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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ten things I have learned from Horror Movies...

So… it’s another sleepless night, and I’m getting ready to watch a movie. Kingdom of the Spiders. Oh yeah, you read that right. Not familiar with it? Me neither. According to the IMDb plot summary, an Arizona vet discovers his town lies in the path of hoards of migrating tarantulas while investigating the mysterious deaths of a number of farm animals. Before he can take action the streets are overrun by killer spiders enraged by the misuse of pesticides, leaving a small group of townspeople trapped in a remote hotel.

A bad 1970’s “nature on the rampage” sci-fi/horror film is calling to me right now.  Something tells me the special effects in the stop action animation Star Wars trilogy my friends and I made when we were kids were better. I want to make sure. Besides…It’s got William Shatner in it!!! I almost HAVE to watch it. 
Here's a little "taste" 
Come on. Click on it. You know you want to... 
Because William Freaking Shatner!!!

I watch a lot of horror and monster movies, and have since I was a very small child. That probably explains a lot.  I like it all – silent German Expressionist masterpieces like Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; Lon Chaney and his groundbreaking makeup artistry; Vincent Price; Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in all those B-movies from Hammer Studios; the teen screams…

You get the idea. I’m a fan. And the more blood and guts the better! Over the years of watching many a horror movie, I’ve learned some good things. Things that just make sense when you think about it. So grab your pens and jot down my list. You never know… it might come in handy some day.

10. Never EVER buy a house that has a basement or an attic because that is where the bad stuff happens. Think about it. Have you ever seen a horror movie where good things happen in the basement or attic?  No. Those are the places people get tortured and killed. It’s also where the ghosts all migrate to. It’s simple logic. And if you hear a noise upstairs and you know you are home by yourself, GET OUTTA THE HOUSE! If you go wandering up the stairs asking, “Hello, is anyone up there?” you pretty much deserve to get mangled for being the dumbass that you are. It’s called thinning the herd.
9. Do not clone predatory dinosaurs and expect things to go well right out of the gate. Seriously, here - in the movie Raptor, they’re trying to clone “dinosaurs with a brain” to do heavy labor and generally become grunt workers for mankind. Okay. If you’re a MORON I guess that sounds like a good plan. So they start with… wait for it – Velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Because you KNOW that ten-ton killing machine is totally going to use sentience to go “sure, tiny meat-snack man, I’ll work my tail off for you!” If you’re going to clone dinosaurs, please start with a plant-eater.

8. If you are hiding from something of the flesh and blood variety, shut the hell up! Don’t sit there whimpering and crying because, NEWSFLASH, they can hear you!

7. Large breasted women usually get killed first, and almost always naked. What’s the first rule of negotiation? It’s called leverage. No one makes it far in horror movies without something that gives him/her value. Whether it is a prized object, a weapon, or simply clothes – if you have no bargaining power you WILL die. So keep some clothes on. They can give you something to bargain with.
6. The only way to kill a zombie is by shooting them in the head. I thought this was just common sense… but apparently some people are still unaware of this fact. You can also cut off their heads. But for the sake of simplicity – if you are being chased by a zombie aim for the head! 

5. I like snakes. I am, in fact, a snake fan! That being said, I have no illusions about the fact that the two snakes I’ve owned would have happily eaten me if the situation presented itself. There's actually a species of anaconda that's managed to figure out, all on its own, that people are made of meat. Researchers were disappearing in South America at one point, because while the snake had made this impressive leap of logic, it hadn't told anybody that lived. In short: giant snakes are a bad, bad, bad idea. Do not do it.

4. I also like swamps. I am pro-squishy, marshy, horrible places where I can romp around in ankle-deep goo. I do not go into swamps while drunk. I do not go into swamps where people have recently disappeared. I do not go into swamps alone when there's any chance that the swamp harbors a secret clan of cannibals that has been eating swamp-goers for generations. You shouldn't do these things, either.

3. Do not poke the slime that fell from space. Let someone else do it, while you stand at a safe distance and get ready to run like hell. Actually, unexplained slime is pretty much never ever Ever EVER a good thing, as it means either "alien blob," "alien drool," "leaking nuclear power plant," "flesh-eating disease and there's a skeleton under there"...yeah, all of these things are just not good. So do not poke.
2. There is NO reason to run in high heels across broken or uneven ground. Maybe if your choices are "high heels" or "barefoot in the junkyard"… but that's just a maybe. If you step on a nail that's gonna suck, but if you're scared enough, it's not gonna slow you down one bit. You’re running for your life, you don’t need to look that good. If you break a heel, on the other hand, you're gonna fall down and the man with the hook for the hand is going to catch your ass. High heels get you gutted. This has been a safety announcement. You’re welcome.

1. When all else fails, use your head. If it looks like a creepy old house, it usually is. If you get a bad vibe when you go into some place, go with it and leave. If you walk through the front door and you hear an evil voice say, “Get out” take that advice and GET OUT.
So there you have it, 10 things I’ve learned from watching horror movies. And why is it the scariest movies are the PG-13 movies, not the R rated ones? If you have anything to add to the list, feel free, I’m always up for learning something new!
And here's a Scary Movie Supercut.
Sorry... No William Shatner in this one ;-) 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Remind me again why people play Monopoly?

Because if you want to ruin a perfectly good friendship, play Monopoly. Come on! I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way. According to Hasbro, more than one BILLION people have played Monopoly since it first hit store shelves in the 1930's. So there’s got to be more of “us” out there. 
What better way to bond with family and friends than have one of you dominate financially? Right?!?
Even the game’s name tells you how much fun you won't have when you play. According to Merriam-Webster’s, a monopoly is “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service”. Or in simpler terms, a monopoly is an unfair arrangement in which a person or entity corners dick moves like raising prices, or denying access to vital resources, or refusing to sell you Park Place. In essence, the board game Monopoly simulates establishing a business situation that makes everyone hate you. 
Over the years, I’ve played Monopoly more than I care to admit and it always ends in one of two ways: 1) I quit early, or 2) I wish I had. I grew up playing Monopoly with my brothers and sisters – usually on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes, our father would join in too as long as he was BANKRUPTING most of us – and when he wasn’t he was suddenly “too busy” to play. Each game always started the same way… we agreed to play it out to the bitter end, and we agreed to finish no matter how miserable we were. It’s the same principal that makes people climb mountains, or compete against each other on reality TV shows to see who can eat the most African cave dwelling spiders before they puke. It's fun because it isn't fun. Eventually, boredom overwhelmed our sadism. Nothing is fun after five hours. Nothing.
No. not even that
Ok. Maybe that
And binge watching Game of Thrones.
For the few of you out there who haven't played Monopoly, it's an open-ended game designed to cause stalemates. At least that’s generally what happened at our house on Sundays when there were only two of us left. That usually happened between hours four and five. No. We're not competitive. We're not competitive at all. By that point the final two of us left in the game were by ourselves – praying for victory or death. Or both. Because by that point, the prospect of going bankrupt and losing seemed less painful than the threat of real-life starvation. Sometimes it seemed like the $200 you collect for passing “GO” was just enough money to make the game last FOREVER
After enough turns going round and round the board it usually got to the point where one of us - or BOTH - would declare victory if we were still speaking to each other. But the real winners were the ones who went bankrupt hours earlier. They were upstairs with the bucket of Legos. 
Eating popcorn. 
Watching Star Wars. 
Or this... 

Many specialized editions of the game have been produced over the years featuring sports teams, tv shows, cartoons, and more. All simple, cosmetic changes designed to trick the uninformed into giving the game another chance. Most recently, Hasbro gave the lineup of player tokens a makeover. The iron was retired. Why the iron and not the wheelbarrow? Because no one wants to get stuck with the wheelbarrow? Ever. Maybe it was retired because men had no idea what it was and women didn’t want to be reminded of what they had to do when the game was over.
The iron was replaced by a cat token. That makes sense when you think about it. A cat is understandable to lonely men and women alike. I'm convinced those are the only kind of people who play Monopoly. If they aren’t lonely when the game started, they are by the time the game ends According to Hasbro, the longest Monopoly game in history lasted for 70 days, a fact anyone who has ever played the game will find entirely believable. 
So next time you're tempted to play Monopoly why don't you try to do something quicker and easier instead. Like learning quantum physics. Or finding Pikachu...