When The Purge released in 2013, few realized the series would eventually spawn some of the best Blumhouse movies to date - and contribute to national discourses about systemic racism and gun violence. What began as an inexpensive home invasion thriller slowly became a multi-million dollar franchise that includes multiple films and a TV show. And the popularity of the concept may stem from the unfortunate and frightening parallels audiences find between the movies and the real world.
After the success of the first film, many wondered if The Purge could really happen. Though a nationwide, government-endorsed evening of crime seems unlikely to occur, many plot points in the series share eerie similarities with actual events. From someone trying to start a real-life Purge to the current political climate, The Purge series feels more relevant than ever.
'The Purge: Election Year' And Trump Use The Same Slogan
Shortly before Donald Trump's inauguration as president, he interrupted an interview with The Washington Post to proclaim his idea for a new slogan, "Keep America Great." The president-elect even asked his lawyer to get a trademark for the phrase, so that he could use it for his 2020 re-election campaign.
But Universal Pictures beat Trump to the punch by making "Keep America Great" the tagline for The Purge: Election Year. Producer Brad Fuller later told The Huffington Post that it felt "natural" for the president to use the slogan.
Raymond J. Barry Accidentally Played The President As If He Was Trump
According to The Purge: Election Year star Frank Grillo, Raymond J. Barry leaned into his Trump-ier tendencies while playing Leader Caleb Warrens in the 2016 film - not realizing his prescience. Grillo told Comicbook.com, "Oddly enough, the guy who plays the President in the movie, he plays him like Trump - totally by accident."
Nazis Are On The Rise In 'Election Year'
Almost no one predicted the re-emergence of Nazis in the 21st century. When Neo-Nazis appear in The Purge: Election Year, they're portrayed as a roving gang of creeps who adorn themselves in the trappings of white power movements: swastikas, confederate flags, and shaved heads. While the characters seemed over-the-top and implausible in the real world, it didn't take long for that to change.
Since the release of The Purge: Election Year in 2016, Neo-Nazis wrecked havoc in Charlottesville, Virginia, committed at least five murders across three states, and held a rally in Newnan, Georgia, where they burned swastikas.
A Zealous Fan Tried To Get A Purge Going In 2016
In The Purge films, the actual Purge exists on a national level and with oversight from the federal government. It takes a year of planning, and businesses work in tandem with the government to sell equipment to participants. In other words, a small group of people couldn't pull off the feat - but that doesn't mean they haven't tried.
In 2016, 19-year-old Johnathon Cruz - inspired by the Purge films - murdered three people during a four-day killing spree. Rumors of a real-deal Purge spread following the release of the first film in 2013, but only Cruz tried making it happen.