Battle Royale: The Book that Launched a Thousand Copies

Battle Royale: The Book that Launched a Thousand CopiesBattle Royale by Koushun Takami, Yuji Oniki

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Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan - where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller - Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language.

I don’t really need to tell anyone what a Battle Royale is. Thanks to Fortnite and before that, the Hunger Games, everyone knows what it is. People are dropped into a death map. They need to kill each other. The last person standing wins.

Simple, right?

Only kind of. Battle Royale is a Japanese novel from the nineties written by Koushun Takami. It was groundbreaking in its time not just for the writing, but the shock factor of it. The book was criticized by some for its violence. Where the Hunger Games feels futuristic enough to give us some distance, Battle Royale doesn’t allow it. This isn’t meant to be a comfortable topic that’s made into PG-13 movies. Even in movie form, Battle Royale doesn’t shy away from its horror.

Each year, a single class participates in a Battle Royale. It’s a shock tactic to control the children who are growing too wild for their parents. The class is picked from a lottery and there’s no guarantee that any child will be safe as they grow up. Therefore, everyone’s at risk.

The kids we follow this year? They’re in 9th grade. To put that into perspective, they would be around 12 to 13 years old when they were brought to the island.

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The Top 6 Horror Movies Adapted from Books

I don’t think I need to explain to anyone who’s reading this that movies can suck at adapting books. Sometimes the movie can add to a story like the first Bourne Identity movie. It can bring a world to life like it did in the Lord of the Rings. But other times, it can feel like it’s completely trashing the source material. (Watch out, Ella Enchanted. I’m coming for you.) As much as I want to bash some terrible Fantasy movies, it’s October, so I want to stick with the season. There are plenty of horror movies based on books to choose from.

So, when it comes to Horror movies, how do they stack up?

Don’t get me wrong, there are some terrible horror adaptations out there. I’ll be making a post about those later in the month. For now though, I’d like to focus on the positives and talk about the movies that were fantastic.

These are in no particular order, but hopefully they inspire you to check out some different movies.

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