Black SplatThe Running Man (1987)

"You bastard! Drop dead!"

The Running Man - Damon Killian gets the ride of his life

Description: Richard Dawson as Damon Killian shows utter contempt for one his contestants in the motion picture The Running Man (1987).

In the year 2017, Damon Killian hosts a gladitorial-style audience participation capital punishment game show called “The Running Man.” One of Killian’s contestants is Ben Richards (Arnold Scwarzenegger), an ex-cop framed for the massacre of 60 men, women, and children in a food riot. He is the victim of a falsified new report showing him give an attack command on innocent people.

The Running Man - Damon Killina and Ben Richards

To prepare Richards (now called "The Butcher of Bakersfield") for the game, Killian straps Richards into a rocket sled and sends him sliding into an arena filled with “stalkers” who hunt down and kill the game show participants. Before he goes, Richard says, "Killian! I’ll be back!" Killian replies, "Only in a rerun."

During the game show, Killian asks an audience member, "Who do you thing will make the next kill." The woman says, "Alright, I think the next kill will be made by... Ben Richards." But Killian objects, "No, no. Agnes, Richards is a runner. You have to pick a stalker." But Agnes insists, “I can pick anyone I choose. And I choose...Ben Richards. That boy is one mean motherfucker.”

While in the arena, Richards does something that has never been done in the history of the show. He begins to kills the stalkers. When Richards confronts Fireball (Jim Brown) a stalker with a flamethrower, Ben disconnects Fireball's fuel line, drenches the stalker with fuel, ignites a flare, and asks the burning question, “How ‘bout a light?” before tossing it at his opponent [Boom!].

The running Man - Buzzsaw battles Ben Richards

When Ben strangles Professor Sub-Zero (Charles Kalani, Jr.) with barbed wire, he says, "What a pain in the neck." And when asked what happened to stalker Eddie "Buzzsaw" Vatowski (Gus Rethwisch) after he is cut in half with a chain saw, Richard says, "He had to split."

After dodging all sorts of mayhem, Richards escapes the killing grounds and takes over the game show. Fearful of his own safety, Killian pleads:

“This is television, that's all it is. It has nothing to do with people; it's to do with ratings! For fifty years, we've told them what to eat, what to drink, what to wear...for Christ's sake, Ben, don't you understand? Americans love television. They wean their kids on it. Listen. They love game shows, they love wrestling, they love sports and violence. So what do we do? We give 'em ‘what they want!’ We're number one, Ben, that's all that counts, believe me. I've been in the business for thirty years.”

Tired of listening to Killian’s rant, Ben Richards says, “Well, I may not have been in show business for as long as you have. But I'm a quick learner. And right now, I'm going to give the audience what I’ think they want.”

Then Richards straps Killian to a rocket sled and sends him into the killing zone. Before leaving, Killian shouts, “You bastard! Drop Dead!” To which, Richard replies, “I don’t do requests!” When Killian's sled smashes into a billboard of himself and explodes, Richard says, "Now that hit the spot."

Note: In the action adventure film Cobra (1986) Sylvester Stallone as police detective Marian Cobretti says, “You have the right to remain silent” and then tosses a lit match onto the gasoline soaked body of a gunman who tried to kill him. See also - "He disagreed with something that ate him."

The Running Man - Movie Poster

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