by Kerry Zagarella
The Purge franchise includes 5 full length movies and one year as a television series. The premise of these dystopian horror films is that we can greatly reduce, if not eliminate, crime by allowing an annual 12 hour period of lawlessness. These movies play to the absolute worst part of human nature, the uncontrolled violent animal. They encourage a ruthless primal excitement about the chase, the kill, the chaos. But hey, The Purge only happens once a year for 12 hours, a small price to pay for a “safe” society. What if we Reverse The Purge and invite human kind to dig deep and be themselves for 12 hours? I am talking about the real you that none of us know; the “at home you”. Let’s see that play out on the streets for 12 hours!
My best “at home me” wears an old stained worn-soft cotton gray pair of cutoff sweatpants paired with lovely purple compression socks wrapping my elderly throbbing calves. Typically I am wearing an old knit hat because I love a brain blanket or a soft head vice hug. Braless is a given and of course an old favorite sweatshirt covered in paint and big enough to have a party in. An outfit I wouldn’t leave the house wearing, not even to open the door to check the weather.
Imagine your “at home you”. What outfit do you have on? Are you singing all the wrong words to an old favorite song, loudly and out of tune? Are you smiling?
We all have our comfortable “at home” behaviors too. Perhaps on your way from one room to another you run and slide across the floor, a simple celebration of your “at home” freedom. Maybe, you add a twirl. Do you sing to your dog? Do you have an at home language? A nickname for inanimate objects? Do you secretly watch brainless romantic comedies before meeting a friend to go see the latest “whos who” exhibit? I’m not saying this is what I do, well not outright, not until we agree on a Reverse the Purge time.
Can you imagine that 12 hours? I wonder if people would still need to hide away or would it look like a scene from the French/Italian cult classic King of Hearts. The King of Hearts takes place as WWI is ending. A village has been mostly evacuated because as the Germans left they set up a booby trap to blow the village up. A Scottish soldier arrives in the desolate town with orders to disarm the bomb. He discovers he is not the only one living in the village, in fact there are lots of “colorful and playful” inhabitants. These inhabitants being abandoned by the townspeople and left for dead are former residents of the local insane asylum who upon discovering the town abandoned, assume the roles of townspeople. Are they now finally allowed to shed the labels society forced upon them? They get their chance to Reverse the Purge and bring their “at home selves” to the streets. The anti-war movie clearly portrays the “lunatics” as heroes. In a review by Charles Champlin featured in the LA Times in March 2018, Champlin comments on the sad relevance the movie still holds 50 years later, “... a surrealistic jewel of a comedy which you realize, when you catch your breath between laughs, has made the case for the sanity of the lunatics and the madness of the war-waging sane.”
So we, the “at home lunatics”, surrounded by the sometimes overwhelming darkness and insanity of current events, must take our light out of the darkened bushel basket and let it shine. Brightly we will wander together for the 12 hours of Reverse the Purge, shuffling along with our favorite dog chewed slippers, filling the streets with our uniqueness, our personal insanities. Which silly walk is your favorite? Our true selves unleashed and dressed very comfortably. Is this the phenomenon of being relaxed that we heard so much talk about?
We could all discover the truth, that although we are all humans, made of stardust and chicken feathers, we are the sum of our parts and experiences as well, and that makes each of us an alien creature. Reverse the Purge can expand our acceptance and definition of normal to include all the casually dressed home hobos, the off key singers with hairbrush microphone, the dancers and twirlers, all the alumni of the Ministry of Silly Walks, to name a few. We will roam, the whole beautiful eclectic mob of us, generating enough light to illuminate the endearing traits of our “at home” selves. Our true self, shared. xo