Friday, May 28, 2010

Lottos and Torture and Boars, Oh My!

The time has come.

Kind of.

On May 23rd, the world said goodbye to something very special. Scoff at unexplained physics, the mere presence of Nikki & Paulo, and the weekly questioning of “Why are you telling me this?” but for six years, LOST gave us a weekly viewing experience unlike anything else ever seen on television.

So how to fill that Hurley-sized void in your Island-less heart? One way ticket to Hawaii? Pricey. Enlistment in the Dharma Initiative? Perilous. New career as a con man/spinal surgeon/fertility doctor/rock star/protector of golden light? There has to be an easier way!

And naturally, there is and all you need are a few great horror movies. So dear Islanders and Tailies, Sideways inhabitants and Others, I give you a few key elements of your favorite ABC show and how you might fill them.

1. Terry O’Quinn

Even Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof couldn't let go of one of the industry’s longest underrated actors, a bald and enigmatic presence so vital to the universe that he took on a whole new role as Evil (maybe) Incarnate in the final two, post-dead John Locke seasons. So where does one go for that sparking blue-eyed smile that never quite feels right? The late 80s, naturally. In 1987’s The Stepfather (and its first sequel), O’Quinn plays--wait, who is he again? We’ll call him Jerry, the name he takes to woo a lovely widow and later, attempt to kill her and the family she has left. By far the second best way to see this charmer wield an oversized knife.

2. Torture

Sayid, you scamp! From the Iraqi National Guard to Sawyer’s fingernails, everyone’s favorite curly-haired loveboat was quite the expert when it came to inflicting pain. Life won’t quite be the same without his sad puppy dog eyes seeking validation or that petite Benjamin Linus accepting that sweaty fist in his cheek, but thanks to the 21st century trend of torture porn, you can at least pretend their spirits live on. Sure, you could go standard and find a cheap boxed set of Saw or Hostel, but why not make like Charles Widmore sipping aged scotch and go classy with the philosophical genre twisting Martyrs. Yes, you’ll have to read subtitles (unless you decide to wait for the American remake, brought to you by the people who made Twilight which is sure to be the best thing you can possibly ever in your life witness) and yes, the film isn’t for everyone, but much like Lost, Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs takes viewers on an ambiguous, poetic, and post-death journey (maybe) that happens to be accompanied by a whole lot of blood and beatings.

3. Crazy French Woman Trying to Steal Your Baby

Danielle Rousseau, we hardly knew ye, but one thing we were sure of was just how much you missed your little girl. Left alone for 16 years with nothing but surprisingly tame bangs and a rifle, this shipwrecked mother wanted nothing more than her child back in her arms...even if (briefly), she had to take someone else’s. Where to find that special mother with a hole in her heart? Easy: Inside. Beatrice Dalle’s La Femme. Basically, it’s the same exact thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

4. Surgeons Under the Influence

From Jack’s shaky pain medicated hands to his dad’s functional alcoholism, Lost was never a role model for hospital interns. Now that Dr. Shepard squared has gone on to a better, hopefully less accident-prone place, where will we fans ever find our illegal and falsified prescriptions of malpracticing hunks? Canada, naturally. In David Cronenberg’s 1988 masterpiece Dead Ringers, Jeremy Irons plays--whaddya know--two related gynecologists slowly slipping into a drug addicted depression. While wielding medical instruments. On women’s vaginas. Wow. This makes a mere 18-hour spinal cord rebuilding look like a romp on the beach.

5. Undoing the Past

“What happened, happened!” shouted so many an island survivor, but Lost’s final season tried awfully hard to put us in a reality where it didn’t. For a somewhat similar plot thread, check out 2004’sThe Butterfly Effect, an ambitiously flawed sci-fi love story of sorts that also shared a few random Lost ties: leading men temporarily bound to wheelchairs, likable dogs, surprise bombs with devastating results, and black-and-white journals that also serve as vouchers for time traveling.

6. Boars

John Locke instantly proved his worth by serving up porkchops his first week as a castaway, but Gary Oldman found himself on the wrong side of dinner when his wheelchair-bound--whoa! double link!--millionaire molester reunited with Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector.

7. Smoke Monster

Gray precipitation that moistens the air and summons ghosts? Call your lawyer, John Carpenter! Though Smokey, aka The Man In Black When Mobile didn’t have a whole lot in common with the pirate ghoulies of 1980’s The Fog, there are plenty of random links: shipwrecks, radio towers, Maggie Grace (a few steps removed of course). But hey. It’s John Carpenter’s The Fog. Do you really need another reason?

8. The Lottery

Ever say to yourself “If my numbers would just come up, all my problems would be solved!” Then you watched Hugo “Hurley” Reyes lose his friends, grandfather, and sanity in a pile of green and said, “Well, A LOT of my other problems would still be solved!” Maybe you need a harsher lesson in the fickle nature of Lady Luck. If that’s the case, queue up Final Destination 2 for a reality check, where one newly minted motorcyclist learns the hard way that money may buy gold rings and frozen dinners, but it won’t pay off Death to spare you from an eye gouging via fire escape.

9. Plane Crash

First class or coach, passengers on Oceanic Flight 815 started the series with a horror movie of their own, a crash that had the nerve to menace them even on land (pity the poor sucked-into-engine pilot). For the big screen, few films have ever quite matched the chaotic horror of 1993’s Alive, a crash made all the more terrifying by the fact that it actually happened.

10. The Numbers

Though we never learned the true significance of 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42, just knowing such digits held mystical and/or electromagnet powers was enough to keep us constantly ruminating on their place in the world (and on our own lottery tickets). What better companion piece is there then, than Vincenzo Natali's low budget 1997 mystery Cube, a film which shares Lost’s penchant for ambiguity, mismatched people forced to work together, and characters named after something they vaguely represent (in this case, American prisons). Also, savvy mathematicians (which thankfully includes one of Cube’s leads) are quick to latch onto the numerals found inside each cubic doorway, decoding their meaning and thus providing Losies with their own fan-fiction fantasy answer involving square roots and booby traps. 

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