Pub Quiz

Due both to being an amateur film reviewer and to observing the process through which my wife’s writing was made into the movie, I often surf Internet Movie Database and read its brief descriptions of various films. Here is the one for Casablanca.

Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II: An American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Sometimes, the films described are so strange sounding I can hardly believe they are real, and that is the seed from which this quiz grows. Below are 5 short film descriptions of the horror/sci-fi genre. Three of them are real descriptions from IMDB whereas the other two I made up. Try to guess which is which. Answers after the jump. As ever, please post scores and any critiques/comments/corrections at the end.

1. A lesbian college couple becomes stranded in the middle of nowhere with a pack of orphaned Nazi zombie breeders hellbent on their demise.

2. When an island off the coast of Ireland is invaded by bloodsucking aliens, the heroes discover that getting drunk is the only way to survive.

3. Two awkward Martian teenagers infiltrate the Texas Chili Cook Off and try to reunite their squabbling parents at the same time.

4. After making a pact with a witch to win a high school tennis tournament, the class nerd is terrorized by blood-sucking tennis balls that can only be defeated by a magical silver racket.

5. Aliens resurrect dead humans as zombies and vampires to stop humanity from creating the Solaranite (a sort of sun-driven bomb).

ANSWERS (1 point for each one correct, 5 points maximum)

1. REAL. The film is Blood Soaked.

2. REAL. The film is Grabbers.

3. FAKE.

4. FAKE.

5. REAL. It’s Ed Wood’s so bad it’s good classic Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

8 thoughts on “Pub Quiz”

  1. I got 1/5, which is the lowest possible score. 2 and 5 seemed the least ridiculous, and so I guessed that they were the ones you had made up. Not a winning strategy.

    1. It occurs to me on reading the your comment and thinking about my own: The only possible scores are 1, 3, and 5.

      1. Good point. I didn't think of that at the time, assuming that people would just guess which two were fake and come away with a score of 0, 1 or 2. But given how I wrote the instruction, I can see that it looks more like a request to judge each of the 5 on its own.

        1. Well, I was thinking of it the opposite way–pick the three real ones–but I was adding up every correct answer for all five. It's telling us how many are real and how many are not that made this easier (though still not easy–Blood Soaked?)

          But that's what we do! Math guys: Talking the fun out of everything for a quantity, denumerable in principle but in fact uncertain, of years.

  2. I guessed 1 and 4 were the fakes, but it was just a blind stab in the dark for both of them. They all sounded plausible to me.

    Ed Wood's films are bad, but they're bad in an interesting way. And despite the huge faults, there's a quality to his films that is compelling, an emotional power, a distinctive vision. There's a reason people watch "Plan 9* or *Glen or *Glenda* other than just to laugh at how bad they are.

  3. I don't know any of this material, so I couldn't play the quiz. But I'm put in mind of something I remember from a long time ago. I think it was channel 5 in Boston in the early/mid 70s. They played all kinds of reruns, and I forget if it was TV Guide or the Globe descriptions of the episodes that I'm thinking of, but they'd have brief descriptions of Perry Mason episodes that ran something like this: "Mason is hired to defend a suspect wrongly accused of murder." You wouldn't really have to update that very often.

    I love that plot summary of Casablanca. I don't think it could be bettered in as few words.

  4. I was close: 3/5, the second-best possible score (assuming you follow the instructions as to distribution of true and false). I thought the specificity of the Texas Chili Cook Off beat the ambiguity of Nazi zombie breeders. When I look back now after the passage of time, I can only say, "Silly me."

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