SPREE (2020)—The Medium is the Massacre

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On this week’s deep dive, The Cultists present Eugene Kotlyarenko’s dark social media satire, ’Spree’ (2020). Loosely based on the 2014 Isla Vista spree killer, Elliot Rodgers, Spree twists the foundations of its tragic origins into something a little more universally tangible with Joe Keery’s “Kurt”—an Uber-style driver and aspiring internet streamer who will do anything to finally be seen, even if that entails racking up a body count for the views. Curiously opting for incorporating detailed reconstructions of Rodgers’ own real-life videos in the process; stunt casting a slew of known social media faces; compositing an impressive array of archivable camera feeds; and asking David Arquette to drop in “to recreate a cringe compilation of his life”—all in order to present the uneasy relationship between murder, mayhem, and fame—Spree is yet another polarizing film for audiences. One that above all else upholds the old McLuhan doctrine that, for better or worse, “the medium is the message.”

For this one, Benji dove deep into the Marshall McLuhan of it all (from message-bearing-mediums, hot and cold forms of media, the tetrad of media effects, and the new school of the hologram), while London went even deeper into the dark waters of 4chan to recover Elliot Rodgers’ videos, posts, and 140+ page manifesto to contextualize the oddly specific details of his life, death, and delusions that pop up throughout the film.

Episode Safeword: “lovable”

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