For those of you who haven’t kept up with the backstory to the Wizarding World stories, which encompasses Harry Potter and indeed Fantastic Beasts, you may not be familiar with Grindelwald, bar for the name. You may have heard the name crop up once or twice, so this film helps to solidify who the wizard is and what sorts of crimes he committed – As well as what sort of relationship he had to some of the more prolific characters of Harry Potter.
The diseased, the sick, they’ve come back to show off how these deadly cells have mutated. Viral infections are no joke, neither are deadly diseases, so in this week’s Top 10 list, we’re paying homage to all of the deadliest, most mutating diseases and viruses – And a brief discussion about what they do. Well then, be prepared to put on your mask!
10) Technocyte virus – Warframe
Better known as the Infested, the Technocyte virus affects a whole group of people, made up of the Corpus and the Grineer. This virus is a parasitic organism, which corrupts and changes its host. Those who have hosted the virus for a long time are known as Infested Ancients, who are practically unrecognisable from their original form. A painful, horrible virus which changes the behaviours of its hosts.
The habits an Infested exhibit vary from different specimens, but one constant remains: They all become exceptionally aggressive. They also exhibit a form of hive mind mentality, with the larger specimen referring to themselves as “we”. Nevertheless, we couldn’t mark the Infested much higher, mostly due to how they fear the player as much as they loathe them. They’re mutated, they’ve got a new mind, but they still feel like you’re one of them – However that’s a story for another day.
9) Krippin Virus – I Am Legend
Well, they’re not zombies, nor are they vampires. They’re vulnerable to ultraviolet light, which burns their skin, they’re possessed of incredible speed, agility and strength, and they’re capable of elaborate plans and traps, but they also attack in droves while howling unintelligibly, and they are highly infectious, a disease that spreads through the air. They do stand in crowds in dark rooms while swaying, so that’s nice and creepy.
The Krippin Virus is a pretty aggressive form of measles designed to combat cancer. The infected, Darkseekers, now form the majority of the living “human” populous, only a few million people have proven immune, and not even dogs, or rats have been resistant to the monster of our own creation. We end the world with a cure, and only Will Smith stands a chance at creating a cure to that cure.
8) The Phage – Star Trek Voyager
Among the many diseases sent to challenge the various medical teams of the Star Trek franchise, one that has always stuck in my mind was the Phage, an affliction that dogged the Vidiians for millenia. It began with extreme joint pain, before slowly devouring the victim, causing the flesh to slough from their bones while still living. Attempts to cure the disease failed, as it proved stubbornly resistant to every new cure, adapting and changing.
The Vidiians resorted to terrible practices, like kidnapping members of other races for the purposes of genetic research, or the far darker methods of organ piracy, using transporter technology to abduct organs from living people for use in other bodies. The EMH is eventually able to help manage the disease better, learning skills that will help him save his creator in the not-too-distant future.
7) Simian Flu – Planet of the Apes
A disease that spelt our end, and marked their rise, and it was all of our creation. The virus was modified to help cure Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative mental illnesses, first the ALZ-112 which propelled Caesar to new heights of reason and deduction, then the ALZ-113, which created Koba, the ruthless and cunning ape who would eventually lead the aggression towards humanity.
While 112 proved effective in temporarily treating Alzheimer’s, 113 proved to be our end, an epidemic that brought us to the edge of extinction. Cities emptied, and we were reduced to nomads and clusters of survivors, while ape society flourished, and the disease we made spread and mutated with them, becoming less lethal, but instead robbing us of our reason, our language, our minds, leaving us the feral slaves of a new world, a planet… of apes…
Oh I just got that!
6) The Red Death – Edgar Allan Poe
This may be the simplest entry on the list, but considering the literary works of Edgar Allan Poe, it’s unsurprising that this one had to make the list. He had a penchant for the macabre, with a writing style celebrating the gruesome and grotesque. This was spurred on by a lifetime of sadness, confusion and likely frustration. The Red Death then was inspired by a very real disease of the time, which they used to call ‘Consumption’.
The Red Death in Masque of the Red Death, is a deadly disease which is inspired by Tuberculosis, the modern name for the previously mentioned Consumption. Once a victim has The Red Death, they will begin to bleed through their pores, before succumbing to a nasty demise. This was clearly exacerbated by the fact his wife had Tuberculosis, which made the story all the more personal.
5) Pokérus – Pokémon
Depending how you look at the other entries on the list, Pokerus is the only really beneficial virus on the list. In fact, this might be the only bug that people want to spread to their teams, as Pokerus is hugely beneficial. In fact, once your Pokemon has the virus, Nurse Joy in any Pokemon Centre will comment on the fact your Pokemon has contracted it, which is said to help stimulate their growth.
In terms of the competitive aspect of why you’d want Pokerus; it doubles EV’s, Effort Values. Whenever a Pokemon defeats another, it gets a secret value, depending on the Pokemon yours defeated. For instance, a Pikachu might beat a Rattata and it’ll get 1 EV for Speed. Some Pokemon offer higher EV values, so it’s up to you to find the best Pokemon to train yours, but it’ll be much faster if you have the Pokerus.
Gotta spread it to ‘em all!
4) Rage – 28 Days Later
What happens when a virus gives you pure, unbridled anger? You’ve contracted Rage from the 28 Days/Weeks Later franchise. The aptly named virus targets specific neurosystems, triggering uncontrollable levels of anger, to the point where you have to just act out your violent, angry frustration. It’s no surprise that people compare the infected of 28 Days Later to Zombies, however the two are quite different.
A zombie typically has absolutely no real control over their actions; an undead cadaver seeking out their next meal. Meanwhile, those infected with Rage, albeit may be zombie-like, are actually still human – It’s just their minds are completely clouded by nothing but rage. Oh and there’s blood. Lots of blood. So much blood it makes The Red Death look like less blood. Just don’t cross these angry folk!
3) Shame – Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
We didn’t think this one would rank so highly on this list, but when we realised just how absurd this entry was. The absurdity of it alone meant that we marked it a lot higher, but the popularity of all mediums of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy meant we had to include it. It’s actually quite an obscure entry on this list, all things considered – But again, we had a good laugh at the idea behind this one.
Shame is, in some places in the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’s universe, a terminal condition. Yes, people have and do die of shame. The most notable example is Ford Prefect’s father, but there’s one piece that puzzled us the most. This entry is only really included in a footnote, to which they state that it is “still a terminal disease in some parts of the universe”. Please, if you know the cure to shame, share it with us in the comments below.
We debated this one a little. Often described as a curse rather than a disease, and with highly and unapologetically magical symptoms; physical transformation and a moonlight trigger, but lycanthropy shares many things in common with an illness.
It’s transmitted via exposure via open wounds, so if you can survive an onslaught by an infected party then you’ll likely find yourself a victim to their symptoms instead. Did you know that silver has strong antibacterial property, and transmission via saliva strongly suggest that lycanthropy is a bacterial infection. Like many old “curses”, is it possible we have a case of advanced use of bacteria as a witch’s curse, like in the old haitian zombie?
I sincerely doubt it, but that’d be pretty cool. Werewolves and their ilk make the number 2 slot.
1) Virus Strains – Resident Evil
We had a tough choice with this one, too – Do we include zombies? To which our main answer was “no” as zombies are another list all together…
… So why did we include one of the most zombie filled games as one of our examples and indeed, our top example? In Resident Evil, the initial virus was known as the Progenitor Virus. This was effectively the basis for all other viruses in the franchise, which was a virus spread by flora. This virus was mostly unexplained, but it led to the research and development of the t-Virus and the g-Virus.
The t- and g-Viruses are notable for being some of the main focal points of the franchise. If we stick with the t-Virus for now, the logic also applies to the g-Virus. Effectively, the t-Virus was made to better the human race, but an altered strain meant that there was instead a zombie outbreak. Without giving you a whole load of information about why the games even happen, the various viruses in Resident Evil often start with good intention, before becoming mutated to make their victims more aggressive and even cannibalistic.
Plus, Resident Evil is a franchise all about viruses… We’d be mad to not include it.
Not all diseases affect people the same way, so we couldn’t help but come up with some more examples. There were a lot more deadly infections and viruses out there, but these we had to give an extra little nod to – Just because we wouldn’t want these conditions ourselves!
Flayer Virus – Warhammer 40K
What disease could possibly infect a race of metal bodies with immortal, undead souls programmed into their aeons old circuitry? Only the kind of madness that could make such future-zombies miss having skin enough to try and get some more. Such is the infectious virus that spreads among the flayers, a parting gift from a C’Tan destroyed by the Necrons, something to forever thank them for their treachery.
It’s a god-given curse turned computer virus with the infectious properties of a real virus, and it’s the only kind of illness that could make the machine-dead more terrifying. The foot and a half long blades that tip their limbs don’t quite have the same potency of a skeletal robot coated in freshly harvested flesh.
The Spon Plague – The Goon Show
I talked about the Goons recently, and if you’ve looked into them since then, or before, or during, then you’re already familiar with the terrible disease that swept through the cast at roughly knee height, an infection known only as the Spon! Why, you may have it, even now! Quickly roll up your trousers to examine your knees. Are they bare, all exposed to the elements and whatnot? Then hie thee hence to a medical practitioner at once, you’ve contracted the dreaded Spon!
Not to worry there, young Seagoon, you may indeed have the cure right at your kneetips, for a particular manner of berk is completely immune to the disease, namely that what weareth long underpants! Yes folks, say no to the wonderpill for the Spon Plague, and don longer undergarments. Save your money for that new wonderpill to protect you from the Quodge, a new epidemic whose symptoms include bare knees covered by long underpants.
Bloaty Head – Theme Hospital
When we first discussed this list, somehow this painful sounding condition completely slipped our minds. Bloaty Head is a disease where your head, unsurprisingly, bloats. It gets larger, more rotund and is all in all very balloon like. Sadly, it doesn’t mean the head is any lighter for the infected patient. Theme Hospital had a wonderful solution to dealing with the painful disease, which caused immense discomfort.
A pin would be used to pop the head of the patient, before being inflated back to a much more reasonable size. Certainly a painful method, but hey, it’s effective. With the release of Two Point Hospital, which we’ll have a review of next week, we legitimately couldn’t forget to include Bloaty Head; an iconic staple of Bullfrog’s title. They might not have bloaty heads, but get ready for Lightheadedness!
It’s safe to take your masks off now, folks; the sick and dying have now left the building. Some of the diseases and viruses we’ve seen today are enough to make you question: Where did nature go so wrong? Why did we make such sick, disgusting things to do to people? Where can I find the highest EV Sp. Att Pokemon to train my Machamp? All these questions and more will not be answered when you vote for next week’s list below.
Now that all of these deadly diseases and viral viruses are outta here, we’d best make sure to sterilise everything thoroughly! Whilst we prepare the site for next week’s list, why don’t you share your thoughts about the above? What did you think of our picks? Did we forget any diseases or viruses that you think should have made the list? Should we have included the “Virus type” Digimon for instance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
It’s been something of a glaring weak spot in the MCU series to date, this weird and not entirely coherent nugget of poor decisions that gave the series a stumbling start into it’s long culture-dominating run. There wasn’t great uproar at the kit-bashed villain Ivan Vanko, who combined Crimson Dynamo with Whiplash to create… well whiplash with a different alter-ego, but there was definitely something lost in the rushed heap of Avengers seeds and hastily put-together plot that made for a pretty disappointing experience when held up against the rest of the series.
The past month, people across the world have been celebrating Pride month, a moment for the LGBT community and allies to celebrate all that makes up diversity. We here support people to be free to be who they want to be, so long as they’re not cruel to others. Except Joel, you can be mean to Joel if you want*. I thought I’d use today as a way to close off Pride month by talking a bit about myself… What? I’m proud of being a geek. Oh and I’m also proud of being an openly gay geek.
*P.S: Please don’t be mean to Joel, I was kidding.
Trailers for this film immediately caught my eye, a psychedelic trip-fest of colours and sounds that screams “art and sci-fi are at it again”. It was a film I immediately knew I had to watch in the cinema to get the full experience, but even if I’d had the time to do so (life is hard, and full of stuff) I would never have got the chance. Annihilation saw theatrical release in America only and digital distribution via Netflix everywhere else.
We’ve been robbed of one hell of a spectacle, not just a visually stunning film but artistically rich. I have a rant on this that I’ll save for another time, for today let me get into Annihilation: (more…)
Bunnies! Rabbits! These little hopping critters are everywhere and they typically make up fodder and small distractions in video games, but nevertheless, they are a much loved type of creature. With their cottontails and their floppy ears, a bunny is a creature which is often depicted around Easter time, as they represent reproduction. In this Top 10, we’ll celebrate the bunnies that make up video games, anime, film and more.
I feel like I’m going blind looking down this list! All I can see are floating clothes! Something isn’t right here. Oh wait, I know, this must be our Top 10 Invisible characters. Before we see what cannot be seen, we must tell you that a character doesn’t need to be able to control their invisibility to be considered; however it must be a skill or ability they have, or something that’s just natural to them. As ever then, here’s this week’s unseeable Top 10!
In 2016 New Line Cinema released a full length feature based on a short horror video that went viral back in 2013, Lights Out. If you’re not already familiar with it I’ve included it below, the premise is brilliantly simple and it’s little wonder that the idea caught the attention of big studios. I’m a big fan of the power of small creators getting their voices heard on the internet and making it big, it gives me hope, and kudos to David F. Sandburg for achieving what some of us can only dream about, but moving on from that optimistic tidbit.
Incidentally, the feature length version as it turns out is pretty good. So far as a short review goes, I’m glad they gave the director a decent shot and a good budget, and I hope it means more work for him in future. If I may remark on a couple of missteps that most of us could see coming, he uses the time to give the monster backstory and personality that she was scarier without. Still, he plays with the concept well, gets in a few good jump scares with that simple tension building technique. Moving on to the point I was getting to…
Increasingly we are seeing a problem emerging from the internet and it is the matter of copyright ownership, following the line of money and the source of creation, especially when an idea can spread faster than fire and inject itself so deep into the social consciousness that it becomes just another part of speech and of the way we interact with one another, terms like “trolling” are common parlance, internet celebrities becoming real celebrities, we are seizing the means of entertainment. Lights Out is a great example of this done well, YouTubers and Viners making it onto TV, musicians starting with internet distribution.
But there remains one very serious lack in communication and understanding, a generational gap at times, at others an apparently wilful spreading of misinformation to discredit the new kid on the block. Either way it usually ends up as a laughable disappointment, like parents trying their hardest to be “down with the kids”. Remember the CNN report about the hacker 4chan? It’s long established the memes die when pop culture grabs hold of it.
So next we come to Slender Man.
I love the internet’s bogeyman. As a huge Lovecraft fan I find myself wondering if he were alive today how close his creations would have come to that mysterious entity* that exists on the periphery of vision, and whose malevolence is only subject to conjecture. In his most popular depictions (the video game, the marblehornets series) he is seen as the classic “faceless pursuer” of nightmares, a warped depiction of a person devoid of features that we know instinctively to fear without ever really knowing exactly why we should fear him. We’re powerless, uncomprehending, and as good as dead.
The original creepypasta was the creation of Eric Knudson, but the concept has evolved, an idea that has grown bigger and bigger as more minds contributed to it; to say that it belongs to “us” may be a little (incredibly) overzealous, but is it something that should be in the hands of a big studio, and if they bring it to the screen do they then own it? So far the trailer has demonstrated… what?
Well, so far it all seems very mysterious I suppose, but the imagery thusfar has been that of the generically creepy, nonspecific flashes of insects, blood, surgery, teenagers compulsively writing and doing dangerous things with sharp objects, a teaser of a girl presenting something to police officers. The story will centre around a group of girls under The Operator’s control a la marblehornets, which is the second part of my problem.
General suspicions of corporate media groups aside, teenage girls, images of bloody violence and death, and Slender Man? Now I believe that no subject should be sacred, not even a word, it weaponizes it, makes it dangerous in its own right. Nevertheless, this does seem to cut close to the murders committed on behalf of a fictional character in 2014, no matter how disturbed the perpetrators may have been, it feels a little too “sensational” to make a supernatural thriller that plays into the fantasies behind a real crime.
I am not accusing anyone of sensationalising a crime, and after four years then perhaps it has been long enough. The proof will be in the proverbial pudding of course, if sufficient details are changed and enough common sense used then we may have an incredible creation on our hands, the culmination of countless creative hands creating a mythology so potent that it becomes as much a part of folklore as bigfoot.
Otherwise we have Snakes On a Plane meets True Crime.
*Despite the fact that such questions are completely counter to my views on causality.
I met someone recently who simply does not watch a film twice. This I find utterly astonishing, I suppose on some level I understand that with a plethora of new experiences to be had in this world, the act of going back over a film, game, TV show, book, anything that you’ve already enjoyed and doing it again might seem like an inefficient use of time, time that could be better spent discovering something new. After all, you’ll never get through it all in one lifetime.
But in this season where there is nothing on TV but the stuff you’ve already seen a thousand times, I feel that now is the ideal time to acknowledge the benefit of going back for a second time around. I’ll be talking about films, but feel free to replace verbs as applicable. (more…)