In this dream, I found myself playing the old game Killer7, an old Playstation on-rails first person shooter from the mid- 2000’s that is already, by itself, a conceptual and visual nightmare. When shot, enemies explode in unrealistic theatrical color, like the crayon-hued blood in Kurosawa’s Ran.
So dreaming about this game was already like dreaming of somebody else’s dream.
At one point I stumble into a patch of animation—a cutscene—where characters act out parts of the storyline inside the narrative of the game, separate from the gameplay. The antagonist delivers a threatening monologue, who I recognize as the vegan singer Morrissey, previously of 1980’s band The Smiths.
This was not part of the game in real life.
When I woke I realized I didn’t recall much about the game Killer7 beyond its dark noir-style and the horror imagery of creatures cackling and exploding. I also was curious why this game reached across the void to speak to me, so to speak, so I decided to embark on some light wiki-reading.
I found this neat analysis on TVTropes. Turns out the characters who comprise the eponymous killer7 (the name of the hit squad in the game is deliberately lower-cased) represent an “inversion of one of the traditional Japanese values” (this inversion is, apparently, something called “Abstract Apotheosis”), whereupon “each (character) also has a moment where the irony disappears and they display their corresponding value” (list edited down for context and succinctness, here):
KAEDE has various bloodstains on her dress, which signify betrayal, so she represents Loyalty.
Dan, who kills for fun, represents Honor.
Con, who is a teenage punk, represents Respect.
MASK, who has the power of a hero but still works as an assassin, represents Benevolence.
Coyote, who is a thief, represents Honesty.
Kevin, who can run away from battles, represents Courage.
(Interestingly, the character beheaded in that scene from the Kurosawa film Ran, linked to in the beginning as a way of describing unrealistic-colored blood, is also named Kaede.)
I was familiar enough with Morrissey through his expansive back catalog, and having seen him on a few occasions in concert over the decades.
Morrissey had written some keynote anthems that had found their way into the soundtracks of the lives of many people who were young in the late-80s/early 90s, I among them.
Why he would creep into a dream about a mid-2000s cult sleeper game is unknown to me.
It is interesting to note that to the Wikipedia description of the storyline in Killer7, there is a point in the story where it is revealed that Japan has played a role in rigging American elections.
This, not to mention the senseless the presence of a popular 80s singer, create a sense of ominous foreboding about our present. I can’t help but be reminded of the troubling prophecy nightmare I had around the time of the election, “something big is going to happen”.