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Ratings: USA: R

Kelly Parks
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
KELLY PARKS

BLADE

A science moment in a vampire movie just doesn't seem right, does it? But it's perfectly acceptable when the people who make the movie add a bunch of scientific-sounding exposition explaining their version of vampirism.

Karen the Hematologist describes vampirism as a disease caused by a blood-borne virus which sounds halfway logical until you think about it. A virus that makes its host tremendously strong, able heal from almost any injury and effectively immortal but which causes you to explosively disintegrate if exposed to sunlight.

That is one hell of a virus!

Impossible? Not necessarily, but like the alien in ALIENS, it could never evolve naturally.*

It could only be artificial. And even then the source of energy for these abilities comes dangerously close to violating the conservation of energy, which is another way of saying it moves from science fiction to fantasy.


Eddie McMullen Jr.
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
E.C.MCMULLEN JR.

*It could and it did.

There's a similar virus that stops a specific type of leaf-eating Gypsy-moth caterpillar from molting (it stays young), then increases moth mass via increased feeding. Caterpillars are eating machines anyway, but the virus makes the caterpillar's appetite Turbo charged.

Using this additional food, the virus increases the caterpillar's strength for climbing, its stamina for burning calories, and accelerates its ability to heal (Super caterpillar).

All good for the caterpillar, It Would Seem, but what does the virus get out of it?

On a given night, when the virus is damn good and ready, it forces the host caterpillar to climb as high as it can in a tree, hold a leaf in a death grip, and when the sun rises on the hapless caterpillar, the virus bursts from its host in an explosion which insures the virus-laden gooey bits of caterpillar will spread out and rain down on other caterpillars feeding on the leaves below, thus starting the cycle all over again.

Sometimes, instead of a burst explosion, the caterpillar will melt in the sunlight.

We don't yet know why some melt and some explode, but the viral caterpillar goo dripping from the leaf and spattering below essentially achieves the same thing.

Originally known as the "Tree-top disease", presenting - not Draculavirus - but the adorable little polyhedron known as, BACULOVIRUS.

Baculovirus

USDA: Baculovirus Molecular Biology

Giving Baculoviruses a Better Edge

Baculovirus optimizes transmission to generations of gypsy moths

Scientists identify gene responsible for zombie caterpillars

Zombie Caterpillars Rain Death From Treetops


Kelly Parks
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
KELLY PARKS

BLADE: TRINITY

One of the defining characteristics of vampires is that their strength and reflexes are far superior to humans. The combination of their speed and great strength is what makes them such deadly predators.

Blade has these abilities as well, which is why he can fight vampires hand-to-hand. But Abigail and Hannibal are just ordinary human beings (well, Hannibal had an odd past but he's an ordinary human now). So I don't care how strong their Kung Fu is, they should NOT be able to get in fist fights with vampires. And yet they do, time and again, with no explanation as to how this is possible.

As far as regular science is concerned, the movie stretched my suspension of disbelief but didn't break it. I can imagine a virus that alters humans into another species with unusual abilities.


Copyright 2012 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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INTERVIEWS
Joe Mynhardt interviews E.C. McMullen Jr. in the book HORROR 201: The Silver Scream.

Matt Jarbo's interview with Feo Amante at The Zurvivalist.

James Cheetham's Q&A with Feo Amante at Unconventional Interviews *.

Megan Scudellari interviews Feo Amante and Kelly Parks (of THE SCIENCE MOMENT) in The Scientist Magazine.

Check out our interview at The-Scientist.com.

REFERENCES
Anthropologist Gretchen Bakke, PhD, references my UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHE ALERT as an expert resource in her 2010 Anthropological Quarterly essay @ Johns Hopkins University

Researcher David Waldron, references my review of UNDERWORLD in the Spring 2005, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture entry, Role-Playing Games and the Christian Right: Community Formation in Response to a Moral Panic (downloadable pdf).

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