Are you a literalist when it comes to the fantastic? Is ambiguity OK?


This is a little informal survey of 5 questions designed to sample what genre fans expect from the fictional worlds they interact with. For simplicity's sake I am limiting the examples to film. There are no wrong answers. It is a merely an attempt to see if any one dominant aesthetic emerges when it comes to these questions.

(All of the movies I cite have been out for a while so I am not going to be overly concerned with spoilers. )

(Edit: I never ask for stuff of mine to be shared but I realize this survey will only be effective if I get decent participation. If you have posting privileges at other Kinja forums, would you be so kind as to please consider hanging this post on the wall where appropriate. I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!)


1) At the end of Inception is it important to you to know if the top falls or not? Do you try to figure this out using the clues you are given or do you think the ambiguity of the spinning top is what the filmmaker wants you reflect on?


2) During the director's cut of Blade Runner, Deckard has a strange dream about a unicorn. Is it necessary for this unicorn to have some concrete explanation or is it OK if the scene exists as something lyrical, impressionistic, or vaguely symbolic?

Are you a literalist when it comes to the fantastic? Is ambiguity OK?


3) In Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, Jack Torrance is locked in a pantry. He encounters the ghost of Delbert Grady on the other side of the door. Grady says he will let Jack out. The door opens.

By relying only on Kubrick's film, is it absolutely clear to you that Grady or some supernatural force let Jack out of the pantry? Was Jack merely hallucinating and somehow got out by himself? Is it OK not to know whether either of these is true?

Are you a literalist when it comes to the fantastic? Is ambiguity OK?


4) Do you prefer viewing The Cabin in the Woods as a regular fictional world or are you more comfortable with it as a type of meta-fiction which only exists as a commentary on the horror genre itself? Is it OK if it is both?

Are you a literalist when it comes to the fantastic? Is ambiguity OK?


5) In Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, do you personally need an explanation for HAL 9000's homicidal behavior or do you like it better if left as one of the many mysteries of the movie?

Are you a literalist when it comes to the fantastic? Is ambiguity OK?


Thanks for playing!