6 Artists Whose Weird Fetishes Defined Pop Culture

#3. Guillermo del Toro Is All About Slime and Bugs

Prior to 2006, the Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro was mostly known for Blade II and Hellboy, but he quickly gained international attention with the release of his dark, fantasy masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth. And for a man with such a sprawling imagination, it always seems to come back to two things with him.

The secret trademark:

Guillermo is all about bugs and slime. And anytime he can combine the two, del Toro's in del heaven-o.

Seriously, no one has ever used that line before. Can you believe it?

The obsession goes all the way back to his first movie, Cronos (1993), which tells the story of a scarab artifact housing a magical, slimy bug that secretes immortality juice. Because what's the point of immortality juice if it's not coming from the innards of an autonomous insect, right? You might as well find yourself a vampire and call it a day.

Four years later, del Toro took the idea of horrifying insects and injected it with a million horror steroids. In Mimic, he invented genetically modified cockroaches that evolved to sort of mimic the appearance of humans. So they could eat them.

Sweet dreams!

The movie also vastly increased the amount of on-screen slime compared with Cronos, probably because it mostly took place in the sewers.

Or was it an adult theater?

Not only did the following, non-sewer-oriented, del Toro movies continue this trend, some even utilized the exact same visuals as Mimic, specifically the "gunk on bottoms of shoes," which has appeared in both Hellboy and Hellboy II.

And it didn't end there. What del Toro's Hellboy franchise lacked in bugs, it more than made up for with buckets of slime, supplied by the slobbering demon Sammael in the first movie and a slime-bleeding plant monster in the sequel.

It all came down to a powerful if kinda gross crescendo with Pan's Labyrinth, a movie that fully delivered on all of del Toro's trademarks, notably with the stick-bug "fairies" and the slime/golden key-vomiting giant toad. By the way, the fact that that last sentence made sense to a whole lot of people will probably keep us up tonight.

Nothing confusing here, apparently.

#2. Comic Book Legend John Byrne Likes Brainwash Rape

Even if you're not intimately familiar with the name John Byrne, you are definitely familiar with his work, since he's worked on almost every major American superhero since the 70s.

And whatever was going on here.

Picture the Superman you're familiar with -- the one who never dressed in blue spandex as a kid and never owned a super dog named Krypto. That Superman is courtesy of John Byrne, whose 1986 Superman reboot The Man of Steel single-handedly erased the kiddie stuff like Superboy and his Superdog from the entire Super mythos. For a while, at least. X-Men fans can also thank Byrne for co-creating the highly acclaimed Dark Phoenix Saga and the entire world can hire him a garbage truck full of hookers for saving Wolverine from being killed off by the studio.

Via Corey Bond
"You're welcome."

The secret trademark:

John Byrne kind of has a thing for sexually exploiting brainwashed women. Sorry, correction: His characters have a thing for sexually exploiting brainwashed women.

Let's go back to the Dark Phoenix Saga for a bit. It was a 1980 X-Men storyline involving the telekinetic Jean Grey gaining godlike powers and going a little crazy. It later became the basis for the third X-Men movie, though naturally, some parts of the comic had to be cut out -- like, say, Jean Grey's rape.

Major Mutton Chops up there is the villain Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde) who used a mind-tap device to make Jean believe she was her own distant ancestor and Wyngarde's lover (later wife). Though Mastermind's ultimate goal was simply to put Jean under his control, it gets downright kinky when you see the outfit and nickname he gave Jean:

"Behold, the Black Queen! We're totally just friends!"

Byrne would revisit this theme in Action Comics No. 592-593, where the mind-controlled Superman and the superheroine Big Barda are forced to make a porno together.


Byrne claims that the above setup is a porno only if you THINK it's a porno. So, the reaction of Barda's husband after seeing her porn tape is probably just a projection of our sick minds.

"My God, her acting in this re-enactment of 'Othello' is appalling!"

Another reason we're calling bullshit on Byrne's explanation is the fact that the villain behind this sleazy scheme is a guy actually named Sleez, whom we saw earlier keeping Barda captive in the sewers as his mind-controlled stripper (and possibly something more).

Even Sue Richards (the Invisible Woman) felt the stinging tip of Byrne's pen in Fantastic Four No. 280-282, when she was brainwashed by Psycho-Man and briefly became the villainess Malice.

Who dressed like a samurai hooker.

Sue later compared the experience to having her soul raped.

In case you were wondering whether Byrne simply hates DC/Marvel superheroines, we assure you that's not the case. You can find even creepier rape scenes in Byrne's original comics, like Next Men, where the character Sathanas (Hilltop) messes with the mind of the jail-baiterrific Jasmine, making her believe they're married. And that being married somehow means you have to sleep with the other person.

#1. David Cronenberg Has Something Against Motor Vehicles

David Cronenberg's film career has spanned more than four decades and dozens of movies, each a little more disturbing than the last. Take, for example, his horror masterpiece The Fly, or the aptly titled A History of Violence, or his 1981 sci-fi horror Scanners, which the official pictorial representation of the Internet comes from:

"Wait, you said it's full of free porn?"

There's no doubt the guy knows his stuff when it comes to horror films. But there's also no doubt there's something else going on in his head when he makes his movies.

The secret trademark:

Cronenberg is straight-up obsessed with car accidents. In movie after movie, car accidents are either what propels the action forward or are awkwardly shoved into the plot somewhere, as if Cronenberg just couldn't help himself. "So what?" you're probably thinking, "Car accidents are dramatic. There are worse things to claim as a trademark." Maybe. Or maybe David Cronenberg is an accident freak and needs some help.

Yeah ... we're leaning toward the latter.

It started in 1977's Rabid, where a woman gets into a motorcycle accident and undergoes experimental surgery (which leaves her with a vampiric stinger under her armpit.) Weird, but whatever. Certainly not "obsessive weird." Next up for Cronenberg was Fast Company, one of his rare nonhorror movies about -- guess what? Race car drivers.

... who often exploded. Fair enough. We'll chalk that up to subject matter. OF COURSE a movie about race car driving is going to have some car explosions. Moving on. Next up was Scanners, the head-explodin' horror about killer telepaths, that only truly kicks off after the renegade psychic Revok escapes the people pursuing him by crashing their car with his mind:

Okaaay. In The Dead Zone (1983), Christopher Walken crashes his car and falls into a coma, developing psychic powers in the process, as coma patients often do.

Clearly, a pattern has emerged. And he's just getting started. In 1991, Cronenberg adapted William S. Burroughs' book Naked Lunch into a movie, which was all fine and good until Cronenberg injected a new piece of dialogue detailing the fatal car-related accident of a homosexual clown named Bobo. And with that, everything starts to make sense.

Finally, David Cronenberg's car crash complex came to a gushing orgasm in his 1996 movie Crash. Don't get it confused with the 2004 movie about race, urban life and disconnect in the modern world. This Crash is about people who are sexually aroused by car accidents. No, really:

A million bucks says Cronenberg had an actual visible boner while filming every one of those scenes.

Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a freelance online writer and Japanese-English-Polish translator. If you pay him, he will write words for you. Contact him at c.j.strusiewicz@gmail.com.

The secrets don't stop here, learn more in the Cracked.com book.

For more pop culture secrets you didn't know about, check out 5 Absurd (But Mind Blowing) Pop Culture Conspiracy Theories. Or check out some directors that went nuts, in 9 Awesome Directors Who Temporarily Lost Their Mind.

And stop by Linkstorm to see what Jack O'Brien's secret fetish is.

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