Where do script writers and novelists get their ideas from?
Do they just sit and wait to see what everyone else is working on and then jump on the bandwagon?
Or is there some sort of communal ping of a metaphorical light bulb, popping into existence above many heads at the same time, sending countless writers scurrying for their notepads and laptops?
Remember Full Metal Jacket?
Well, you probably also remember Platoon then, and Casualties of War, and a whole load of other Vietnam war movies that came out at the tail end of the ’80s.
Then there were the vampire films, (Lost Boys, Near Dark, Interview with a Vampire, etc) “Slasher” flicks (Halloween, The Burning, Friday the Thirteenth and dozens of pale imitations) and early “found footage” films like the groundbreaking but incredibly irritating Blair Witch Project and the less well known but far superior The Last Broadcast.
And these days it seems to have cycled back round to vampires again, along with the ever-popular superhero franchises still going strong.
Blair Witch Project – Something horrible will happen to this woman. You won’t have much sympathy.
Now, back in the fifties, when every other Hollywood film was about aliens from outer space coming to destroy our way of life, it was easy to see this as national paranoia about the “Reds under the beds” threat of an impending communist takeover.
But when there is no such trigger to send the collective imagination into overdrive, what accounts for the sudden bursts of genre-specific movies?
Or books for that matter?
I mean, what exactly prompted the current fascination with the “zombie apocalypse”? (another fad that has resurfaced, having had a strong showing in early “video nasties” such as Zombie Flesh Eaters)
We’ve even had a Jane Austen parody for goodness sake.
It’s not like there’s been a huge increase in attacks by roaming gangs of brain-hungry undead citizens recently, unless you include isolated cases like this one in Florida (which was a face-hungry, decidedly alive zombie anyway, so doesn’t count) so why the interest all of a sudden?
Well it has recently occurred to me that a similar phenomenon also appears to be at work in the blogging community.
On more than one occasion I’ve posted something, only to find that someone has written something on the same subject or with a similar, seemingly random theme.
Chatting online one day to fellow blogger Adam Pain we discovered we were both working on posts about rent-a-quote-z-list-hasn’t-been, Katie Hopkins, mine being this.
Adam’s funny and somewhat more analytical view is here.
And there have been other examples of synchronicity too.
I started a conversation with an Indian blogger friend, SimplySud not long ago, about religion and the problems it can cause in our respective cultures, and it just so happened that he was writing this article.
Our conversation eventually turned to music (as many of my conversations do) and I mentioned the brilliant Dukes of Stratosphear, explaining that they were the alter-ego of eccentric English pop band, XTC.
Curious, Sud looked them up on YouTube.
The first XTC track he found was Dear God.
Or was Terry Pratchett right when he said that there were “inspiration particles” zooming thorough the universe, just waiting to zip thorough the grey matter of an unsuspecting host, enabling it to grow into a great idea?
Unless the unwitting recipient is a politician, obviously.
Speaking of which, to play us out here are the wonderful Dukes with Mole from the Ministry.