Pop Rocks: Maybe The Gulf Oil Spill Isn't All Bad

What a difference a three-day weekend makes. Okay, not really. The Gulf oil spill is still out of control, with BP attempting another half-assed Hail Mary this week and the relief wells that promise the best chance at diminishing the catastrophe still two months off. Depending on who you ask, between 20 and 43 million gallons have already leaked into the Gulf, making this the worst spill in American history.

So what's the good news? Well, there really isn't any. Louisiana is already facing an environmental crisis, and the specter of a major hurricane coming along and pushing the oil further into the wetlands (or maybe combining with the oil into some kind of supercharged pollution storm like the kind you see in a SyFy Channel movie) looms over the next few months like BP's impending court docket.

The reality of the spill's effects -- massive marine wildlife die-offs, the destruction of the Gulf seafood industry, as-yet-unforeseen human effects -- are grim. There's still a sliver of hope, though. After all, if movies have taught us anything, it's that massive pollution leads to interesting mutations. BP's catastrophic clusterfuck could end up producing some entertaining monsters, which would at least provide a distraction from all those future heightened cancer rates. For example:

The Host (2006)

Given the escalating tensions between the two countries over the North's sinking of one of their warships, South Korea may regret killing this particular formaldehyde mutation. I mean, Kim Jong-Il is probably injecting plutonium into human fetuses as we speak.

Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster (1971)

Hedorah is actually an alien come to Earth to do bong hits on our smokestacks (because no other planet in the Solar system has better shit, man). Personally, I just like the thought of having Godzilla rise up from the depths and ignite the oil slick with his radioactive breath.

Prophecy (1979)

Bears aren't exactly cuddly to begin with (real ones, that is, not the kind with "teddy" in front of their names), so you can imagine how pissed off one gets when contaminated by mercury from a local logging operation before having her cubs stolen. The trailer for this movie scared the bejeezus out of me when I saw it. Of course, I was 10 at the time.

C.H.U.D. (1984)

Sometimes running afoul of nuclear waste doesn't result in the ability to cling to walls or super stretching powers, sometimes it just turns you into an underground dwelling cannibalistic humanoid. The NRC refusing to acknowledge the possibility that a missing load of waste might have detrimental effects is reminiscent of a certain Long Island community mayor's preparedness to ignore s similar, particular problem until it swam up and bit him on the ass, if I may be permitted a classical reference.

Alligator (1980)

Is there any better evidence that this 36-foot monster was the result of corporate malfeasance (in this case, the result of illegal growth hormone experiments) than seeing him chow down on the fat cat responsible for the tests and the mayor of Chicago at a posh wedding? Sure, a waitress occasionally has to be sacrificed, but there are a lot of alligators in Louisiana, and a lot of corporate scumbags that need devouring.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar