A Japanese serial killer. The piece notes the utterly low rate of homicides in the country. I wondered about that context, and so read the stories of a couple of Japanese multiple-slayers. Most chilling: they were exactly like the sexual-sadist psychopaths from the US, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, you name it. This is a poisonous combination of characteristics, nothing special to do with the environment. One biggest advantage for a serial killer in Japan is that murders are so rare the police aren’t looking for them. I mean, they found this creep out almost by accident.
I have one I got in Las Vegas many years ago:
Trot it into a window for Halloween. But the boneface-rocker is a remarkably durable image:
And finally, one of the most famous …
I cannot resist the notion that the first across-the-USA total eclipse was a sign of evil times. But the happier chips of me left take comfort in one of the huge benefits of science, in this case astronomy, in making a reasonably predictable universe. Otherwise, the sun going out could be the beginning of freakin’ anything, including that it would not come back.
The Aztecs had a particularly creepy mythology associated with eclipses: the sun was under attack from the stars you could see around it when it turned black. These are the female deities/demons Tzitzimime, quite the monsters.
According to us hardcores, there are three levels of Old Tech Monsters:
Worst: Lizards and frogs with shit glued onto them.
Meh: Guys in suits, no matter how nifty the suit (James Arness, as “The Thing From Another World” was the best, except I keeping seeing it wearing a cowboy hat since I found out who it was.)
Best: “Dynamation” and its relatives — this required serious art and craft and the payoff could be superb. If you haven’t seen “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” what are you waiting for?
I saw Night of the Living Dead when it was new and it scared the doo-doo out of me. Hard to imagine this was the first horror movie that wasn’t just creepy or thrilling, but brutal, assaultive, with a rough-newsreel quality that made it feel like a documentary. Plus a horrific, downbeat ending. But my favorite part of the film, which let me know I was crossing into a fresh circle of Hell, is the beginning. There’s no explanation, no setup, no warning when this horrifying guy just appears from behind a tombstone and starts to menace and then WHAM! the brother is killed — a guy you probably expected to be the hero. And then of course we get the modern trapped-in-a-scary-house theme. Fascinating that the film was such an enduring influence that it’s transformed the meaning of “zombie” until almost no one you ask could cite the original Caribbean possessed-person definition.
(Plus, he died listening to Bing Crosby, a pretty up-there choice, I say.)
[PS: Because I have been asked, yes, the Fela Kuti “Zombie” does refer to the original definition. In a very potent way.]
From Dr. Strangelove onward, little bits of these horribles kept floating around as a nightmare undercurrent to my youth.