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As a movie lover and a Batman fan, Kevin Smith felt devastated by the mass shooting at a Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora, Colo. This week, Smith's Hulu chat show Spoilers -- in which he discusses a new movie with an audience that has just seen it -- was supposed to be dedicated to the latest Batman film. Instead, he led the audience in a sort of group therapy session, as Smith and his fellow moviegoers worked through their anger, fear and confusion about the Aurora massacre. The result is a thoughtful, sincere and non-reactionary discussion about something that's been on everyone's mind. Watch the episode below.
"This is a show about loving movies... Movies mean the world to us," says Smith in his opening monologue. "This thing that happened, this shooting, it's not only offensive to us as human beings, it's offensive to us as movie fans. We find safety, security, wonder in those darkened theaters. Movies are about escapism."
Throughout the 20-minute episode, fans of all backgrounds weigh in on their reaction to the real-life horror story in the news. The father of a 5-year-old wonders how he's going to explain it to his Batman-loving son. A longtime comic book fan bemoans that the shooter used Batman, "the non-gun superhero," as an excuse to unleash violence. A former Marine expresses his condolences to the families of the victims.
Smith himself talks about how he's now afraid to go to the movies for the first time. ("How long will that stick around, the residual feeling of, are we safe here?" he asks.) Furthermore, the shooting has made him paranoid for his 13-year-old daughter.
"Just as she's getting to that place where it's like, 'Alright, we can give her more freedom,' something like this makes you want to pull the kid back into the house," says Smith.
The filmmaker ends his show by encouraging viewers to talk through their feelings and keep going to the movies, urging, "Never let anyone take your freedoms away from you."
In the wake of Friday's unthinkable tragedy, murder suspect James Holmes, 24, made his first public appearance in court on Monday. With his wild hair dyed orange and red (to mimic Dark Knight villain the Joker), the alleged shooter reportedly showed no emotion, instead looking dazed, sleepy and vacant during his hearing. He did not speak, instead allowing his lawyer to speak for him. Accused of killing 12 innocent people and wounding 58, Holmes may be facing the death penalty. He is currently being held in jail on 24-hour suicide watch.