Many’s the long Winter evening that Mrs F (Tess to her friends… Mrs Freudstein to you) and I have whiled away here at The House Of Freudstein, watching total garbage on Sky TV. Forgive And Forget with Mother Love… My 600-lb Life… 1000 Ways To Die… Ghost Hunting With The Happy Mondays… Beyond Belief: Fact Or Fiction with Jonathan Frakes… Monsters Inside Me… Ru Paul’s Drag Race… the list goes on and on… and on. One of our very favourite ways, though, to waste an hour of our legally conjoined lives, has been Deadliest Warrior, in which a team of over-excited nitwit presenters pit historical characters against each other in hypothetical combat, with modern technology evaluating the relative deadliness of their weaponry and a computer simulator ultimately deciding who’s… well, the deadliest warrior. It’s vicariously violent fantasy football for sedentary sofa spud sadists. Indeed, the deadliest barb we Freudsteins (masters of pedantry) could aim at our screen has been a sneering insistence that, on grammatical grounds, the show should really be known as Deadlier Warrior.
Certainly so for most of the first season, whose episodes bore the self-explanatory titles Apache vs. Gladiator, Viking vs. Samurai, Spartan vs. Ninja, Pirate vs. Knight, Shaolin Monk vs. Maori Warrior and, of course, William Wallace vs. Shaka Zulu. Things got more grammatically correct, if no less ludicrous, as the season progressed and our hysterical hosts got to whoop and wet themselves over tag-team match ups between members of the Yakuza and the Mafia, Green Beret and Russian Spetznaz forces and, most controversially, the IRA and the Taliban. The late lamented Bravo channel, which aired seasons 1 & 2 of Deadliest Warriror, opted to lose that particular episode in the shuffle (in case you’re wondering, the Paddies shaded it.)
Season Two continued to alternate two man duels with mob match-ups, its episodes comprising SWAT vs. GSG-9, Attila The Hun vs. Alexander The Great, Jesse James vs. Al Capone, Aztec Jaguar vs. Zande Warrior, Nazi Waffen-SS vs. Viet Cong, Roman Centurion vs. Rajput Warrior, Somali Pirate vs. Medellin Cartel, Persian Immortal vs. Celt, KGB vs. CIA, Vlad the Impaler vs. Sun Tzu, Ming Warrior vs. Musketeer, Comanche vs. Mongol and Navy Seal vs. Israeli Commando. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Sun Tsu with a pole stuck up his arse… and he hasn‘t lived since it was inserted!
Things got a little more… er, fanciful in Season Three. Tru TV have been sporadically airing select episodes, including the one under consideration here. Self declared authorities such as Scott Bowen (“author of cult classic The Vampire Survival Guide”) and Matt Mogk (“founder of The Zombie Research Society”) advise the team on what factors to feed into their computer and their sage advice includes the news that vampires are not susceptible to crucifixes, garlic or daylight (since when?), are “approximately 6 times stronger than an elite athlete (sez you!) and boast Freddy Krueger-style kill claws in lieu of fingers (WTF?) Clearly, the fix is in… I mean, nowhere is it mentioned that a zombie took on a great white shark in Zombie Flesh Eaters and whipped the ocean bed with it (program THAT into your fucking stupid computer, I dare you!) The team does concede that a zombie attack would be akin to “a literal tornado of teeth” and to establish the fairest ratio of fast moving vampires against numerically superior zombies, some kung fu doofus is tasked with chopping and kicking a bunch of paper bags on strings, with pictures of zombies drawn on them. By dint of this rigorous scientific methodology, they calculate that it would be appropriate to pit deadheads against bloodsuckers in the ratio of 74 to one.
In their deliberations about the deadliness of “zombie virus” the team digresses into a discussion of swine flu, before concluding that vampires won’t be affected by it because “it’s already been proven that they can overcome bubonic plague” (did I fall asleep during that bit?) Elsewhere volunteers rip apart a jello torso with their “zombie hands” (which look exactly like regular hands) and some fool dices with death by annoying an alligator (don’t ask me!) When all this nonsense is fed into the computer it generates a short film in which 3 vampires and 216 zombies wage a battle of attrition which concludes with the final vampire seeing off the ultimate zombie, only to succumb to its bite and become a zombie himself. Some will see this as a fudged result right up there with the scandalous King Kong Vs Godzilla draw that shamed the manly / monsterly sport of mortal combat in 1962. Others may detect an allusion to the identity transfer that concludes Roeg and Cammell’s Performance (1970.) Either way, the final screen credit promises that this particular tussle is “… to be continued!”
If only t’were so… Deadliest Warrior was pulled in 2011. It didn’t exactly help that one of its Green Beret advisors turned out to have only served in a backroom capacity. Pity… if the show had gone on long enough, it might well have solved a long running dispute me and my mate Tony, over who would come out on top in an altercation between Judge Dredd and Captain Scarlet.