5 Things About "The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie" + Mr. Robot

#MrRobot + The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie?

Why is Mr. Robot basing its origin story in a made up homage to 80's slasher movies?

As you probably know, I write weekly recaps of Mr. Robot called "Who Is Mr. Robot's Landlord" - you can read my most recent recap (Eps 2.2_init_1.asec) by clicking HERE.

Last week's episode (2.2) started with a flashback to Elliot (Rami Malek) and Darlene (Carly Chaikin) watching a movie called "The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie" which was the place where they discovered the mask that would later become the symbol of fsociety.

If you haven't seen Episode 2.2 of Mr. Robot *Spoiler Alert*

Anyway, you can now see that 8 minute and 35-second movie by clicking HERE (* Warning *, it includes both graphic violence and brief nudity).

5 Things about "The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie"

1. An Homage to 80's Slasher Movies  

This seems to be the season for 80's nostalgia, the Netflix series "Stranger Things" nailed the look, feel, and dialog of classic 80's coming of age movies like "The Goonies" and "Stand By Me." and now "Careful Massacre" lands in a loving homage to the charming absurdity of the 80's slasher movie. 

One particularly nice touch you might notice is that when the killer first puts on the mask, his first stalk and kill comes from the point of view of the killer looking through the mask. This is an homage to the first scene in John Carpenter's Halloween.

2. The Caricature of 80's Yuppies = Perfection

For those who don't know what a Yuppie was. The closest contemporary analogies to Young Upwardly Professionals (Yuppies) these days would likely be Google Glassholes or Blue Douches.

They were the 80's equivalent of the guy who walks down the center of the sidewalk today who is so absorbed in his smartphone that he doesn't  give a damn about anyone else on the street. You know, the guy who gets mad at you because you had the temerity to be walking on his street?

Yuppies were like people who aren't really that rich but act like they are as entitled to treatment like as if they were from the manor born. They also are similar to hipsters in that they always have to go to the hot restaurant or be seen at the best bar etc.

If you have ever read American Psycho, Patrick Bateman was a Yuppie (who loved Phil Collins). 

Anyway, they really got the look and attitude of the caricature of Yuppies (one of the most hated groups of people in 80's society) perfect.

3. Awesomely Awful 80's Dialog

If 80's slasher movies were known for one thing it was terrible dialog.

Careful Massacre delivers comically bad dialog too.

Best moment, when one of the Yuppies is about to die and is being held down by a killer with a spiked mallet he responds to the killer with the following classic DB entreaties:

1. "Do you know who my Father Is?"

2. "I'll Sue"

Classic 80's. This could apply to virtually any 80's slasher movie but it made me think of several of the later Friday The 13th movies (I remember one episode in particular where Jason skewered a guy while he was trying to do his business in a porta potty).

4. Nailed The Bad 80's Fashions

Douglas Carlton is the credited "director" of "Careful Massacre" although Adam Penn is given credit in the press (Carlton could be another Easter Egg - I did some searches but did not turn up anything). Whoever created this thing nailed some classic 80's fashion.

The "hero" Yuppy and his sister are both wearing sweaters around their necks (yup, this was a thing) and had feathered hair. Every character except the killer was wearing the bizarre art deco style jewelry that was so popular at the time. 

Nicely done. 

5.About Character Motivation

Yesterday, when I published my recap, I suggested that the point of "Careful Massacre" was to show the differences between Darlene and Elliot in terms of their unique motivations for instigating the 5/9 hack.

Before I go back into that, let me mention that the movie's events take place on 12/31/1984 which is the day Bernard Goetz (the infamous subway vigilante) surrendered to police. I am not sure what that means in terms of Mr. Robot, but I figured that I would mention it.

Elliot was motivated primarily by revenge for the death of his Father.

He talked a good game about being motivated by trying to save the world but when push came to shove the mask he saw was his Fathers face (instead of a man wearing a fsociety mask). 

Even more disturbing, for Elliot, doing the hack did not rid him of the constant presence of his Father inside his thoughts. What we have learned through Elliot's journey is that he holds E-Corps responsible for the death of his own innocent perceptions of his Father (BTW Careful Massacre is an E-Corps Home Entertainment Production).

It was getting fired by E-Corps and getting cancer from waste released by E-Corps that Elliot believes changed Edward from his gentle and loving Father into the man who pushed him out of a second-story window in anger.

Elliot sees Edwards face when he does the things that he does but which he is not proud of.

Elliot uses Edward's face to help him disassociate from the bad things he does,

Everything Elliot does in bound up in his complex relationship with his dead Father.

Darlene, on the other hand, barely remembers Edward Alderson (Christian Slater) and asks Elliot to tell her more about him. For her, she really does think the hack is about bringing down Big Business and getting proletarian revenge on the corporate class.

So, where Elliot uses the cartoonish Bolshevik ethics of Careful Massacre as a template that he can use to justify attacking E-Corps, Darlene is really trying to make Corporations pay. 

This might be because she believes in the bond that this silly movie created between her and her brother (the only family member she cares about, both Elliot and Darlene see their Mother as mostly an abusive and angry figure).

I am not saying she is naive, I am saying the roots of her commitment to revolution might reside in her blind love for her Brother and for the things that they share.

Hopefully, we will learn much more about her motivations later (we really have not learned much about Darlene to this point compared to the other major characters on the show). 

I do think, Careful Massacre was included to differentiate the motivations of Darlene and Elliot. but It also might be about showing the difference between the intellectual idea of committing atrocities in the name of a good cause and the moral consequences of committing the actual atrocities. 

What did you think of "The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie?" Let me know, leave a comment!

American Psycho
By Bret Easton Ellis