Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tull and "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome": An Odd but Accurate Comparison

When reading King's description of Tull, I had one of those "tip-of-the-tongue" moments. It reminded me strongly of someplace I'd read about or seen before. It's been niggling at my brain for awhile, and it finally hit me: Bartertown in the 1985 film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

King describes "leering, empty shanties where the people had either moved on or had been moved along" and "an occasional dweller's hovel, given away by a single flickering point of light in the dark" as where people in the dying (until Roland arrives ... shortly thereafter, of course, it's dead) town do the best living they can.

My brother was obsessed with Mad Max. Because his fascinations quickly became those of my sister and me and because he was older, I spent a lot of time watching Thunderdome. A lot of time. I haven't seen it for awhile, but I well remember the depressing, dying, seemingly close to abandoned outskirts of Bartertown as Mel Gibson in the title role entered the depressing city limits.

King describes Tull as "pass-on-by country" (and, more metaphorically I suppose, "a shoddy jewel in a cheap setting"), and I'd argue that the same can be said for Bartertown.

Interesting that the written word can bring up visions so clear of the fruits of someone else's imagination, all within the human brain ... particularly when you consider that this particular human brain hasn't seen Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome for at least fifteen years and might never have spared it more than a passing thought for the rest of my life had I not been giving The Gunslinger such a close and careful rereading. Pretty amazing, when you think about it : )

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