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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Fallout TV show is gory and violent, with good reason

Fans of the Fallout games won’t be shocked to learn that Amazon’s new TV show based on the franchise is gruesomely violent. This is a franchise known for its Bloody Mess perk, and for the VATS system, which lets players target and blow off heads and limbs. But the violence of the Fallout TV series still has the power to shock; viewers can expect multiple severed heads and lopped-off extremities in this post-apocalyptic world where mutated monsters feed on human flesh.

While the gore of Fallout may be uncomfortable to watch, it’s rarely (if ever) gratuitous. Instead, it’s done in the service of world-building. In many cases, it’s played for comedy and surprise, in the style of Sam Peckinpah or Quentin Tarantino films.

The first few minutes of Fallout may give viewers the incorrect impression that the show treats violence only with deadly seriousness. The first episode of the series starts with the nuclear destruction of Los Angeles. It’s a chilling scene, and since young children are involved, it sets a grim tone.

And yes, in later episodes, there are scenes that are difficult to watch. Puppies are incinerated at a research facility. Innocent Vault Dwellers are casually murdered. Body parts are sliced, crushed, and made into human jerky. In the show’s above-ground post-apocalyptic society, extreme violence is presented as a daily occurrence, and that society has the means to address it. Medicines that can instantly heal wounds are as commonplace as off-the-shelf replacement body parts.

Some of the show’s instances of violence are nods to the games. One big shootout plays like a VATS-powered killing spree, in which viewers watch in slo-mo as a bullet rips through multiple poor wastelanders. The show’s creators highlight that bodies are squishy and life is cheap in this world, but that its residents have adapted accordingly. Death and violence don’t seem to bother anyone all that much. Hell, becoming a brainless zombie is treated as something of an inconvenience in Fallout’s world.

Fallout also delves into body horror. One of the show’s more disturbing creatures, as seen in trailers, is a giant mutant axolotl covered in hundreds of human fingers. Adding an extra layer of grossness, we see one of those creatures vomit up the rotting contents of its massive stomach before it dies. It is extremely unpleasant! We see horrifying examples of human-mutant experiments. Giant mutant cockroaches run rampant, and they burst open with green gooey guts when stomped on.

All of this is to say that violence in the Fallout show is fast, frequent, and unrepentant. But it isn’t dreary or humorless in the way other post-apocalyptic worlds, like The Walking Dead or The Last of Us can be. Instead, it borrows a page from the Mad Max movies. Like the Fallout games, Fallout the TV series isn’t for the queasy. But for fans of black comedy and copious amounts of fake blood, it’s a hoot.

All eight episodes of Fallout season 1 are now streaming on Prime Video.

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