Film and TV

Victor Moreno's Cult Classics Screening Battle Royale (aka The Movie The Hunger Games Rips Off)

If the plot of Suzanne Collins' best-selling novel The Hunger Games -- and the soon-to-be-released film adaptation -- seems eerily familiar, it's probably because it is.

The ultra-popular teen-oriented tale of adolescents fighting to the death at the behest of the government in the not-too-distant future is similar in many respects to flicks like Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Running Man or such books as Stephen King's The Long Walk.

And then there's the gory Japanese flick Battle Royale, which screens next Friday at Madcap Theaters in Tempe. Critics have alleged that The Hunger Games flat-out ripped off Kinji Fukasaku's blood-soaked dystopian thriller that was released in 2000 and involves a class of high schoolers forced by their government to kill each other in a deadly game of survival of the fittest.

Sound familiar? Local movie buff Victor Moreno, who's showing the film during the latest edition of his Cult Classics film series, definitely thinks so.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.