Three Films That Will Scare the Pants Off You in About a Minute!

We all like to be scared, but sometimes it takes too long. To be able to build atmosphere and reach the scare in just a few minutes is a feat. Look at these three films, that scare you in ever decreasing amounts of time.

Sukablood scares you in 6 and a half minutes. It’s a twist on a fairytale and teaches you not to suck your thumb.

Suckablood – short fairytale horror from BloodyCuts.co.uk on Vimeo.

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Mama is a preview of a film by Guillermo Del Toro. He manages to scare the heck out of you in 2 minutes.

One Last Dive is the fast scare in town. It goes from normal to terrifying in 1 minute.

One Last Dive from jasoneisener on Vimeo.

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Check these out and see if they scare you.

Tim Kane

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Do You Die A Little Bit Every Day?

How risky is risky? When you have a brush with death, when does that brush turn into a downright shove? That’s the question that Ronald A. Howard attempted to answer with the “micromort” or tiny death.

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The micro-mort is a unit of death. Add enough micro-morts and, you guessed it, you’re dead.

When Ronald A. Howard started as a professor at Stanford, he concentrated on breaking a fatal risk into small units. A micromort is a one-millionth chance of death. Different risk activities would have different levels of death, a higher or lower micromort total.

This guy isn’t going midichlorian on us. He simply wants to guague the risk of death.

Here are some examples:

  • Drinking water in Miami for a year increases your likelihood of dying by one micromort
  • General anaesthetic in an emergency operation garners a micromort of 10
  • Driving 250 miles in a car increases your death chances  by one micromort (I’m not sure if this is continuous driving or over a period of days).

Things fall into perspective when you find out that you can only travel 6 miles via motorcylce to get that one micromort increase. This makes it a much more dangerous trip.

The micromort can be viewed as the average “ration” of lethal risk that people are exposed to daily. So don’t get all hung up on it. The life expectancy for an average human is one million half hours (source here). That means that micromorts turnout to me a measure of your life (because you will eventually die). That would mean you spend 1 micromort per half hour. Any activity that raises that (like general anaesthetic) creates more risk.

Tim Kane

Snake Wine Crawls into Your Brain

Okay, this wine doesn’t literally crawl inside your brain, but you’ll certainly have nightmares just looking at it. The drink has been around for thousands of years, hailing from Bama County in Guangxi Zhuang of China (just above Vietnam).

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This region has the greatest number for centenarians in the world (okay, fourth, but that’s still pretty good). Some say is the climate and air quality. I say it’s the snake wine.

Fangs for the memories: The cobra's potent poison is negated by the ethanol used in the rice wine. Found from the article at the Daily Mail.

Fangs for the memories: The cobra’s potent poison is negated by the ethanol used in the rice wine. Found from the article at the Daily Mail.

Although the snakes (and sometimes scorpions) bottled in the brew are certainly poisonous, the ethanol takes care of that. The venom is protein based and breaks down in the alcohol. Want to make some yourself, just slip a snake into a bottle of ethanol and wait a few weeks. Bingo, you can call yourself a master of spirits.

Picture captured from Dangerous Minds article.

Picture captured from Dangerous Minds article.

Want to order some? Then visit the Thailand Unique.

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They also have Thai spider whiskey and Giant Centipede Whiskey. Both have a bite (pun intended).

Want to up your ante from the worm at the bottom of the bottle of tequila? Go for some snake wine. Who knows, it might make you live longer.

Tim Kane

Don’t Drink That Coffee. It Can Kill You. (Maybe)

Most of us these days can tout the benefits of coffee, from a ward against cancer to a way to make yourself more productive. But we aren’t blind. We know that too much coffee, and caffeine, can make your stomach upset and and keep you up at night. Yet can this drink kill you? Advertisers a century ago would have people believe just that.

I could only find a photo of Instant Postum (from 1911)

I could only find a photo of Instant Postum (from 1911)

In 1895, Postum created Postum Coffee Food (yes, that was the name). It was roasted cereal with a molasses glaze. How the heck did this imitator kick coffee’s butt? Advertising. Mr. Post (yes the fella behind Grapenuts) knew how advertise. He culled together all the negative aspects of coffee and went hyperbole on them.

coffee-and-provocation-postum-food-coffeeThis add touts that coffee slowly destroys your stomach and nerves. Okay, this is reasonable. I don’t know if roasted cereal is any better.

coffee-provocation-postum-brain-fagCheck out the fine print: Coffee causes Heart-Failure, Dyspepsia (a fancy word for Indigestion), Brain-Fag (I think short of Brain Fatigue) and Nervous Prostration (total nervous exhaustion). Most are reasonable, but heart failure? Wow. That’s servere.

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Okay, this one wasn’t for Postum, but I thought is was great. If you choose the wrong coffee, you get a spanking. Bad, bad wife.

The Postum Food Coffee diminished after the government truth in advertising pointed out that roasted cereal wasn’t, and never will be, coffee. Finally,  in 1911, Coca Cola went to trial over its product being a “killer brain tonic”. The main focus was caffeine. When Coca Cola won this case, it brought coffee back into focus. It also helped  that coffee folks learned to advertise.

Tim Kane

The Daily Life of Interplanetary Aliens

I was strolling around the internet, minding my own business, and then I chance upon Handymartian’s Illustrated Aliens. Amazed, to say the least. The video shorts are astoundingly funny. The name Handymartian is a mixed up version of Andy Martin. This is an ongoing illustration project of his.

Mr. Perry

Mr. Perry

Here’s his first Plant Video: Planet One. This entails an alien “jam” session.

Planet Five shows a bizarre evolutionary sequence that’s mesmerizing to watch.

Finally, here is one of his original two-dimensional illustrations for his videos.

Spiky amoeba.

Spiky amoeba.

 

Watch and enjoy.

Tim Kane

I Used To Think My Right Hand Was Uglier Than My Left (The art of Ken Nordine)

I discovered Ken Nordine I don’t know how long ago. But he’s addicting. You see, he’s not exactly a poet and much more than a musician. He’s a bard working in the realm of jazz. Yet even that doesn’t do him justice. Well here, take a listen.

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Yes, listen. His voice is so soothing, you forget that he’s taking you down a surreal path into the ridiculous and poignant. Most of these (can I really call them songs?) come from a series of albums titled Word Jazz that came out in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

This first song/story, titled “Magenta,” comes from an album I don’t have, yet I love the animation that has been attached to it.

This next listen, “My Baby,” is just plain silly. Many of his song/stories are structured in this way. A sort of confessional as he tells you his secret. He speaks to you as if you’re in the room with him. Look for the twist at the end.

This is one of my all time favorites. It’s called “I Used To Think My Right Hand Was Uglier Than My Left.” Now that’s a title for you. Who wouldn’t be drawn to that?

“Down the Drain” embodies a serene feeling I get when I take a bath. Maybe you get it too. Although I don’t know if my mind travels to all the places Ken’s does.

“The Sound Museum” is just what is sounds like, a museum of modern sound “paintings”. Bizarre, I know, but Ken Nordine pulls it off. Take a listen.

At this point you might be wondering why you recognize his voice. Ken Nordine has such a deep and captivating voice, that he’s done many voice overs and commercials. He was even the coach for Linda Blair in the Exorcist.

When you have a chance, pick up one of his albums, sit back, and let his voice carry you into new realms of thought.

Tim Kane

Magical Realism: The Forgotten Genre

Many readers know about fantasy fiction. Paranormal and supernatural tales are burning up the charts. Few people realize that there is a sister genre, nestled in the cracks of literature: Magical Realism.

Step into the Way-Back-Machine with me to my middle school. There, my Spanish teacher, a burly Brazilian bodybuilder, introduced me to the genre. It was no mistake, as the concept was born in Latin America. The concept of these stories is a perfectly normal, rational world, but with one magical element.

In magical realisms, the common and mundane are transformed into the amazing and unreal. It’s a genre of surprises. Time is fluid, pulling the reader into the unusual.
Need some examples? How about Like Water for Chocolate? The novel by Laura Esquivel shows the domestic life of women in a small town. Yet the protagonist, Tita, can’t achieve happiness because of her mother. She imbues her emotions into the food she makes. Those that partake of her delicacies, enact those emotions for her. For example, Tita suffers from forbidden love, and she infuses this emotion into a wedding cake. The guests to eat the cake, all suffer from severe longing.
Here’s a clip from Tita’s magical meal.

Another perfect example is Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis (1912). Here an office worker awakes one day to discover that he’s been transformed into a cockroach. His family must then deal with his new insect form.

A comic adaptation of Metamorphosis that I adore.

A comic adaptation of Metamorphosis that I adore.

Many movies also fall into the magical realism arena, such as: Being John Malkovich, Big Fish, Black Swan, City of Angels, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Many fantasy writers scoff at the idea that this is a unique genre, saying that magical realism is simply another name for fantasy fiction.

Gene Wolfe stated, “magic realism is fantasy written by people who speak Spanish,” and Terry Pratchett said magic realism “is like a polite way of saying you write fantasy.” Yet there are differences. Most notably the use of

antinomy, or the simultaneous presence of two conflicting codes. When you read fantasy, there’s an internal logic, rules, to the universe. In magical realism key events have no logical explanation. Why can Tita infuse food with emotion? There is no reason. She just can.

It’s this element that so fascinates me. In a world where every motivation needs to be explained and teased apart, it’s a relief to say it happened just because. Magical realism includes events that don’t fit into any world, anywhere.

Gabriel García Márquez, a Colombian writer, uses of magical realism to blend reality and fantasy so that the reader can’t tell the difference. In his story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”,  an angel falls to the Earth because of a violent rainstorm. The reality of the situation is never doubted. Although the angel is a magical being, he is treated in a realistic way. Here’s the start to the story.
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A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings: A Tale For Children
 
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 
 
 
On the third day of rain they had killed so many crabs inside the house that Pelayo had to cross his drenched courtyard and throw them into the sea, because the newborn child had a temperature all night and they thought it was due to the stench. The world had been sad since Tuesday. Sea and sky were a single ash-gray thing and the sands of the beach, which on March nights glimmered like powdered light, had become a stew of mud and rotten shellfish. The light was so weak at noon that when Pelayo was coming back to the house after throwing away the crabs, it was hard for him to see what it was that was moving and groaning in the rear of the courtyard. He had to go very close to see that it was an old man, a very old man, lying face down in the mud, who, in spite of his tremendous efforts, couldn’t get up, impeded by his enormous wings.
 
Frightened by that nightmare, Pelayo ran to get Elisenda, his wife, who was putting compresses on the sick child, and he took her to the rear of the courtyard. They both looked at the fallen body with a mute stupor. He was dressed like a ragpicker. There were only a few faded hairs left on his bald skull and very few teeth in his mouth, and his pitiful condition of a drenched great-grandfather took away and sense of grandeur he might have had. His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked were forever entangled in the mud. They looked at him so long and so closely that Pelayo and Elisenda very soon overcame their surprise and in the end found him familiar. Then they dared speak to him, and he answered in an incomprehensible dialect with a strong sailor’s voice. That was how they skipped over the inconvenience of the wings and quite intelligently concluded that he was a lonely castaway from some foreign ship wrecked by the storm. And yet, they called in a neighbor woman who knew everything about life and death to see him, and all she needed was one look to show them their mistake.
For the full text, visit here.