Friday, October 29, 2010

2 more days 'til Halloween (Halloween, Halloween)

2 more days 'til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

For the first time in a while, I made it through the Halloween season without watching the Halloween movies. Not that there is anything wrong with them, mind you, I just didn't. This year has been more about a lot of other classics, mostly from the 70s and 80s. Here are some that I watched in the last month (there are spoilers, so don't continue on, if you don't want the plots of 30 year old movies ruined for you):

The Omen 2

Damien is back! Despite the fact that this movie came out 2 years after the original, about a decade has passed, and Damien is in boarding school, where he discovers he has demonic powers (the power of staring people into the fetal position and making their brains die by, you know, staring at them). At first he seems pretty against the idea of being the son of the devil and stuff, but by the end, he is pretty cool with it and kills his best friend/cousin with the brain killing thing because he strangely has an issue with his best friend being the anti-Christ. Silly bastard.

The Omen 3

This one could have been so much better; The first two were good (the original is awesome, who doesn't love hearing Gregory Peck say "Damien?") and it has Sam Niel as Damien this time. Sam is a damn good actor, I loved him in Jurassic Park and he was one of two shining beacons in that turd Event Horizon (the other being Lawrence Fishburne. Props to Jason Issacs for looking like a scary bad guy even when he isn't) , but man, this thing floated before being flushed.

This one came out in 1981, 3 years after the second, and again Damien has aged over a decade. Now he runs a major corporation and has political aspirations. He also has forcible butt-sex with a woman, which I imagine is what the son of Satan would do, but then after the initial horror of being sodomized, she seems pretty okay with it. Back in the first movie, we find out that kin order to kill Damien, he needs to be stabbed in a certain order, on holy ground with 7 daggers. This is reiterated in the second. By the third, apparently sticking him with one in a non-lethal place is enough to end Satan's reign of terror. I guess the writers were getting bored by this point, too.

The Gate

Not at all what I was expecting, but that is not necessarily bad. In this movie, an old tree falls over in a very 1980s back yard in the 1980s suburbs. 2 1980s little boys accidentally unleash unholy demons into their 1980s world and very nearly bring about a demonic cataclysm that opens the sky and brings the dead back from the grave once or twice.

No one seems to notice. Literally, there is a giant tornado from Hell spiraling up into the sky in the middle of a crowded neighborhood and not one person comes out of their house to see what the fuck was up. Of course, this was the 80s, so maybe Micheal Jackson was burning off his hair or a little girl was stuck in a well and everyone was glued to their TV.

Despite being almost painfully 1980s, it was still a charming little movie. Go watch it and enjoy the cheese.

Pet Semetary

The movie has it all; Stephen King, scary animals, creepy kids and an idiot making out with his dead wife while goo dribbles from her shattered eye socket. It also gave us Jud, played by Herman Munster, and therefore the old guy from every other episode of South Park that is constantly warning people not to "Go ovah theyah."

Pet Semetary is iconic; it's one of those movies that without us even realizing it, squirreled its way into pop culture without even trying. It also has a ghost with a smooshed head that kind of acts like the guardian angel from It's a Wonderful Life, only he REALLY sucks at his job and manages to save exactly no one, and still manages to look really smug while doing it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crows, scary black (AWESOME) birds

I watched this the other night:

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.

It is freaking amazing; you will never look at those obnoxious black birds the same way. In the opening scene, the narrator (Sigourney Weaver!) explains that the town in Canada had a crow problem, so they held a contest to see who could shoot the most as y of dealing with the problem. They managed to kill a single crow before the rest figured out how high to fly to avoid being shot, then told their friends.

It turns out that crows have developed smarts for much the same reason we did; they are omnivores and opportunists, just like humans. That lifestyle requires that you learn multiple methods for obtaining food, and to be good at all of them. Along with that comes the necessity of communal living, which means that communication becomes important.

They have also evolved tool use, and are actually much more impressive about it than monkeys and apes. They have been shown to memorize truck routes and traffic light patterns, all to ensure they get the good food.

So the next time you see a large, black, beady eyed bird watching you, it likely is plotting something against you. Maybe even to kill you (or at least your livestock.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween week: A week of pure self indulgence

For those of you who somehow managed to find this blog, read it with some interest, and didn't know I write for, I write for, and have been for over a year and a half. I usually focus on science related subjects, but occasionally branch off into things like movies. Okay, I branched off once on movies and once on people.

This week, myself and Jacopo della Quericia have an article slated to run the last week day before Halloween, about which I am completely stoked. Also, Cracked's Halloween page features an article about zombies I wrote that ran 2 months ago and apparently angries up the blood of zombie lovin' types.

In the spirit of being a total attention whore and shamelessly self promoting douche, I bring you a list of Halloween Appropriate articles I have written for Cracked for you to enjoy, and possibly tell me why I am an awful person after reading.

7 Terrifying Giant Versions of Disgusting Critters

7 Awesome Acts of Nature (That Science Can't Explain)

13 Real Animals Lifted Directly Out of Your Nightmares

6 Creepy Animal Behaviors That Science Can't Explain

6 Things Your Body Does Every Day (That Can Destroy You)

6 Terrifying Diseases That Science Can't Explain

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today I was thinking about Centipedes...

So, I wrote this several months back (I did not do the header image, the rest is all me though) and the number one most horrifying monster on the list to me was the Gejigeji, a monstrous Japanese centipede that are apparently considered good luck, and look like a bunch of spiders glued together with fear:

I could not imagine how anyone could not be horrified by these things. Then something really weird happened; people in the comment section of the topic page started saying "Those are just house centipedes, they have them where I live." So I looked them up, and lo-and-behold, they are an ancient family of centipedes that really should only be terrifying to insects, spiders and scorpions. They are completely harmless, kind of like if a werewolf only ate other werewolves. (Which is to say they are still freaky to look at, but at least they don't bite)

So because my life seems to love irony, I discovered within a week of the topic page being featured on Cracked that the apartment building I live in is infested with these things (the smaller American version, which tops out at about an inch and a half) and it turns out they are fascinating and not really scary up close.

The first one I saw I thought was a cockroach, and it moved FAST. They hunt by jumping on their prey, and believe me, these bastards can jump. This segues nicely into the whole reason I am posting this; this morning, I find a little one, no more than a half inch long in our bathroom sink. My wife is the kind of awesome person who wouldn't kill a tarantula, despite being terrified of spiders; she would just make me take it outside. Fortunately, New Hampshire is lacking in wild tarantulas.

So she had noticed the little centipede in the shower and scooped him up and put him in the sink so as to not drown him in the shower; this is where I found him. I showed my 4 year old, who thought he was cute (he was, actually. I like it when animals act like dogs, and he was cleaning himself, which looked a lot like a dog scratching itself)

I caught him after a chase (they can run like a damn bullet train) and carried it over to a particularly poorly built part of our bathroom where he could run off into the darkness and be safe. I set him down on a flat surface, and he leaped 180 degrees from what we would consider upright to upside down faster than I could register it and ran off.

Why there is not a "Gejigeji Man" superhero yet is beyond me.

Okay, maybe because the people he rescued would run away screaming. The best part about these things? Not only do they pounce on their prey using those awesome jumping skills, they poison them, and beat them to death with their legs. It's like a bug mixed with Mike Tyson and Ted Nugent.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Food + Death = Fast Food

I decided that since I am all out of cream at home today, I would stop by McDonald's and get breakfast; their coffee sucks way less than it used to, and I am a huge fan of all things fried. I was actually surprised by the amount of grease on my sausage biscuit, which is pretty terrifying considering a sausage biscuit from any fast food joint is little more than a lattice of biscuit and spices used to hold grease together.

There was so much, it soaked through the wrapper, which was completely translucent at that point, and even drenched the Monopoly pieces on the hash browns, which were sitting on top of the sandwich. They tend to be greasy enough on their own, but Jesus Christ, when they are being out-greased by their neighbor, something very wrong is afoot.

Now, I am also a huge fan of booze, but I am certain that if I die early because of ingesting too much of something, it will wind up being Burger King instead of vodka, which makes me significantly less cool than a rock star. On the other hand, I won't have herpes, chlamydia or syphilis when the sweet embrace of death takes me, so I think that ultimately I am the winner here.

I will likely muse on fast food quite a bit here because it is A. Funny, B. Deadly and C. I have issues with obsessing over shit and fast food is a pretty big addiction for me.