Fresh off a strong hosting performance on Saturday Night Live, Jennifer Lawrence is expected to be the golden girl at this year’s Oscars as the best actress front-runner for Silver Linings Playbook.
But it is Lawrence’s role as Katniss Everdeen, the girl with the golden arrow in The Hunger Games, that has legions of fans counting down to the November release of Catching Fire.
If you’re a “tribute,” as fans of The Hunger Games series are called, who needs some on-screen violence to tide you over, here are three other fight-to-the-death movies you can check out:
Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins drew heavy criticism for supposedly plagiarizing a Japanese novel called Battle Royale. The story is about a class of high-school students kidnapped by government forces and set free on an island where they must fight each other until one teen remains. If a lone victor does not emerge after three days, the listening devices around each student’s neck will explode. The film is bleak. Several students opt for suicide rather than killing their classmates, but Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 thriller also features moments of comedy (each student is given a weapon; some receive guns, while one gets a saucepan lid). Battle Royale stars Chiaki Kuriyama, who Quentin Tarantino would later cast as the sadistic Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill: Volume 1 based on this performance.
Most readers would likely remember Series 7 star Brooke Smith as lesbian doctor Erica Hahn on Grey’s Anatomy or as the girl on the receiving end of the famous line “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again” in The Silence of the Lambs. In 2001’s Series 7, Smith portrays Dawn Lagarto, a pregnant woman who is the reigning champion of The Contenders, a reality show where contestants are selected by lottery to off each other in any way possible. Easily my favourite of these three fight-to-the-death films, Series 7 is graphic and hilarious. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate a YouTube clip that accurately displays Smith’s dynamite performance. Series 7 also stars Nurse Jackie’s Merritt Wever in an early role.
Slashers is terrible and not in the so-bad-it’s-good way. It’s just bad. There are lots of independent films that make up for their low budgets with engaging dialogue, and this is not one of them. There are plenty of holes to fill, but the dialogue filling those holes is meaningless. This Canadian flick from 2001 follows a group of Americans trying to survive on a Japanese game show where losing means you die. If you are not a fan of terrible cinema, there are some breasts and laughable special effects to keep you interested.