Saturday, October 22, 2011

The 4 Worst Horror Movie Cliches

Every movie uses some clichés, but horror movies are easily the biggest offender.  A cliché is only good when it is needed and horror movies think it's needed as much as suspense, fear, and gratuitous nudity.  Hollywood seems to be afraid that a horror movie without them would no longer be a horror movie and that the audience is full of idiots who would think the hero is competent and the villain is as intimidating as a dwarf with a pocket knife. That mistaken view on moviegoers would almost make sense if any horror movie ever made was based on reason and logic.  The vast majority don't, so the use of clichés in these movies are about as pointless as the romantic comedy cliché of running onto a plane to stop your lover from moving to Argentina to open a Starbucks.  None of this would happen in the real world, with or without it.

 Coffins? What the hell?  I thought this was about Dracula.

Here are the four worst clichés responsible for making so many horror movies unwatchable or unintentionally hilarious.

The Trip Up 

Everybody knows what this is.  It's when the protagonist....oh shit, THE KILLER IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU! RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!  No no no, don't trip over your own feet.  Get up.  Good, now go through the door's locked?  That door is never locked.  Quick, go through the side door.  Okay, good.  Now just get into the car and...jesus lady, you dropped the keys?  And they slid under the car?  Well drop to your stomach and get them while crying hysterically.  Be quick but you should have enough time.  That killer isn't in much of a hurry since he is chasing you by walking.  Well, it's more of a saunter really.  The killer is sauntering after you.  You find the keys klutz?  Good.  Now just...OH FOR FUCKS SAKE, the car won't start?  Give the car some gas.  No?  Bang your head against the steering wheel and curse at the car like it's your dead beat father who your mother killed this very night twenty years ago.  That worked?  Holy shit, that's weird.  It's like the car did that to you on purpose.  Well, you should be safe now that...oh great it's suddenly raining and you are taking that turn way too fast on these seldom traveled mountain roads, in which, yeah, yeah I think so.  That's you in the car at the bottom of the cliff isn't it?

It's easy to see why writers/directors do this.  They need to keep the hero in danger, otherwise the movie is over before the killer Tim Curry clown is revealed to be a giant spider for reasons only a drunken Stephen King could vaguely remember.   Why movie studios persist on coming up with coincidental crap to keep the hero from running away is lazy writing.  Some creativity would be nice but when so many villain bio's read like this, "Serial Killer:  Crazy dude who is stabby", then creativity might be too much to ask.

Is a killer clown who is also a giant spider the best the "Master of Horror" could come up with?

The Deadmeat Character.

This is the character who has only been in a few scenes of the movie and has had only 3 lines of dialogue.  Obviously, this person is the first to die.  This character has no point in the movie other than to increase the body count.  The audience won't care when they died, because that is there only reason to exist.  So really, this character is an existentialists perfect human.  The question is, will the rest of the cast care when they die?  There are two possible outcomes.
  1. The rest of the cast moves on very, very quickly.  Sure, they might have one scene of mourning, or one "NNNNOOOOO" scream as they witness the death, but 5 minutes later that character is never mentioned again.  The other characters usually don't bother with a eulogy since it would sound like it was written by the bartender who kinda remembers him as the dude who drank wine with ice.  "Rest in peace, uh, guy.  You seemed cool that time you asked me what time it was.  That was fun.  Also, I liked your hat.  Well, I think I liked your hat.  Maybe it was that other dude from Seattle with the cool hat.  Yeah, I think it was him since you had an accent that sounded like...Korean?  I'll just go with Asian.  Okay, yeah, the dude with the hat was not Asian.  Anyway, we will miss you and regret that thing we may or may not have done to you."
  2. Most of the cast moves on quickly, except for that one person who goes insane.  In some movies, the deadmeat character will suddenly have a best friend who reacts to the death more harshly than Kanye West reacting to anything even remotely critical of his music.  The friend usually will grow more and more insane until they jeopardize all the other protagonists or become a bad-ass who goes all out to avenge the death.  Actually, that is a pretty big margin.  There is a 50/50 chance the rest of the protagonists get a MVP or a Ryan Leaf from the insane guy.  They could possibly end up with a combination of both, a bad-ass who is also detrimental to the team.  Listen for key phrases like "I'm gonna have me some fun", mixed in with the jungle fever nonsense.
 "Don't worry guys.  I'll go into that dark corridor with the hissing noises first."
The Edit Jump Scare

There is nothing wrong with a good jump scare (a sudden event designed to make you jump out of your seat with fear) as long as the timing is right and it's in frame.  However, to compensate for poor timing, movie makers will just use the power of the editing room to squeeze a scare in where it doesn't belong.  It's a cut so cheap and unfair, it punches your dick off then forces you to watch it have sex with your girlfriend just to show you what you can't do anymore.

With the edit method, you could add a jump scare to anything.  Imagine if you were watching Die Hard, and right before Hans is pushed off the building, the movie cuts to a picture of this...

...and you...feel...violated.  It's like the movie promised you free candy but instead made you snuggle up to a guy dressed like the unabomber.

It's scary, confusing, and makes you question why a supposedly loving god hates you so much, but it doesn't feel like it's actually happening.  The movie betrayed our trust because the jump scare didn't occur in the movies reality.  It's a 4th wall type of scare because it exists only to get a reaction out of the audience, not the characters.  Besides, the characters shouldn't even react because to them, nothing happened.  It's like being worried about an asteroid strike and jumping whenever Jupiter gets hit.  It would be more worthwhile to buy insurance to protect against Viking invasions than for the characters to react to these jump scares. 

Strangely enough, the best example of these jump scares don't come from movies but online "screamer" videos.  If you don't know what those are, then welcome to the internet and here is one below.  Don't watch unless you have a change of underwear and want to hate me for the rest of your life.  (Sound is NSFW and don't watch if you have a heart condition).

What's so scary about a stick-GAH!

The Villain Never Really Dies

It's the last scene of the movie.  The hero has won and is off to safety.  The camera turns around and  zooms in on the dead killers face...OR IS HE!  *Killer opens his eyes.  DUN DUN DUUUNNNNN.   Of course the killer isn't dead.  Hollywood needs to turn this into a franchise and make sequel after sequel until it becomes a parody of itself.  Except for maybe the Leprechaun movies, which was an  unintentional parody of itself since the first installment. 

If a horror movie is going to have sequels, either bring in a new villain or don't kill him in the first one.  There are other ways to have a satisfying climax to your movie and still leave the story open for a proper sequel.  Try trapping the villain in cement, an alternate dimension, or on the cast of Jersey Shore.  Any of these options would leave the villain nice and pissed off for the sequel tentatively called, "The Revenging Killer Revenger."  Or you could actually kill the villain and just have him come back as a ghost.  The killer would be subjected to even more clichés, but at least now it would explain why one of the protagonists has something called a neutron pack.  It's something that the movies lawyers insist was not stolen from another movie, unlike the idea to keep the villain alive in any way imaginable by a 6-year old.

"And then I was like 'pew, pew'.  Then the ghost said 'sorry' and played video games with me"

How the villain came back is always a difficult question for a sequel.  Many movies just completely ignore it and just say, "Hey.  He's just alive alright.  Can't we just leave it at that?  You already gave us your money anyway asshole."  Some movies give an explanation but it's always so completely random and stupid that it would be reasonable to think the producers regularly drink antifreeze, mistaking it for absinthe.  It's usually something along the lines of, "The killer has a twin" or "The Devil decided the killer was too evil for hell".  Then there is magic, which is such an easy Deus Ex Machina tool, that it's surprising every movie doesn't just explain every implausible scenario with magic.  In Independence Day, the audience must blindly believe the alien mothership is compatible with a Macbook.  If it was a horror movie, they could just say the mothership had an old gypsy curse cast upon it when the aliens abducted a gypsy in 1923 and tried to give her a sponge bath.

The worst explanation for why the villain is still alive comes from the movie that just invents a rule that didn't exist in the previous movie.  "The serial killer didn't die because you can only kill him at midnight Friday night.  I know this was never explained before but hear me out.  The bullets actually hit him across state lines and thus, in a different time zone.  Time zones are a big deal when it comes to moon monsters.  Now, if he got hit with the bullets, fell down, then crawled back toward the state he was in, he would be dead.  But, he's alive.  You see, he gets his powers from the Moon, so the shine from the Moon at 11:00am was still strong enough to keep him alive.  At midnight it's not strong enough because of um, magnets.  That is what demons need to die.  Oh yeah, and because he didn't die, he can fly now.  Forgot to mention that.  Ghosts can fly and he's a ghost.  But he's not dead.  He is a vampire, actually."  If any of that makes sense, congratulations, you're insane. Or you make horror movie sequels, which is basically the same thing.

Disclaimer:  This article is satirical and opinionated.  Please don't hunt me down very slowly.  I trip a lot.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Horror Movie/TV Show Monsters Make Bad Horror Stories.

What do a lot of the best horror stories have in common?  Some kind of imposing threat right?  Serial killers and other crazy people seem to play the villain in half of this genres stories because they are easy to build a character around.   A writer can give them whatever traits he or she wants.

That is not the case with horror monsters though.  They always have to stick to certain defining characteristics.  The serial killer only has two:  crazy and kills people.  If a writer ventures too far away from the definition of a horror monster, it becomes something else and fanboys will rage against it with angry message board posts on


Here is a rundown of why many of the most common horror monsters ruin horror stories by being as threatening as a PSA on the dangers of walking with your shoes untied. 

Zombies:  They are only effective in large numbers, making a single zombie about as horrifying as the elderly, who are still kinda horrifying in a "looks like a corpse" way.  Since horror stories need suspense, zombies always seem to sneak up on somebody in these stories even when alone.  It's like they know when to stop moaning when there are fresh humans right around that dark corridor.  How a large group of stupid zombies can pull this off is a mystery since they are not well known for their leadership abilities.  Well, Dick Cheney was a leader and he is practically a zombie, so I guess it's possible.

Most of the danger in a zombie story usually comes from the protagonists themselves.  There are always several character archetypes.  The smart guy, the bad ass, the old dude/lady, the slut, the couple (oh I bet one of them won't be bitten!), and the jack-ass, fuck-up, or traitor.  Those last three are sometimes the same guy and they always screw everything up with either their incompetence or douchebaggery.  It's like he thinks if he were to give the zombies everybody else, the zombies would spare him and give him safe extradition to Madagascar.  Although, if they get away with their crap in the story, they never think it all the way through and end up having to fight lemur zombies.

 Ehhhhh, I will consider your offer for....AUUGGHH eat one with gun.

Witches:  Their back story always seems to be about turning to black magic because they want revenge.  No seriously, they always want revenge.  If they don't, then their just evil for evils sake.  Even with their evil powers though, they always have a weakness.  I'm not sure how many have a deadly allergic reaction to water, but I know if I was a witch, I wouldn't just leave buckets of water sitting around in my home.

Werewolves:  Not sure why they always seem to appear in vampire stories eventually, but the werewolf is mostly just about being a bitchen wolf.  Which, is bitchen because wolves are awesome.  Some movies have them being able to control their "shifting" and their consciousness, which leads to them being aggressive....and not much else.  That makes werewolves about as horrifying as that drunk at the end of the bar who thinks you might be the postman who is sleeping with his wife.  The uncontrollable werewolf is much better for a horror story.  It makes them unpredictable and thus much harder to take a picture of for a t-shirt when they are howling at the moon.

 Hey!  You told me you wanted a werewolf for your t-shirt photo shoot.  Well?

Ghosts:  Unlike the other monsters on this list, many people believe in ghosts.  Also, they aren't really monsters.  They are usually dead peoples souls who are left behind because they have been wronged, or because they really like being evil.  Or because they really liked the house they were living in and now some black people moved in!  Or because a little kid and his counselor ghost friend, who hasn't realized he is dead despite only having a small child talk to him for months, haven't helped the ghost cross over.  Or because their great-great-great-great granddaughter hasn't avenged their pet cats murder.  Or because, for a lot of reasons is what I'm getting at here.

They usually have some sort of supernatural powers which usually include dimming the lights, knocking on doors really hard, writing on things with blood (whose?), interior design, and appearing only in the 3rd act of a movie.  Some of the more clever ones go for the possession route after realizing they aren't very good at throwing knives and that having physical hands is better for strangling.  The smartest ones just possess Jack Nicholson once they realize he is already kinda crazy and has probably had 4 people killed with his connections.

 How he greets everybody.

Most ghost movies have gone for "gritty realism" now a days, such as the Paranormal Activity movies.  This has probably been influenced by the dozen or so pseudo-scientific ghost hunting shows currently running.  At least the movies haven't borrowed from the TV shows too heavily as many scenes in the movie would just be two people sitting in the quiet dark for 30 seconds until one of them suddenly turns to the other and whispers, "Did you hear that?"  Also, using EMF detectors to find ghosts is a pretty gross misunderstanding of what that device does.  When a ghost hunter thinks a device is helpful with finding ghosts based on some dude who bought one once at Home Depot and noticed numbers on it when they moved it around their house, it probably means they have found just as many ghosts as Scooby Doo. 

Vampires:  Not sure when the pussification of Vampires began, or why it was even necessary, but they where the kings of horror movie monsters for a long time.  Dracula was a badass.  You would have to be a badass to be able to wear this and not get the shit kicked out of you or invited out antiquing.  Yet, modern vampires have gotten angsty and understand today's youth for some reason.  It's almost as if every new vampire story is being written by My Chemical Romance.  

True Blood has bucked this trend some.  The vampires in that are older, not total wuss factories, and still murder people without discussing their feelings first.  Okay, there is a little of that, and the show is losing me with too many supernatural entities, but at least they still have their weaknesses.  The sun kills the vampires in this show, it doesn't make them glitter and wax poetic about it making them look like a Hello Kitty notebook.  Surely, that is embarrassing but you're a fucking vampire! You could easily kill whoever made fun of you.  A bedazzled gun is still a gun.

 Even worse, for some vampires, lasers turn them into a metallic alphabet

So right now, Vampires have to be considered the lamest horror monster since they barely qualify as one today.  Than again, you are pretty much safe during the day so maybe they where kind of lame to begin with.  Actually, almost every horror monster is more, or only, effective at night.  No wonder aliens and robots sometimes appear in horror films.  They are the only ones who are a 24 hour threat.

Well that decides it.  Sci-fi is a better genre than horror.  That is what I set out to prove in this post right?  What's did I title this again?  Oh...shit.

Disclaimer:  This article is stupid.  Also, honorable mention to Frankenstein's Monster but he was really just a super zombie anyway.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ayn Rand and Modern Republicans Attempt to Stay Wealthier Than You.

Authors note:  WARNING.  Political content ahead.  I don't usually write about political topics because most of politics is stupid.   Most politicians don't want to do anything good for the country.  They just want money and power.  The things they attach their name too is to achieve those ends. Half the time, the ideas they support are usually pet projects or something they couldn't give less of a shit about.  That said, it gives me an excuse to bitch about Ayn Rand.

For seemingly forever, much of the political scene has been dominated by talk about increasing taxes on "job creators" to help pay for needed spending and to pay off some of the debt.  Republicans, of course, hate this because it makes sense.  They think taxes will make them poor because six figures is poor to them.  It's a level of poverty so severe, some might have to sell their private jets.  Truly desperate times.

 It's okay, we have extras.

But why?  Why are so many Republicans against this tax increase despite nearly every poll showing 65% or more of people in favor of increasing taxes on """job creators""", including many Republican voters who apparently have no idea what their party stands for?  Why are so many against raising it back to the Clinton era level (39%), a time when the economy was doing so well, nobody thought twice about continuing to produce Full House for eight laugh-free seasons? Why do so many of them completely ignore the fact that Der Furher Reagan had the top marginal tax rate at 50% for most of his presidency yet Emilio Estevez never complained about being taxed too much?

The answer to these questions is because a lot of modern conservatism is being driven by Ayn Rand and her "Virtue of Selfishness".  And yes, it's as stupid as it sounds if you never had that Objectivist stage in your college years so many of us went through.  Most of us grew out of it though once we realized the world already tried her method and it was called the 1920's. 

 It's okay.  We love squalor

Ayn Rand is a hack author and philosopher who loves Capitalism so much she named her dildo Mr. Wall Street.  The free market is the porn by which she double clicks her mouse while watching "job creators" sell toys with cheap, delicious lead paint.  She also hate fucks Communism to death with the power of 10 Joseph McCarthys.  She also has indirectly influenced the rise of Libertarianism even though hard core Rand fans claim her philosophy of Objectivism is different.  Economically, Objectivism is different from Libertarianism just like a dollar is different than four quarters or how Avatar is different than Dances With Wolves.

Her "Virtue of Selfishness" is the moral code by which people should live by and one in which absolutely nobody will ever, EVER misunderstand.  She has redefined selfishness into a word meaning "concern with one's own interests" while removing the "screw everybody else" part but then proceeds to screw everybody else.  It basically argues for everybody to strive to become an economic producing superhero, kind of like what Donald Trump thinks he is, but without that pesky helping people satisfaction.  However, if everybody succeeds and becomes a superhero, there is no need to help anybody. It's so boner inducingly idealistic that even utopias have developed erectile dysfunction.

 All this technology yet not enough Viagra.

The problem is this moral code has little room for human error.  It is extremely anti-sacrifice.  If somebody fucks up economically, there is no safety net except for the safety net companies who can charge an absurd fee since, who else are you going to turn to motherfucker?  The government?  They don't have the power or the authority in this free market system.  Charity?  No free handouts in this society comrade.   All you got is the private sector and they care more about money then seeing somebody get back on their feet.  This is a system where loan sharks thrive and the only way to get a job is to physically fight every other applicant or blow the boss.  Then it stays just as bad once someone gets a job as they receive a welcome e-mail on their first day that just says, "Welcome to Thunderdome bitch!" 

Ayn Rand's economic views lack realism.  There is no problem letting people climb the ladder, as long as there is a ladder.  Job Creators™ will place the ladders wherever they see fit, usually up the working classes ass, and make every step up as painful as fucking a blowfish.  Rand wants a free market completely free of government intervention on any level meaning the people at the top can make up their own rules.  Rand argues they will be rational and do whats best for their companies as if people have never acted irrationally in the history of human kind, you know, like that Communism thing she thought was irrational.  Plus, she must have missed that day at school where you learn what is best for a company (having as few employees as possible do the most work for as little pay as possible) means being a cruel tyrant.  This makes the starting out point a huge advantage for some people.  It is something that Rand knows quite well since she was born into a bourgeoisie, also known as Capitalist, social class.  It appears the one thing lacking in her philosophy of Objectivism is objectivity.

 Excuse me!  As a rich person, I know we are raping, not wrecking, thank you very much.

Modern day Republicans use her arguments to support their belief in the free market clusterfuck.  They believe raising taxes on job creators® will make them not want to create more jobs because that's why unemployment is so low right now....

No wait.  That's not right is it?  It's almost as if these Jesus Christs of Business (job creators) just used the tax cuts to write themselves fat bonus checks and did not reinvest that money into their businesses, which would create jobs.  And it's almost as if a job creator* is actually just a rich douchebag who owns a gold toilet just so he can have some modicum of truth when he tells his trophy wife that the toilet is more valuable to him than some money grubbing whore.  This rich bag of dicks probably has a private jet just so he can fly to Africa and eat a giant sandwich in front of starving children. He probably has a stock portfolio filled with the truth to the Kennedy Assassination (the killer was his father, Richard Nixon), the cure for cancer (not profitable enough since he makes more money with his funeral home), and the electric car (doesn't do a good enough job compensating for his dick size).

*The term "job creator" is used loosely here.  Rich people rarely create jobs because they don't like to spend money, especially on things they can't own.

So just pass the tax increase (oh, and that jobs bill too).   When the oppositions best arguments come from Ayn Rand, then there is no reason anybody should listen to them.  Then again, people like to believe in fantasies.

Disclaimer:  This article is satirical and based on opinion.  Ayn Rands beliefs are not crazy everywhere.  Actually, maybe somebody should remind the Republicans that she was also a pro-choice Atheist.  Oh wait, sorry.  She was a godless baby murderer.  Better?

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