Comparing Rampage the film with the KILLDOZER rampage

When I saw that a movie called Rampage was showing at theatres across the country, I knew I had to see it. I wanted to compare Rampage, the Hollywood film, with my book “KILLDOZER: The True Story of the Colorado Bulldozer Rampage.”

And now that I’ve seen the movie, well, there aren’t many concrete similarities other than that both my book and the movie are about rampages.

The rampage in the book is about the massive destruction caused in the town of Granby, Colorado by Marv Heemeyer’s KILLDOZER in June of 2004. The Killdozer was a Komatsu bulldozer that was made into a homemade tank, armed with three rifles — one a 50-caliber Barret sniper rifle. It was also well-armored with steel and concrete, making it into a tank.

The rampage in the book resulted in the destruction of 13 buildings in Granby. Heemeyer rammed the buildings with his 85-ton tank. He also fired at police officers and his perceived enemy and he tried to blow up the east end of town by firing at massive propane gas tanks. Luckily, he missed the people he fired at and he missed the propane tanks.

Rampages in both are hugely destructive events

The rampages in the movie are a series of massively destructive events carried out by three overgrown creatures: a gargantuan gorilla, a humongous alligator and a huge wolf. When I say massive I mean that they are giants in the realm of Godzilla and King Kong. All three unwittingly ingested a DNA-altering formula that made them grow rapidly and which made them super-aggressive.

Their rampages end up with the ape and the wolf eating people. Then they go about essentially destroying buildings, vehicles, aircraft and anything that happens to get in their way. The film concludes with the massive creatures destroying much of Chicago — even causing massive skyscrapers to tumble to the ground.

Heemeyer’s rampage, in real life, caused many buildings to tumble to the ground. I was in one of those buildings as the walls caved in and I barely escaped with my life.

My book also explores why Heemeyer ends up being seen by many as the last great American folk hero. Hints of why that is so with the real rampage can be seen in the first paragraph of an article written for Vulture by Joshua Rivera about the movie Rampage:

“It’s extremely easy to see Rampage, the latest blockbuster starring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, and have no idea that it’s based on a video game. Rampage, which is about genetically enhanced animals turned Godzilla-sized monsters on a path of destruction, seems like boilerplate Hollywood action bolstered by Johnson — a charismatic video-game hero made flesh — to please crowds with an appetite for chaos. But Rampage, in the purity of how it sets out to do one thing (wreck stuff) is actually one of the most faithful video-game adaptations ever made, because the 1986 source material is built on the very same idea: wrecking stuff is stupid fun.”

The concept that “wrecking stuff is stupid fun” cold animate some of the fascination with and adoration of Heemeyer as the last great American folk hero. Combine that with the comic-book-like aspects of the Heemeyer rampage and his bogus reasons for his rampage, and it’s easy to see that Heemeyer’s rampage could be a video-game-based event too.

As of yet I haven’t found a video game based on the Killdozer rampage, but it could work.

Where rampagers become our heroes

So, what can be said about the two rampage stories? Well, perhaps the best conclusion is that culture fans in America are fascinated with rampages.

And, ironically, in my book, Marv Heemeyer the rampager is made into a hero by many, mainly in the on-line realm. And in the movie, the ape rampager that ate a person, tore down buildings and crushed military vehicles (presumably with soldiers inside), ends up being the big hero at the end of the film when his personality (although not his size) goes back to his original state.

The ape becomes a redeemed, violent rampager much like Heemeyer became the redeemed, violent rampager.

This happens frequently in America, with its continuing parade of conflicted, ambiguous heroes.

 

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