Note: This is not only longer than most of my pieces (highest word count yet) but it’s also the heaviest. It’s not meant as a kind of preachy manifesto; instead I woke up, thinking about a video clip on Yahoo! News that reported on the newest, scariest drug on the streets (it makes PCP look kind of quaint). Experts explained it was probably behind a rash of exceptionally disturbing, gruesome homicides. The clip also helpfully more or less told you how to find it on the internet and what it sold for, plus that it isn’t branded as an illegal narcotic officially yet. I hoped the report–the clips showing what it’s reduced people to (I watched, frozen, as the news report quickly turned into a scene from a found-footage horror movie when it took at least three huge cops to cuff one white kid and wrestle him into the back of a cop car: though his face was blurred out, you could see his mouth open unnaturally wide as he began to scream and roar like a character possessed by a demon during a failed exorcism) –scared most people away. Anyway, I saw that the lungs mentioned above and below hadn’t been identified yet, and that the coroner seemed rather blase about the whole thing. “It seems odd,” one quote read, “that they didn’t have any other body parts attached to them” (yes, I suppose you could call it that). I meant to write a shorter, lighter piece, but it turned into this. I tried to include direct links only to reference sites, instead of a link you just click on and get a gut-punch of material that even I found offensive. If my links aren’t enough and you do decide to scour the internet for more info or photos of any of the events I refer to, don’t do it if you’re feeling even a little off-kilter. You CAN look at that hellish visual documentation, obviously, I’m in no position to judge you. I try to keep the vibe here at Horror Boom relatively positive; I want horror fans to enjoy reading and visiting, and come back and have more fun –not to bum anyone out. I did several re-writes to do my best to ensure that. OK, you have now been warned that the following post isn’t a non-stop feel-good jamboree, and about seeing photos or discovering information you wish you hadn’t. Oh, and I swear even more than usual. So there’s that.
Well well, hasn’t the news been interesting lately! A little more interesting that several of us would like, and you’re taking to a decades-long horror geek. Movies, novels, short stories, TV shows, comic books, whatever I can get my hands on that I know isn’t going to be shitty. The last few weeks, it seems like at least once day I read some headline I glance at, move on and go about my business for a split-second, then say out loud, “Wait, WHAT?” and actually paused a minute before clicking on it, thinking: maybe this is information I don’t really need. So far I’ve clicked on everything, though, unless there’s even a hint of animal abuse involved. In that case I put as much distance between myself and that information as quickly as possible; anyone reading this who has also practically sprained their fingers reaching for the remote to hastily change channels when one of those sad, sad, very sad ASPCA ads calling for donations pops up in a commercial break*.
Five or more years ago, if a friend pointed the crazy-ass headline above out to me, it would have sent me into gales of horrified laughter. Now, not as much. Maybe it has to do with turning forty, maybe it’s due to me reading the headline five minutes or so after I woke up, or that I was home alone when I read it instead of with a friend and some alcohol in me, but I sure as hell didn’t laugh. I also didn’t see any humor in the situation when the whole Miami face-eating story first hit the news. I found it frightening. No, the first thing to leap to mind in association with wasn’t YO, EPIC ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE now f-ckin’ finally HERE, BEE_YOTCH, WHOOO YEAH!** like 90% of the article’s readers racing to be the first to post a comment with the best zombie joke (though in the interest of full disclosure, the horror reference that came to mind for me right away was the comic series Crossed). Just disturbing as hell. Each detail was more disturbing. The fact that it took a much larger amount of bullets than normal to take the guy down, the fact that the number of Facebook ‘likes’ had already reached the mid-five figures (thumbs up! Classy), the fact that they were both naked and had no previous connection, the fact that the homeless man survived and was in the ICU even though his face was ‘gone from the beard up’,*** the fact that the killer growled at the cop when the cop warned him to stand down at gunpoint, that a witness said he still had part of the face in his mouth at the same time and shook his head around like a dog. This… just… no. That was what my brain decided before it moved my attention on to something else to protect my mental health.
Well well, hasn’t the news been interesting lately! A little TOO interesting! You’re taking to a decades-long horror geek (with no shame in admitting it, and no apologies). The last few weeks, it seems like at least once a day I read some headline I glance at, move on and go about my business for a split-second, then say out loud, “Wait, WHAT?”
No-one’s actually said this to me yet, probably because the friends and family members that know me well enough to know how much I dig horror are kind, intelligent people, but I really hope there’s no chance of some idiot online (not anyone reading this blog, of course), or someone who I just met will bring it up–especially to my face when I have a drink in my hand I might be tempted to toss. I don’t want them blurting out something along the lines of, Hey, come on, you’re like seriously into horror movies! How could you not totally love this? Uh, because I have enough common sense to know that movies are fiction? Because I’m well aware there’s already enough scary, batshit, depressing stuff going on in the world without me having to go out of my way to look for more to try to top it? Even though I can’t explain in one articulate, organized sentence (with less than twenty words, anyway) what psychologically draws me in to the horror genre and keeps me there–Jesus, I’m still jotting down basic notes for the About section of this blog– I knew one thing for certain long before I was old enough to drink legally: it was all about escape.
Maybe I should back up a little.
I was reading about the exceptionally brutal, grisly murder of Chinese student Lin Jun a few days ago. Recent details emerging consistently state that the soul-less piece of…of… there’s not a nasty enough word in the English language I can think of right now to call the killer, so I’ll have to go with ‘the monster’ who took the life of Mr. Jun –and countless animals– did it for the possibly the most skin-crawling motive: a craving for attention and media fame in a way that makes the media whore referred to (bletcch)as The Octomom look almost tasteful. So, I’d rather refer to the crime and the victim, the human being, the beloved man whose loving and father, mother, sister and uncle – had to fly from China for his remains, the collected parts of his body they’ve been able to recover thus far. They still have not found his head. The only comment from the family released to the media so far is his mother’s heart-wrenching quote: We come to take you home now. She’s also reportedly in so much grief and pain she can barely stand.
Since I began this piece, I discovered Huffington Post has a thoughtful article you can read discussing this very aspect of the whole media frenzy surrounding the case that enrages me the most: this monster, who everyone surveyed heartily agrees should suffer and be executed as fast as possible, wants: as much attention and media coverage as he can get. I recommend it (unless you feel that any article about the crime is twisting you into emotional time-bomb), and it focuses more on the tragedy while deliberately keeping gruesome descriptions to a minimum (I don’t know whether or not that’s the case for the several ‘related links’ given, though). It does have a photo or two of the evil bastard posing for a head-shot (he seems to have a very high opinion of his looks, though he resembles a constipated weasel with at least one STD) and his mug shot. In both, the monster has the same dead, inhuman, cold eyes. Lights on, nobody home. There’s a gallery you can click on, but I don’t know the contents, because I didn’t want to give the little shit what he wants: any further attention. I don’t recommend the gallery for the same reason.****
So, I’d rather refer to the crime and not give the monster who did it what he wants: any attention. When I was going through the comment section –in which every once in a while, someone would have the motherfucking nerve to complain about the video being taken down and how they couldn’t see it– a memory came to me.
Back in college, probably the late 80s, I was coming back from a night class. I ran into an area that had been blocked off, with plenty of rubberneckers standing around. Being the responsible undergrad that I was, I blew off studying, parked, and wandered over to see what had happened. One of my first thoughts was they were shooting a movie. Then I heard some middle-class white kids I’m guessing were ages 12-15 talking, complaining about not being able to see anything. I asked someone who looked official, but not threatening what had happened. She told me there was a homicide-a shooting. I didn’t ask any more questions. It turned out that the kids were mad that a make-shift yellow tarp had been stretched out between two police cars because they couldn’t see the body. Two women probably the age I am now, were getting sick of this. Clear as if it were last week, I remember one of them finally saying, “Look, if you want to see a dead body so much, why don’t you go watch a Friday the 13th movie or something?” They all responded almost in unison, “Yeah, but that’s fake. This is real!” I thought, OK, just fuck this whole thing, walked back to my car, and went home.
Even back then, I didn’t want to see “real”. If I wanted to see someone’s head explode, I’d watch Scanners. I wanted to see a dead body (not that I was desperately wishing to), I had plenty of Italian slasher flicks on VHS that my good friend George, who had started his own place called Scarecrow Video, had recommended to me to rent. If I wanted to be shocked (and feel slightly ashamed of myself for not turning off the TV) I could watch one of the uncut (rare at the time) Ilsa movies. I didn’t want anything to do with an actual dead body, one that had parents and had their life ended when they were probably my age at the time.
The response is almost always the same regardless of age, culture, or gender: No, I don’t need to see that. We don’t need to watch a video of a fellow human being getting shot in the face during a robbery. You want to see something very bleak, depressing, graphic and brutal that one human does to another? We’ve already seen that in Martyrs, Inside, and A Serbian Film…
What’s my point? I like to think everyone can tell the difference between a horror movie and real life. “It’s getting weird,” was one of the quotes from the L.A. Sheriff working on the case of the missing (or found, to be more accurate) pair of lungs. Good. That all this crazy shit is happening is bad enough. The fact that is seems to be escalating (“seems” is the key word there, let’s hope to God that’s not the actual case) is really scary. But at least people are pointing our how horrible these cases are. Right now, when people walk down the street and seeing a pair of lungs on the sidewalk while they’re checking for twitter updates, they don’t just casually steer clear of them, then go back to their iPhone.
When I was catching up on Jun Lin’s brutal murder in Canada, I discovered that a shock site I’m not especially proud of being an occasional visitor of (hey, it’s free, and if you’re feeling sorry for yourself and need a reality check, you’ll be appreciating your life much, much more after seeing even a few photos under the category of “Workplace Accidents”, let alone footage) was key in nailing the killer. The eleven-minute video went up on the Canadian site Bestgore.com, with very severe warnings about the disturbing, graphic, brutal footage. This is coming from a site that has regular “Send Us Your Funniest Caption” contests for photos depicting things like electrocuted bodies and, uh, unusual crime scene photos –so when Bestgore.com warns you about the most disturbing footage ever made public, you can bet your ass that it’s a smart idea to listen.
You can do a search to learn more about the role bestgore.com played. The Wikipedia page I gave a link to above summarizes it. I was going to link to the site’s page directly, since it’s longer and has much more detail from their perspective, then recalled there’s a header photo at the top of every page on the site that is stomach-turning and shocking enough that anyone reading it who knows me would possibly never speak to me again. Not to mention the various links to porn fetish sites that aren’t too wholesome (though I give them props for keeping those small, as discreet as possible at the bottom of the page).
So I’ll leave it to you if you want to start clicking on links and seeing more. My advice would be no. I had to stop reading the play-by-play description of the events in the video. For me, watching the video or seeing any part of it isn’t an option. I don’t need to see that. I don’t agree with some of his views, yet I can’t help but to give props to Bestgore.com and webmaster/owner Mark Marek (responsible for posting the video) for sticking to his guns and not backing down when the death threats and hate mail (by people who thought, very ignorantly, that the video was commissioned or requested in some way by the site) are thrown in his face unrelentingly, 24/7 since the video went up. My best guess is that those same people did not bother to educate themselves about the fact that because the killer included a crystal-sharp photo of his face at the end of the video, Mr. Marek posted the footage in part to try to locate and/or identify this monster and lead to his arrest. The Canadian authorities got a call immediately after a Bestgore regular, an attorney, saw the video. Marek also has never required members to pay (unlike many shock sites that require a membership fee–usually a steep one). He was certainly never making a profit from the content. It’s also been the policy of the site, from the beginning of the blog five years ago, to never post photos or videos of animal abuse or violence–they have a zero tolerance policy.
I sometimes think of those bloodthirsty kids so excited to see ‘the real thing’ every time I’m reminded how easy it is to see ‘the real thing’ on the internet. If they never grew out of that phase (eek), they must be satisfied now. As it stands today, if you have a computer and don’t care about whoever sees your browser history, and are savvy about doing a search, you can watch horrifying drug cartel murders purposely filmed and leaked by Mexican drug lord’s henchman (AKA Narco Sicarios. Boom, just learned something), American contractors beheaded by batshit terrorists, and perhaps the most vile out there up until the Lin Jun murder, actual murder footage filmed by three bored, shitty rich kids in the Ukraine (dubbed the ‘Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs’ by the media). I don’t even want to go into the evil shit depicted in the video, the link for which I stumbled on more or less by accident. I am glad to this day I didn’t do more than read what the video consisted of. Christ, just checking the facts on a couple of news items I mention in this piece, I typed ‘Eugene Armstrong’ into the ordinary Google search, looking for a Wikipedia page. Before I had a chance to scroll or even look away, the image search results popped up along with it, the first three results containing one of the most gruesome frames of the video (I don’t even feel right describing it, as a fellow human being). I saw that image, and I was NOT looking for it. No wonder kids are growing up WAY faster than they did–well, than we were at that age.
As it stands today, if you have a computer and don’t care about whoever sees your browser history, and are savvy about doing a search, you can watch horrifying drug cartel murders purposely filmed and leaked by Mexican drug lord’s henchman (AKA Narco Sicarios) , American contractors beheaded by batshit terrorists, and perhaps the most vile out there up until the Lin Jun murder, actual murder footage filmed by three bored, shitty rich kids in the Ukraine.
I have found that fellow horror fans (especially ones from my generation, I guess it’s still technically “Gen X”) have two things in common: 1. they/we cannot stomach and/or tolerate any animal abuse or harm in any form-most of us don’t even want to read or hear about it- and 2. they/we have no interest in seeing non-fiction footage of anyone killed on camera, whether it’s a someone being hit by a vehicle, a suicide, or worst of all, something deliberate.
The response is almost always the same regardless of age, culture, or gender: No, I don’t need to see that. We don’t need to watch a video of a fellow human being getting shot in the face during a robbery. You want to see something bleak, depressing, graphic and brutal that one human does to another? We’ve already seen that in Martyrs, Inside, and A Serbian Film (FYI: the latest news is that the unrated cut will finally be released on DVD-glad I saw that work print online and didn’t have to wait years). You know, the kind of film you only need to see once. There’s other horror movies in that category out there, of course, but at least the aforementioned three (unlike, say, the Guinea Pig series) have a plot arc and characters with a motive. I even cared what happened to the characters (even though I tried not to, because I knew things were going to end horribly; and if you’ve seen any of the three I mentioned, then you know “horribly” is a gigantic understatement). They’re actually scary, because they’re horror movies. Two out of three of them gave me nightmares, even though I watched the ‘making of’ features and commentary to try to get a little emotional distance. You won’t exactly be feeling festive for a while after you see them, but at least you know, when it comes down to it, they’re just movies. They aren’t reality. And I think that’s the point I wanted to make.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch Deep Rising for probably the fifteenth time since I bought the DVD 10 years ago, featuring a REALLY fucking cool sea monster, plenty of giant tentacles with teeth, fun, slime and gore leading up to the final scene where you see the awesome Lovecraft-ian leviathan in all its glory. Check out the trailer below. Not exactly HD, but you don’t need it to see how fun it is.
I have a review, just not posted yet (plus IMDB edited it really heavily, so I’ll re-do it and post it -promise). By halfway through, you’ll agree that being eaten by Jaws would be preferable any day over THIS thing making a meal of you. If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly why, and will probably recall the first very memorable scene that reveals what happens if this monster gets hungry and you’ve there. As for the creature effects for the movie? I think this may have been one of the last films Rob Bottin, the genius responsible for the awesome monsters in John Carpenter’s The Thing, worked on, and the monster effects exceeded my high expectations. In my review, I proclaimed that it was the second best sea monster movie ever made, (#1 was and will probably always be …Jaws). Between that review and now, I saw The Host (whose monster qualifies if you don’t count the fact that it’s easily able to dive out of the water and survive while crashing around on land, barreling directly towards humans to eat them-it likes to swim around, but unlike Jaws and Deep Rising, you’re not safe just because you’re not in the water or even in a small land-level building). So, Deep Rising remains in the top three on my list …no small feat! I’m happy to say I was lucky enough to see all three of them in the theater, back in the day when they still had cinemas consisting of one giant theater and one screen. Yes, only one movie could play at a time! I may change the subject when someone asks my age, but I’d rather be on the other side of forty and have had the varied kick-ass movie-going experiences I did (and will have, unless the Mayans turn out to be right about 2012).
*the comedian Patrice O’Neal, who passed much too young in 2011, did a really funny routine about how much he hated seeing the ads. His specials are worth seeking out if you dig stand-up and aren’t easily offended (if Chris Rock’s HBO specials don’t offend you, this probably won’t). If you have Netflix, Patrice O’Neal – Elephant in the Room is available on streaming. Update: Hey! After I wrote this, but before I posted this, I found the clip with the whole routine about sad animal commercials. It’s bleeped, but just as funny. If you love animals and hate those ads, you’ll appreciate this. The embedded clip is on the fritz so for now,, just click this link to watch the bit directly on You Tube.
Man, I really miss that big guy.
** I’m hoping the quaint little press item that hit the news last week regarding the CDC announcement that the Zombie Apocalypse was not in fact taking place was just a kind of comic-relief PR stunt, and that they don’t really assume they need to officially tell us that. Oh, OK. Thanks for explaining that, because we’re complete fucking morons who can’t tell the difference between movies and real life. Well, I think
FAUX FOX news featured it, so …yeah. Talk about the ‘mainstreaming’ of zombies. I thought that was out of hand and peaking back in 2010! Guess it looks like I was 100% wrong on that theory, huh?
***also disturbing: the fact that, like a total goddamned idiot, I viewed a color photo confirming this, not to mention the fact that it only took me a few minutes to find that pic. Not a proud moment of mine, especially since though I only looked at it for less than ten seconds–that seemed like ten minutes– I’ll probably be able to call it up MUCH too easily for years.
**** the Huff Post article gives this information, but I feel it’s worth repeating and spreading around:Various community efforts are being organized to help raise money for the devastated Lin family. It’s possible to donate to the Concordia University Chinese Students Association’s Jun Lin Rest in Peace Foundation at any RBC branch. To learn other ways to donate, contact Yan Shi at 514-848-2424.