#3. Melanie Griffith's Dead Mother
We have previously pointed out that Alfred Hitchcock was kind of a creepy asshole. To summarize, he used the 1963 film The Birds as an excuse to torture actress Tippi Hedren -- specifically, by hitting on her and attacking her with actual live birds.
Not happy with destroying Tippi Hedren's psyche (and subsequently, her career), he decided that he should traumatize the rest of her family. Specifically, Hedren's six-year-old daughter and future actress, Melanie Griffith.
So Hitchcock gave as a gift to the little girl a wax figure of her mother in a coffin, dressed up in the same costume she wore in The Birds. And he made sure it looked exactly like her mother.
If her mother had clothes and matching accessories, it could have been passed off as "Mortuary Barbie."
Under the pretense of promoting the film, the director actually had Hedren come in to make a face mask for the doll. The on-set special effects guy took the mask, then shrunk it down so that the doll had the exact same face as Tippi, just so there wouldn't be any doubt about who the doll was supposed to be.
Via Wiki Commons
"... it's for merchandise. We're also selling figures of that guy who got his eyes pecked out."
Years later, a grown-up Melanie Griffith said of Hitchcock, "He was a motherfucker, and you can quote me."
#2. Rape-Themed Wedding Gifts
Imagine it's your wedding day. The gifts are piled up on the table and now it's time to open them and figure out how many people stuck with the registry. What's this? Why, it's a decorative chest from Uncle Frank depicting a graphic rape scene.
Oh, look! Here's another one from grandma. She went for the supernatural rape dinnerware:
Dad, of course, went right for the gang rape:
Congratulations, you are a typical couple living during the Italian Renaissance. In those days, when a couple was married, the daughter would move to the groom's house and become his possession. This "seizure" of women inspired wedding gifts that symbolized their marriage -- all bearing images of "Heroic Rape."
Look at this man heroicly fighting off this woman's aged Father!
We suppose you just had to be there. During the Renaissance, Italians idealized rape-themed Roman legends like the ancient story of the Sabine Women. In that legend, the first generation of Romans were a huge military, but they didn't have women to start their new civilization. In order to get chicks for their new society, they held a festival and invited all the women from the surrounding areas. At a predetermined signal from the Roman King, the Romans each seized a woman. The mass rape supposedly allowed for the creation of the first generation of Roman families.
We assume it was like a rapey musical chairs.
Fast forward to the Renaissance, and you'd find these images painted onto gifts like cassoni (wooden chests) and spalliera (shoulder-high wall decorations). Some of the more popular scenes to be painted on the chests were legends like the Rape of Lucretia, the aforementioned Rape of the Sabine Women and other great works with the word "rape" in them. Because nothing says welcome to a daughter-in-law like "my son won't take no for an answer."
You would think the cherubs are the ones to watch here. You'd be wrong; it's the bull.
#1. For Your Birthday, I Made You Shit Your Pants
Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, was the real-life guy that some of you only know from Johnny Depp's portrayal in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. His drug-induced exploits are legendary, but when he wasn't swatting bats with a fly swatter or being chased by some monster after tripping on a shit load of acid, he was pulling pranks on his celebrity friends. And by pranks, we mean terrifying events that gave them PTSD. Which brings us to the "gift" he got Jack Nicholson for his birthday.
"This better be good."
On the special day, Thompson sneaked into the shrubbery around Nicholson's home, pulled out a gun and started firing. Not right into the window or anything, he wasn't trying to kill him. He was just trying to make him think he was going to die. That led to Part Two of his plan, which was to leave behind a device that broadcast a recording of "terrible dying-animal cries." Part Three involved dropping a bloody animal heart at the front door.
"Heeeeeere's ... OH JESUS CHRIST!"
Hey, did we mention that Nicholson was dealing with a stalker at the time? And was already fearing for his safety? Fearing a Manson Family-style home invasion that would slaughter everyone inside the house, Jack called the cops and hid with his terrified family in the basement for the rest of a sleepless night. Happy Birthday!
"You've even got candles, as I tripped the fuse box!"
Looking back on the event, Thompson was regretful of the whole "thinking you were going to die" prank. But this flash of reason was the exception rather than the rule in Thompson's life. Later, for a Christmas present, Thompson sent Jack's nine-year-old daughter an incredibly detailed and graphic sculpture of a rat's bloodied body stuck in a trap. Included in the present was a note which read: "Dear Lorraine. This will teach you a lesson about trusting men which will be valuable later in life. You're welcome, Uncle Hunter." Ho, Ho, Ho!
For more brilliant present ideas, check out The 7 Most Useless Skymall Products (Reviewed Accordingly) and 14 Valentine's Day Gifts Guaranteed to Not Get You Laid.