We have a winner!
Here's the winner board for the "Tales from the Captcha" contest:
Troy Z wins the big ol' first season of Tales from the Crypt.
OCKerouac wins Billy the Kid's Old Time Oddities.
Sasquatchan has himself a slightly new copy of The Cobbler's Monster.
If you guys could shoot me an email at the following address: [my nom de blog]firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know where I can send these bad boys and you get them promptly.
Winners were selected at random from the entry pool. If you didn't win this time, I want you to meditate on what you might have done to earn such bad karma that the mysterious forces of randomness at work in the universe have it out for you.
Mutually interred destruction
I'm not a big Metallica fan. In fact, my level of fandom is somewhere between "active avoidance" and "vast indifference." However, their latest video – brought to my attention by the mad genius behind the delightful The Horror!? blog – used animation, "found footage," CGI, and first person camera work to reconstruct a Soviet plan to close the nuclear missile gap with zombie-making spores. It's pretty boss and you can listen to it on mute if Metallica ain't your bag.
I have nothing to add other than this very concept makes me all giggly.
And operator, please reverse the charges
From Screamin' Dave over at Forbes' Digital Download blog, the new Ghostbusters videogame trailer.
Regardless of what the trailer does or does not do for you, can we all admit that the bit of concept art below is some of the craziest crap we've ever seen connected to the 'Buster franchise?
Bring me a dream
Over at Horror's Not Dead, Mr. Hall suffers J. T. Petty's faux snuff mockumentary S&Man. His description of the movie is amazing, but what will get your noodle turning about is the following claim:
It matters not whether the Sandman tapes are real, whether Eric Rost is a real person or just a character. He is a parable for a reality we all know exists. There are people who have made real snuff films. There are people who have sought out real snuff films. More frightening than that, no past tense is needed in those sentences. People still make them. There exists today a market for videotapes of real rape, of real torture and of real murder. Or, failing that availability, as close as possible as anyone is willing to simulate.
I can’t think of anything that disturbs me more.
Excluding the claim that there's a snuff market out there – which remains the snuff of urban legend, as it were – is there a moral equivalence between watching simulated snuff and the real thing? If something is simulated so well that it is indistinguishable from the real thing, is the moral cost of consuming it indistinguishable from the real thing?
New Scientist reports a weird correlation between psychopathic tendencies and the ability to recall biographical details of "vulnerable victims." Or, more simply, psychos have victim radar.
From the article:
Contrary to popular belief, most psychopaths are not Jack the Ripper types - often they have never committed a violent crime. But as many as one in 100 people display antisocial behaviours deemed psychopathic. Chief among these is a callous ability to manipulate other people to fulfill their own desires.
To investigate this behaviour, Kevin Wilson of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and colleagues put 44 male college students into two groups according to their scores on a test that measures psychopathic traits. "None of these students qualified as psychopaths, but some did have behaviours associated with psychopaths," says Wilson.
The students were shown a series of faces, each accompanied by a name, a job and details about interests and hobbies. When later asked to recall the details, those with more psychopathic-like behaviours were better at describing sad-looking and unsuccessful females than the normal group, especially details about the women's lives.
So ladies, do try not to be sad-looking and unsuccessful.
The dead travel fast
Over at the made-of-awesome Human Marvels site, there's the tale of Elmer McCurdy, former bank robber and wandering corpse.
In life Elmer McCurdy wasn’t anything special. Elmer wasn’t really unique or extraordinary. It was only following his demise that Elmer amounted to much of anything, when his corpse became famous and the stuff of urban legends.
Maybe this is why Euro-horror seems so lame to me
Over at the Neurophilosophy blog, there's a nice write up a recent study that suggests that expression of the biological fear response may be culture-specific, a case of nature being nurtured.
From the article:
The new study was led by Joan Chiao of the Social and Cultural Neuroscience Lab at Northwestern University. 22 volunteers were recruited for the study; 10 were Caucasians living in the United States, and the remaining 12 were native Japanese living in Japan. All the participants were presented with a series of pictures of 80 faces, each for 1.5 seconds, and each depicting an American or a Japanese person expressing either a fearful, happy, angry or neutral facial expression. Their neural responses to the facial expressions in the pictures were measured using functional neuroimaging.
Both groups of participants could recognize the emotions depicted in the pictures very accurately. Interestingly though, the Japanese participants were significantly quicker in recognizing fear in all the pictures, while the Americans were significantly more accurate at recognizing fear in pictures of people from their own culture. More importantly, the response of the amygdala was increased when the participants recognized fear in pictures of members of their own cultural group relative to others. Hemispheric differences were also observed: the increase in amygdala activity in response to fear recognition in own-culture faces was significantly greater in the right amygdala than in the left. By contrast, no significant differences in amygdala activity was observed when the participants viewed pictures of happy, angry or neutral expressions.
Earlier neuroimaging studies have shown that white Americans show an increased response in the amygdala when presented, either consciously or unconsciously, with pictures of black Americans with neutral expressions. By contrast, no differences in the response to neutral faces of either cultural group were observed in this study, even though Americans often hold positive sterotypes of Asians. Thus, the earlier observations may have been due to cultural knowledge of the negative sterotypes about African-Americans, rather than negative stereotypes of members of other ethnic groups per se. This is supported by the finding in the earlier studies that black Americans also exhibit increased activity in the amygdala in response to pictures of black people with neutral expressions.
Sir Larry's "Hard Day's Night"
This has nothing to do with horror. But it's pretty funny.
Here's Peter Seller's doing the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night" in the manner of Olivier's take on Shakespeare's Richard III. Don't try to wrap your head around that description, just watch.
Have a great weekend, my little Screamers and Screamettes.