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Movies you wish you'd never seen

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The death of notable filmmakers this week had me restocking my Netflix, which got me thinking about films I'd never seen, and films I wish I'd never seen. I felt guilty for months about the first R-rated film I ever saw--Firestarter, viewed after vowing silence at a friend's house, and the imagery wended its way into my dreams for weeks after. Watcher in the Woods and The Shining are perhaps what I'd term the "scariest" movies I've seen, but there are some movies just so skewed--either by abject gore or incompetence--that I do wish I'd never seen them. Hostel II is one of them.

I saw this recently, for a reason I can't completely fish out...I suppose I thought juxtaposing someone else's perceived terror with my perceived boredom would be illuminating? Who knows, but I did buy the ticket, and I did express horror when a man and his four underage charges sat in front of me, but I sat through the movie, and I'm not happy I did. Even though the whole deus ex machine third act tried to underscore the more symbolic/hyperbolic/absurdist elements of the film, I admit I've had some nightmares structured around these images...Some of which, (sorry if this is a spoiler) are featured in a previous post. I doubt I'll ever have the tolerance of Carol Clover, a Berkeley scholar who has willingly viewed 200 slasher films. In her essay, "Men, Women, and Chainsaws," she says:

For one critic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is "the Gone With the Wind of meat movies." For another it is a "vile piece of sick crap . . . nothing but a hysterically paced, slapdash, imbecile concoction of cannibalism, voodoo, astrology, sundry hippie-esque cults, and unrelenting sadistic violence as extreme and hideous as a complete lack of imagination can possibly make it." . . .The Museum of Modern Art bought the film the same year that at least one country, Sweden, banned it.

Cultural relevance aside, are there movies you wish you'd never seen?

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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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