Josh Olson on

Battle Royale

Released 2011
Distributor Anchor Bay Films

In this controversial career-capping Japanese thriller from director Kinji Fukasaku, middle-school children are rounded up by the government and sent to an island where they’re made to compete in a particularly nasty game of hide and seek: each child must kill the other in order to win. The shocking premise and worldwide acclaim led several American distributors to consider releasing it theatrically, but the tragedy of Columbine put an end to that. Bootleg versions became rampant on DVD. It is still banned in Germany. Fukusahi’s son Kento directed a 2003 sequel, but plans for a US remake have faded largely due to the co-opting of the concept by The Hunger Games.  Everything you need to know can be found in Haika Soru’s The Battle Royale Slam Book, which features essays on the BR phenomena by a passel of gifted writers including our own TFH Guru Sam Hamm.

About Josh Olson

Josh Olson  was the only student in his second grade class to see The House That Dripped Blood.  Many years later, he wrote and directed the no-budget horror film, Infested, a brutal assault on The Big Chill, with zombies. He went on to write the screenplay for A History of Violence and was nominated for the WGA, BAFTA and Academy Awards for Best Screenplay. He kept losing to Larry McMurtry, but that’s okay.  He co-wrote the teleplay for the Masters of Science Fiction episode, The Discarded, with Harlan Ellison, and is currently writing a sophisticated thriller, Tabloid, for Mick Jagger.