Thursday, May 27, 2010

Film #26: Eyes Without A Face (1959)

The things we do for beauty.
Feeling his face was missing the perfect “pouty look,” Chris recently had yellow gobs of his own butt fat implanted into his lips. He has told his wife to “kiss his ass” before, but now each morning she actually does!
Nick on the other hand wanted to feel more like a man. He hunted down a Sierra Sasquatch and had the monster’s back hide implanted on his chin. Oh, he has a beastly beard now, but the Bigfoot funk has started to cause blackouts.

Still, these agonizing acts of beautification don’t even come close to the cosmetic catastrophes committed in this week’s flick, “Eyes Without a Face.”

Main character Dr. Genessier is a world class surgeon in suburban Paris, France. But aside from that, the man is quite a mofo. His manic driving results in a car accident that renders his once beautiful daughter Christiane into “Sarah Jessica Parker”-level ugly.
In order to fixy-what-he-brokey, Genessier begins abducting beautiful French women and removing their face meat in the hope of transplanting it onto his disheveled daughter. Mofo actions if I ever saw 'em.

But this never-before performed surgery is harder than the old doc thought. He experiments on stray dogs, but it just isn’t good enough practice. When one human operation fails, it is on to the next mademoiselle and her luscious face.
Right now you are thinking, “Didn’t French doctors actually perform the first face transplant surgery a few years ago?” Yes, they did. It’s quite ironical.

Olde Saw-Face is aided in his belle butchering by assistant nurse Louise, who years ago received a smaller scale stolen mug-transplant herself and feels forever indebted to the doc.
But the cops start to get wise to his kisser-removing killing, and work with a decoy to prove their hunch.

Meanwhile Christiane – who is forced to wear a creepy mask to hide her lasagna face – is starting to crack under the pressure of multiple surgeries and zero results.
It all comes to a “face-off” of epic proportions in 1959’s foreign freak-out, “Eyes Without a Face.”

RDHP Ratings and Reviews

C-Rating: 2.9
Chris Dimick mumbles:
“This movie is just a pretty face. It may look stunning, but inside is an empty, boring soul that provides little substance. Behind the beautiful cinematography capturing Paris and its suburbs, and the sweeping camera shifts through Genessier's winding mansion, this movie's guts fail to deliver anything of interest or meaning.

I’ll admit, the extensive face-removal scenes had me squiring in my seat (it's just so... ewwww). As did the psychotic apathy I felt in relation to the face-stolen women who went mad after realizing their injuries. But when it comes down to it, this one was just nice to date but never to marry.

We equate our face with our identity. In some aspects, it is the most important part of our bodies. It the place people first look (unless you are Sheyla Hershey), associate with, and usually is the most distinguishing feature of a person. This movie cuts into the fear we all hold about disfigurement and becoming a social outcast. In a way, the women lost more than their face, but also their identity. They weren't outright killed physically, but they didn’t have to be. Genessier took their life away when he removed the skin that covered their facial muscles.

Okay, I get it. The movie was somewhat deep. Losing one's face, but living to mumble the tale through skinned lips -- now that is horror. But this point wasn't drilled home enough to rouse the soul. Once again, this movie was the victim of slow filler shots that were added for beauty, but just dragged down the film into mediocrity.

It doesn’t take a lot of gore or spooks for a movie to be scary if it can tap into latent, universal fears. Eyes Without a Face tries to tap into this, but only manages to get barely skin deep.

If you watched me during this movie, you would have seen MY face read “grossed-out, bored, briefly intrigued, and then disappointed.”

N-Rating: 2.1
Nick Rich mumbles:
"How can I best describe how I felt about this film? Well, as it was a French film, let me utilize my mastery of the language of romance to appropriately reveal my thoughts: LE BOO! Continuing the downward spiral Vampyr began a few weeks ago, Eyes Without A Face was a disappointing European entry into the RDHP. Not that bad movies are anything new to the RDHP at this point, but for me, because of the strong showing European films made at the beginning of the project I find myself judging ones that don't make the cut a bit more harshly.

Don't get me wrong, there was plenty to like about this film: dudes that looked so French you could smell surrender on them, creepy waifs wandering around in life-like masks (did I mention she was creepy?), and eerily realistic mad scientist surgery scenes.
All of which are great additions to a horror film (especially the creepy mask - because the film was shot in black and white there were scenes where you could barely tell it was a mask, it just felt 'off' when you saw the character - creepy) but the slow pace in Eyes Without A Face ended up stealing the thunder of these cool gimmicks.

If done right, a meandering pace can create a great buildup which makes the film all the more engaging... but in this case, while I found myself appreciating the cool gimmicks, it was such a leisurely route to get there I ended up not really caring (for the most part) once they were actually happening. This kind of deflating pacing makes a film difficult for me to watch and frankly made it difficult for me to stay awake during the film (in its defense I was up late the night before catching up on Lost).

Sadly, this film took itself too seriously, as stereotypically French films do. I'm surprised there wasn't a crying clown in the background of one of the shots... or was there? Maybe I missed it as my head bobbed down, desperately battling slumber.

The Skinny: Watch this flick if you're in the mood to feel smart but not be entertained... or if counting sheep just isn't working."

What We Learned From Watching "Eyes Without a Face":
-Dogs don't like being operated on.
-All French cars look the same -- stupid.
-Say what you want about the French, but they have excellent vocab.
-Sometimes you just have to slap a bitch.
-Even doctors love to smoke in Paris.
-Beautiful girls never go to prison.
-Being dead is better than being ugly (below):

Quote of the Viewing:
[Faceless Christiane wanders away from her home and support network, and frolics off alone into the sunset]
Nick: "What is she going to do now? How will she survive?"
Chris: "Well, she'd be one hell of a poker player!"

RDHP Presents:
Others Without a Face
While disfigured Christiane in this film wanted nothing more than a new mug, she's not the only one living a faceless existence. Here we present other people and things that lack a face.

Most don't have faces, excluding those in awesome 1980s movies.

You don't want to see what he's got hiding under there.

"Faceless People"
Remember this viral marketing bit from 2008, all these faceless a-holes turning up at British high-society events. Turns out it was all just a stunt... to sell cars.

The Invisible Man
No face, and no body at all!

Despite its name, Internet Web sites still can't have faces. Nor can books. We don't get it.

This Thing
We don't know what it is, but we just crapped ourselves over it.

The Smoke Monster
Sure, it can create faces, but its pure form is truly faceless. Kinda of a stretch we know... we just miss Lost (tear).

The Question
If you don't have the answers, you may not be asking the right questions -
like why doesn't he have a face?

The face of evil is always shifting, which makes it anonymous. If it can be anything and everything, we have to say that its faceless.

The RDHP Presents:
Top Reasons to Wear a Mask
In order to hide her hideous honker, Christiane donned a pretty creeptastic mask. What are a few other reasons one would put on a face-cover? I wonder?

You are a homicidal killer

The feeling of hot latex rattles your rocks

It's Carnivale!

You're fugly

The sex party requires them

You're feeling kitty-tastic!

You're addicted to fame,
body hair removal,
and baby oil!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Film #25: Tales from the Crypt (1972)

Greetings boils and ghouls!
Nick and Chris are dead tired from their slay-jobs, so they asked their olde pal the Crypt-keeper to take a stab at the RDHP blog.
I’m a fitting fill-in. After all, my early ‘90s television show – so beloved by Sick and Piss – was based on the same 1950s E.C. horror comics that inspired this week’s RDHP sin-ema: 1972's “Tales from the Crypt.”

This die-abolical film starts with a group of strangers entering a British crypt for a tour. After a die-er warning of not being dismembered from the group, five people wander off into a skull-studded chamber fitted with five cold slab seats.

Suddenly the chamber door slams shut, squealing them in the crypt, and a mysterious cloaked Crypt-keeper appears in the mouth of a huge wall-skull. Unlike my HBO version, this Crypt-keeper is really fleshed-out. Yet, despite being covered in disgusting muscle and skin, he still can weave a spooktacutlar tale!

One by one, the Crypt-keeper shows the trapped people their festering future through five movie vignettes -- each containing a horrifying sin, and an even more horrifying punishment for their wicked deeds.

The first vignette features a sultry vixen who murders her loving husband on AX-mas Eve, only to be stalked herself by a murderous psycho-Santa. Next comes a horny toad who tries to leave his wife and children for his mistress, but encounters grave trouble while driving along the die-way.

Third spins the tale of ghostly revenge on a rich, spiteful man who ruins his neighbor’s life – a lonely old garbage collector – for trashing the neighborhood with his scares. Fourth, we meet a swindling business man who is granted three wishes by a magic statue, but doesn’t heed the warning that all things come with a slice.
And lastly the corrupt superintendent of a blind asylum is shown that even the weak and sightless see dead when angry.

The five stranger's sins are all slayed out before the Crypt-keeper’s feet. They have screamed the error of their ways. Can these dastardly dopes redeem their souls, or is it too late? Find out in the 1972 boo-vie, "Tales from the Crypt."

Sorry if my putrid puns caused you to howl with pain. I haven’t been able to stop talking like that since my stroke.
And, my apologizes if you don’t like this week’s blog intro - but don’t pick a bone with the RDHP. By hiring me to fill in, they are working with a real skeleton crew.

RDHP Ratings and Reviews

C-Rating: 4.0
Chris Dimick’s tale:
“In real life, it is hard to tell the difference between good and evil. Things are not black or white, regardless of what Michael Jackson says. You know, the world is a confusing place, and sometimes it is hard to figure out just who to root for – who’s the good guy or who’s the bad guy.

It is because of this fact that I love movies like Tales from the Crypt – they clearly and succinctly tell you who to root and who to boo. Most Tales from the Crypt stories, both in this movie, in the comic books it is based on, and the eventual TV series, featured a horrible asshole who would Hot Carl those around them in some way, and then get an ironic and just come-up-ins by the end. This movie stuck close to the Tales from the Crypt legacy of “bad things happen to bad people – eventually.”

It is quite uplifting to see a murderous wife get stalked by a crazed killer, or a cheating husband eat a bumper sandwich in a balls-out car wreck. Tales from the Crypt takes the horror and makes it cathartic. Since the people who are being slaughtered and tormented in the tales deserve it, a viewer can cheer on the carnage whole-heartedly.

In fact, the tales actually make you crave horrible things to happen to the d-bags. Setting up the stories like this can buy into many a cliché, and over time the formula can get predictable and a bit lame. But that can be overlooked due to the insane amount of fun one has seeing someone get what they deserve.

Tales from the Crypt solves an inherit problem with horror movies. In most scary pictures, you are rooting for pure people to escape harm and horror delivered by evil-doers or situations. This can be hard to watch… seeing bad things happen to good or at least neutral people can be unpleasant, sickening and, well, scary. Hence a scary movie. That is great and all, but sometimes it can just be so depressing to see bad things happen to good people. Don't we get enough of that from life!?

But when bad things happen to bad people, there is no loser. Sure, plenty of good people get tormented in Tales from the Crypt, but at least by the end their tormentors are missing a few limbs or in the least taught a spooky lesson.

For first time in the RDHP, a 1970s film has delivered the goods. The TV series of the same name was instrumental in the development of my love for horror. That show taught me that horror movies can be both scary, hilarious, and ironic at the same time.
This movie, though not directly affiliated with the TV show, draws from the same horror well and will make you feel like a 10-year-old again, sneaking in spooky tales late at night without parental consent.

Tales from the Crypt will not only leave your smiling, but satisfied that – at least in the movies – there is a world where even though crappy stuff can happen to a good guy, the bad guy will get it worse."

N-Rating: 3.6
Nick Rich’s tale:
“Watching Tales from the Crypt was a rare treat for me. Having grown up with the 1990s TV show, seeing a big production 1970s version was awesome! Maybe I'm whimsical for days before my own, but the clothes, style and attitude of that period were so much cooler - I dread the day where I will look back on the 90s and think "I wish I could go back".

As Chris said, TFTC delivered the goods. The poor lead-in of the other RDHP 70's films definitely helped, but TFTC stood on its own merit with a dignified air about it that made it look and feel legit (maybe it was because of all the Brits). The segments were well constructed and entertaining (for the most part) and although the tales were much like I remember from my childhood (predictable), I found them unique and well executed enough to hold my interest.

Sir Ralph Richardson, while looking a bit like Friar Tuck, was captivating in his role as the Crypt-keeper - especially at the conclusion of the film. To make his performance all the more eerie, as he delivered his final monologue you could see him shaking gently (looking as if the onset of Parkinson's was beginning to plague him in real life); a visual reminder as to how frail we all are.

The Skinny: Check this flick out if you're in the mood for some old time Hollywood with a bit of 70s flair - its just good clean fun!”

Quote of the Viewing:
[Joan Collins' flowing 70s-licious hair fills the screen as she runs to the front door and bolts about five locks to deter a homicidal maniac]

Chris: That's a lot of locks.
Nick: She does have a lot of hair.
Chris: Booo, nice pun Crypt-keeper.
Nick: Ha! I really thought you meant her hair.

Things We Learned in "Tales from the Crypt"
-Do something evil, you gonna die, yo!
-Pedophiles love puppets.
-Blind people act like zombies when in groups.
-You can make your own Ouija board.
-Valentines can cause suicide.
-You can massage someone to death.
-England in the 70s looked like the US in the 40s.
-The blind are great at carpentry:

Your Wish Is My Command!
If You Dare!
A vignette in TFTC focuses on a magic statute that grants a person three wishes, but fulfills them in horrifying ways. People get what they ask for, but they also get a heaping helping of irony. If the RDHP had a magic evil statue, here are the three wishes we would be ask for... and how would they come to an ironic, tragic end:

Chris' Three Wishes:

Cubs Win the World Series
It has been 102 years since they were champions. So, this wish seems like a fan's dream come true, until drunken, riotous Cubs fans set fire to Wrigleyville and burn Chris's house down. Damn You Old Style!

Unlimited Supply of Bell’s Oberon
and Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar Chips
With my two favorite food items secured for life, I would quit my job and do nothing but ingest this sweet sweet God nectar. After three days of nonstop gorging, first I go blind, then my heart explodes.

World Peace
Everyone come in for a hug. Yay! All weapons are destroyed, and we live happily ever after. At least until we are invaded by low-tech aliens who enslave us with the aid of mere sharpened sticks. Where is a terrorist when you need one? Ji-hello?

Nick's Three Wishes:

The Eternal Puppy
Oh to have a pooch that would always have that puppy smell and looks! As puppies have trouble with discipline, the pooch wouldn't learn to stay away from my feet as I walk near my front stairwell... One day while rushing to work I would trip over man's best friend to my doom! The last thing I would see is a little tongue licking my cheek...

Independently Wealthy
Once rich (in deed as well as name) I would promptly quit my job and become addicted to computer games. After getting the sweetest gaming setup known to man, I would then slowly loose all muscle function due to lack of movement... then lose my wife whom I would be unable to run after.

Super Powers
Ah, the life-long dream to be "super"! Once bestowed with the miraculous ability to shape-shift, I would change into a massive eagle and soar through the sky... only to be sucked into an incoming plane's jet engine.

Ode to the Pencil Thin Mustache
One of the characters in TFTC was rocking this look... and the RDHP could just about feeeel the skeez coming through the screen. It inspired Chris to pen a pencil thin ode.

With the pencil-thin hair.
Because it's so horrible,
Your look is quite rare.

Unless you're John Waters,
This isn't okay.
You look like a creeper,
Or 1980s gay.

One look, I'm unclean.
Your 'stache be so nasty,
in the non-disco scene.

Here is a razor,
Just shave that shit off.
Stay away from my children,
Like 'stache, your head's soft.

Reasons Not to Mess With the Blind
Blind people get mad revenge on a dude that done them wrong in TFTC. If this movie isn't enough warning, here are several random reasons not to piss off the sightless:

1. One word: Daredevil.

2.They can't see you, but they can read your thoughts.

3. Most have dogs at their side... ready to rip out your throat.

4. They're blind! I mean, come on!

5. You can't fear what you can't see.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Film #24: The Seventh Victim (1943)

Welcome to our Satanic Club!
Come in… come in, have a seat. You must have seen our ad in the paper.
Let’s just hang up your coat and… oh, I see you brought a severed cat head.
Awwwwwkward… you see, our Satanic Club doesn’t really do sacrifices. People mainly do that on their own time.
Yeah, we are more “hands-off” Satan worshipers. Mostly, we just recite dark lord text and peer-pressure defunct members into committing suicide.
Tonight is actually recipe exchange night… I’m going to share my grandma’s mix for Devil’s Food Cake.
But, you know, it’s cool, it’s cool. We’ll just put that head in the fridge and you can pick it up on your way out.
Ick… got some blood on my cuff link there...

There is nothing worse than lame devil worshipers. But you will find them galore in this week’s movie “The Seventh Victim.” The above scene could have come straight out of a Tuesday night meeting of the Diabolists, the Satan-servants at the center of this low-budget thriller. The flick starts with an introduction to sweet as pie Mary Gibson, a late-teens boarding school student who learns that her meal-ticket sister has stopped paying tuition. Where’s the beef?! Seems Mary’s sister Jacqueline, a beautiful and successful cosmetics maker in Manhattan, has suddenly sold her business and disappeared into the New York madness.

Worried about her sister, Mary high-tails it to New York City to track her down. But Jacqueline has vanished without a trace, leaving behind only suspicious coworkers and a mysterious rented room with a single empty noose hanging from the rafters. A private investigator takes the case to track down Jackie, and discovers that Jacqueline didn’t sell her company to coworker Ms. Fallon, but gifted it to her. Something for nuthin’, in New York! It just doesn’t add up. Then Mary learns Jacqueline has a secret husband, and has been seeing mysterious psychologist Dr. Louis Judd – who claims to know where Jacqueline is but can never produce her when asked. His eyes are shifty too. Sh#& is going down!

One night while searching the cosmetics store, the private investigator is murdered in the shadows just out of Mary’s sight. Later, two men are seen by Mary sneaking the corpse away Weekend at Bernie’s style on a late night subway train. Who are these people! Are they after Mary too? What is Jacqueline involved in? Is Mary Kay trying to take out the competition?!?

It is soon revealed that Jacqueline – a woman always interested in death and the macabre (as evident by her little hangman’s noose room) – has fallen in and then fallen out with the Diabolists cult, a somewhat pacifist devil group headed in part by Ms. Fallon. Jackie recently tried to escape the grip of the cult by seeing psychiatrist Dr. Judd, but her loose tongue on the doings of the Diabolists enraged the group and forced them to try and “murder” the woman, just as they have six times before in the group's history with other non-team players. Of course, their way of murdering someone is first driving the person insane and then convincing them to kill themselves. Wouldn’t a gunshot to the head be faster?
Will Jacqueline become the seventh victim in 1943’s shadowy “The Seventh Victim?”

RDHP Ratings and Reviews

C-Rating: 2.5

Chris Dimick chants:
“Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn! Oh, excuse me… I just now woke up from the snooze inducing drug that is The Seventh Victim. If a movie is going to have Satan worshipers in it, don’t make them pacifists hell-bent on reading dark scripture and debating the morality of murder. I want tattooed, nipple-pieced, blood-drinking, devil horn wearing, heart-eating, GWAR listening crazies all up in my face, yo!
But let’s be fair, this is 1943. Even devil worshipers wore formal dresses and a suit and tie. I’m a man who tries to focus on the good in this world. So instead of going on about the evils of The Seventh Victim, I’d like to highlight its white side.

Here we have another movie from producer Val Lewton, who became famous for his wartime series of low budget but effective spook stories, like the previously RDHP reviewed film “Cat People.”

Lewton’s films are very stylistic and chic, and this one felt like warm velvet cascading across your eye lids. The Seventh Victim is heavy on dialog, and low on action. While that could seem boring, and at times it is, it is also brilliant in that it makes much of the movie take place inside a person’s cranium.
In classic Lewton fashion, the use of shadow, angled camera shots and creepy atmosphere is very effective in this movie. You can’t quite see the action, but a shadow is good enough given the great setup. The characters are the center of interest for the audience, especially the strange Jacqueline, played almost like a mindless zombie by actress Jean Brooks.

Although the characters are developed quickly, they are also developed deep. We learn that Jacqueline keeps the hanging noose in that apartment as a guarantee that whenever she wants, she can kill herself. That thought, that death can come at any point necessary, frees Jacqueline to live life with purpose and vigor.
Then there is the presentation of the Diabolists. I know I joked earlier about what boring Satanists they were, but in all honestly I thought it was refreshing that this group was displayed not as monsters but as rational, sympathetic and keen people who choose to worship Satan because they felt it is the right choice. It was almost an unbiased look at devil worshipers… at least for awhile until a preachy character chastises their evil ways.

Alright, enough with the good. This movie is very underwhelming, which made it hard to like. Like a frat-boy on an ice-skating date, the film moved very, very slow, which is a feat for a flick with only a 70 minute run time. It’s too heavily dependent on dialog, and not original enough to keep my eyes from closing.
While it was nice to see devil worshipers portrayed in a unique light, their rational ways didn’t make for very interesting cinema. Less talk, more devil worshiping!
But the movie had heart, great character development, and an ending that makes you think, shout, and grin a twisted grin.
You get a 2.5, The Seventh Victim. Now, get in your DVD case and let me go back to sleep."

N-Rating: 2.4
Nick Rich chants:
"I'm not quite sure how to feel about The Seventh Victim... Much like the female vying for the heralded status of the "seventh victim", sitting down to write my review has left me feeling trapped, desperate, and surprisingly fetching. I suppose these feelings are rooted in the fact that my heart and my head seem unable to agree upon how to respond to this film.

Nick's Heart: Oh , the dreaminess of the 1940's - I never tire of it! Ladies dressed to the nine's (I don't know what that means, but it makes me beat faster!) sporting impossibly impractical hairdos, shadowy shadows at every corner for people to sneak or smolder in (and boy howdy do they ever!
Did you know that in the 1940's telling someone your name could mean you've agreed to marry them? I beat faster just thinking about it!), and the formality to the point of absurdity (when else could you politely confront a group trying to kill someone with such good manners? Did you feel that? I think I just skipped!)! Then there's the story - I had never seen one like it! It had all the makings of a real nail biter... but I think it forgot that is was supposed to bite... but that's ok, it tried!

Nick's Head: Yes, well, the heart isn't all that intelligent if you hadn't noticed. Dim as it may be, it does occasionally nag me into submission, but in the case of The Seventh Victim I simply could not concede defeat.
Everything the heart said was true - partially. As usual, it viewed everything through rose colored glasses. Certainly, the story was original (at one point I even asserted how I would frustrate Nick should the lead female not appear in the film as she was spoken of so highly that one would expect to see the lovechild of history's most beautiful people - I was shocked when she eventually appeared and I wasn't given cause to bother Nick), but just because it was a story I had never processed before does not make it great. The story seemed to meander along, not quite knowing what to do with itself which caused it to seem quite long - even though it was 2 minutes shorter than the last RKO film I analyzed for Nick which seemed to breeze by (see Cat People)! The characters, like most we've seen in films from this era, behaved as if their life-spans were akin to a fruit fly, thereby enabling them to commit to mates after a few moments of banal interaction (absurd!).
I did allow Nick a thrill of excitement when I processed that this film featured a reoccurring RKO character: Dr. Louis Judd. While his demure behavior, pencil-thin mustache and ridiculous social airs in dire situations were amusing, I simply could not give myself over to allowing Nick to fully enjoy this film.

Phew! Well, they certainly were opinionated today... if you think this was bad, you should see them at overpopulated animal shelters when kittens and puppies are involved.

The Skinny: Check this flick out if you ever wondered what would happen if Maria from The Sound of Music had wandered into noir New York instead of the Austrian countryside - but don't expect any singing..."

RDHP Story Corner Presents:
The Worm
By Chris Dimick
The worm squiggled between the boy’s dirty thumb and index finger. As the crowd roared, the boy flinched and clicked his teeth. "Will this make them love me?" he thought.
The worm, it wouldn’t give up. Thrashing and whipping its oblong body, it tried its best to avoid becoming an afternoon recess snack.

Perhaps the thing I found most interesting about The Seventh Victim is its portrayal of peer-pressure. At one point, the group of Diabolists gather around the mentally broken Jacqueline, and try to convince her to kill herself… thereby enacting the Diabolists revenge for leaving their group. The whole scene, and its outcome, reminded me of the powerful and damaging effects peer pressure can have on the pressured, and sometimes even the pressurers.

In fourth grade, I walked onto the Washington Elementary School playground at the start of afternoon recess to find a group gathered around a large mud puddle at the back of the schoolyard.

It had just rained, and worms were desperately climbing from the waterlogged earth onto dry land near the puddle. Just before I arrived to the group, a classmate of mine had dared another boy to eat one of the earthworms.
Now, granted, the dared kid had a penchant for eating anything and everything on the face of the earth – from pencil erasers, to pre-chewed sidewalk gum, to moldy food out of a garbage can. Let’s call him Jake.

He was legendary in school, or more likely notorious for this behavior. Naturally, if a kid that weird will eat a moldy sandwich out of a trash can, he’d be down with slugging down an earthworm right? Hence came the dare.

At first, Jake the anything-eater denied the request. Gross, a worm! Too far, he said. But as the crowd grew and grew, so did the shouts for Jake to swallow one of the slimy suckers.
Looking back, I’m sure this kid was a few bricks short. He had been held back at least one grade, was not very sociable, and always had dirt on his face. Most of the taunters gathered knew this about Jake, which just made them yell for worm blood even louder.

Everyone knew that if they kept encouraging Jake to eat it, the guy would. It was his one way to get attention. In Jake's mind, he thought that by eating anything someone dared him that he would gain their admiration, their friendship, their respect. The horrible truth though was the opposite occurred every time he put a dirty toe nail down his throat.

Each thing he ate made people dislike him more, think he was more of a freak, a weirdo, a spaz. People were only nice to Jake when they wanted him to do something disgusting for their amusement.
“Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!” chants soon began. Jake’s eyes twitched with fright.
“No! I don’t want to!” he said, still holding the shaking worm between his fingers. The boy also began to shake with nervousness, moving his head as he uncontrollably laughed.
Just when the shouts for eating reached their highest point, Jake yelled, his eyes went wide, and he threw the worm into his mouth.
One crunch, and down it went.

Then came the laughs.

The worm-eater smiled, hoping this bold action would surely bring at least one friend to his usually empty lunch room table. Yet this act had only made more enemies. A few people laughed in his face. Some others called him a “sick retard.” Most threw him a chuckle, then a look of disgust.

Once the initial shock and awe wore off, the mob dispersed for the jungle gym and swings. Their mission was completed, nothing left to see here. “Jake the sick retard” ate another gross thing. Once again, peer pressure had overcome the weak.

I was one of the last to leave, and as I did, I looked over my shoulder to see Jake’s smile fade into a scowl. Just before I turned away, I saw him start to cry.

I have to admit, at first I was one of the people chanting and cheering, and also one of those who – after the worm checked into the stomach hotel – yelled in disgust and then went about my business.

Afterward I remembered this incident mainly because I saw a kid eat a worm. Holy shit! That was gross! But after a few years, I would look back at that day, that situation, and it would make me feel sick.

This sick feeling came not because someone ate a worm, but the reasons why they ate it. That kid didn’t want to eat that worm. Nor did he probably want to eat that ABC gum, garbage sandwich or pencil eraser. Jake did it because he thought it would make him popular. Would make him a somebody. He did it because he cracked under the pressure of his peers.
An angry mob, shouting at a mentally challenged boy to embarrass himself. It amazes me, the things people do to others for their amusement. But the real thing that gets me is the things people can get others to do, if enough of them ask.

Peer-pressure is a powerful thing. I’ve asked myself the following question for a few years now following this event. Which of us was the sick one? The boy who ate the worm? Or the crowd who called for it?

Things We Learned From Watching The Seventh Victim:
-The Betty Page hairdo only looked good on Betty Page
-People instantly fall in love in the 1940s, without showing any emotion.
-The following song is appropriate for kindergartners: “Here comes a candle to light you to bed. Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.”
-Satan worshipers in the 1940s dressed to the nines.
-Lonely librarians love to hear how slim their hands are.
-People actually used the library in 1943.
-Most people are “lonely and unhappy.”
-When you need a waitress, bang a knife on your glass. Wait staff think it is charming.
-One must have courage to really live in the world.
-“Life isn’t worth living if you can’t end it yourself.”

RDHP Presents:
The Best Ways to Kill Yourself
Suicide should never be an option. No matter how hard dark life gets, one should know that the next dawn is not far off. However, if you gotta take yourself out, then do it in style! In honor of The Seventh Victim main character Jacqueline – who just couldn’t get enough of self-inflicted death – we present the absolute best ways to kill yourself. Put down those prescription drugs, and have fun with it, dawg!

Drown in Beer
Who hasn’t wanted to swim around in a beer vat? Might as well make your last request your mode of death too.

Head in the Oven
A classic suicide! Retro is in, so why not gas yourself with this efficient, easy and novel way to croak! This doesn’t work so well if you have an electric oven, but I guess you could always just burn yourself to death too.

Naked Model Avalanche
Homer Simpson once said this was his dream way to die. Can’t argue with the man. Model can be man or woman, or both... pick your poison.

Thelma and Louise Style
When plummeting to your death, always make sure you hold hands.

Double-Down to Death
All it will take is three of these babies, and your blood will curdle into chicken grease, stopping your heart. Make KFC stand for Killed From Chicken!

Death can be lonely. Caring is sharing. Doing things with friends is much more fun than doing them alone.

RDHP Fashion Show!
Turn to the left, 1940s! The RDHP just can’t get over the fashion of the 1940s. Oh how we long for the days when people wore suits to worship Satan, or a knee-high dress on their trip to the morgue. As the “slobification of America” continues, we take a look back at the wonderful fashions that clothed the Greatest Generation.
Down with blue jeans! Up with formal wear!