In ‘Mafia 3’ Lincoln Clay’s Slasher Movie Spirit

The rise of the American massacre has always been inextricably linked to the real atrocities of his time. With stories like Friday the 13th, When a Stranger Call, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and others, Hollywood’s scariest genre was born out of the fear that creeps into people’s lives through newspaper articles, television news and the inevitable fact that America may not be as extraordinary as people sometimes want to believe.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States fought a lost war in Vietnam and for nearly two decades, those back home were reminded that every night after dinner, when the news ended with a roll with the names of the soldiers, the boys who had died that day in the war were commemorated for their sacrifice. This direct and uncomfortable representation of the final costs of the war had far-reaching consequences. On the one hand, it would change the way we have experienced other wars in the coming decades, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which the name of each soldier is no longer solemnly displayed as an advertiser after the broadcast. Already the first draughtsmen feared this frontal recognition of a long-term failure.

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But decades ago, when people still saw the names of mainly young people, whose names they probably knew at some point – neighbours, cousins, brothers – we searched for an unusual catharsis with the help of the cinema. The film about the killer was born in the 1960s with films like Peeping Tom and Psychopath, and as our war in Vietnam dragged on, the killer became more and more shameful. It has become the poetic language of filmmakers looking for an explanation for a world they can no longer understand because of the terrible scenes of murder and terror. Leatherface, Jason Voorhees and many other publishers are still considered icons of the genre, and their origins are forever linked to the cruelty of their time.

In Mafia 3, Hangar 13 tried to continue the decades-long history of organized crime with the new protagonist Lincoln Clay. The game has rightly been portrayed as a fairy tale of revenge. Clay’s research is known in this respect. But given the road he left in Vietnam and the new road he mapped out for himself and the rest of the fictional city of Bayou, New Bordeaux, in 1968, it is clear that Lincoln Clay has the spirit of a great American assassin inside him.

Every great killer has a story, like a spoiled superhero, to explain how the monster was born. In Mafia 3 begins the story of Lincoln Clay in Vietnam, where he was recruited by the CIA and is now in grade 5. Special Forces Group, one of the most decorated active service groups in the U.S. Army. During the Vietnam War, President Kennedy activated the 5. PFG because of their unique potential against the rebellion, and for Lincoln, as for many others in this war, it meant he saw things he would never forget.

Lincoln’s war memories are repeated in Mafia 3 through flashbacks and dialogue. As soon as he describes how a Vietnamese woman holding a pig and her baby could only take one during an evacuation, she decided, in pain, to take the pig and let the baby drown immediately. It’s an experience that directors like Tobe Hooper read in the ’60s and ’70s and that led him to fight the senseless violence of the Texas chainsaw massacre. But for Lincoln, the Vietnam War wasn’t a metaphorical blot in a horror story; it became a horror story and brought him home when he returned to New Orleans in 1968, a fictional analogy of the game in New Orleans.

We didn’t call it PTSD then, but it still exists. The shock of Lincoln’s cover makes him a cute character, and his ultimate betrayal by the Italian mafia, who cold-bloodedly murdered his surrogate family, makes him worthy of taking root; but the cure he seeks – complete retribution – is uncomfortable. When Lincoln survived a fatal blow to the head and was left to die in a burning bar surrounded by the bodies of everyone he knew and loved, he was rescued by his good friend, Father James, who later remembered that Lincoln had not understood how he had survived the attack. Any luck? Divine Providence? Anything else? The story of Lincoln’s origins as a killer was born. Like Jason Vourchis, who had risen from the Crystal Camp to avenge his mother’s death, his rebirth was almost supernatural.

As a player, you can almost squint and see the world through your eyes. After all, Lincoln, who was a man of different races around 1968 in the deep south of America, was certainly not a welcome guest in most places, and now the only house he knew outside the military unit had burned down. To some extent you want to take it to the root, but the methods used by Lincoln in Mafia 3 are often as cruel as any known horror villain.

The Hammurabi code wasn’t enough for Lincoln. For every figurative eye that Lincoln lost to the crowd, he took three in a terrible way. A veteran, weighing 1.80 m, stands like a tower above the gangsters he has killed over the course of history, and Hangar 13 has armed him with a troop his size. Lincoln can shut people up if he wants to. If he has a knife, he can go to the enemy and stab him in the neck. He grabs people on chairs and breaks their necks like he’s shaking a pillow. If a mafioso was resting in a sleeping bag, Lincoln was probably waving it around like a baseball bat. The developers have animated Lincoln, dominating power in every movement. His jumping ability seems overwhelming. His combination of size and speed is like one of the worst killers in Hollywood. Hangar 13 even calls the Mafia elements 3 Tracking. Lincoln was a trained killer and one of the best in his field. He took his skills home after the war and let them loose in an ignorant city.

Lincoln shows the bodies of his victims so that surviving enemies can find them. He openly admitted that his campaign of terror had nothing to do with justice on the streets; on the contrary, he told Father James that it was about making that bastard [Sal Marcano] feel what it was like to lose everything, to let me take everything away from him. Lincoln uses all the tricks he learned on a brutal tour in Vietnam, embodying the killer’s spirit. This isn’t a metaphor for the massacre that people went through, it’s the same massacre. He saw him abroad, made him run and took him home. Father James captured it well in a monologue from a documentary.

It’s hard to explain what it’s like to come back from the war. Charmer. Fear. The wine. Imagine you’re stuck in a dark room and there’s no way out. And every fear, every nightmare you’ve ever had is in this room with you. And no way out. All of them. And one day the door opens and you’re free. Here we go. The fact is, you’ve accepted your horror and your fear of death. And now some of you are afraid to move on. But what choice do you have? Every soldier has to get through that door somehow.

Just like the filmmakers who brought the massacre genre to the height of the seventies and eighties, Clay dealt with horror. She became part of him, inseparable from the man he hoped to become. Raised in an orphanage, sent overseas to fight in a fateful war, and then returned home to see the only family he had ever known eliminated in the blink of an eye, Lincoln Clay’s fate was sealed. He rose from the bloody floors of the massacre like a supernatural sniper with a machete, and although Mafia 3 is much – a story of revenge, criminal drama, social and political commentary – Lincoln Clay’s campaign of brute force bears all the hallmarks of Vietnam’s scapegoat history.

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