Tuesday, February 19, 2008

There's Something Out There

People do the damndest things in movies, things that we can plainly see will get them killed, or worse. Remember that movie, “Don’t Go in the Basement?” Sure enough, someone went in the basement. I guess we had an advantage, we knew the title.

I saw another one yesterday, “The Tomb,” an Italian-German-Mexican production on a “Thailand Home Video Only” VCD, 45B, bad Thai dub and all. Ok, they were academics so they had to go in the tomb in the first place, and the mere presence of skeletons chained to the wall or lying in niches shouldn’t discourage academics, that’s their business after all. The weird Mexican chick guide would have been a red flag to some people, a stripper getting long in the tooth, does an act with a snake, somehow she knows where this undiscovered tomb is, my bullshit detector would go off.

The first girl student to disappear in the tomb would have been another cue to skidoo, but that’s me. And for me, finding the guy student with his eyes gouged out, that one would have sent me back to the big city for sure. For some reason they stayed in their camp that night, and for some completely unfathomable reason, the next day, after the guy has gone from blind but alive to looking like a shriveled up baseball-glove overnight, they decide that the thing to do is go back into the tomb. That’s them; I wouldn’t do it. Predictably, supernatural ultra-violence ensues.

But are we really so smart? Would we really survive what does these movie people in? I’m not so sure anymore.

Last year I was in a small, brand spanking new hotel in a small northern town and I got a lesson in real life. This was an unfamiliar hotel, I was alone, it was virtually deserted, there were a few monthly tenants and just me, maybe one more, as overnighters. It was kind of bizarre too, lots of strange twists and turns to the halls, lots of those unexpected Thai changes in level, little steps, my room was around a tight corner and down three steps. After I had performed my ablutions and turned down the blankets I heard a noise, and what a noise it was.

It was like simultaneous screams, hysterical laughter, aggressive dogs, ripping metal, and heavy industry all at once. And it was loud, too, booming through all of the deserted corridors of this new hotel, and more than a few seconds long, time to put your head up and listen for a while. The highly paid professionals who make the scary sounds for Hollywood movies have fallen well short of the horror of this sound, I can tell you, and I’ve seen a lot of those movies.

I just finished my drink, turned out the light, climbed into bed and went to sleep. And the next morning I woke up fine. I never found out what the noise was. I heard it again the next night, and it was really a puzzlement, I wondered at it, what could it be? But I ignored it, and I survived.

So go rent “The Swamp Creatures,” and when they’re walking in the swamp and they hear the obvious sound of the foe, and one of them says, “do you think it could be the Swamp Creatures?” Don’t feel so superior. We’d probably say the same thing.

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