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Film / Open Season (1974)

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Open Season is a 1974 film directed by Peter Collinson and starring Peter Fonda, John Phillip Law, and William Holden.

The film follows three Vietnam veterans; Ken, Greg, and Art, who are stimulated by the violence and subjugation of those they victimize. Every year they go on vacation in the wilderness, where they engage in a spree of brutality and violence. They choose unsuspecting pairs of victims and hunt them down like wild animals, and this year, they decide to kidnap a middle-aged man and his young mistress.

Not to be confused with the 2006 animated film Open Season.


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This film features examples of:

  • Chekhov's Gun: The film begins with Ken, Greg and Art in college being acquitted of gang raping a young lady. The father of the girl that the three men raped in college comes back at the end, having secretly followed the men on their hunting trip and decides to have his revenge by gunning them down.
  • Informed Ability: It is stated that Ken, Greg and Art are Vietnam veterans, so when the father of one of their victims stars gunning them down at the end of the movie, it becomes hard to buy the fact that these men, who supposedly fought in Vietnam, would panic so quickly and act like a bunch of scared children the minute they found out that they were being shot at. They show no savvy or survival skills and allow themselves to be easily picked-off in an rather uninspired fashion.
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  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Ken, Greg and Art appear to remain scot-free after killing their two victims, but then the killers themselves are eliminated one by one by an unknown stalker.
  • Mercy Lead: Ken, Greg and Art eventually give their two victims time to try and escape after which they will be tracked down and killed. Both make a break, separately, but are found and killed by their tormentors.
  • Papa Wolf: The stalker who ends up killing the trio is revealed to be the father of a girl who was raped by the group prior to their military service, and who subsequently committed suicide.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The trio molest Nancy during her captivity, and the stalker who ends up killing the trio at the end of the film is revealed to be the father of a girl who was raped by the group prior.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Subverted. After following Ken, Greg and Art's two victims through much of the film, they end up getting killed by them and it seems that the trio will remain scot-free and continue their murderous rampage. But then they start to get taken out one by one...
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Ken, Greg and Art are Vietnam veterans, and it is all but stated that their experiences in the war resulted in them craving for more violence. Of course, they're shown to have committed a gang rape in college for which they were acquitted, meaning that their psychopathy was always there.
  • Terrible Trio: Ken, Greg, and Art; the trio that hunts and kills people like wild animals in the wilderness.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: The prosecuting attorney who states that they have no case against the trio for their gang rape in college says that it's because they are great athletes with stellar reputations and nobody would believe they would do something like that. It then cuts to the present day showing the men at a neighborhood block party and interacting with their wives and kids.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The middle-aged man who is Nancy's lover is stated to be cheating on his wife with her.

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