Monster Mondays: Phantom of the Oscars

The Academy Awards, AKA,the Oscars, have a notorious history of nominating dramas beyond all other categories. In fact 49% off all the Best Pictures out there are dramas, according to Oscar. Fighting for the left over scraps of best picture awards are the genres, in order comedy, epic, musical, action-adventure, war, suspense, and crime. Horror doesn’t make the list, having only one win for best picture 90 years. And if you’re wondering about how comedy came in second, you’re not alone. According to the Oscars the greatest comedies of all time include Tom Jones (1963), The Sting (1973),The Apartment (1960), Terms of Endearment (1983), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Shakespeare in Love (1998) and American Beauty (1999). Hilarious?

While they seldom win best picture, or anything at all, some really landmark horror films have been nominated for Oscars. Here’s a history of Horror at the Academy I like to call
“The Phantoms of the Oscars”

1927 – Metropolis
Nominations: 0
Winner for Best Picture: Wings
Why it should have won: Metropolis is a ground breaking picture way ahead of it’s time in calling for sex robots and middle management. The special effects are still mesmerizing as is the performance of Bridgette Helm.
Why it didin’t Win: Too weird, too nihilistic ,too German.
Verdict: Oscar the Grouch!

Nominations: 0
Winner of Best Picture: Cavalcade.
Why it should have won: Groundbreaking special effects, infectious enthusiasm. Hot monkey on girl action.
Why it didn’t win: Oscars known anti-monkey prejudices.
Verdict: I think Oscar is trying to make it up to the original King Kong by giving an Oscar to every King Kong since and even that imitator Mighty Joe Young. Unfortunately all this just feels like a slap in the face. Stop awarding the copycats and just give a honorary oscar to the OG already.

1935 – Bride of Frankenstein
Nominations: 1
Winner of Best Picture: Mutiny on the Bounty

1939 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Nominations: 2
Wins: 0
Winner of Best Picture: Gone with the Wind

1960- Psycho
Winner of Best Picture: The Apartment

1968 – Rosemary’s Baby
Nominations: 2
Wins:1 Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Ruth Gordon
Winner of Best Picture: Oliver!
Note: We have our first horror movie to win an Oscar! Although the real stars didn’t win – Roman Polanski’s oscar nominated screenplay and the amazing lead actress Mia Farrow.

1971 – A Clockwork Orange
Nominations: 4, including best director, best picture, and best writing
Wins: 0
Winner of Best Picture: The French Connection
Note: Watch the French Connection back to back with A Clockwork Orange to experience what it must have been like to live in 1971, a time when Oscar had balls.

1976 – Carrie
Nominations: 2
Winner for Best Picture: Rocky
Should have won: Taxi Driver
Note: Still basking in the ballsy glow of Oscar in the 70’s

1980 – The Shining
Nominations: 0, 0? Seriously? That movie ruled.
Wins: You can’t win if you’re not nominated.
Winner of Best Picture: Ordinary People
Note: The 70’s ended with one of the greatest horror movies of all time not even getting nominated.

1980 -Alien
Wins: 1 for best visual effects! We have our second Oscar winning Horror movie!

1982 – Poltergeist
Nominations: 3
Wins: 0

1982 – Blade Runner
Nominations: 2
Wins: 0
Winner of Best Picture: Ghandi
Note: We can all agree 1982 was an awesome year for movies and we can all agree cyborgs and ghosts in the TV could take Ghandi for a ride any time they want.

1984 – Ghostbusters
Nominations: 2
Wins: 0
Winner of Best Picture: Amadeus
Note: Since the telephone had only been invented early that year, American’s were captivated by it. The Ghostbusters “Who You Gonna Call?” theme song was nominated for best original song Oscar but lost to Stevie Wonder’s “I just Called to Say I love You.” Both of them make great voicemail messages.

1991 – Silence of the Lambs
Nominations: 7
Wins: 5 including Best Picture
FINALLY! Thank you Oscar. I’ll stop bitching now and let you go back to business as usual.

1993 – Nightmare Before Christmas
Winner of Best Picture: Schindler’sList
Note: Lets see you try selling Schindlers List babydoll T’s at Hot Topic!

1995 – Se7en
Nominations: 1
Wins: 0
Winner of Best Picture: Braveheart

2005 – Pan’s Labyrinth
Wins: 3
Note: It took 15 years but we finally have another Horror(ish) film winning multiple Oscars. That means on my top ten list of Oscar winning horror it’s number 2, right after Silence of the Lambs, and right before Alien, Rosemary’s Baby, and 6 empty slots.

If there’s any justice in the Academy Hellboy II will get the Oscar for best Makeup, beating out critic favorites Benjamin Button and the Dark Knight. Go watch the Troll market scene again and tell me that’s not as good as old age stipple and runny clown face.


Monster Mondays – Dumbo Octopus

dumbo-octopus, originally uploaded by Boju.

Today Dapper Cadaver’s Monster Monday Blog dives down to the bottom of the sea for one of the strangest, and rarest creatures on earth- the Dumbo Octopus.

They live all over the world in depths of 12,000 feet and below. They’ve discovered new species of them as recently as 2007 and while most are 20cm and below, some grow to over 5 feet. If you’re in Sarasota, Florida, then I highly recommend visiting the Mote Marine Laboratory which is offering lectures and encounters with their favorite sea monsters, including the dancing pink elephant with the weird ear-wings, the dumbo Octopus.

Watching the Dumbo Octopus swim is like watching a bird crossed with a pac-man ghost. It flaps its wings instead of jets around like it’s blue water cousins. It also has unnervingly human eyes, complete with what appears to be pink eye lids, whites, and irises. Their familiar eye just adds to their oddness though, as there is nothing else familiar about their face, and you can’t figure out which end is the front.

Closer to the ground they move by spinning and fluttering their webbed arms like a pinwheel.

The males are armed with a tentacle-like hectocotylus, which is a word you really ought to know if you watch enough anime.

Monster Monday – Ugjuknarpak

7swims, originally uploaded by Boju.

Todays Monster Monday by Dapper Cadaver comes from the Inuit (eskimo) people of Alaska, behold the mighty Ugjuknarpak! The unkillable sea-mouse of the sea that is also a giant!

Ugjuknarpak’s name derives from the gurgling sound his victims make as he wraps his long prehensile tail around their necks and drags them under. His friends call him Ugjuk for short. Ugjuk doesn’t have any friends though, because no one goes near Ugjuk’s island. Ugjuk has exceptional hearing and speed, and a hide that cannot be pierced by any hunters weapon. Try kayaking over to his place and you’ll be dead before you leave the harbor. All that will be leftis your overturned canoe.

Do not f*ck with this mouse!

Monster Monday – Memecoleus

Today’s Dapper Cadaver Monster Monday creature comes from India, by way of Europe. You see there was a lot of disagreement over what exactly a Manticore was. Some described it as a lion with the head of a man. Some described it as a lion with wings. Some described it as a lion with both the head of a man and wings. Some said it was like a were- lion that men turn into. Some described it as a lion with the head of a man, huge jaws with three rows of teeth, the tail of a scorpion and a voice like trumpets. This man was Pliny the Elder and he was considered brilliant. Some said the Manticore wasn’t actually part lion but part tiger. This was crazy and clearly wrong, so they decided if a Manticore was part tiger instead of part lion it was a Memcoleous and it must be from India because that’s where tigers are from. This helped a little, but they still couldn’t decide what a Manticore was and only agreed on the lion part. This is probably because no one has ever seen a Manticore.

This is not a Manticore but it might be a Memecoleous.

Monster Mondays – Killer Geese

monster goose, originally uploaded by Boju.

By now you’ve probably heard America’s borders are under attack. Canada has launched an armada of killer geese in an attempt to shoot down American aircraft. Earlier this week, US Airbus 320 was struck by a flock of Canadian Geese, taking out its engines, and forcing it to crash into the Hudson River. Fortunately everyone survived, but be warned, killer geese are intent on striking again.

As part of Dapper Cadaver’s Monster Mondays today I invite you to gander at a gaggle of ghoulish geese.

Dromornis- The Great Goose of Armageddon
Dromornis were flightless geese over 10 ft tall that ate meat and plants and terrorized Australias first aborigines. They were a cryptid known as Mihirung paringmal to the aborigines, and considered mythological until they’re skeletons were unearthed in the 20th century. These were basically dinosaurs dressed in goosedown. And there wasn’t just one of them, there were dozens of species, including the giant, carnivorous Bullockornis, so named because a giant killer goose sounds like a load of bullocks.

Dasornis – The Toothed Terror of the Sky.
These geese could easily take down a plane, since they were almost as big as a Cesna.Dasornis had a wingspan of 20 feet, and a long crocodile beak lined with jagged teeth. The circled the shores of England 50 million years ago.

With such monsters in Gooses not to distant past, it’s no wonder they’re so prone to attack, whether by chasing you in the park or shooting down on passenger planes. So grab your pitchfork and light the torch, it’s time to storm the castles of Count Duckula

Monster Mondays: Real Vampire Animals

vampire bat, originally uploaded by Boju.

Every so often I get someone in the shop who asks me if I think vampires are real in a tone so serious I know if I say “yes” they’ll offer to suck my blood. So I usually dodge the question.

Of course I know people can and do drink blood, but that doesn’t make someone a vampire any more than hiding eggs makes you an Easter bunny.

There are however a host of real life creatures that live on blood, have retractable fangs, and fly through the night in a way far more vampire-like then any mortal human ever could hope to be. They are the real life vampires and they will be scored by how much more vampiric they are then the guy in Twilight.

1. The Vampire Mocking Bird

How alike are vampire mockingbirds and real vampires? Consider the following.
1. Both can fly.
2. Both live off blood.
3. Vampires preferred victims are buxom maidens in skimpy nightgowns.Vampire mockingbirds preferred victims are masked boobies.
4. Vampires are notoriously eloquent. Mockingbirds have the most versatile vocal range of any bird and can memorize over 200 unique songs patterns.
5. Lily Munster, a vampire, lived at 1313 Mockingbird lane. Vampire Mockingbirds, which are found in the Galapagos, have been spotted nesting at 3131 Lily Munster lane!

Overall Vampiric Score for the Vampire Mocking Bird- 5 times more Vampiric then the guy in Twilight.

2. Vampire Squid.

How alike are vampire squids and vampires? Consider the following-
1. Vampires only come out at night. Vampire squids are only found in the sea depths where it is always night because no light penetrates.
2. Both Dracula and Vampire Squids are noted for their demonic red eyes.
3. Instead of canine teeth, vampires have fangs. Instead of suckers, Vampire squid tentacles are covered in fangs.
4. Vampires where capes that resemble bat wings. A vampire squid has a webbing around it’s tentacles that resembles both a cape AND bat wings. Bonus points!

Overall Vampire Score for the Vampire Squid- 4.5

3. Vampire Finch

Pretty much the same as the Vampire Mockingbird, but without as much of a voice. However, bonus surprise point for being menacing while still a finch.

Vampire score: 4

4. Chinese Water Deer

Holy crap, did you see that? Does that deer have fangs?

Dude. Not only does the Chinese Water Deer have fangs, but they’re attached to their sockets with powerful muscles so that the can be extended and retracted just like a vampire!

Amazing! But they don’t drink blood or fly. Vampire score: 2

Monster Mondays – Save the Water Monster, Axolotl

axolotl precioso, originally uploaded by girl next door ...

In the canals beneath Mexico City and in the lake that surrounds it lives the Axolotl or “Water Monster.” It is an ancient race of up to 2 ft long salamander that Aztecs say are the direct descendent’s of Xototl, the dog headed god of Death. I think they look more like pokemon with their cartoonish eyes and mouths and anime style external gills.

In 1998 the waters of Lake Xochimilco held 1500 axolotl per square mile, when surveyed this year it was a mere 25 per square mile. Scientists are now saying this otherworldly creature may only have five years left on the planet before it succumbs to extinction.

“What are axolotl good for?” you might ask. Well, they’re good for a lot of things. First off they’re inherently good. Then their bizarre appearance and gentle nature make them excellent pets. Or excellent tamales. Their soft flesh is apparently delicious and has been part of the Aztec and Mexican diet as long as there have been people there. The locals also make folk medicine with them.

They’re also true freaks. They become sexually mature adults while still in the larval stage, and can remain larval their entire lives. That’s like a race of polliwogs that breed and grow huge and never turn into frogs. This strange condition makes them able to regrow lost limbs, tails, nerve, heart, and brain cells. Science has long utilized these creatures in studies about regeneration, gene therapy, evolution, fertilization and the cures for certain diseases.

If we save the Axolotl we’ll be preserving a cute, delicious, wonder of nature that may be able to cure us of degenerative nerve diseases and make great pets. That should be more then enough reason to get involved.

They seam to be dying do to a combination of water pollution and the introduction of Tilapia to Lake Xochimilco. The Tilapia eat the axolotls eggs and young.

Scientists are rushing to establish Axolotl sanctuaries, most notably around the Isle of Dolls or La Isla de las Muñecas, so called because it inhabited by an eccentric old man who fishes doll from the lake and hangs them from every part of the island to ward off evil spirits. Could he be the axolotls savior?

If you’re interested in helping save the water monster, don’t eat Mexican Tilapia for starters. I’ve tried to find the organizations setting up the sanctuaries so that we can be more directly involved. If I get their contact info, I’ll post it here so everyone can help. Apparently it’s not easy to set up a wildlife sanctuary by Mexico City.


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has put the Axolotl on its critical Red List. The Amphibian Department of the IUCN can be reached at the info below. Please contact them if you’d like to help save the water monster.


Robin Moore, Ph.D
Amphibian Conservation Officer
Conservation International
2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500
Arlington, VA 22202