It doesn't take a cinema genius to catch that most of Martin Scorsese's movies feature violent sociopaths. And you don't need to be a horror/geography wunderkind to notice that every Stephen King book is about an unexplainable evil being evil in New England. Those trademarks are part of the reason we like the work of those guys.
But what's really interesting are the artists who have been flaunting their bizarre fixations in our faces for years but have never been called out on them. Until now ...
If geek fandom was a high school, Whedon would be its resident golden boy jock. Some might consider him an asshole, but he does have a lot going for him, like Buffy, Firefly and Dr. Horrible. And now, he's even directing the Avengers movie, which in this metaphor is like scoring with the school's entire cheerleading squad. At once.
The secret trademark:
It's definitely a creepy foot fetish.
When you really think about it, it's not that often that you see bare feet on the little screen. Unless you're watching a Joss Whedon joint, in which case there seems to be all sorts of opportunities for his lady and gentleman stars to shuck footwear. Like in the space western Firefly, where society has apparently abolished all shoes other than the sandal:
To be fair, most of these do belong to Summer Glau's character, River, who was supposed to be the show's psychic warrior dancer of sorts (you know how all dancers hate shoes). Besides, how do we explain the fact that Whedon's most famous series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is virtually feet free? Easy. He was just saving it all for Buffy's spin-off series, Angel, particularly with (but not limited to) Amy Acker's character, Fred, who never met a floor surface her feet didn't like:
But don't go thinking that just because we saw only women flashing their toes, Whedon's supposed hard-on for feminism is bullshit. Perish the thought! Nothing gets Whedon hotter than gender equality, and that's why his next series, Dollhouse, even featured barefoot guys! (Among the dozen or so women constantly running around with no shoes on.)
Man, feminism is easy!
Here at Cracked we've already talked in great detail about the hidden messages in Stanley Kubrick's movies, everything from the oppression of Native Americans to Freemasonry to faking the moon landing. So you might be wondering, is there really anything surprising left to say about Kubrick's filmography?
What else can we say about such glorious codpieces?
The secret trademark:
Bathrooms. For real, bathrooms.
Stanley Kubrick, ladies and gentlemen.
Let's get right to it: Almost every major Stanley Kubrick movie includes a pivotal scene that takes place in a bathroom or toilet. We'll go through them chronologically, but be warned, you will never look at these movies the same way again. And before somebody jumps into the comments and says, "He made lots of movies! You could probably do this with any room in the house!" we say, try it. Go through and collect all of the big scenes that take place in, say, kitchens, and see if you come up with anything like this list:
Dr. Strangelove (1964) -- The insane general Jack D. Ripper orders a nuclear attack on the USSR that can be called off with a code only he knows. To not give up the code, Ripper shoots himself in the bathroom.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) -- During the movie's finale, the protagonist David Bowman gets mysteriously transported to a strange apartment somewhere in outer space. One of the first things he does is inspect the bathroom.
And it's gorgeous!
A Clockwork Orange (1971) -- Alex (Malcolm McDowell) is staying in the house of the man whose wife he and his friends raped earlier in the film. The man finally recognizes Alex after he starts singing in the tub.
The Shining (1980) -- Bathrooms galore. It's where we first see the psychic kid use his powers, where the ghosts tell Jack to murder his family, even where the famous "Here's Johnny!" scene takes place.
Full Metal Jacket (1987) -- The first half of the movie (i.e. the only part you remember) ends with the insane Private Pyle killing the foulmouthed drill sergeant and committing suicide in the unit's toilet.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) -- Near the middle of the movie, Tom Cruise finds himself in trouble after crashing a ritual sex orgy but is then saved by a mysterious woman. It later turns out that they actually had met at the beginning of the film, when Cruise helped her after a drug overdose ... in the bathroom.
Of course, we don't have to tell you that the roundness of the toilet seats and the yellowness of urine are clearly hidden representations of the Masonic sun symbol. Anyone can see that.
It's pretty much an established fact that comic book artists and writers use their medium to explore their own weirdass sexual fantasies (as we'll see), but leave it to Alan Moore to take it to the next level. And really, what else would we expect from a guy who seriously believes he's a magician and used to write under the pseudonym Translucia Baboon? Hard nut to crack, that.
Via Wikipedia Commons
Holy shit, somebody gave Rasputin a comic book.
The secret trademark:
Moore likes his young, hot heroines having sex with grotesque monstrosities. Moore likes that a lot.
The first pairing that probably comes to mind for most of us is Silk Spectre and Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen. Silk Spectre is just a regular person, and Dr. Manhattan is a blue ... reconstructed ... quantum superhuman god ... thing, and clearly not the same species as Silk Spectre. Still, they get it on:
"Two of you? Oh NOW it's just weird!"
Surprisingly, that little bit of awkward sandwich was actually left in the movie. Usually, movies based on Moore's comics cut out all the weird sex scenes, presumably so the audience doesn't collectively throw up popcorn all over the theater. So non-comic-book geeks might be surprised to learn just how much wrinkly/bizarre dick action they missed out on. Like in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, unlike the movie, the roughly 70-year-old Allan Quatermain actually gets to hook up with Mina Harker, the visually 20-something victim of Dracula.
And just to make sure we're all very clear on how far he can take things, Moore done upped the sick ante to a jillion with Lost Girls. It's kind of like Lost Boys, except instead of featuring a teen vampire gang, it's the story of an elderly woman (Alice from Alice in Wonderland) who takes on two younger female lovers (Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and Wendy from Peter Pan). So ... pretty close.
Goodbye, what was left of our childhoods.
A more straightforward example comes from Moore's Promethea, which allegedly explains the author's beliefs about magic. Apparently in order to learn it, you have to bang a wrinkly septuagenarian sorcerer, which is what Sophie, the book's protagonist, ends up doing. Yeah, that's exactly where we thought Moore was going with the whole "magician" shtick.
But all of the above pales in comparison with Vol. 2 of Moore's Swamp Thing where the titular character (a sentient, animated piece of swamp) has sex with the human character Abby. OK, maybe "sex" isn't the right word here, but until someone comes up with a shorter version of "a sexual acid trip after eating psychedelic vegetation growing on a monster," that's what we'll go with.