Archive for the ‘anomalies’ category

Fishy Business…

September 11, 2020


Chace Crawford portrays an Aquaman-type character called The Deep on the Amazon Prime series The Boys, and the character has body image issues because he has, well, gills.  I’m not talking about discrete gill slits either of the type that we’ve seen on Kevin Costner in Waterworld on the neck, but rather large, gaping chest apertures that open and close.  More disturbingly, the character seems to enjoy having those gill slits shall we say, erotically stimulated?  Still more bizarre was a drug-induced episode where the character engaged in dialogue with his talking gill slits, and even sang a duet with them to the tune of, “You Are So Beautiful.” This was pretty trippy stuff, capable of wowing even my jaded sensitivities!

Crawford wears the sea suit well, and is one sexy if emotionally conflicted superhero.  It isn’t easy, after all, to be looked down upon as the token aquatic hero who talks to sea life.  In exploring the character of such a hero, we can only think of how far such characters have come from the web-fingered portrayal of one such being by Patrick Duffy in The Man from Atlantis.- –Who could blame such guys for occasionally being crabby?  I mean, they aren’t doing it on porpoise…

 

 

“Serpentine Creatures” on MonsterQuest…

August 31, 2020

 

MonsterQuest was a show largely about cryptic creatures that debuted in October of 2007 and ran for three seasons before vanishing and being replaced by a series of inferior imitations.  The series was far better grounded than most, incorporating history of the supposed hidden life form under investigation, eyewitness accounts, and even commentary by actual scientists! 

I’m pleased to see that MonsterQuest is back for a fourth season on the History Channel as a series of specials, the first of which aired recently and concerned “Serpentine Creatures” or “Lake Demons,” essentially oversized, monster eels in North American lakes. 

In Lake Ontario in 1974, an eel fisherman was reportedly lifted out of the water by an eel that he could barely escape.  “Cressie” is said to exist in New Foundland, reportedly measuring 20 to 40 feet in length.  Then there’s the gold standard of North American lake monsters, Ogopogo, said to measure up to a whopping 50′ in length and to inhabit Lake Okanagan in Canada!  Ogopogo is said to have a snake-like body displayed in coils, and about seven sightings a year are reported by diverse people.

Pursuing Cressie, the MonsterQuest investigative team engineered a search that combined a helicopter team with a dive boat.  The helicopter crew spotted a thermal signature from the air, summoning then the dive boat to do a search.  The divers found sink holes in the lake, but encountered considerable silt obstruction.  They found a carcass that was hoped might be a juvenile specimen, but later scientific testing proved it to be nothing more than a deteriorated salmon…

While the tone of the episode was reminiscent of the old MonsterQuest series, it really wasn’t exciting to me personally, dragging at times to the point of becoming almost tedious. Giant eels really don’t float my boat, although they might if they were actually under it!  Hopefully episode 2 concerning Bigfoot will interject a little of the old series excitement…

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Progressive’s “Motaur: Gym” Commercial…

July 21, 2020

 

There are advantages to being a cybernetic organism.  In addition to being extremely cool, it’s awfully easy to exercise when your lower body machine components are those of a motorcycle; just roll onto a treadmill, and you’re off to the races!  You can even multi-task while you’re on a roll by reading a book.  That’s right, our Progressive motaur isn’t just a pretty face getting his laps in, he’s improving his mind!  We can all learn from this…

In our latest Progressive commercial, as our motaur hums along, he’s approached by a gym rat who tries to remind our man-machine that there’s a thirty-minute limit on the treadmill.  “Tell that to the rain,” counters our motorcycle/man in a fashion which reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Tell it to the hand” line from Terminator 2.  Would you care to argue with a cyborg?  No, I didn’t think so.  Our motaur sets the treadmill faster several times during the commercial, and calmly continues both his reading and his ride… 

“A Quiet Place” Has It All…

July 1, 2020

In this time of the pandemic, it’s perhaps understandable that many of us would be drawn to apocalyptic fiction and cinema, and A Quiet Place (2018) is one of the best done and most striking films to emerge in this gendre in recent years.  It’s edge of the seat horror and  science fiction that blends elements reminiscent of the Alien, Cloverfield, and Walking Dead franchises, depicting humanity overwhelmed by vicious and powerful aliens who are blind, but hunt very effectively by sound.  Human survivors of this meteor-borne invasion are therefore forced to live furtive and hidden existences, avoiding the generation of sound, and communicating by sign language.  As a result, there is little spoken dialogue in the film, although captioned subtitles appear to translate the signing to the audience.

As for the aliens depicted in Quiet Place, they are neither warm and friendly nor possessed of high technology; they simply want to eat you, and are well-equipped to do so, possessed of clawed extremities and impressive dentition.  There is no evidence of higher cognition here, but rather animal cunning.  In appearance, they are somewhat insectile or bat-like, possessed of an armored exoskeleton of sorts and ambulating briskly on all fours but capable of rearing up on hind legs at which times they can appear disturbingly humanoid.  They use echolocation, and might not be able to perceive you as prey from several feet away if you are perfectly still and quiet.  Their auditory aurifaces when open dwarf any human ears…

Although a horror movie, A Quiet Place is of the rare type of horror movie with heart, as a family and its relationships is at the center of it.  There are unpleasant things to see such as the death of a child family member, but it’s handled non-graphically; a blur of motion, and he’s carried off.  The tension conveyed in the film, however, is almost palpable.  The survivalist husband and father (John Kasinski) and his wife (Emily Blunt) are rock-solid, and their  eldest child (Millicent Simmonds), a gifted young hearing impaired actress, projects a wonderful adaptive kind of Wednesday Addams darkness; she adapts and prevails.  The surviving female family members left standing at the end of the film are more than the equal of the vicious monsters headed their way, kind of like Ripley and Newt in a farmland showdown.  Catch A Quiet Place if like myself you enjoy intelligent innovative horror with heart… 

 

 

Creepshow’s “Bad Wolf Down”

May 15, 2020

I freely admit that I’m more of a werewolf than a vampire fan, but what would you expect? I’m a furry, and werewolves are kind of an amplified furry. I was therefore in seventh heaven to see that werewolves were featured prominently in the Bad Wolf Down segment of the new Creepshow series by Shudder, now available for viewing on the AMC network. This series draws heavily from the earlier Stephen King and George Romero movie by the same name which aired in 1982.

Meshing horror comics with live action, this S1/Ep2 installment plunges us into a furious firefight of WWII American troops overwhelmed by Nazis. Seeking sanctuary from annihilation, the few remaining Americans flee to an abandoned building where they encounter a woman locked in a cell who turns out to be a female werewolf! Seeking the release of death, the woman wants only to swallow the silver cross of one of the Americans. They accommodate her, but not before requesting that she bite each of them, transforming them in turn into werewolf soldiers that are more than a match for the pursuing Nazi elite troops.

Now the werewolf transformations are budget-restricted yet still effective, and the gore-fest which follows is not for the squeamish. It did, however, provide me with a satisfying spectacle as well as a reminder of the power of shape-shifting. I found it an uplifting experience…You might, too, if you are into horror, werewolf sub-classification. Other episodes look equally promising, so gratify your dark side by checking out the new Creepshow series; it’s a worthwhile indulgence…

 

Krampus, and Having a Scary Little Christmas…

December 11, 2019


He just might be the perfect antidote for too much enforced Christmas sweetness…Krampus, that is, the nightmarish figure with goatish and demonic features  out of European folklore.  He’d be right at home pursued by paranormal or cryptic investigators as he’s usually portrayed with hooves, claw-like fingers, long spiraled horns, and covered with dark hair.  His tongue is long and protrusive, and his specialty is dealing with naughty children, beating them with birch switches and stuffing them in his sack for transport back to his lair, perhaps to become dinner…

The worst that Santa would do to you is put you on his “Naughty List,” or perhaps leave you a lump of coal. Santa’s a milquetoast compared to Krampus, who would terrorize you as kind of an anti-Santa.  In “Old World” Europe, fairy tales weren’t always for entertainment…they could be morality plays intended to scare children into good or at least compliant behavior.  Grimm’s fairy tales in the original could actually be pretty grim.

In Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, adults get involved in a chaotic Krampus tribute involving public drunkenness and men running through the streets dressed as devils, with Krampus Night traditionally December 5th.  In recent years, some people in the U.S. have begun throwing Krampus parties as a sort of twisted, anti-Christmas celebration. Krampus has enjoyed kind of a renaissance lately, and been featured in horror movies.  So be good, for goodness sake! – -Ahh,  I do so like Old World traditions… 🐺

 

Jif’s “Squirrel” Commercial…

September 8, 2019

 
I would probably have long since starved to death were it not for peanut butter.  I’ve eaten it since childhood, and continue to turn to it several times a week.  At times, I even crave it; peanut butter is my go-to lunch and snack of choice when I don’t know what to eat. That being said, I indulge my guilty pleasure at home; even I may not be seen at a park, slathering peanut butter on a slice of bread.  I’ve never been known to carry a jar of peanut butter around with me; I’m just not that hard-core…

…not so the curly-haired young lady in our Jif commercial!  Seated on a park bench, she whips herself up a thickly-spread slice of peanut butter bread, only to find herself approached by a squirrel.  Aww…isn’t he cute?  Who could deny him?  So she gives him a tidbit, and is soon approached by another squirrel, then another! No good deed goes unpunished, after all.  Soon the woman is surrounded by dozens of squirrels, kinda like what happens when you feed french fries to sea gulls at the beach…

…It’s then that the commercial takes a surreal turn, for towering above the sea of squirrels is a creepy man-squirrel, wearing a squirrel mask that covers his entire head.  He, too, is seeking a hand-out, and even making beseeching squirrel-noises.  Is this a peanut butter pervert?  And what should the young lady do?  Mace him, scream for help, or try to bean him with the peanut butter jar? This question is left unanswered, but some people will go to any lengths for the product.  It’s that Jif’ing good, we’re told.  I do sympathize, honestly, sharing the addiction…

…but in my twisted mind fed by a love for horror, the question lingers;  what happens when the woman runs out of peanut butter?  Do the legion of squirrels and their squirrel-headed human-sized leader decide that the lady might be tasty, too?  A few pounce on her to take a tentative nibble, and soon she is writhing under a blanket of them…Aieee! (The screen fades to black as we hear squirrels chittering…the Day of the Squirrel is at hand!)

 

Progressive’s “Motaur” Commercial

July 4, 2019

This is truly bizarre; cool and creepy at the same time, like some fiendish device created by Skynet to work towards the extermination of the human race.  We’ve all heard of Centaurs, those fusions of man and horse, and we know about Minotaurs, those hybrids of bull and man. Cyborgs are a fusion of man and machine, and apparently if we make the inorganic components those of a motorcycle, we’ve got ourselves a Motaur…word play intentional.

The Progressive commercial plays off of the close linkage between a biker and their machine, and the Motaur (played by Terrence Terrell) is literally fused to his, although in conversation with bikers he reveals that he sometimes wishes for legs with his machine components on top.  “For those who love to ride, there’s Progressive,” we are told by the announcer, leaving us to wonder if an ailing Motaur sees a physician or a mechanic…and how many miles per gallon does he get?!

The Ozark Howler…

June 7, 2019

The Ozark Howler as profiled on In Search of Monsters (Season 1, Episode 10, the Travel Channel) ranges in the dense forests of the Ozark mountains, and is a large feline-type creature traditionally described as having black fur and horns, and equipped with razor-sharp claws and teeth. In some accounts, he also sports glowing red eyes, with which it can give a “death stare.”  In spite of this, there are no reports of a Howler attack on people!  As his name would suggest, the Howler has a cry described as unsettling, uncanny, and terrifying.  A family in Missouri has recorded this cry, and it can’t be identified.  Some speculate that the loud and focused cry is a form of communication between other members of the species, suggesting that there is more than one individual member.

Game camera images also exist supposedly of the creature, images which a wildlife expert could not identify.  In 2015, other photos of an unidentified, horned creature were also taken that could not be identified (below).  These images appear to be of a smaller, less terrifying creature, and some regard them to be photoshopped although the photographer adamantly denies this.

The history of the Howler gets interesting, with witches known to have been active in the Ozarks once upon a time, and one such witch reputed to have had a horned familiar.  Is the Howler then a supernatural entity created by witchcraft?!  None less than Daniel Boone in 1810 described shooting and wounding a black, horned creature.  More mundane speculation is that the Howler is a black mountain lion, leopard, or jaguar.  Winters in the Ozarks are judged to be too harsh for a leopard or jaguar to survive, however…

The Ozark Howler should not be confused with the Midnight Rambler, which was a Rolling Stones song not heard often enough. As my mind moves in strange directions, however, I can imagine myself visited by the Midnight Rambler, a terrifying late-night cryptid who arrives uninvited and engages in pointless conversation when you only want to sleep. “Just get to the point, dammit…either that or kill me and end my misery, OK?,” I pleaded. (What passed for a grin moved momentarily across The Rambler’s face. He fed off human misery, and had no intention of ending my suffering.)  “Let me tell you about what I had for lunch yesterday,” he began as I pounded my head against the wall, and prayed for the sweet release of death that would escape me…

 

Expedition Unknown: Hunt for the Yeti

April 6, 2019

Expedition Unknown featuring Joshua Gates can provide a quality presentation of paranormal topics and investigations that are anchored with both science and history, and attractively mounted.   I tend to pass on episodes involving such things as treasure hunts, while pursuits of legendary creatures have me on board.  In one such episode recently presented titled Hunt for the Yeti — Everest Yeti Hunt, Josh started his journey in Kathmandu, heading high into the Himalayan mountains of Nepal to obtain scientific evidence of the Yeti.  

Hopping from one village to another, Josh wound up in a monastery reportedly having a Yeti scalp in their possession that had been there for 200 years, and kept in a closed and locked case.  After back and forth negotiations with the temple high lama brokered by a monk, Josh was allowed to see and physically examine the scalp, and even remove a single hair for later analysis.  A second monastery was later visited that at one time had claimed to possess a Yeti hand, one digit of which was stolen to have been later followed by the entire hand.  Today, only replicas of the hand reconstructed from photographs may be seen.  While the hand has been lost, analysis of the finger conducted later reflected human DNA, and the hand itself is felt to have come from the body of a deceased Himalayan climber discovered in the past.

There are an abundance of human eyewitnesses to the Yeti, and Josh at times through interpreters talked to a number of them, including a farmer who claimed to have lost over a dozen yaks to the Yeti, their remains being found torn apart.  Searching through the surrounding woods, Josh and his team did find yak bones strewn about in the woods.  Josh himself thought that he saw movement and perhaps a shape beyond a stream, but found nothing by the time he forded the raging waters.  The team did collect some scat and hair from suspected Yeti “nests,” and hopefully will be picking up on this story in the future.  Until that time, there are a variety of eyewitnesses but no conclusive evidence of the Yeti’s existence…