5 True Stories That Put Every Horror Movie To Shame
Show a group of people a randomly picked news article, and three personality types will emerge. Some ask themselves: "How does this affect me?" Others query: "What can I learn from this?" And then there's a third group, which rarely wears pants and only wants to know: "What kind of horror movie would this be?" I'm firmly in that last group, and judging by how you clicked on this article, I'm guessing that so are you. So come -- let's grab a bunch of truly creepy news stories and give those stupid, rational types a sample of what the inside of our collective head looks like.
Boats Full Of Corpses Keep Washing Up In Japan
There are many horror plots you'd associate with Japan: creepy ghost girls, giant monsters, the lingering farts of long-gone otakus still haunting their apartment complexes. You wouldn't necessarily include the classic "ghost ship" story in that list ... which is why Japan, being Japan, has taken that trope and cranked it up to 11.
Like this, but with more atomic breath.
Instead of the traditional version where a ship is found with its crew mysteriously missing (and may or may not make its finders disappear as well, thanks to the vengeful sea ghosts haunting it), the country has opted for a real-life version where mysterious boats full of decomposing and mutilated corpses keep washing up on the country's shores. That's insane. Even the most visceral of ghost ship-themed horror movies tend to start with an empty ship, singular. Here, we have a whole bunch, turning up with some alarming regularity, and complete with a ton of well-worn corpses to bring some extra gore to the tale. Is ... is this going to be a zombie situation somewhere down the line? Is this how the whole "undead pirate" thing from Pirates Of The Caribbean would really play out?
Just a fleet of these with a full Evil Dead interior decor coming at you, Japan.
In the interest of accurate reporting, it should be mentioned that one of the boats has been connected to a unit of North Korea's army, along with Kim Jong-un's apparent insistence on fishing as a source of food and foreign income. So the leading boring theory is that these are North Korean ships, risking literal life and limb in order to catch a mackerel or six for the Great Leader.
Wait, hold on. That's ... actually even more terrifying than a dark saltwater god stealing fishermen's faces or whatever. Imagine that your entire lot in life is sailing notoriously stormy and awful seas in a barely equipped vessel, only for your crew to face the unspeakable horrors of the ocean. Maybe things get so bad that you end up with a Donner Party situation. Finally, after the inevitable gory climax, you wash up in a foreign land, where your badly decomposed mortal remains are collected and cremated by stoic Japanese coast guards who have at this point seen way too much of this shit to give a damn.
Around Act Two of that story, having your soul eaten by a horde of ravenous ocean witches would probably be a welcome respite.
A Company Had A Secret Nuclear Reactor For Decades
Let's say you're a resident of Rochester, New York. You're just minding your own business, pretending your city has famous people who are not Ryan Lochte and Kristen Wiig, when one day, your neighborhood is full of dudes in hazmat suits. Because a company next door had a goddamned secret nuclear reactor in their basement. But what kind of real-life Umbrella Corporation would go and pull a stunt like that ... ?
... K-Kodak? The photography company?
What the fuck?
Who knew a Kodak moment has a half-life of 24,110 years?
It's hard for a corporate entity to seem sympathetic, but Kodak -- a company most notorious for manufacturing film -- is probably as close as it comes in an era where everyone has a camera in their cell phone. Finding out a firm like that has been gleefully playing with Fallout tech all along is like discovering that your sweet grandpa's house has a secret dungeon for a 16-foot fuck doll constructed entirely out of rotting ham. Still, Kodak totally had a nuclear reactor. It was called "californium neutron flux multiplier," and they started messing around with it in 1974. The company is quick to mention that the reactor was just a relatively small one, they were operating it remotely behind two feet of concrete, and they only used it for non-nefarious purposes such as testing chemicals for impurities. They might even point out that they themselves were, in fact, the ones who revealed that they had one in the first place.
To all that I say: Poppycock.
You know what kind of company just abruptly up and goes, "Hey, guys, did we ever tell you the story of this doom machine we've had in our basement for decades? We didn't? Well, how about that, ha-ha!"? One that's doing damage control, that's what. I can imagine around least a dozen reasons for Kodak needing an unsanctioned, rarely mentioned nuclear reactor that was suddenly decommissioned in collaboration with the government in 2007. None of those reasons include the words "making photography shit better," and absolutely all of them include the term "super mutant."
I'm calling it: They were totally running a nuclear-themed supervillain plot on the side, and something happened in 2007. Maybe their scientists finally managed to create a film that could capture future events, and were driven to homicidal insanity when every image persistently featured forests of flaming skeletons where trees should be. Or maybe, just maybe, they finally managed to recreate my favorite Masters Of The Universe failure Fearless Photog, who proceeded to tear through the facility like the Demogorgon in Stranger Things.
If nothing else, he'd take found-footage movies to another level.
Family Flees Their Dream House Because Of A Mysterious "Watcher"
The "mysterious stalker in the shadows" trope is present in roughly 95 percent of all horror movies, but in real life, that particular plot device can usually be solved with a call to police, a restraining order, or a swift dropkick right in the dick.
Which makes it all the more intriguing that in 2015, a creepy entity known as "The Watcher" actually managed to stalk a family out of their New Jersey home. And wait, it gets better -- said home happened to look like this:
It's ... it's almost too on-the-nose.
There's a reason our villain was called the Watcher and not, say, the Melon Baller Eyeball Collector -- as befits the majesty of his preferred stalking grounds, he was all about psychological terror. The name of his particular game was threatening letters. And although that could technically put him in a "disgruntled dude who lost the bidding war" or "guy who really hates neighbors" category, he pushed his way into horror movie territory with his ... peculiar methods. Here are some choice quotes from his messages:
"The windows and doors allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house. Who I am? I am the Watcher."
"Have they found out what is in the walls yet? In time they will."
Or, in reference to the family's children:
"I am pleased to know your names now, and the name of the young blood you have brought to me."
Hahahahaha! That's awesome ... ly, uh, awful for the family, that is. The letters kept coming, and as they included apt "young blood" references and hints that the writer actually did keep uncomfortably close tabs on the house and its renovations, the family was too afraid to make the house their home. In fact, they never dared to properly move in.
"I mean, it's cool if you want to drop by and stock the fridge sometimes, but otherwise, young blood."
What really makes this one for me is that as a horror movie, it's clearly a sequel. Not only does the family heavily insinuate that the previous owners who sold the house to them were already all too aware of The Watcher, the Watcher himself started his campaign of terror (a mere three days after they bought the house in 2014) with a statement that his grandfather and father had watched the house before him, and it now fell on him to "wait for its second coming."
A real creepy, haunted-looking mansion where every owner is stalked by generations of unknown, hostile entities? Say that sentence out loud three times, and Wes Craven's ghost will appear to high five you, because you just got yourself a horror franchise.
A Family Finds The Walls Of Their House Are Filled With Animal Carcasses
The Watcher may or may not have been hurling empty threats about "things in the walls," but in Auburn, MA, one villain damn well delivered ... a good 70-80 years in advance.
In 2011, the Bretzius family bought a house. They were thorough in what they were looking for. They had it inspected, looked for radon, the whole nine yards. Everything went well, and they moved in ... which is when the dead animals started coming out of the walls.
"Damn straight we did."
In 2012, the family discovered to their horror that the walls were full of dead animals, spices, and assorted trinkets, all wrapped up in newspapers from 1930s and 1940s. Intrigued by the what-the-fuckedness of it all, they sent dozens of the carcasses and other finds to experts, who concluded that they likely had something to do with pow-wowing, a peculiar form of Amish folk magic where tricks like this were used to "heal" ailments.
Personally, I call bullshit. It's one thing to perform a little ceremony for health, like sacrificing a goat whenever you pass through a doorway for the first time (you guys do that too, right?). Stuffing all your walls full of death and spices is the work of a serial killer who wants to show the devil who the boss really is. With that logic, and in the context of Pennsylvania Dutch magic being at play here, I'm forced to assume that the house is haunted by buckriders -- demons who ride flying goats from Satan's flock. Have those guys ever featured in a horror movie? They're about to!
Probably won't look like drunk Paul Revere in the finished piece, though.
Still, before the spirits of Bokkenrijders inevitably rise and possess them, the residents of the house are a good example of how haunted houses really screw up a person's life. Although they are on record for having been adequately "shocked, horrified, and disgusted" when they first found the terror-spell ingredients hiding in their walls, they are more concerned with the fact that this has forced them to do a buttload of expensive renovation their insurance company wants to hear nothing about, and the mold and terrifying smell of the animals has tainted the whole house. That, friend, is the true, mundane yet long-term, horror you'll face the next time your ceiling starts weeping ectoplasm.
Man Arrested For Smuggling Roasted Black-Magic Fetuses
I'm ... That's ... What?
Gold leaf. Jesus.
Look, creepy babies are generally a pretty safe course for any horror movie worth its salt. But it's one thing to go full Rosemary's Baby, and completely another to roast fetuses, cover them in gold, and waltz off to the airport with a bunch in your luggage while attempting to whistle innocuously. That's not the plot of a horror movie -- that's what gets you kicked out of the villain treehouse for creeping out Pennywise The Clown. Even the fact that the guy probably didn't personally make the horror babies like a good, old-fashioned maniac doesn't help matters; instead, he bought them from someone else for $6,000 and intended to sell them for profit as black-magic good-luck charms known as kuman thong.
Gilded. Roasted. Fetus. Black. Magic. Good luck charms. That someone out there is actively manufacturing for sale.
I'm not going to image search any of that, so here's a picture of me as a terrifying baby as the next best thing.
You know what? Fuck it. I'm out. I hope you're proud of yourself, fetus guy. You can't be spun into a horror movie, because you already are something way, way creepier. In other circumstances, I might say that you won, but I think we can agree that we all lost something precious today. Now, who's hogging the brain bleach?
The proliferation of beer pong and craft beer may have you think that we're living in one of the peak times to get drunk, but humans have been getting famously hammered for millennia. Like a frat house's lawn after a kegger, history is littered with world changing events that were secretly powered by booze. The inaugural games of the Roman Coliseum, the drafting of the US Constitution and the Russian Revolution were all capped off by major parties that most attendees probably regretted in the morning.
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