Halloween Movies for Middle Managers

30 October 2007 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

| Peter Klein |

The Saw movies, writes Grady Hendrix in Slate, are perfect for middle managers. Typical slasher flicks are “id-tickling celebrations of the chaos that ensues when mindlessly violent monsters are unleashed in controlled environments like summer camps, schools, hospitals, and space stations. ” By contrast, Jigsaw — the protagonist-villian of the Saw films — is

a pedant and a bore, a Type A overachiever who is constantly creating “tests” for the other characters and then grading the results. Chaos is his enemy; order and personal productivity are his friends. He’s a management drone leading the cast in a team-building exercise. . . . In Saw III he uses liquefied pigs, death by car wash, and a tricked-out version of the rack to awaken a grieving father to the magic of forgiveness. It’s the liberating figure of the motion picture monster reduced to the status of a self-help guru. And he won’t shut up. “Despite all of the advantages and privileges that you were given at birth, you have returned to prison again and again,” he scolds one of his victims. “Up until now, you have spent your life among the dead, piecing together their final moments. You’re good at this because you are also dead. Dead on the inside,” he preaches at another. It’s like an endless lecture from your mom.

The Saw movies don’t just celebrate traps; they are traps: Fans are lured in with the promise of gore, but they find themselves stuck in their seats, subjected to Jigsaw’s endless stream of numbing pseudo-profundities.

An “endless stream of numbing pseudo-profundities”? Hmmm, sounds like some of the academic journals I read.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Ephemera.

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Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
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