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Film / Firebase

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"I want your men to help us kill the Devil."
Jacob Palmer

An Giang Province, Vietnam, 1969. American soldiers on patrol encounter multiple anomalous occurrences, culminating in the Omega Event leading to the loss of 15,215 personnel and 2425 vehicles. From that point the Central Intelligence Agency takes over all operations relating to the Omega Event and its source, The River God. To this end, Field Officer Jacob Palmer recruits Sergeant Hines, a severely shellshocked Special Forces operative who has experience surviving against The River God's anomalies, and who may hold the key to preventing the breakdown of reality as we know it.


Firebase is a 2017 Sci-Fi Horror Vietnam War short film directed by Neill Blomkamp for Oats Studios. Tone wise it's what would happen if Apocalypse Now got run through the SCP Foundation, with the very real horrors of the Vietnam War being amplified through the inclusion of Retraux super science and insane, reality warping deities.

Firebase Contains Examples Of

  • Alternate Universe: Shown to exist, with those who remain in the presence of The River God often being snapped between multiple versions of their reality.
  • Apocalypse Cult: It's all but stated the Viet Cong who fight alongside The River God are a rogue splinter of the main group who now worship him as their god.
  • As the Good Book Says...:
    • The movie opens with a quote from Hebrews 13:14
      "This World is not our permanent Home; we are looking forward to a Home yet to come."
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    • The movie ends with Hines dressed up in the reality armor, quoting Ephesians 6:13-17.
      "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the Devil."
  • Body Horror:
    • Those affected by The River God tend to be horribly mutated, and even those who aren't have to contend with the insectile being which eventually replaces their own skeleton. On a more mundane level, grisly gunshot wounds, corpses left to rot, and severe burns and other mutilation typical of an accurate portrayal of war are shown off in detail.
    • Braken has intensive scarring from burns after his experiences in Firebase Tarheel (or perhaps from a Fire-Breathing Weapon in an alternate reality Invaded States of America).
  • Born Lucky: Hines, according to the soldiers in his former unit. Palmer thinks this isn't a coincidence; that Life is preserving his existence to kill the River God, who is the antithesis of Life.
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  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: While the FBI doesn't show up, the CIA is definitely portrayed as shady if not outright malevolent, with the opening stills referencing the real Phoenix Program among other CIA-backed atrocities from the real Vietnam era.
  • Classified Information: Palmer refuses to explain anything to Major Brickerson, even though his men have already seen inexplicable things and are on the verge of mutiny. He does explain things to Hines, but only because his role is crucial.
  • Dem Bones: One of the forms The River God takes is an invisible skeleton, his form when fleshed up is also quite skeletal, but now distinctly alien in form.
  • The Dragon: Sergeant Carr seems to be Palmer's main man on the ground, but he's not shown doing much other than leering menacingly at Hines.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Hines was a sergeant in Army Special Forces (AKA Green Berets) before encountering The River God and going AWOL. The enigmatic Sergeant Carr is also said to be part of MACVSOG.
  • Found Footage Films: The Omega Event is shown via classified footage of the incident taken by combat cameramen.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The River God started off his life as a simple Vietnamese rice farmer, his reality-warping powers only manifesting as he went mad from rage and grief after his family was murdered by American troops.
  • Gravity Screw: The River God can lift people and even tanks into the air.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The US forces torture prisoners and bomb villages. When the farmer goes to an NVA hospital for help, he's refashioned into a weapon and sent out to destroy the American enemy regardless of the consequences.
  • Kill the God: Or the Devil, depending on which side of the war you are on.
  • Mad God: The trauma of his family's murder combined with the trauma of his power's awakening drove The River God utterly insane, with him now just cutting a swathe of destruction through Vietnam heedless of either side.
  • Magnetic Weapons: At the end Palmer gives Hines a coil gun, knowing that conventional weapons are useless against The River God.
  • No Ending: The movie ends with Hine suited up to fight the River God, but we're not told who wins.
  • Obliviously Evil: Palmer speculates that the River God is unaware of the damage he's causing; that the changes to reality are simply reflections of his subconscious.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The River God can resurrect the dead, bringing them back as mindless husks which attack the living, the difference comes with them developing an insect-like creature under their skin which resembles The River God's fleshed form.
  • Physical God: The River God's powers have turned him from a human into something else entirely, a being capable of bending reality itself to his will.
  • Powered Armor: At the very end Hines is equipped with a set of advanced powered armor which amplifies his ability to negate The River God's powers.
  • Power Nullifier: Palmer provides Hines with a backpack apparatus he calls a "relativity capsule". It generates a magnetic field around him, preventing the River God from warping his immediate reality and allowing him to function whilst fighting him.
  • Psychic Link: Hines is linked to the River God, and is psychologically compelled to hunt him.
  • Reality Warper: The River God, and to a lesser extent Hines, have latent powers which let them alter reality around them.
  • Kill It with Fire: Averted; an airstrike is called down with napalm, but the River God is unaffected. It does enable the soldiers to See the Invisible, so Palmer intends to use napalm to reveal the River God's location so Hines can kill it.
  • Schizo Tech: Typical 1970s technology coexists with powered armor, gauss rifles, and cybernetics. It's implied this technology was developed by stealing it from alternate, more advanced realities.
  • Soviet Super Science: One of the alternate realities has the Soviets invading the mainland U.S. using highly-advanced VTOL rocket planes and massive land crawlers. In the main universe The River God was cybernetically augmented further by Soviet scientists working with the North Vietnamese.
  • Spare a Messenger: Possibly an unintentional version, but Sgt. Bracken is the only survivor of the attack on Firebase Tarheel who can still talk about his experience, despite a face-to-face confrontation with the River God. Palmer has him shipped back home, listed as MIA and recruited into the program he's part of.
  • Stripped to the Bone: The River God did this to himself when his powers first awoke.
  • We Have Reserves: Hines suggests that Palmer is using Major Brickerson's troops as a Redshirt Army to lure in the River God so Hines can kill him. Palmer asks whether Hines even cares about anyone including himself, or anything except killing the River God.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The River God was just an innocent peasant whose family was murdered in a My Lai-esque massacre, now he's an insane deity capable of ripping apart reality.
  • Wooden Stake: Hines is introduced with this as his sole weapon, either due to the mythological aspects of killing the undead or because it's the only weapon that will reliably function given the River God's reality-warping powers.

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