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American History X’s Scriptwriter Knew The Film Would Have Lasting Impact After Witnessing One Spine-Tingling Moment

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One of the most talked about moments from American History X is the infamous curb scene. It sees Derek Vinyard – who has yet to go to jail and has been trying to change his behavior – use a curb to brutally kill a man named Lawrence (Antonio David Lyons) who was trying to steal his truck. In an interview with The Enthusiast, David McKenna noted how that moment cemented his belief that the film would live on for many years to come. “Every single person in the theater jumped out of their seat at the same time. I knew this movie would have a lasting power,” McKenna said.

One of the most disturbing elements of American History X, aside from the graphic violence, is the fact that it’s not entirely fictional. Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and racists are all too real, and in writing the screenplay, McKenna took full advantage of this sad truth. “I had kind of been watching these guys from afar for a while,” he told Forenseek, adding that he took his research to a scary new level when he and Tony Kaye attended a party one night. “For half an hour I talked to a guy who had an M-16 tattooed on his head. It was pretty intimidating, if not scary,” he recalls.

“American History X” will go down in cinema history as one of the most uncomfortable and at the same time most important films of the 20th century. Of course, if you’ve never seen it and want to check it out, don’t expect a light, airy watch.



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