Our paranormal epics, action flicks, and monster movies are stuffed with metaphor. The billion-dollar success of Christopher Nolan’s bleak Dark Knight alerted studio executives back in 2008: metaphorical thinking was in. Summer blockbusters could grapple with bigger themes and darker allegories without turning off their sebum-soaked ticketholders. This gimmick has seeped across all the blockbuster industries: graphic novels, television, young adult books. You’re surely familiar with the biggies by now: The mutant struggle for assimilation is about gay civil rights. Vampires represent our anxiety about dying alone or, worse, never dying alone. Zombies, their uprising, and our anticipated armed struggle against the undead horde is metaphor for plague—specifically, AIDS.
You're not going to escape this one. According to this NASA satellite photo, the best thing to do is buy ALL the booze and cigarettes and pizza and batteries from the very nearest bodega and then just hope to Christ that Netflix Streaming doesn't go out. But it will go out, along with the power.
In positive news, it will be very beautiful after the storm. Just be careful not to step on frozen people and frozen stray pets, under the foot or three of fresh snow. What are your storm-coping tips?
The winner of a Florida roach-eating contest collapsed and died immediately after downing piles of filthy roaches and worms. Why did the man do this? To win the grand prize! (The grand prize was "a python.") This is what happens when an entire generation of Americans grows up believing the key to success (in the absence of hard work or talent) is doing something disgusting for media attention. Thanks, Survivor!
There's nothing funny about Deathdream. Most horror films, when given the right context, can be made fun of in some way. Show The Exorcist to a room full of drunk people in daylight and it's the funniest movie ever made. And as for torture porn? Well, there's a difference between undeniable dread and undeniable nausea. But Deathdream—because of what it's topic, the quality of performances and the subtle way it creates unease—is an unshakably grave movie. It also happens to be one of the best movies about the after-effects of the Vietnam War.
Apparently Dutch film writer/director Tom Six wasn't content to make only one sick horror flick about multiple people sewn together to share a single digestive tract. A sequel to his 2010 film The Human Centipede is now in the works-this time featuring 12 people joined ass-to-mouth, instead of just three. So he plans to supersize the human centipede! What could be more impressively American than that-especially coming from a Dutch guy?
What makes a movie horror? There are the obvious indicators: chainsaws, spurting viscera, genital smashing and other tricks in the bloody menagerie of unapologetic depravity. But some of the scariest films sneak in under the radar, infecting your thoughts and slaying your peace of mind without showing a single oozing polyp or rotting corpse. Think about it: The point of horror is that it's all metaphor-a pictorial display of the fears, anxieties, and disappointments that thrash and roil in our consciousness. Those flesh-devouring zombies and skull-munching monsters are just physical manifestations of the Inner Human Pain that can't be defined in language (except by David Foster Wallace) but still [...]
Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds made an astounding $37.6 million at the box office this weekend, proving my long-held contention that there is an audience for movies about murderous Jews. That, and this article about the Final Destination movies, got me thinking: Where's the Jewish torture porn? The goyim have had tons of horror flicks with Santa Claus and leprechauns and such; why can't we have a movie pegged to some kind of Jewish holiday where everyone gets dispatched in the most unTalmudic of ways?
Do you remember on "Mork & Mindy" when Mork and Mindy had a baby but it turned that aliens from Mork's planet were born old and then aged backwards so the baby was played by 56-year-old Jonathan Winters? The new Flaming Lips video is like that. It's pretty excellent. But, like most Flaming Lips videos, it's gross and disturbing, especially at the end, so be forewarned.
"At the scene, police found the monks and novice monks restraining the trouble maker, identified as Mr. Phonsiri Janthamas, age 45. He had been cut by the damaged mirror on his left hand, which was bleeding heavily. Mr. Phonsiri was trembling uncontrollably and appeared to be deathly afraid of something. He told police that he could see the ghost standing beside the wall of temple. The officers tried to calm him down, but were unable to calm his intense fear that made him insane. So the police restrained him and brought him to the police station to calm his emotion." —Your problems aren't so bad when compared to those of [...]
Horror movies are great at illustrating just how awful most human beings are. And not the killers, I mean the victims: whether they be valuing self-preservation over everything (and everyone) else, ignoring the obvious presence of a supernatural menace or marching bravely and directly at seven-foot-tall men with giant machetes. And if you take the daft lack of self-awareness inherent in horror characters (barring our Mike), mix it with the cringe-inducing lack of self-awareness of John Hughes characters and add a huge amount of pretense, what do you have? Art school students. [...]
In honor of the approach of Halloween, I'm going to be showing bits from a horror movie each day throughout October. I'm a big fan of horror movies and even if they're terrible there's usually something of interest going on… even if it isn't intentional. As the month goes on, the movies will get better and better; we're starting with camp and trash, pretty much, and moving into the wonderful. A note: I know you're a grown-up and you know what's going on but sometimes people can think they're a lot more ready for violence and offensiveness than they actually are. A lot of these entries are going to [...]
Strange doings in the cellular would of Bulgaria, where the phone number 0888 888 888-I hesitate to even type those digits, such is the terrifying history of that sequence-has been suspended "after every single person assigned to it died in the last 10 years." (If you guessed the Daily Mail pat yourself on the back.) Anyway, there is more.
The Awl's Tom Scocca takes Underparenting to a new level: "Diapers are for catching urine and feces. They represent neither entertainment nor education…. Butt Elmo, by contrast, represents a world in which it's not merely branding that's out of control but cross-branding. Every space is a promotional opportunity for something else."
"In a child's hands, YouTube is like a long hallway, with doors leading to ever stranger and more inexplicable places. You click on a Wiggles video, you find a link to a homemade video of an animated dinosaur lighting his own farts, which leads you to a link to a crude drawing of a volcanic ass, which leads you to news footage of Mount St. Helen's blowing up, which leads you to a clip of Helen Keller in 'The Miracle Worker' dubbed in Korean. It's like Six Degrees Of Fuckedupness."
Scary mummies in museums are not so different than you, experts say, because even the most hideous dried-up corpse from thousands of years ago suffers the same mundane risks for heart disease as people still shuffling along today: hardened arteries.
Bored researchers did a "stress test" on 137 mummies from around the world and found a third of the monstrosities were suffering from atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
The heart condition is commonly believed to be associated with modern lifestyle errors such as smoking cigarettes and eating so much bacon and thinking that's funny, but this new research suggests mummies have been suffering these heart problems since the [...]
"Biologists first encountered the cancer in the late 1990s. The tumors grew on the devils’ faces or inside their mouths, and within six months the animals were dead. The first cases appeared in eastern Tasmania, and with each passing year the cancer’s range expanded westward. When scientists examined the cells in the tumors, they got a baffling surprise. The DNA from each tumor did not match the Tasmanian devil on which it grew. Instead, it matched the tumors on other devils. That meant that the cancer was contagious, spreading from one animal to another." —Nature, in all its weird and terrifying glory, is killing off the already endangered Tasmanian [...]
My technique was to always wear a hoodie. (Thankfully, most movie theaters are overly air-conditioned, though still I often sweated right through my clothes.) The hoodie was because, when I put a finger in each ear, that way I would still have something free to pull down over my eyes. For I was the world's most horrible horror movie wuss.
And yet I kept going to them. I never actually had to walk out, though once I almost threw up in the Union Square Theater… fifteen minutes before the previews even started. While the lights were still up.
You don't see a horror movie to have a nice time. You don't go to lace fingers with your sweetie and laugh at the witty repartee and sniffle into your shirtsleeve during the climactic emotional breakthroughs and gradually be lulled into halcyon repose filled with reassurance that humanity is all roses and puppies and gold lamé jumpsuits. You go to have your consciousness assaulted, your moral grounding questioned, and your niggling suspicion that our species is teetering on the edge of total depravity confirmed. You go to be right-hooked out of the day-to-day complacency of post-industrial Western life. And above all, you go to have your motherf&%#ing balls scared [...]
I'm skeptical about this whole "decade from hell" business. I mean, just because financial karma finally arrived to kick the U.S. in its bulbous consumer-driven ass, that means the entire decade is somehow linked to Satan? The last four months of 2001 were from hell-that's certainly true. And the entire summer of 2009 (when hell's photogenic spawn ruled the media with her red heels). But seems to me this ten-year span should have been dubbed "The Decade We've Been Setting Ourselves Up For During the Three Previous Decades, and Now We Act All Shocked That We're Broke and the Rest of the Developed World Wants to Lob a Shoe Up [...]
How bad do you want to be on TV? Bad enough that maybe you could be tricked into being held captive for two months in a villa outside Istanbul, because there actually was no show? BECAUSE YES, THAT HAPPENED. The nine women weren't harmed but "were told to fight each other, to wear bikinis and to dance by the villa's pool." Which, sounds pretty much like my last weekend, only much longer, and therefore better? But also, how do you know that the reality show for which you are "auditioning" is a real reality show, not a prison? There are a couple of ways to know, and one of [...]