I Love The Video For Thriller And I Am Not Ashamed!

Most spooky music video ever!

Most spooky music video ever!

Thriller is my favorite music video ever made. There, I said it. In 1983 I was twelve years old and running home from junior high every day to watch it on MTV. Remember when MTV used to actually air creatively made music videos? Yes, they actually used to do that! Shocking, I know! They would play it once every single hour and I would watch it again and again totally engrossed with its zombies and other spooky visuals.

As everybody knows Thriller was directed by John Landis and is filmed in a style that recalls the horror films of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Not only does it contain an elongated version of the song itself, it also has a detailed plot which is in turns fun, spooky, then fun and spooky! Nothing exactly like it had been done before and who the hell knew that Michael Jackson was heavily into old school horror films? Perhaps this is the first sign that we got to see of him being a bit unusual.

I grew up watching horror films. I saw Xtro, Dawn Of The Dead, Galaxy Of Terror and many others all in movie theaters during mostly double billed shows. On TV I watched a lot of Vincent Price and Hammer horror films and loved them to death! So, when Michael Jackson came along and not only made a spooky song but a spooky video to go along with it I was happy beyond belief! I was the kind of kid who made haunted houses in her closet and who dug in the sand at the local playground hoping to find the foundations of a burnt down Victorian house that used to be there. Yep, I’ve been pretty much morbid since birth!

It was cool to like the video and you weren’t seen as a complete freak if you did. If you said that you ran home to catch the video nobody thought you were an insane geek. Then again we’re talking about my junior high years, so perhaps if you were in high school at the time things were different. I would have liked nothing better at the time than to have been able to enter that spooky world and run through the cemetery where the zombies were rising from their graves. No, seriously, I’ve always been a bit into being chased by evil creatures, hiding from them and surviving. Yes, I’m strange.

To this day I can still watch the video and be highly entertained! There is just something about it that is not only spooky but highly nostalgic. I can look back at when it first came out and smile knowing that it helped shape me into being the person that I am today. Thriller has definitely been a part of my spooky journey through life.

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I Want To Be A Scary Old Woman

Yes, I want to be THAT woman!

Yes, I want to be THAT woman!

The other night the husband and I watched the horror film Dolls. Now, I had never watched the film before. So, there I was laughing my ass off at the scenes of dolls murdering people with little knives when I was entranced by the character of Hilary Hartwicke, an old woman with a penchant for dolls. For a while I couldn’t figure out why I was attracted to a character dressed like a Edwardian headmistress and then it finally occurred to me; I want to be a crazy old woman who lives in an old Victorian house.

I think it would be awesome being a scary old woman living in a crumbling Victorian. Here are the fun things I could do!

-Keep toys that children throw into my yard.
-Own as many cats as I damn well please!
-Sit out on my poach in a rocking chair and just look into space with a menacing look upon my face.
-Bring spider shaped cookies to my new neighbors, making sure to blacken my teeth to up the scare affect.
-Start a chainsaw in the middle of the night in my basement.
-Dig a hole in my backyard, also in the middle of the night.

What’s cool about being a scary old woman is that you will be considered eccentric by many and you can get away with almost anything. For instance, when you are out grocery shopping you can give children being pushed around in carts by their mothers evil looks and make them cry. Fun times! The best time of year would be Halloween! My scary house would be the one in town that kids would dare their friends to go up to. My front door would automatically be a gateway into the evil unknown! Neat!

Fashion is important if you’re a scary old woman, so I could dress like Miss Havisham from Great Expectations and practice my walk so that it looks like I’m gliding over the pavement. Once in a while I would even dress in garish colors just to up my scary level a bit. Most of my hair is naturally white already, so all I would have to do is not dye my hair for a while and I have instant scary old lady hair!

Yep, she's dead!

Yep, she’s dead!

Decorating is important so I would put Victorian momento mori photos all over my walls. Nothing says scary old woman more than photos of dead people! The furniture would be heavy and dark and there would be various tacky and frightening knickknacks covering all surfaces. The outside of the house, would of course, be unkempt. I wouldn’t paint the house, instead I would allow the natural patina of the old wood to shine through. The grass outside would never be mowed and bushes and trees would be allowed to go wild.

I would make a great scary old woman, wouldn’t I?

Favorite Villains: Hannibal Lecter

As played by Anthony Hopkins.

As played by Anthony Hopkins.

Yesterday my husband and I watched most of the second season of the TV series Hannibal, and it got me thinking about how much I love the character of Hannibal Lecter. Sure, he is meant to come across as an emotionless serial killer, but I think he is a bit more complicated than that.

What makes a good film or TV villain is that a small part of you can sympathize with them. That’s right, there will be a little tiny part of you that thinks that what the villain is doing is right. Mind you, you wouldn’t do it in real life, but getting to see somebody else do it makes you feel a bit warm and fuzzy.

What is it about Hannibal Lecter that gets my blood flowing? First off it’s the fact that he hates rudeness and will kill people for it. If a violinist in an orchestra plays really badly Hannibal will consider the player to be rude for disrupting an otherwise beautiful performance and kill him for it. Yes, that may be an over the top reaction to a bad performance, but I find it fascinating character trait. I mean, what other fictional serial killer is so cultured that he considers it the height of rudeness to not practice an instrument?

Another thing I like about the character is that he won’t automatically kill you if you get in his way. The chances are that he will, but if he finds you to be interesting he won’t touch you. He likes to study people, since he’s a psychiatrist, and his innate interest in steering people into doing what he wants them to do overrides his desire to kill them. Then again, he could steer you into doing something bad, and THEN kill you. You never know!

As played by Mads Mikkelsen.

As played by Mads Mikkelsen.

As I said before he is very cultured and doesn’t fit into the stereotypical cast of a serial killer. He attends operas and participates in fundraising events for the arts. Cooking is, for him, more than just a past-time it’s a form an art. An art that makes use of recycled human body parts, but we can’t all be perfect! Actually, he’s doing his bit to save the environment by recycling so let’s give him some credit!

The character has appeared in a total of five films and now a TV series. My favorite film of the series has got to be The Silence Of The Lambs and I absolutely love the series Hannibal. Both Anthony Hopkins and Mads Mikkelsen are excellent actors and both bring a level of pathos to the character that you wouldn’t expect a serial killer to possess. Mads Mikklesen is an awesome Danish actor by the way. if you haven’t seen Vahalla Rising, in which he plays a Viking warrior, you are missing out! Plus he’s easy on the eyes. *wink wink nudge nudge*

What is comes down to is that Thomas Harris, the creator of the Hannibal Lecter, made a very complex serial killer; a villain that is easy to root for and sympathize with. I don’t know if Harris purposely created his character in that way, but that is what makes him one of the greatest villains of all times. Well done!

Our Friend The Ebola Virus

This little guy only wants a hug.

This little guy only wants a hug.

I’ve always had an interest in the Black Death and other such plagues, which at various times have attempted to wipe out the human race. I feel that it is nature’s way of thinning out the herd a bit. Do I sound like a cold hearted person, do I not feel any compassion for those who catch a plague and die? Of course I do, however humans themselves have been a plague upon the planet so in the end it’s only fair. If the Black Death hadn’t wiped out half of Europe how overpopulated would the planet be now? Yeah, think on that for a bit before you get angry at me.

About a month or so ago I began to see reports online about a new outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. These sort of events have happened over the years but not to the extant that it is happening now. Usually it’s contained in a small area, but this time it is in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a record number of 66 reported spots of outbreak. Even more concerning is the fact this particular outbreak has killed over 60% of the people who have caught it. That’s right, if this little puppy spreads there will be an even higher death toll than when the Black Death hit.

It wasn’t until this week that I started to see news reports on the major new sites about this newest event. Since it’s happening in Africa I’m betting that they didn’t think anybody would give a crap. I mean, who cares about non white people dying, right? It’s kind of like the missing blonde white girl syndrome. You know, when a white blonde girl, or woman, goes missing it gets twice the attention than any other case of a missing person. We all know that is true so don’t even start denying it.

Why should the average person care about this particular outbreak? This one has spread further than any other Ebola outbreak and has spread more quickly. This is due to people leaving their area when symptoms occur and going to a new one. It is NOT an airborne type virus, you can only get it by infected body fluids coming into contact with your body fluids. A small cut would be all it would take to get infected. One reason why Africa is particularly vulnerable to it is because of the common death ritual of caring for a relative’s body after they die. If the relative was infected when they died you will more than likely get it if you prepare their body.

Now, for the record, many are saying they it will never leave Africa. I highly doubt that. Considering how easy it is to jump on a plane and go to the other side of the world I have no problem saying that I think it could. It can take up to 3 weeks to show the symptoms of the virus and during that time a person can go on a plane, leave there body fluids on a highly touched surface and somebody else can get it by transfer.

Have I forgotten to mention the symptoms and what happens to you when you catch it? How dare I be remiss! This is taken right from the CDC website:

Symptoms of Ebola HF typically include:

Fever
Headache
Joint and muscle aches
Weakness
Diarrhea
Vomiting
Stomach pain
Lack of appetite

Some patients may experience:

A Rash
Red Eyes
Hiccups
Cough
Sore throat
Chest pain
Difficulty breathing
Difficulty swallowing
Bleeding inside and outside of the body

The bleeding from the body bit is what really gets me. People, towards the end, start bleeding out of every orifice, because their organs are liquifying. Yep, you are decomposing while you are still alive! That has got to be one of the most gruesome things ever! I think the Black Death may be a bit jealous when it comes to that part, all it did was cause swelling and make your face turn black! Well, not exactly, but you get what I’m saying!

Spooky TV: The Twilight Zone

My favorite episode To Serve Man.

My favorite episode To Serve Man.

Recently I purchased the entire set of The Twilight Zone on Blu-ray. When I lived in the US one of the local TV stations would have 48 hour marathons of it every year. One time I stayed up a full twenty-four hours watching it. I don’t know how the heck I did that, but by golly I was sure proud of that achievement at the time. Yes, I’m a nerd. Over here in the UK it is not as well-known and I haven’t seen a single episode of it on TV while here. Was I supposed to just use the word ‘whilst’? I’m so confused about British grammar!

Anyway! Where was I? Oh yes, I was about to talk about why I love the show so much. I can directly blame the show for my current love of the sci-fi, horror and post-apocalyptic genres of books and films. Yes, it has influenced my tastes that much. Episodes such as Time At Last, which dealt with a lonely bookworm left alone after a nuclear blast, spoke to me. I mean, could you imagine being completely alone after that kind of thing happening? What would you spend your time doing? Drawing still life portraits of half burnt buildings? Heck no! I would wander the wasteland, a mysterious figure neither good or evil, kind of like the Man With No Name in the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. Oh, except I’m a chick and I don’t smoke cigars.

As I mentioned in the caption below the photo included in this post To Serve Man is my favorite episode. It’s just so ironic. Aliens come to Earth claiming that they come in peace, when in fact they have arrived for more nefarious reasons. I’m not going to completely spoil it but if you think about the title a bit I’m sure you can figure out. It points out how really naive the human race is and how we shouldn’t trust seven-foot creatures with big heads. What would really happen if aliens came to Earth? Independence Day is so full of crap, there is no way that humans could defeat a superior force of alien beings. Hell no. Instead they would probably try to lull us into a false sense of security, maybe hand us all cute stuffed animals as gifts. *coughs*

If you watch enough episodes in a row you’ll notice how often the same back lots were used. Yes, I have noticed that. Watch closely enough and you’ll recognize the house of the Beaver in Leave It To Beaver and even Elvira’s! How neat is that? Very, I tell you! Also, you’ll notice the use of a famous location called the Vasquez Rocks. It’s a spot that was also used in episodes of the original Star Trek, another TV series that I really love.

While there are some very good TV shows being aired right now I don’t think any of them are as good as The Twilight Zone in terms of writing. Rod Serling himself wrote a huge amount of episodes. Having just watched through season one I can tell you that the man wrote or adapted almost 36 episodes! Seriously, he was a prolific script writer. It also featured Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson. Matheson is probably best remembered as the author of I Am Legend. No, not the CGI riddled Will Smith Film, I’m talking about the original story.

There are TONS of people who appeared on this show before they became famous; William Shatner, Martin Landau, Jack Klugman, Robert Redford, Charles Bronson, Robert Duvall,etc… In almost every episode I can either recognize a well known character actor or somebody who went on to star in films. I can’t think of any modern show that has spawned that much talent. No, ER doesn’t count; it’s not a spooky show and it’s crap.

I will always love this show because it holds a warm and fuzzy place in my heart. If you happen to live in the UK and have never seen it go out and buy a season and watch it, you will be awed. Honest!