Red Head Randy and the horrors of bullying
I recently came across a concept trailer for a movie called Red Head Randy. (Concept trailer because the movie is still an idea that they hope to get funding to make.) If you haven't heard of it, the trailer can be seen at www.redheadrandy.com.
The concept is that these filmmakers are hoping to make "the first anti-bullying horror film."
The idea comes out in response to the high number of teen suicides due to bullying. In the video, they state that "Since October 2009, 115 kids have committed suicide because of bullying." It's a horrifying number only made worse in that it is completely avoidable.
The worst part is that when a kid is driven to suicide because of bullying, the one who suffers the most in the end is the victim. Yes, the bullies may get a jolt of reality and change their ways, but compare that to the fact that the victim of their bullying had to take their life to teach that lesson.
Red Head Randy, however, comes back after his suicide to bring justice on his tormentors.
I can completely get behind the sentiment of the movie. Bullying is a horrible yet all too common presence in our schools. So I am completely behind what these people are trying to do.
I do have one concern though.
The concept has plenty of promise and the right motivation. But I've seen too many movies waste great or cool ideas. (Alien Resurrection comes to mind.)
What I would say to these filmmakers is this:
Be sure not to lose your message.
They're hoping to make "the next Freddy Kruger". And if they can do that, I'm happy for them. But if the movie is about bullying, they really need to take care with the character of Red Head Randy.
Sure, he can come back and take out his tormentors. They're making a horror film not an episode of Touched By An Angel. But a movie filled with Saw-level kills and blood might move the focus away from the message.
I would just point out that there's a difference between Justice and Revenge.
For instance, in the concept trailer, there's a girl who is goaded into saying something mean about Randy. At first she thinks it's too much but she's prodded into saying some quite mean things.
Now, I'm not saying it's okay to say mean things if others tell you to do it. But hand-in-hand with bullying is peer pressure. This girl didn't want to be mean. But peer pressure is a surprisingly powerful thing.
So, maybe in the movie Randy could bring justice to each of his bullies in manners poetically connected to the ways in which they bullied him. And this girl, while not completely innocent, could be scared but spared because Randy understands that she wasn't mean of her own choosing.
Because, otherwise, Randy just becomes a bully himself.
That's one of the dangers of bullying. How do you fight it without becoming what you hate?
If you're interested in this kind of thing, check out www.redheadrandy.com and watch the video.
I tip my hat to what they're trying to do. I'm concerned that it may be tricky, but if they pull it off, I truly hope it can help.