Underworld--a Movie about Racial Attitudes, from Peaceful to Tribal Today

Aside from being a sort of noir action film series, the Underworld film series interestingly parallels racial attitudes in society. Basically, how attitudes have done a 180 in Western society about race. How does it relate to race? The series is about vampires and werewolves, and the idea of interbreeding, or having "hybrid" offspring is a main plot point in the series, with some characters promoting it, and some decrying a hybrid would be "an abomination." Oh, this is one of those things that doesn't get interesting until the end, really.

Spoiler alert if you haven't seen it.

1. Underworld (2003)

Underworld--a Movie about Racial Attitudes, from Peaceful to Tribal Today

In this original one, a female vampire falls in love with a man who is bitten and turned into a werewolf. Selene, the vampire, knows it is forbidden, but aids the newly turned werewolf anyway. Her vampire "father" (who turned her into a vampire centuries earlier) at first is shown to be a protector, but is later revealed to have executed his own vampire daughter after she fell in love with a werewolf and became pregnant. He protests "I did what was necessary to protect the species! The abomination growing in her womb was a betrayal of me, and of the coven!"

Confirming the metaphor for race, the leader of the lycans, who was the lover of the executed daughter, laments "We were slaves once. Yet I bore them no ill will." He desires to bring about a hybrid race, to end the blood conflict. Not unlike how a quick google search will reveal more than a few arabs or Africans saying how intermarriage between races would end problems, as one race would be absorbed into another. The interracial couple prevails and escapes.

2. UnderWorld Evolution (2006)

Underworld--a Movie about Racial Attitudes, from Peaceful to Tribal Today

This shifts a little. In this, a "hybrid" wishes to unleash a race of hybrids upon the world. So, a slight shift? In even invokes a "God" figure who is the father of both races, and won't kill either of his sons.

3. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

Underworld--a Movie about Racial Attitudes, from Peaceful to Tribal Today

This movie fully promotes the werewolf from movie 1 (who wanted to create a hybrid race) as a hero, a veritable moses, who even does the Jesus pose while having sex with his vampire lover. (weird, I know.) He leads an uprising against slavemasters and takes over a castle. Heavy themes on races and bloodlines and arrogance of bigots. Remember, this movie was released on the tail end of the George W Bush years, as compassionate conservatism had it's grand finale.

4. Underworld Awakening (2012)

Underworld--a Movie about Racial Attitudes, from Peaceful to Tribal Today

Now we jump forward several years into the Obama administration in the USA. (Things are still calm in Europe, mostly.) The interracial lover Selene wakes from a 10 year cryo sleep to find humans are exterminating vampires and werewolves, and werewolves want to use her hybrid child's dna to make themselves immune to silver. No werewolf hero, just "they are the enemy, kill them." Instead of a plot interested in ending that war, it's just war.

5. Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

Underworld--a Movie about Racial Attitudes, from Peaceful to Tribal Today

Released the same year Brexit happened, Trump happened, on the tail end of black groups burning various American cities and rioting. Instead of the earlier movies, the heroes talk of "the purest of us all" and "protecting the bloodline." The heroes are forced to flee from corrupt leaders and take refuge in a Nordic coven full of blond blue eyed vampires. Most telling, there is a mirror image of the first movie--a woman vampire who falls in love with a male werewolf. Instead of being heroes, they are the villains, and the movie celebrates when the female vampire is killed.

In short, this is a movie series that started out with the villains seeking to "protect the species" and the heroes dated inter racially/interspecies. And as cities burned in the USA and terror attacks shed blood in Europe, quickly shifted to full on "Protect the Bloodline." An interesting display of media following social attitudes.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • And I thought it was just a movie

    • So did I. But the writing follows culture shifts about race pretty well, doesn't it?

    • No it's just a fucking movie. Not everything has to do with race

Most Helpful Guy

  • I don't believe it is about race in real life though. It's about a war for who really does have the answers to man's destiny. And whose beliefs based thereupon really do form the best basis for the better philosophies.

    From there, it's a war of ideas, as conflicting philosophies on everything compete for which one has the right to impose the consequential policies that govern all humanity.

    In ancient times, there was an idea of "one that will / must rule them all." When that only ever caused problems, as it did at the Tower of Babel, we got the "unto each nation, its own" attitude about thought, philosophy, law, and policy.

    But thousands of years of greed, corruption, cowardice, lust, envy, pride, revenge, etc. combined with fear of / desire toward suppression of innovation and new ideas, led to the nations all too often resorting to war as a preferred means of settling disputes.

    So the world split into "blocs," where certain philosophical camps served as sorts of "umbrella corps." One primary philosophy per bloc to dictate the formation of laws and policies for governance. Denominations within the same umbrella learned to tolerate each other better.

    Yet, human greed and power hunger is insatiable. It was only a matter of time, before this bloc system collapsed due to compromise and cowardice. Weak leaders and apostate apologists made the blocs indefensible. Only the blocs of savages and sadists refused to go soft.

    So the world is now finding itself devolving back to Babel. Back to "one paradigm to rule them all."

    Secularism and Islam are both most aggressively competing with each other to see who can more quickly trample any other paradigm that stands in the way. Whilst pretending not to notice a threat in each other. It's only a matter of time before they turn on and try to eat each other too though.

    The war of ideas has always superseded anything about race - or the Underworld films.

    As for Selene's conflict: 4 ends with her wanting the wars to finally end. She has human allies. She dated Michael because he shared her views, and was purehearted.

    The new interracial couple wants to use hybrids to control and enslave. She wanted them originally to liberate and bring peace.

    She's forced into a role of "protect the bloodline" - to protect her views on freedom.

    • A war of ideas? I would disagree... In number 1, the vampire leader is all about "protecting the bloodline" and the vampires are winning by a mile, while the werewolves w. But he's portrayed as a monster, because he executed his daughter to protect the bloodline. The noble werewolf rebel, losing the war, wants a hybrid.

      In the last one, the losing vampires are defending the bloodline and talking about pureness, while the winning werewolves want a hybrid.

      I think if it was about ideas, the plots would be different. An idea would correlate to being portrayed as good guys the whole series.

    • I was addressing real history on ideas. With Underworld, freedom to live and love was always what Selene believed in and wanted. She only rejected Viktor's coven when she learned he wanted to enslave others sadistically. Viktor feared hybrids only because he himself was unable to become one. Thus, he couldn't control one. Selene exploited this to avenge her family, whom Viktor lied about. THAT is why Viktor was a monster.

      In Blood Wars, the new couple has Viktor's plans and some of his values on order and subjugation. But they need a hybrid to carry out those plans. One they believe they can control, as Markus believed of William. Selene knows that would make peace with humans impossible, so she has to protect the Swedish coven from being used to serve that nefarious purpose.

    • Hmm. Disagree. Selene killed Viktor after finding out he had killed her parents, and had killed his own daughter to prevent a hybrid from being born. Beside that, he's just another vampire who wants to kill all werewolves, nothing about him enslaving people. Could be become a hybrid? It seems possible. It's not implied he would ever want to be a hybrid, it's flat out said he views the idea as abominations. His daughter conceived a hybrid and he was disgusted, but that means Viktor might have been able to be be turned... Markus was able to somehow become a partial hybrid.

      In Blood Wars, the new couple repeatedly goes on about how they want to end the war, about "all this butchery can end" and Marius wants to become a hybrid to make it happen. There's never anything about enslaving people--just war, like the whole series theme.

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  • this movie is about the NEPHILIM


  • The thing to remember that if vampires and werewolves existed then they deserve to be hunted and killed.

    • Oookaay. Thanks for that.

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    • Maybe not God, per se, if you go by the film's logic. And still within nature - but dangling by a thread. They certainly have shown themselves to live outside the laws of man, however. And for that, pressure to hold them accountable would definitely exist.

      Yet, Underworld is unrealistic. There are no vampires' rights activists, nor any for lycans. There are no sanctuary cities, with braggadocio mayors. There are no salesman trying to find a way to profit off these new species. There are no social programs being formed to allow them to integrate into society better. No new laws being passed. No innovation.

      Everything is just kill, kill, kill.

      At least when vampires in my works get in trouble, they get placed in internment camps or confined to hospitals for treatment first, rather than be killed outright.

      I don't use werewolves much. But any other type of creature misusing a monstrous form to engage in criminal behaviors *might* get shot.

    • Examples:

      - Stationery Voyagers: Season 3 vampire heroine's sister is confined to a children's hospital, as a "long-term care" patient. The arrangement works out well. She acts as "junior staff," to pay for her long-term treatment. They practically raise her, aware she's a vampire. They feed her owls and ducks, which she sucks dry.

      - Volkonir: Female vampire, old friend of hero, caught loitering; suspected of burglarizing a thrift store earlier. She surrenders without incident. Police learn she's super-sensitive to UV light. Her story about an alien world gets her ruled crazy. She's sent to long-term care at a psychiatric hospital, in a dark room. Hero's rich benefactor pays for her "treatment," in exchange for evening assistance on fighting a megalomaniacal man-mosquito hybrid supervillain.

      Sometimes, confinement and bartering work better than genocide. But they require economic wisdom to pull off - and a lot of imagination. Genocide is intellectually lazy.

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