The entertainment industry often establishes and perpetuates buzzwords by using them in titles of movies, TV shows, songs and video games. They may sound catchy, but are rarely used correctly.
For example, a 1999 personal computer (PC) game, Requiem: Avenging Angel, allowed players to join a futuristic holy battle between Heaven and Hell as the angel Malachi. At no point, however, did the game resemble the meaning of ‘requiem,’ i.e. a service, musical piece or book memorializing the dead.
Lately, this misuse seems to have caught on. In December 2007, the violent science-fiction thriller Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem opened in movie theatres, depicting a variety of nasty creatures killing the residents of a small town in Colorado, but notably never pausing to commemorate their victims.
In February 2009, an episode of the superhero TV series Smallville, titled ‘Requiem,’ will pit several protagonists against a bomber whose explosion kills a corporation’s board members. It’s probably fair to predict this story, too, will spend more time on pursuit and battle than on memorials for one-off bit characters.
While ‘requiem’ is certainly not a buzzword in common parlance, Hollywood seems attracted to its air of gravitas and poignancy, as though it could class up any old caper. It really can’t.