What Happens In Prisons On Purge Night

The Purge

The Purge movies have each given us a different look into what goes on during the franchise's famous Purge Night -- where for 12 hours just about all crime is perfectly legal in the United States. Through three movies, we've seen the home invasion of a rich family's mansion, terror combing the streets of a city, and an attempted assassination of a politician. And yet the truth of the matter is that there are many scenarios and locations that would be fascinating to see unfold within the fictional universe on the big screen. A perfect example of this is what goes down in prisons -- which series creator James DeMonaco says could very well be its own film someday.

With The Purge: Election Year arriving on Blu-ray and DVD this past week, I recently had the chance to chat with James DeMonaco over the phone, and I dedicated part of my interview to questions about what goes on in particular areas of the Purge universe. Thus far, we've written about his ideas concerning hospitals and air travel, but his thoughts about what goes on inside prisons will get the blood pumping in any horror fans' veins. Said the writer/director,

In prison they just open up the cells and allow mass hysteria, everybody out for themselves - but that's a whole movie.

It's not terribly hard to picture, is it? On Purge Night, all of the guards surround the building and protect the exits, and when the time arrives for the Purge to begin, the doors of all the cells open automatically, and violence comes spilling out. Surely there will be some prisoners who try to abstain from the bloodshed and hide from the more murderous folks walking around (your potential protagonists in the narrative of a feature), but it's hard to imagine any of these guys being able to last very long.

On beyond just being a perfect scenario for a horror movie, the idea of a Purge film set inside a prison also provides incredible opportunity for political commentary -- which is a huge part of the franchise. When you factor in statistics for our nation's prisons, the scenario is extremely easy to fit into the larger series themes about class disparity, and inmates fighting back against the system on Purge Night is great material for a story.

There is one lingering question about this scenario that I sadly didn't get to ask James DeMonaco: exactly how populated are prisons in the Purge universe? One has to wonder both because the number would surely decrease after each annual Purge Night, but also because the number of people in jail would also speak to the effectiveness of Purge Night and whether or not it actually does bring crime down 364 ½ days out of the year. I guess making a movie about the situation would be an opportunity to address this query.

We don't know when we might get to see a prison-set Purge movie -- but the future is certainly bright for the franchise. In addition to The Purge: Election Year just recently landing on home video, James DeMonaco also confirmed to us the development of The Purge 4 and a television series. Stay tuned for more news on all of those fronts, as well as stories from my interview with the filmmaker!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.