It’s December 1st everybody, which means we’re legally obliged* to start spamming you with Christmas every second of the way. We thought we’d start the festive season off with a bang, as we’re going to celebrate all that is geeky about the holiday spirit… And what could be better than keeping warm with a nice cup of hot chocolate, a sofa and a nice Christmas-Themed Story? Welcome to our Top 10 Geeky Christmas-Themed Stories.
*We’re not really legally obliged to do this, we just felt like it.
Ho, ho, ho… OF DEATH! I mean that’s one interpretation of today’s title, indeed. This is our Top 10 list of Alternative Christmas Films, which means we’re looking for a Christmas film that isn’t about the spirit of Christmas, at least not directly. Christmas may be present and may be a major part of it, but the film should not have it be the sole focus. Now, since it’s Christmas Eve today, here’s our gift to you! (more…)
Oops, we’re running out of puns… Quick, find something nearby and fire it off at our readers. Um, umm… Baloney Fudge and Mustard! There, now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s time for us to look forward to this weeks’ list, as chosen by you, our dear Top 10 readers. Right now, both Joel and Timlah are at AmeCon, enjoying the convention – But we couldn’t forget to do our Top 10 for this week now could we?
You demanded it, so you’ve got it, this is our Top 10 Improvised Weapons list, but let’s get some ground rules going here. If it’s just there and it happens to be usable, then sure, it’s an improvised weapon. Also, if it’s something that people just wouldn’t generally use, then it’s also an improvised weapon. The room for scope on this one is massive, so read on for our list!
10) Shoe – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
“That really hurt! Who throws a shoe, honestly?”
Who said that everything was groovy to Austin Powers? The international man of mystery (though it’s dubious as to how he even got that title) is known to be susceptible to the occasional hit. It doesn’t matter that he’s a spy, he’s certainly not the best out there, even though Basil would probably try to get you to believe otherwise. Occasionally thought, Austin has been known to get hit by flying projectiles.
Such as shoes! In this scene in the first Austin Powers film, an assassin comes in and instead of throwing a knife into his throat, or poisoning Austin or anything logical, he throws his shoe at Austins head. This obviously hurts, so Austin shows his frustration by telling the assassin that it really hurt… And he’s right! Who would throw a shoe, honestly?!
9) Paint Cans – Home Alone
Of all of the many clever traps we could have picked, this one’s a favourite of Kevin McAllister’s when defending stairs. Tie off paint cans so that they swing and collide with the intruder firmly in the face, sending them flying backwards and severely wounding in the process. He liked it so much that he brought it back for the second film with a major upgrade, but I’d like to raise a few issues here.
The Wet/Sticky Bandits are drastically different heights. How’d he hit them square in the face the first time? They’d have to be on the right side of the stairs, and he’d have to have judged the height perfectly during prep work, along with all of the other crazy stuff he puts together. The pipe from Home Alone 2 was inspired, as it sweeps the whole staircase, hits them simultaneously and when they least expect it, but the cans were perversely well placed, and not to mention genuinely lethal!
Thank slapstick rules those guys lived, otherwise Home Alone 2 would have been a very different film. One without paint cans.
8) Milk From A Cow – Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
Okay, this isn’t a list of Top 10 Cows, that’s already happened hasn’t it? But this is a list of Top 10 Improvised weapons and to be honest, if you’re a kung-fu cow, you have very little in the way of weaponry. You have your hoofs and you have your body weight, which is significantly more than a human, but there’s very little else in your favour when you’re going one on one with a martial arts master.
Except, cows are female and therefore produces milk. In a scene that evokes the purest of reactions including “What am I watching?”, a cow attacks our protagonist by doing a cartwheel of sorts mid-air, whilst firing off stream of milk that it milks out of itself then and there. Aha, I guess the old adage of “Use what you’re given” rang a bit too true to this bovine. Moo-ving on, then.
7) Spoon – Mewtwo
Now, it’s arguable that this isn’t improvised at all, but instead is actually one of Mewtwos weapons. Yes, you’re reading this right, Mewtwo has a spoon in some adaptations of the character. Often seen in the manga with his spoon, Mewtwo is no better than an Alakazam, because y’know, spoons are the most obvious form of intelligent life, right? Whatever, why has this made our list?
Basically, the spoon isn’t really a spoon, but rather something that Mewtwo conjured. This means that Mewtwo had to think of something to produce as his weapon… So why would he choose a spoon? Perhaps it’s simply to mimic Alakazam, perhaps it was Pokemons way of saying “He’s a psychic type!”, but if you ask me, I just think that Mewtwo had a lovely bowl of soup once and wanted to use the spoon he ate it with… But also to make said spoon a lot bigger.
6) Wet Fish – Lots of things
The wet fish is a staple in comedy now. From the Holy Mackerel as we covered in our Top 10 Fish list a few weeks back, to just a wet tuna being slapped in someone’s face, the wet fish is a running gag which can also sometimes be taken to extremes, by making them into incredibly vicious weapons. You can be sure that if you get hit by a wet fish, you’re going to be extremely embarrassed.
I’m not sure where slapping someone with a wet fish first came from, but you can be sure that it’s been thrown around for ages. I’m sure that someone out there will know where this first came from, so if you know, leave us a comment below with your knowledge on slapping people with a wet fish… But hey, at least it accompanies the Scout’s favourite energy drink: Bonk!
5) Chair – Everything
Whilst lacking in originality, the chair is rather a classic, being something easy to lift, suitably heavy, and readily available in most fight situations like bar-brawls, stadium riots and cage fights. As bottles fly faster than harsh language, and people are being politely shown the exit head first, you can guarantee that somewhere in the midst of the carnage will be a chair, quite literally on its last legs.
When it comes to the matter of offering someone a seat, this method may be seen as a little over the top, but when they’re agitated and causing a fuss the best thing to do is get them a chair and make them calm down. Apply to the affected area, and repeat as necessary.
4) Microwave – Gremlins
This was inspired. One of the most fearful monsters in horror-comedy history is small enough to be shoved in a microwave and cooked until paste. For the monstrous spawn of Gizmo the kitchen is a source of food, mischief, and dangerous weapons, ones that they can use, and ones that can be used against them.
Though they are surprisingly strong, agile and deadly for their size, you can easily take a few gremlins down with a steak knife, a blender and flash photography, but one afternoon in a bathtub and they can regroup in terrifying numbers. Still, if you’re in a pinch, a powerful dose of radiation can really take care of things. Interestingly, the gremlin in question was nicknamed Grumpy, and was one of the first of Gizmo’s brood alongside Stripe, unlike Stripe, he does not reappear in the sequel.
3) Insults – Monkey Island
Insult Sword Fighting is a staple of the Monkey Island series, which took on many incarnations, including a rather weird turn for Insult Arm Wrestling too. As such, it’s obvious to me that the real weapon in these fights were not the physical activity, but clearly the wit to defeat your opponents in an insult-off. With quips such as “En garde, touche!” “Oh that is so cliche” and “You’re as repulsive as a monkey in a negligee!” “I look that much like your fiancee?”, you can bet that the insults are sharp!
But the curious part about this is the limited knowledge that Guybrush Threepwood possesses (he’s a mighty pirate, you know?) When he starts out, especially in The Curse of Monkey Island, he basically knows nothing about insults. He has to try to make do, but be humbled in defeat and learn from his defeats to progress and to learn to be wittier. Effectively, he’s making it up as he goes along – and that’s the ultimate form of improv.
2) Willing Allies, and Unwitting Enemies
You may have heard this one referred to in less polite terms, but in short this is the practice of bludgeoning someone with another someone. Be it a projectile halfling, a legion of reanimated corpses, or swinging the guy you knocked unconscious around by the ankles until his buddies have joined him, there are many uses for friends and enemies alike.
Whether you’re a fan of the M:tG card Fling or the practice of turning people into weapons like in Soul Eater, there’s no denying that the greatest and most terrifying weapon that’s always readily available is somebody… well some body, doesn’t matter if they’re cooperative or not. Only one rule applies when wielding people as weapons, never toss a dwarf, and if you do, don’t tell anyone.
1) Health bar – Deadpool, Marvel Avengers Alliance
Oh would you look who’s back at the top of the list? It’s our favourite reoccurring character. Well it’s not our fault Deadpool does so many things better than anyone else, and amongst them is improvising in his specialist field: sarcasm! And I guess weapons.
If you’ve ever played Marvel Avengers Alliance you’ll know it to be a surprisingly good “freemium” social media game, interesting stories, interesting mechanics, a surprising amount of engaging gameplay, but after a while, if you’re not winning all of the tournaments or paying real money you’re missing some of the best elements. I am not ashamed I paid money for Deadpool.
Like the badass he is, he’s well aware he’s in a game, and plays up to it, including the absolute best move in his arsenal (if not the most powerful), ripping his health and power bar from the GUI and smashing his opponent over the head with it. Now that’s thinking outside the box.
Some weapons are just not what you’d expect, but it’s not exactly the most improvised. In these next two cases, we show you two weapons that are indeed improvised to a point, but neither of them qualify properly for the list. Still, it’s worth mentioning them as they’re both weapons that are pretty unique to their titles.
Whatever You Can Grab – Dead Rising
It was perhaps the biggest selling point for Dead Rising that weapon creation got… well, creative. Most famous of all must be the double-ended-chainsaw-paddle, but the franchise also includes lightsabers, burning gloves, a pitchfork-shotgun, toy helicopter with blades, a lawnmower helmet, a heavily armed wheelchair, burning bull-skull helmets… you know what? There are lists on the internet, just have a look around, it gets silly.
But when you’re facing down hordes of zombies and you’re options are limited then necessity really is the mother of invention. Even when your shopping malls have guns readily available they can only get you so far, and then you need to get messy. Alright, so I’m not sure how necessary it is for you to strap a bunch of sawblades into a vacuum cleaner, but when inspiration takes you, you’ve really just got to go with it.
Proton Pack – Ghostbusters
On first appearance, the Proton Pack really shouldn’t be included on a list of improvised weapons, because the Ghostbusters went out specifically with these weapons. It isn’t until you actually stop to think about the facts of the Ghostbusters do you realise that this is a very highly specialised kind of improvisation.
The Proton Pack was created based upon a few basic theories which include:
- Ghosts exist
- Ghosts could be stopped
- How ghosts work (In theory)
They put together their weapon and they put their suits on based entirely on conjecture and theories. In my eyes, this makes them amongst the ultimate improvisational characters of all time… But what do you think?
That’s it, I’m going to put down my keyboard and instead throw it between your eyes! You’ve now bared witness to the greatest improvised weapons that have ever existed – at least to us. As always, we’ll be back next week with another list that we put together last minute (Or several days in advance, since you know, writing schedules and all that jazz). In the meantime, you get to sway the vote in your favour:
We’re done for this week, so it’s time to put down that pool cue, stop mincing our words and time for us all to celebrate that it’s all over with… By throwing some farmyard animals around. What do you think of our improvised weapons list? Were they zany and outlandish enough, or do you think we could have done better than this bunch? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
We’ve all watched Dicken’s Christmas Carol retold a thousand times in a thousand different ways, the same with It’s A Wonderful Life, which in many ways is the same film – guy gets a new appreciation for life when a supernatural entity tells him how great Christmas is. How many more times must Santa be saved? Must we all learn the harsh reality of the joyous fleeting moment by watching our magically animated friend perish beneath the sun’s paradoxically life-giving rays? Can the true meaning of the season be learned anywhere other than Charlie Brown’s piano?
There’s a lot more films out there than those that are brandished at us all December long. From the undervalued or apparently unseasonal, there’s loads of films that fill you with as much of the joy of the season. So let’s look at them, and then maybe watch a few while everyone else starts yelling about the Grinch. (more…)
Not going to lie here, I’m beginning to be a little bit worried about our lovely readers. Just the other week, they chose the Top 10 Death Noises in gaming and this week, we have to delve deep into the 90s and earlier (realistically) for a pick of creepy toys? Jeez guys, you sure do know how to pick the topics. But I mean this could have been a lot worse – At least they’re all toys, which means we can play with them and love them and cherish them… Right? Not these freaks.