Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dracula Ants: Even worse than Vlad Tepes

Everyone knows Bram Stoker drew inspiration and the name "Dracula" from the old Walachian lord Vlad Tepes, who liked to have Turks impaled in large groups to show other Turks that they should really stop coming up into Hungary.

Deadliest Warrior gives you a really good idea just how fucking awful it would have been to die this way, so you may be wondering how I could possibly compare something to a guy who did that and say it was worse. I give you Adetomyrma venatrix, the Dracula Ant.

They aren't very big, but then, they don't need to be. They make up for their lack of size in sheer evil. See, the Dracula ants have a very peculiar method of feeding, and by "peculiar" I mean "so horrible that there is no punishment just enough to pay one back for this."

You see, Dracula ants derive their name from, you guessed it, their propensity for drinking blood. While that in and of itself isn't completely terrible, who they drink the blood from is. They get it from their kids. Dracula ants bore holes in their larva in order to drink the juices inside, and the kids don't like it. Rather than just sitting around passively allowing the workers to open them up and drink them, the larva try their damndest to get away. That's right, the baby ants know fear.

Kind of makes your own parents seem pretty awesome by comparison, doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A gripe I have had about horror movie monsters for a while...

I am not talking about crappy horror movies like Skeeter or the many many (many) shitty Italian horror movies where the monsters are basically "guy with messed up face, possibly undead, maybe", but many good movies.

Off the top of my head, The Lost Boys, From Dusk 'Til Dawn and the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead are offenders. The gripe? Once you turn into a monster, the human body apparently turns into pudding. Harvey Keitel points it out in FDTD, in fact, explaining that the vampires are squishy. The other two, in my opinion, much better movies don't bother to explain any rationale for it, we simply are expected to think that if you have something vaguely pointy and shove it at another human (or former human) that it will pass straight through them like a hot fork into Jell-O.

In case you are wondering what I am referring to; in the Lost Boys, when the Frog brothers and Corey Haim sneak into the vampire lair, a skinny 13 year old manages to put a thick, kind of blunt wooden stake right through Bill S. Preston, Esquire's sternum with about as much effort as sticking a knife into a hamburger. I m not suggesting yu try that exact thing, but just as a test, find the exact center of your chest. It's pretty hard isn't it? Now try to push your finger through it. Go on, I'll wait.

Still here? Good. If not, well, then I am wrong , but you are dead and can't complain. If you are still alive, though, that is because your sternum (the bone right over your heart that keeps your ribs from flailing like a Half-Life zombie's) is thick and hard, specifically to protect you very-important heart from being poked and therefore killing you. This is very important to would-be vampire hunters, since if we assume that vampires are real (they aren't, take off the black makeup...) and can live for centuries, we can assume that A. they are NOT made of pudding and would laugh off your retarded attempt to poke them to death with a pointy stick (seriously, no monster could be considered scary if this was a valid way to kill one) or B. they are made of undead tapioca, but would likely draw on their hundreds of years of not being dead to maybe put on some armor, or at least a thick sweater.

Corey Feldman's anti-vampire weapons are rendered useless by a douchey piece of clothing.

For zombies, it is their head. In the new Dawn of the Dead, the husband from Medium stabs a zombie in the chin with a broken croquette mallet and it comes out the top of his head. Holy SHIT. Be careful if you brush your teeth too hard, you could wind up with a splitting headache. (I am building a laser in my basement; once the book is published I am starting a new career as a Bond villain) The original had a zombie meeting his maker by getting a flathead screwdriver slowly ground into his ear.

I guess once you die, your skull turns into an eggshell. Except they can be repeatedly beaten with little or no ill effects; it's just once the stabby things show up, monsters turn into warm butter. I realize this is an easy way to make them not-too-daunting, or to get the character out of a corner they are painted into, but come on folks. At least they didn't do anything silly like give a nurse a shotgun.. Oh Wait...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Proposal Update, and a quick word about roadkill

Just FYI to those that care, I finished the chapter outline and Robert and I came up with a list of "competitors", which I need to do a writeup about, and I will be doing a quick update to the intro to mention things like the Saw movies and shows like Dead Like me and Six Feet Under to show that there is a strong contemporary interest on the subject.

Now on to other things... It is beginning to be Fall here in New Hampshire, and that means people going insane about dead leaves, apple cider and pumpkins, and a shitload of dead animals in the road. This seems to have a lot to do with the animals being more active since they are stocking up for the winter early (they do that here), so they are out more, and then there are the old folks. New Hampshire may be called the Granite state, but it could just as well be called the "Geriatric Wastelands" since everyone here is either a college student or an old person.

This is important to mention because many of these people insist on driving long after their faculties have left home, much like their children's children's children. This leads to slow driving and sudden braking for no apparent reason, as well as a lack of focus that renders creatures like porcupines, raccoons and opossums invisible. On the plus side, most of these animals are shy so you rarely see them out and about. The bad news is that when you do, most of the time their guts are out and about too.

However, it would be unfair to merely blame the elderly; see this is New England, where the people who aren't old are mostly assholes. Okay, so that may be unfair, there are some really nice people here, I have heard. I just haven't met many of them.

New Hampshire's motto is "Live Free or Die", which is typically interpreted to natives as "Fuck you, I will do whatever I want, and treat you like YOU are the dick if you call me on it." That is a bit wordy for the license plates, however.

While this image is just someone trying to be clever, that slogan is literally one of the most popular bumper stickers (or "stickahs" if you happen to be a hick from around here) in the entire state. I mention all of this because I have known people who actively aim for small animals in the road. I am willing to bet that many of these people still wet their beds and want to be cops, meaning that they are likely all serial killers in training (this is not a far fetched belief if you have ever met anyone from NH)

The final group (and mind you, these three make up roughly 99% of the NH population. The 1% of decent human being exists because nature abhors a vacuum and despises remainders) is made up of people who drive so fast that they can't register the movement of small animals like squirrels, chipmunks and moose. I myself have killed a moose with a car, but I plead innocence based on the fact that I was driving in an ice storm in April, because fucking New Hampshire has ice storms in April some years.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Speaking of zombies...

I thought I would share this, since I am in kind of a zombie mood; it's one of the best "living dead" parodies out there. God I love South Park.

Night of the Living Homeless

It has everything; References to both Dawn of the Dead movies, and even a shout out to Dr Frankenstein from Day of the dead. Enjoy.

Terror has a new face (and it is Zombie Fanboys)

The chapter outline is done;
And that means exactly jack-squat right now, but it will have more significance soon, don't you worry.

On to the main point of this post.

I have been toying with this for a while and I figured now I would take a little time to address some people I offended last month when this article ran:

7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail (Quickly)

I was verbally beaten, mercilessly, by the most dedicated fanboys in the world (apparently), the zombie fanboy. They come in many flavors; Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead, even 28 Days Later. But the most virulent, rabid, and scary of them all are the Max Brooks Zombie fanboys. Holy shit, those people would cause a Muslim terrorist to give pause.

In case you are unfamiliar with his work, Max Brooks is the author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, two very clever, well written and interesting works of fiction. I make that distinction since the hardcore fans of his books seem to have missed the "story" part of the term "story book" and jumped right in to buying water purifies, canned food and (God help us) guns.

Now, many of the people who posted comments said, and I quote, "the author apparently never read The Zombie Survival Guide", which was actually pretty astute; I had never seen a real copy of it until the day after the article ran. Much like all of the psychopathic virgins fans who commented on my article, I enjoyed it immensely. Unlike them, I understood that it was a work of fiction, lovingly created by a fan of the genre.

Much to my continued chagrin, I wound up taking many of their comments personally, despite being well aware of the fact that reading comments is one of the many things HP Lovecraft tried to warn us against in his many works documenting the horrors of the universe. They are like the might Cthulhu, and if you view them, you will go insane and babble for eternity. Or, you know, you will make a complete asshat out of yourself and start trading insults with obsessed 13 year olds over the internet. I chose the latter. (I chose wrong)

A few points I would like to address briefly;

The movies The Crazies(The original and the remake) and both of the 28 Days Later movies are "zombie movies" in the fact that they follow the similar themes and tropes; doomsday scenarios where humans are turned into monsters that propagate by turning normal people into the same thing.

I was writing about undead. And not Max Brooks's undead (or as some truly bewildering fanboys called him, Mel Brooks. I am serious, look it up), but the walking corpses of the original 1978 Dawn of the Dead, the single greatest Zombie movie ever made. Pretty much every convention we have stemmed from this one movie; the new breeds, the bite-spread super sprinter zombies gained popularity with the 2004 remake.

This brings me to another point; in the article I mention that biting is a horrible way to spread a disease. For the truly confused (and there were a lot of them) I would like to clarify; zombies biting is a horrible way to spread disease. I am well aware of things like mosquitoes and fleas. Yes I know biting spreads malaria and west Nile, and spread the Plague. But those were spread by insect bites, not zombies.

My final note; I totally get that people took the article personally. It was my fantasy, too, probably for longer than some of the offended have even been alive. But as the old web saying goes (and I will burn in hell for writing this, I am well aware); Arguing over the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics; even if you win, you are still a retard.