We’re usually taught to respect our elders; but there have been plenty of characters in film who never quite got that memo. There’s been a long and proud tradition in movies of elderly abuse and bad doings being transgressed on the 4:30 dinner crowd. This is the generation that did things like survived the Great Depression, fought the Nazis and the Reds, raised our parents and all too often us. One would think they’d earned a bit of consideration for things like guaranteed Social Security, adult diapers that don’t leak and generally not getting the shit beat out of them or snuffed like some third rate extra. In this CHUD list, we’re going to take a look at 15 old-timers who, unfortunately, turned into having-a-really-bad-timers.
The Film: Excalibur (1981)
Buy it from CHUD
The Director: John Boorman
The Elder: Arthur Pendragon, High King of Camelot
The Abuse: Freudian Clusterfuck
In the aftermath a bloody clash between the last remnants of the Knights of the Round Table and the forces of King Arthur’s murderous usurping bastard nephewson (European royalty, ladies and gents!), Arthur offers his inbred offspring a hug. To which lil’ Mordred responds by driving a long wooden pole through dad’s torso. And you thought your family Thanksgiving was awkward just because you got sat at the card table with cousin Jeffrey and his dattchi waifu.
Arthur is understandably hurt and impaled by the boy’s rejection of his affections (and also the 33 inches of spear driven through his sternum), but mortal wound or no, he’s still a father. And if there’s one thing fathers hate more than bearing the homicidal brunt of inbred Oepidal rage, it’s watching their son do a job half-assed. That it happens to be patricide in this case is beside the point. With the wordless irritation that’s painfully familiar to disappointing sons everywhere, he grabs the kid’s spear and shows him the right way to murder an archetype of chivalric kingly behavior, dammit.
By the time he’s hauled himself down the other 2 feet of spear, his frustration gets the better of him and he decides to just stab the little shit to death while he’s at it.
So basically it’s just like that time you tried to change a tire with your dad looking over your shoulder, and you only got one nut loose before he pulled the wrench out of your hand and did it himself, and also he gave you a couple of whacks with it that left bruises that turned purple, then black, then festered and eventually leaked into jokey internet columns 15 years later. EXACTLY. LIKE. THAT. TIME.
Lack Of Respect By: Arthur’s son. His nephew. His son. His nephew. HIS SON! HIS NEPHEW!
A little backstory may be in order here. See, some years prior, Arthur failed to follow the classical maxim that when having mystical sex with your sister, you should really try not to knock her up. Now before you start getting all judgey and “tsk, tsk”-ing up the joint, keep in mind a couple things. One, Mordred’s mother Morgana is actually only his half-sister, so check half your outrage right there. Second, your sister never looked like 1980 Helen Mirren, so whose to say what you would’ve done in his situation. Plus I’m 80% sure the most recent search term in your browser history is the colloquial Japanese term for a life-sized sex doll. So lay off The King, weirdo.
Oh, and also she had bewitched him to think that he was having sex with his wife Guinvere when he was actually barking up the family tree, so I guess some people might think that’s relevant too. She accomplished this by invoking the Breath of the Dragon, which is a kind of aether which powerful wizards can draw from the bones of the world to alter the fabric of time and space and control the senses of men. Naturally, in the film it is used for exclusively to trick people into sex and stop Mirren from aging.
Anyhow, a little ancient necromancy, a glass of mead, some sensual lute music and boom, Morgana has herself a batch of brother batter. After baking for 9 months she’s got a bouncing little bundle of birth defects. Another scant 16 years of secret martial training and he’s ready to violently wrestle the kingdom away from his now-decrepit unclefather. It’s a plan fiendish in its simplicity. And also in its deception, rape and murder.
Did He Have It Coming: Morded and Morgana seem to think so, but their logic tends toward the tortured and inbred, respectively. See, Morgana didn’t invent the Dragon’s Breath trick. She learned it from Merlin, who previously used it to help the former king Uther bang out her mother while her father killed, creating Arthur in the process.
So Morgana took unkindly to that, which is understandable, especially since her 6 year-old self had to watch the nasty go down. And when Uther is killed, she transfers the blame to baby Arthur, which is a little less understandable, but this whole situation is twisted enough to make Sigmund Freud’s head, chest and crotch explode, so we’ll cut her some slack. It’s the next step where I lose the thread, because while my mother was never tricked into putting out for dad’s political enemies (…that I know of…hmm…), I don’t think revenge-raping the offspring of that union would be my first response. Okay, it might crack top five. But it’d definitely be toward the end.
As for Mordred, he hates his father, I guess because he never acknowledges him? But Arthur never knew about him and was going through a pretty intense Howard Hughes phase from the time of his secret conception until the kid started with the murderin’. I’m not saying he should win Father of the Year or anything, but a 2 decade long rape/murder plot seems like a bit of an overreaction, if you ask me.
Could the AARP Have Helped? Well, first Arthur himself had to introduce chivalry to the Dark Ages, which would lead to the Magna Carta->Colonization of America->Declaration of Independence->probably some other stuff->people actually living to be 55->founding the AARP. So they were a bit late on the scene to be of much use
If nature had taken its course? What could be more natural than a teenage bastard jamming a lance through his father, who returns the favor by cutting his throat with the magical Sword of Kings?
SCORE ONE FOR THE OLD FOLKS! JAM THIS ONE IN YOUR IPADS AND SMOKE IT, YOU LITTLE PUNKS! THIS TIME WE GET SOME GERIATRETRIBUTION!!!