Before heading out to work on Friday I had SciFi on and they were showing a couple Outer Limits episodes. I'm not sure if I've commented on this before, and I'm too lazy to go back and look, but I find The Outer Limits to be.. hmm. Tacky? Low quality? I guess we can go with that. The thing is - most of the stories have some core of an interesting question to them. "What would happen if war and plague killed all men on the planet and you woke up from cryo freeze as the last man on Earth?" It's sort of an interesting question, but then the remaining women (note that I didn't say Humanity was destroyed) all live in a sort of Quaker lifestyle. Except the old infrastructure still exists as far as power lines. But the power lines don't work because there's no generator. Power could be used to power the flour mill, but there isn't power. There isn't water either, because a town near a dam decided to try to fix the dam. So actually, there is power. But they're all Quakers, not in the "lacking electricity" sense, but rather in the "living simple and sharing with everyone" sort of sense. Except of course the next town is actually fucking the current town by stealing their river. But the saintly living women survivors are kind and generous and stupid and so that's cool. But of course the man sees injustice in what's being done, after he's woken up, so he tries to make things right. But of course electricity is a symbol of the old way that caused all the death and destruction, so even the town that's fucking the other town isn't sure they really want electricity, it's sort of a nervous experiment. So eventually the man steps up and tries to get some electricity for the town who's river is no longer running, but that's a bad thing and it all goes to shit and eventually he gets put back in cryo sleep, but not before the old woman calls him by his name. It turns out that they were in love before the war. .... .... .... I dunno. Overall the story didn't have much punch for me. Was it really about being the last man on Earth? Was it some sort of star crossed love story? Was it a socio-political commentary on man's self-destructiveness? Ultimately it came off as tacky and low quality and just wasn't that good. But then, that seems to be how most Outer Limits stories go.
In a similar vein, I was watching SciFi today and they had horror movies on. First was Saw, then Saw II, then this straight-to-dvd film called "Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead". In Saw the serial killer, who is ultimately the star of the series (and that might be a clue about the series right there) wants to test people who have lost their way. He wants to instill a certain.. joie de vivre in them. And he wants to do it by having them, for example, fish a queue ball out of their small intestine to stop some machine from ripping all their hair off at the same time while all the small wounds incite a swarm of ticks to drain the victim dry (not an actual example). The point is that he's trying to "guide" or "teach" people through a means which is already bound to fail from the start. Not to mention he's already "judged" these people as being unworthy in the first place, so where's the surprise when they turn out to be "unworthy"? I mean, the twist about this series is supposed to be that even thought the villain is being cruel and evil, he's also in his own way being just and trying to enlighten humanity. Plus, the thing is that, while one could argue that he's either not being played with fairly or simply omitting information, part of the traps often include some form of lie which makes it even harder for the victim to know how to properly escape. Sometimes the lie is something that another of the victims can shed light on, but due to animosities this does not happen. So essentially his traps are a bit like picking the Ace of Spades out of a deck that's got 51 deuces in it, and the cards are covered in acid. Or are made from skin and feces. Or whatever. Oh, and Joy Ride 2 was just an average (lame) horror film. The evil trucker was somehow omniscient and the guys in the film cried like little girls when confronted with adversity while the girls in the film bonded and fought for their friends. And then the trucker "died" at the end. And then after the fade to black there's another scene where the trucker is still alive and doing his thing. Which was pretty much entirely predictable.
This got me thinking a little. The guys in the trucker film weren't scrawny pencil necked dudes, one was definitely fairly healthy and well built, the other was a "third generation emo punk" but he still seemed like he'd be ok in a fight. But rather than expressing any toughness or stoicism at all when shit was on the line, instead they just sat there and cried and pounded the table they were sitting at. What would it be like if one of them was some sort of zen master black belt at Kung-Fu instead? I guess what I'm trying to say is that the point of horror films is to have people that are panicked and not thinking clearly. But in the particular style of horror movie that I saw today, the villains were just humans. If you were fighting a demon who's muscles also formed heavy-arms proof armor, then yeah, I could see panicking and crying and all that going on. But when you're faced with another human being you pretty much always stand some sort of chance, because humans aren't perfect. A sadistic evil genius could still forget and leave the gas on or something. Or, you know, you could just sucker elbow him in the gut while he's not suspecting it, then while you have the upper hand you stomp his teeth in. Problem solved. Consider survival horror games. In those you're often fighting against supernatural enemies, and yet the protagonist (you) is a stoic hero who might react to the horrors presented to him, but ultimately still pulls the trigger and fights through it. Often the cinematics at the end of the game fuck you (in Silent Hill) or not (in Resident Evil) but even then you'll often survive, and when you don't it's due to being a jackass or after some sort of revelation that allows the overall story of the series to progress.
In other news, I got a coffee pot on Friday as well as a little table.. well technically a 2-shelf bookshelf, to put it on. I finally put the bookshelf together last night, so I've given the coffeemaker a whirl today. Not too bad. I'm going to have to learn how to use it properly though, I put in way too much water even after having put in a lot of coffee grounds, so the coffee came out as a sort of dirty water. The pot sat for a while though, and it seemed to strengthen as time went on. But I'll have to put less water in next time (a lot) and maybe less grounds in as well (a little).