Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!
So, being that it is nearly Halloween, I’m doing a Halloween rant. Not because I want to, mind you. It’s because I’m told columnists have to write holiday related pieces around holidays. I would actually protest and say that Halloween is not actually a holiday per se, but I suspect I am going to be out voted.
So in the
forced march spirit of the season, here is my contribution to Halloween reportage: five Halloween monsters that actually aren’t that terrifying.(yes I am dying a little inside here)
Oh how far the mighty vampire has fallen.
I know, I can already hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth at this. Vampires. Nosferatu. Bloodsucking denizens of the night. Scary right? Ok, I will give you that the classic vampire – Dracula, Blackula, Count Chocula and probably Blade – scary as all get out. Fangs, super strength, hard to kill and sneakyer and more badass than a Ninja Chuck Norris.
Unfortunately, the tragically evil figure of the classic vampire has been replaced by his weaker, whiny, simpering and often inexplicably sparkly counter parts. The original Dracula was suave, if utterly lethal, ladies man. You know, like Shaft with fangs. (Was Shaft a vampire? Seems like he should be, right?) Plus he could only come out at night, which met going to sleep was a bad idea. Then came Twilight and the dawn of the emo vampire. Danger was replaced with teenaged angst and vaguely stop-staring-at-me-you’re-being-gross-and-creepy. Really, stop it. And they came come out during the day? What the hell is that???
Terrifying level: Two vials of blood out of five. They still have powers beyond the ken of mortal men, but are too busy crying in their extra-virgin Shirley Temples to know it.
4) The Mummy:
One the one hand, the Mummy has the whole undead thing going for him. Popular motif for monsters that. Basically if you want to be a true monster that will frighten the bejesus out of someone, you have to have died first. Think about it: vampires, zombies, Bettlejuice, Stephen Harper….all once dead, now undead. Or dead like. Or at least not very life like most of the time. Essentially mannequins that can ruthlessly hunt you down. (Note to self: pen screenplay about mannequins conquering a mall clothing store and making the shoppers stand in uncomfortable poses in windows. Bite me, Stephen King.)
Anyway, you know the deal with this guy. Mummified Egyptian bigwig, comes back from the dead because of a curse in hunt of a woman who vaguely looks like his dead girlfriend. Actually that is kind of Dracula’s M.O. too….anyway, I digress. He shuffles about like a drunken sailor to fix up his bandaged body and find said girl and then is eventually killed by a flash light.
Terrifying level: one ancient sarcophagus out of five. The Mummy’s problem is best summed up by Will Smith playing Muhammad Ali in the movie Ali: “That mummy has one eye and a limp. That mummy’s 643 years old. He can’t catch nobody. Look at him. You gotta fall down ’cause that’s the only way the mummy could catch you.” I did I mention he gets killed by a flash light?
When I was a kid, Jason was part of a 1980s generation of movie monsters that had every kid on my block scared out of their minds: Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. Mike Myers from Halloween. Andie Walsh from Pretty in Pink. They were constantly butchering teenagers who had apparently been left alone by negligent baby boomer parents who figured there was nothing wrong with their kids spending the night in an isolated forest with no means to call for help. Where was FACS, that’s what I want to know.
Jason was basically the Mummy with a wardrobe upgrade and a knife. He was also flash light proof as I recall. But how he ever managed a single successful kill was beyond me. He had all the agility of redwood and the brains to match. And he made almost no attempt at stealth or speed. You mostly have to let Jason kill you. He is so unimpressive that I actually think the entire Friday the 13th film series is a metaphor about how nature culls the stupid.
But his great failing was his most iconic feature. The goalie mask. Look, I played hockey for a long time and really, if you want to know who, on any given team, will eventually snap and go homicidal, it’s the goalie. These dudes spend all their time putting their bodies IN FRONT of vulcanized rubber being launched at them at 100 miles an hour.
But Jason wore an old school goalie mask. As in Gerry Cheevers old school. Those masks have no peripheral vision. So all you have to do is step the side and walk away.
Terrifying level: Two hatchets out of five. Shambling, shuffling, only able to move in straight lines and might as well have vascular degeneration his eyesight is so bad. Still, he has a knife, which is more than any of the other entries on this list had.
2) The Blob
I would have loved to have been in on the meeting where the script writers pitched this one. If you don’t know, the Blob first appeared in a 1958 film called, well, The Blob. It is essentially a story about a really dangerous bit of mucous that slithers (is that right? can a blob of snot slither? It has no appendages to speak of or even a belly. I mean, a snake slithers….what’s the right verb to describe how a blob moves? Squishes?) and slimes people to death. Somehow, despite not having any clear means of locomotion or opposable thumbs, this heap of Silly Putty manages to consume most of a small American town.
Basically, pour a bunch of melted cheese and Jello on the floor, and there you go. That’s the Blob. Are you terrified yet? Not only that, but the Blob can really only strike during the summer months, because it reacts to the cold the same way anyone with any common sense reacts to gangnam style. You just lock up in terror and cannot move while your brain slowly shuts down.
Terrifying level: one bowl of runny porridge out of five. Seriously, the Blob would be the lamest monster of all time, but the original movie was Steve McQueen’s first leading role. And Steve McQueen’s cosmic level of badassry makes even the most awful movie better. You can argue with me on this point, but you would be wrong.
Oh for the love of….zombies??? Look, I don’t get the fascination with the zombie walks, and making dead presidents zombie hunters, and zombie remakes of classical literature. And I’m not talking about 28 Days Later zombies. I am talking about the only true zombie – shuffling, groaning, poorly dressed and mostly physically useless genetic defects who are so slow they make Jason and the Mummy look like Usain Freakin’ Bolt by comparison.
Essentially, take your shoe off, leave it on the ground and run away. That shoe has a 1000% higher chance of killing you when you later walk by and trip and fall than a zombie does. (Yes, math geeks, I know 1000% isn’t a real thing. But it should be.)
At least The Mummy and Dracula have motivation of sorts. Count Chocula wants to give kids juvenile diabetes. Jason has the foresight to carry a weapon. And the Blob has Steve McQueen (The Magnificent Seven, baby!!!) But the zombie? Look, aside from bizarrely being amazing dancers when Michael Jackson showed up wearing a Buck Rogers jacket, they just wondered around like cows, if cows ate brains. They cannot figure out how to open doors, or throw a rock or run. I mean, their limbs fall off while they are walking slowly after you for pity’s sake.
Terrifying level: zero rotten limbs out of five. Ultimately, the zombie is only slightly more dangerous than a goldfish left out on the kitchen counter. Or the Blob minus Steve McQueen.