Pharyngula

There are plenty of horrors to give us the heebie-jeebies, as you can learn in the 52nd Carnival of the Godless.

As for me, I’m going to be playing a mad scientist DJ on Tuesday, showing clips from horror movies at the Cafe Scientifique. I’ve been chopping and splicing all morning to get ready for it.

Comments

  1. #1 Rey Fox
    October 29, 2006

    What doesn’t someone who doesn’t believe in the supernatural do for Halloween?

  2. #2 Scott Hatfield
    October 29, 2006

    When I went to the Cafe Scientifique Morris site there didn’t appear to be any working links…SH

  3. #3 JohnJ
    October 29, 2006

    Same as anyone else – watch cheesy horror movies

  4. #4 Ichthyic
    October 29, 2006

    Same as anyone else – watch cheesy horror movies

    indeed. a tradition for me for over 30 years now.

    I’m watching John Carpenter’s 1982 “The Thing” as I type this.

  5. #5 afarensis, FCD
    October 29, 2006

    Cool! Can you post a list of the clips?

  6. #6 Kansas Anarchist
    October 29, 2006

    I’ve been chopping and splicing all morning to get ready for it.

    After you’re done with that, will you be applying a burst of electricity and yelling “It’s alive! It’s alive!“?

  7. #7 Kristine
    October 29, 2006

    Same as anyone else – watch cheesy horror movies.

    And classic ones, like The Haunting (the original, not the remake), Eyes Without a Face, and The Uninvited.

  8. #8 Mnemosyne
    October 29, 2006

    As a two-time film school graduate, I, too, would be interested in the list of clips and possibly a link to a transcript.

    We watched a bunch of episodes of “Dexter” last night for our serial killer fix. Now we have to decide which scary movie from our bajillions of them we should watch. Hmm. Maybe it’s a “Rosemary’s Baby” kind of year …

  9. #9 PZ Myers
    October 29, 2006

    Oh, yes — I’ll probably even upload the clips to youtube.

    One of them is that marvelous one of Colin Clive going into hysterics.

  10. #10 Wally Whateley
    October 29, 2006

    I plan on watching “The Haunting” either tonight or tomorrow.

    I’ve also been listening to CDs with spooky music on ’em and writing scary stories for another website I play around on.

    Halloween is the only holiday worth mentioning.

  11. #11 Caledonian
    October 29, 2006

    Learn about Halloween safety, of course.

    Or go Christmas carolling.

  12. #12 Joel Sax
    October 29, 2006

    The thing about the Mad Scientist genre is that it attacks the mentally ill as dangerous. On the other hand, there is some call for the scientist horror image given the latter’s involvement in the making of weapons of war. Much of this came out after the atomic bomb. Only recently have the trapping of terror been handed over to men wearing burnooses and declared the stuff of religion.

    There are still plenty of scientists engaged in the creation of carnage-wreakers. And plenty of reason to fear the results.

  13. #13 Stogoe
    October 29, 2006

    Has anyone else seen Shriek of the Mutilated? Okay, so it’s more terrible than scary. But it is from the 70s.

  14. #14 PZ Myers
    October 29, 2006

    Since I’ve watched many of these old classic horror movies in the last few weeks, I will tell you that they don’t treat the mentally ill as dangerous. The ones you really have to watch out for are the little cripples. In those old Universal pictures, the real villain is the hunchbacked assistant: Dwight Frye, who dies in each movie but bounces back under a new name in the next, or Bela Lugosi, who plays one of those bad guys, too.

    Seriously. Who grabs the bad brain? Who goads the monster with flaming torches? Who takes the hint that they need a fresh young heart to run out and cheerfully kill the first person to walk by?

  15. #15 Zeno
    October 29, 2006

    Seriously. Who grabs the bad brain? Who goads the monster with flaming torches? Who takes the hint that they need a fresh young heart to run out and cheerfully kill the first person to walk by?

    I’m not sure, but I have a hunch.

  16. #16 afarensis
    October 29, 2006

    The ones you really have to watch out for are the little cripples.

    J. Carrol Naish in House of Frankenstein is another good example In the movie he plays a conniving, manipulative, murderous little bastard who eventually gets chucked out the window by the monster. At any rate, it will be interesting to see what you pick…

  17. #17 Shalini
    October 29, 2006

    Care to try The Exorcist?

    *g*

  18. #18 Keith Douglas
    October 29, 2006

    Speaking of bad ideas, I saw a book review of a children’s book in this Saturday’s paper that perpetuated the silly B-movie notion that the monster was named Frankenstein. The reviewer didn’t seem to catch it … how did that start??

  19. #19 Joel Sax
    October 30, 2006

    PZ: I’ll start believing in scientists being victimized by these films when I stop seeing them drawing salaries for their researches in the weapons, minerals, and pharmaceuticals industries.

    In the meantime, if you happen to hear of big bucks for being bipolar, let me know. I’ll continue to be affronted by MAD scientists since in most lexicons except those of those wanting to win arguments, “MAD” means “mentally ill”.

    (God, I feel like I am arguing with a neoconfederate who wants to say that his white ancestors were more sorely victimized than someone else’s black ones.)

  20. #20 NelC
    October 30, 2006

    Joel, it’s not like all scientists get royalties every time a bomb is built. There are quite a few out there who have nothing to do with weaponeering. I doubt that PZ gets a check in the mail every month from the Department of Inappropriate Technology.

  21. #21 j.t.delaney
    October 30, 2006

    I think it’s only a small minority of people who “believe” in Halloween: the hardcore religious nuts, and the Wiccans. Halloween is definitely my favorite Holiday; it’s a completely fun, totally surperfluous celebration for its own sake. Best of all, everybody get’s what they want: little kids get candy, older kids get to party, young adults get to *REALLY* party, and older adults get to indulge little kids. Religious nuts and new-agers get to indulge in their own respective eccentricities: one group gets to cower in their homes and feel righteous and victimized (their version of “candy”), and the other group gets to wear funny constumes and feel all mystical. Good for them.

    Unfortunately, the Netherlands doesn’t share this wonderful tradition, although they seem to “get it” (they still have the pumpkins and witches, for some reason.) Sadly, there won’t be any trick-or-treaters, and this I will certainly miss. I think we’ll probably stay at home, eat Dutch chocolates, maybe watch a Troma movie or two, and have a couple trappist ales.

  22. #22 j.t.delaney
    October 30, 2006

    Joel Sax:

    PZ: I’ll start believing in scientists being victimized by these films when I stop seeing them drawing salaries for their researches in the weapons, minerals, and pharmaceuticals industries.

    Joel, I’ll make a deal with you: “we scientists” will all stop researching and educating, just as soon as you and the other 7 billion non-scientists agree to wallow in your own pathogen-laden shit and accept a 33-year lifespan — for you and everybody you care about. Science and engineering are the *only* way to feed, cloth, house, transport, and care for the 7 billion people we share this planet with, not to mention the next couple billion coming. Going back to the Dark Ages won’t make society any less prone to violence or inhumanity (that’s why it’s called “the Dark Ages”), and it certainly will not provide a way for that many people to live with a scrap of dignity.

    I think you have some unfortunate ideas about scientists, and it makes me think you haven’t met very many of us. First off, most of us are not rich, period. A professional research scientist working at the top of their game is pretty much going to earn a middle-class or maybe upper middle-class income — especially working for a big company. Really, the payscale isn’t that much different than a master plumber or electrician. Engineers certainly do better, but it isn’t until you get into management that you start to earn *real* money… but by then, you’re not really doing much hands-on “science”, per se.

    Back in the States, I used to work for a medical device company in the Twin Cities (which shall remain nameless.) On my first day, a old-time veteran in my lab taught me the phrase: “you don’t get rich in R&D”. Over the next five years, I found out how true this was. He and I, along with a few thousand other people, helped to launch a medical device to market that saves hundreds of thousands of lives every year (a drug loaded stent.) We worked incredibly long hours, and made great personal sacrifices to get that product out. Regrettably, our friends and family suffered, and a few people got divorsed as a result. Some couldn’t take it, and eventually burned out during that time. I have to admit ironically, I developed a bit of high blood pressure during this time (I was in my mid-twenties.) None of us expected to get rich, but we had our motivations for what we did: we knew that our product would make it possible for Grandma and Grandpa to stay around for a few more years and hug their grandkids, and that was far too beautiful of an idea to let go. We also knew that if it were successful, it would mean tens of thousands of jobs for our hometown on the far-flung edge of the Rust Belt. That was our motivation, we actually succeeded beyond our expectations, and I’m proud of the work we did.

    Scientists like Gould, Sagan and Dawkins wax poetically about the power of science to illuminate the world. For them, this is what makes them so passionate about science and education. However, for scientists like me, it’s the hope of making the world a better place to live. It’s the thought that something I do might be useful to thousands of people I’ll never meet, and maybe a few of them will wonder about who helped make it possible. The beauty of the cosmos is inspiring, but the fulfillment of a moral imperitive is what drives me.

    As for science mental illness, I think you are also a little uninformed. More than a couple scientists I have known suffer from unipolar and bipolar depression, as well as other infirmeries. Scientists are people like anybody else, and suffer the same illnesses and frailties as the the rest of the population. I think it is tragic for you to suggest that people with these conditions can’t also be good scientists — I’ve known some that have been truly brilliant. If it didn’t work out for you, I’m truly sorry; bipolar disorder can be debilitating, and my only suggestion is not to give up.

    Ultimately, all this animosity is being directed at the wrong people. Sure, scientists have made things like atom bombs possible, but it’s megalomaniacal religious clerics and politicians that made them necessary evils in the first place — they’re the real reason they were developed at all. It’s not so much a matter of money motivating scientists to do these things; they’re clever people, and could make more money doing something else. If anything, I’d say it’s a manipulation of their emotions. People are prone to do all sorts of things in the name of God and Country, and scientists are no exception. I can’t justify it all, but I think dehumanizing scientists and engineers that do military work does a disservice to the truth of why this research happens, and how to prevent future violence.

  23. #23 Wally Whateley
    October 30, 2006

    Applause, J.T. 🙂

  24. #24 Kristine
    October 30, 2006

    Bravo, J.T. And thank you for the stent.

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