Burns on the Big Screen
To learn how burn survivors specifically are portrayed in film, we embarked on a research project to put data behind the problem we’ve all identified. Our findings were grim, but unsurprising.
We identified 32 English-language films with burn survivor characters, with release dates between 1933 and 2017. In the 32 films we surveyed, the same stereotypes surfaced again and again: these characters were corrupted by their injuries, evil, masked, alone – and often, by the end of the movie, dead.
Here are a few striking findings:
- Almost all the character were isolated from other people; only 5 had any friends.
- 50% of the characters were good before they were injured, only to become evil after their burn.
- We started out looking for happy endings, but couldn’t find any that were purely happy. So we settled on “hopeful.” Just 4 characters qualified.
Here's what we learned: