Monday, March 21, 2011

SUSPENDING ONE'S DISBELIEF IS SOMETIMES JUST TOO BIG OF A CHORE...


Hi folks,

A friend of mine just recommended a zombie novel to me, and it got me to thinking. Now, I’ve never read a zombie novel (on purpose, anyway—sometimes novels I’ve picked up have turned out to be zombie-like in their execution—kind of a lumbering, living-dead piece of work...), and have no interest in them personally. Same with vampire or werewolf stories. I can suspend my disbelief for a lot of things, but not for things I know absolutely can never happen or ever exist. My imagination is limited that way. It’s because of this failing that I don’t watch horror movies. Just strains credulity too much. If I know it’s impossible to happen, I simply can’t get scared about it.


It’s like those so-called horror movies with the recurring baddie with the hockey mask, and covered with four gallons of what looks suspiciously like blood. The plot seems to be about the same in all of them. A group of college kids goes on spring vacation and are attacked by this 6’8” guy wearing a bloody hockey mask. His brother, who appears in other movies and kills the first cousins of the aforementioned college kids, has gardening shears for hands. The other members of hockey-mask guy's family are weird and not nearly as normal as these two guys.

From the beginning, I sense this is going to be a comedy and not a horror show. Most halfway-bright college kids (I know; that's an oxymoron...) go to Padre Island or Florida or Bermuda. Not these geniuses. They opt for a place that looks more like the Dismal Swamp. It always looks like a location perfect for a Roger Corman movie and not a James Bond movie. You can tell these folks most likely aren’t going to be picking up Rhodes Scholarships at graduation, just by their choice of vacation spots.

They pull up to the cabins in their Land Rover and unpack. About ten minutes later, after having some four-star sex with the Brad Pitt lookalike, one of the cute little coeds goes to use the john and finds a head floating in the toilet. She screams, they all come a’running, and… nothing. Five minutes later, everything seems to be back to normal. After popping a top and sharing some brews and having a summit meeting, they all decide to… "be more alert.” These are the people who are going to become senators and Presidents and even Vice-Presidents? Come to think of it, that makes sense…

How did this girl think that head got there? That the person was drunk and ralphing and the toilet lid fell on him? At this point, I always ask myself: What would a halfway intelligent person do? My answer—while not very original, I admit—is pile back into the Land Rover and get out of Dodge. Not these honor roll habitués. Nope. By golly, they paid their deposit so they’re staying! In fact, at any point during the next day or so when things get worse (and they always get worse, which these kids would know if they’d ever seen a horror movie, which it appears they haven’t.) Which begs the question—if these kids don’t go to horror movies, who does? They would appear to be the perfect audience. Maybe they do go to them, but their powers of retention aren’t that great. That would be appropriate to their demographic, I suppose…

But, I digress…

One by one, the hockey-mask dude kills them off. Oh, yeah—the hockey-mask dude. The town the Dismal Swamp is located near is a burg of about 28 people. This guy’s been doing his thing for at least a dozen years (as attested by the Roman numerals on each title)… and they haven’t caught him yet? This has to be the most inept police department since the famous one in Mayberry. I mean, the guy’s 6’8”, always wears a hockey mask, always is blood-covered… and you’re telling me he never has to go to the 7-11 for a loaf of bread? No one’s ever seen him except during spring break and then only after he’s bagged his quota of college students? These cops need to take a basic forensics class, watch a good TV show about crime fighters, take some notes. Read Lee Lofland's blog occasionally. Get a clue. You’re telling me this guy never visits the local Blockbuster’s or the barber shop? At least the local sporting goods store to stock up on hockey masks? If nothing else, you’d think the boys in blue (or khaki) here might be excused for their ineptitude the first time this guy showed up and began rendering coeds room temperature in particularly gross and messy ways, but after say the seventh or eighth year in a row, you’d think one of these Deputy Dogs would think to mark the station house calendar for the next year’s spring break and go on high alert come Easter. But, nope… they’re always caught by surprise. Here’s a town could use a recall election…

And then, one by one, he knocks off each student in increasingly nasty and Technicolor ways. Each one bleeds more than the last one. This is a bad guy who sneers at strangulation. Do these kids leave? No way, Jose! They paid their deposit, by golly, and they’re staying. And always, he knocks them off, one by one, until there’s only one left. The blondest blonde, with the shortest short-shorts. Always. If I was this blonde and I’d seen one of these movies before, I think I’d be uglying myself up, throw on something the Amish might wear to Sunday-go-to-meeting. Smear river mud all over my face instead of the Mary Kay. Maybe… dare I suggest it? Get in the Land Rover and go home?

Nah. Not the wannabe Miss Allen County. Her most serious thought is daydreaming what she’s going to say in her acceptance speech when she’s awarded the tiara. That thing about opening a suntanning salon for world peace and a greener, gentler world where everybody hugs trees and adopts a housebroken baby seal…

Long before the last comely coed is running for her life from the hockey-mask dude—which brings up another observation—she’s always running as fast as an gold medal Olympic sprinter and he’s lumbering in slow-mo… but he always catches her! How does this work, exactly? Is she like a rabbit, running in circles, and the hocky-mask guy like a beagle? It’s the only thing that makes sense. It’s at this point, I want to yell at the screen, “Hey, yo, babe! There’s a Land Rover in the drive.” I feel kind of like that kid in recent commercials who’s watching a Western with his parents and they’re watching a scene where two cowboys are beating each other’s brains out and the kid says to his folks, “They do know they’ve got guns, don’t they?” Kind of the same deal here...

The zombie writer-dudes have enrolled all their zombies in the hockey-mask dude School of Running. They all lumber along at a brisk pace of about 0.0003 mph, being passed on the left by stampeding turtles... and they catch the healthy people who, if they only knew it, would only have to skip back half a pace to escape their clutches...

Anyway, long before that last exciting (this is an example of irony, in case you missed it) chase scene, anyone with an I.Q. higher than the age of their eldest child is rooting for the bad guy. These college students are all from the low end of the gene pool and the bad guy is doing a society a huge favor—these kids may procreate! Now, that’s a horror movie!

And that’s why I can’t buy into stories that I know can’t possibly happen.

You know what are worse?

Movies about angels. How come nobody points out the anatomical impossibility of movie angels? Look at ‘em! They have wings, right? No problem there. How else they gonna get around to do their good deeds and report in to The Big Guy for the weekly budget meeting? But… they also have arms. How in the hell does that work? Have you ever seen a bird with wings… and arms? That’s an extra pair of appendages that never ever happens in nature. Not even in prehistoric times clear back to the 1950’s. No one’s ever found the fossil of a creature that had both wings and arms. It’s one or the other, director-dude. If you’ve got wings, you can’t have arms also. Just. Not. Possible. How on earth can one manage to suspend their disbelief if you’re expected to buy into creatures that have wings and arms? A realistic angel movie would do away with the arms and have the angels eat just like birds in all fifty states and many foreign countries do. By pecking. Ever seen an angel movie with the angels pecking? That would at least appear realistic.

You have to wonder about the originality-factor of a writer who would model his angel character after an insect. Kind of a Rube Goldberg creation. Hey, I think I'll just stick some wings on this gal and call it an angel. Now, I'll just go teach my class in creative writing and finish this puppy up after supper...

And, you never see angels eating, do you? Another hard-to-explain anomaly. There are little kid angels who supposedly grow up to be big boy and big girl angels and even old-dude angels with white beards and modest hunchbacks. How do they do that without eating some stuff? It would also help establish some credibility if we knew they took a crap once in awhile. They wouldn't actually have to show them in the process of taking a dump or a whiz, but at least show them heading for the little building out in back with the half-moon on the door once in awhile with the Reader's Digest in hand. Or wing... With a roll of Heavenly Toilet Paper...

And, what’s up with unicorns? Not only do they have a wine bottle corkscrew sprouting out of their noggins, which is actually kind of handy for the alcoholic unicorn set—they have wings. Again, in real life if you have a pair of wings hooked onto your body, you have to give up two other appendages. Both angels and unicorns have six. Count ‘em. Six.

Modeled after a katydid...

Speaking of unicorns, aren’t they supposed to always be peaceful critters? If that’s true, why are they the only equines equipped with deadly weapons? Sure don’t look peaceful.

I’m not even going to mention mermaids. Although, it occurs to me that they could perhaps use the extra two legs unicorns have and at least both would appear to be realistic, anatomically. And, I know families sometimes read this, so forgive me (avert your eyes kids), but I’ve always been curious about how a mermaid manages sex… Come to think of it, I’ve never seen one who wasn’t nude, and there doesn’t appear to be any equipment there… Like the Aleutians, who supposedly don’t have a word in their language for supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, mermaids don’t have a word for “spread ‘em,” unless they’re talking about mermaid cops and underwater law enforcement.

What’s even scarier than audiences that buy into all of this, is that there are people living among us who actually believe in vampires, werewolves, and six-appendaged angels and unicorns. And mermaids. Really. It’s the truth. They could easily be your next-door neighbor!

Now, that’s scary!

14 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

You.are.just.too.funny.

Never thought about angels that way so you got one on me there.

Zoms, weres, vamps, I can live without.

As for mermaids having sex, I think they do it like sea horses -- mouth to mouth.

Les Edgerton said...

Thanks, Anne. I was also going to mention some other things I can't believe in. Like Disney animals. Did you ever notice Mickey has a top but no bottom? And, Minnie is going topless? Or is it the other way? Or, real animals allowed out in public with nothing covering their privates? Running around in public parks where little kids can see them? Where is the League of Decency when you need 'em? Or Daffy Duck with a top and no bottoms? The horror we're exposing our innocent children to appalls me...

Raquel Byrnes said...

That was so funny. The only slightly redeeming horror movie was Scream and that was because they pointed out teen horror movie mistakes that usually gets them killed. Then proceeded to do those things anyway and got killed. Plus, the killers were real people who messed up and got killed. Satisfying ending all around, actually.

And I thought Pegasus had wings, not unicorns.

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Rachel said...

Lol. That's such a shame, though. I was hoping to get you to read my otherworldly story once it's done. ;) But I can understand your point here. A lot of these kinds of stories are ridiculous.

As for the mer-people, the way I understood the mechanics was: the lady-fish lays her eggs, and then the man-fish visits after she leaves to distribute his genetic material via his man jelly. >.< Geez, Les. You're making me get all graphic here. Didn't someone have a talk to you years ago about how these things work?

:D

Les Edgerton said...

Thanks, Racquel! I'll have to see Scream. Heard a lot about it... at the mall food court... See how much I know about unicorns? Nada. But there are winged horses, right--Pegasus?

Rachel, I'd love to read your story. Actually, this post wasn't prompted (I lied) about a friend referring me to a zombie book, but because one of my students is writing a zombie novel. And, I can work just fine on such a work. The zombie world is just a setting and a story is always just a story, no matter what world it inhabits.

And, that's how mermaids have sex? Yuch! Why did guys go all nuts over that movie with that mermaid years ago? Did they know that's how you had sex with 'em? No thank you--I want a better delivery system for my "man jelly." Although, at my age it's more like "man marmalade..."

Les Edgerton said...

Raquel, please accept my apology for misspelling your name! I'm flagellating myself as we speak. Seriously, I'm embarrassed. Please forgive me!

I think thinking about "man jelly" threw me off.

Bri Clark said...

Love it Les. Always a pleasure. To answer your question about the mermaids...their tail has a zipper. LOL

Donna Hole said...

I take it you're a non believer Les?

I'm not sure I want the visual on how mermaids do it; but Anne's response is highly intelligent. I think . .

.......dhole

Les Edgerton said...

Thanks, Bri. Zippers? One more layer to navigate? Bra clasps, girdles (well, at one time) and now zippers? Not to mention breaking out the raincoat gear? You've got to be an engineer just to have a little fun... Sometimes, I think monks have the right idea...

Donna, I'm mostly a nonbeliever in vampires, although I have been married five times, so there's some anecdotal evidence there...

dawnall said...

Les, I laughed out loud reading this. I have always made fun of horror films for the things you spelled out in this post. I mean how seriously stupid do you have to be to react the way those people do? Suspending disbelief with horror? Nah, I just consider them comedies. Now, I have to go research mermaids to see if that zipper thing is true or you guys are just messing with me.

Sally Clements said...

guffaw...

Dark_Word said...

Unicorns typically only have the horn. Pegasus has the wings. If the two mated, you'd have a Pegacorn or a Unisus.

Angels are spirits and don't need sustenance. Thing is though... angels are actually WEIRD looking (and the buggers from Neon Genesis: Evangelion are actually fairly tame, creativity wise) if you read about them from the bible. One was a pair of rings rotating around each other... covered with eyes!

Les Edgerton said...

Dawnall, I'm hoping with you that they were just kidding about the zippers...

Thanks, Sally! Perfect comment...

Dark Word... Thanks for pointing out the difference between unicorns and Pegasas... but you do realize THEY'RE MADE UP, right? It's like pointing out that Mickey only has three fingers and no thumb and the point being that mice don't have thumbs... that comment about Pegasus and a unicorn mating made me realize that for one of them there's a SEVENTH appendage! Yow! I'm losing count...

Another thing about angels is why don't they just fly around via their thoughts instead of flopping around like bats or pigeons? Seems like a slow and cumbersome method of locomotion... And why do all of them have either 12th century haircuts or look like they just came from the trailer park hairdresser who specializes in Farrah Fawcett 'do's? Wouldn't the modern ones have something more updated? And those robes? Like kilt-wearers, I wonder if they're wearing underwear or not... So many questions, so little time...

Dark_Word said...

Unicorns: touche.

Angels: exactly. They could really use a makeover. The Renaissance look is soooooooo 5 centuries ago.