wars god George Lucas’ directorial debut is set in a dystopian reality policed by androids, confessional booths are used as monitoring devices, and sexual desires and emotions are suppressed with drugs. When citizen THX 1138 (Robert Duvall) is released from the trappings of society by an Ecstasy trip with a female rebel, they become outlaws and must find a way to escape.†
Chance of survival: Since the law is mostly made up of robots, you’ve got to find a way to get them to short-circuit. And stock up on loads of MDMA (Street name: Ecstasy) to release yourself from the imbued emotionless beliefs of society.
Why it’s fucked up: More satirical rather than troubling, director Terry Gilliam’s totalitarian civilization relies heavily on machinery and is not far from where we actually are today. There’s an overtly malevolent Ministry and a resistance uprising backed by terrorists. Sound familiar? Check the news.
Chance of survival: Choose a side and stay there. In the film, the protagonist finds himself caught between the two opposing parties, making it difficult for him to go through the motions of his inane, rather sorry life.
Why it’s fucked up: The film, based on Koushoun Takami’s controversial novel is a poignant and harsh portrayal of government control. When a group of students are gassed on their way to a supposed study trip, they wake up to find out that they’ve been chosen for The Program, a military research attempt at keeping the population at bay. The kids must kill each other and only one can survive and emerge as victor. There’s a lot of outwitting, slicing, dicing, shooting, and poisoning their way to the metaphorical finish line. Is The Hunger Games an allusion to this Japanese cult favorite? The similarities aren’t few and far between.
Chance of survival: Each student wakes up on a remote part of a deserted island and armed with one weapon–the choices range from pistol to frying pan. Hope that you’re given a katana, or a revolver, or at least something worth wielding should you find your former lab partner trying to gut you silly.