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Scott Sigler – After the Blood, Brains and Assorted Gore Comes the Horror of the Dry Cleaning Tab


If there’s one thing we expect in horror movies, it’s blood. Or gore. Or maybe that random green fluid that gets flung about when dealing with zombies, vamps, aliens or ghosts. As I watch low and big-budget horror movies alike, I often ask myself, “How do you get the stains out of those clothes?” A conundrum, that one: These laundry messes could send the most grime-savvy granny straight to the loony bin.

OK, maybe you don’t ask the same question. Fortunately, I’m here to keep you informed. As part of your ongoing education, allow me to share the details of five of the most expensive dry cleaning tabs in horror history…

Saw 3: Shirts and Ties (see for yourself)
I’m not sure what’s worse, putting a man in a vat full of pureed pig or leaving him in his white shirt and tie. “Ancient Chinese Secret” my ass. It’s going to take more than Calgon to clean up this mess. Take a couple dozen dead pigs, festering nicely, complete with maggots et al., put them through a grinder that turns them into some bizzaro form of Rotten Pig Soup, then pour it all over said dude in said tie and white shirt. Eww. I almost didn’t include the link, because nasty is nasty in any language.

Poultrygeist : Stained Undies (Warning, this trailer is beyond nasty; see for yourself)
This is probably one of the most disturbing trailers of all time, if not one of the most disturbing things of all time, period. Whoa. First, the full title is Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead and it’s another gem from Troma. Which means it’s bad, but what it lacks in Academy-nominated performances it makes up for with sheer volumes of disgusting stuff. At any rate, the first few seconds of the trailer show you a pair of tightie whities that are going to need at least one extra spin cycle before they’re fit for another outing.

Dead Alive : Getting Stains out of Leather (see for yourself)
No, I’m not talking about Leatherface’s butcher apron, I’m talking about the Peter Jackson classic, Dead Alive. Now, I used the lawnmower scene from this movie a few blog posts back, so wouldn’t be cool to list it again (although man, there were some clothes in that sucker that would keep the local laundromat in business for weeks). This clip deals with a special dry-cleaning predicament, namely removing stains from a leather jacket… several leather jackets, in fact. But that’s what happens when a zombie mom tears up the local street toughs. Plus, you get to hear the line “I kick ass for the Lord.” A win on all levels.

Freddy vs. Jason: Sweaters, What Can You Do? (see for yourself)
Granted, Freddy Krueger’s sweater is a whole wool-maintenance nightmare from the first movie. I understand that he’s the bastard son of a thousand maniacs (best movie origin EVAH, by the way), but even Freddy’s mom has to get the kid’s clothes clean. Out of all the shenanigans associated with the Fredster, his showdown with Jason in, yes, Freddy vs. Jason clearly does the most damage to this iconic piece of horror wear. Smoke stains, burns, glass cuts that need stitching, blood stains, grass stains, mud stains… I’d like to see pitchman Billy Mays OxyClean this bad boy in an infomercial. My hunch is I’m not ordering the stuff even if he doubles my order at no extra charge.

Alien : White Shirt, Italian Dinner, You Do the Math (see for yourself)
First, a space freighter is a dirty place: Grease, grime, grit, ground metal and probably several other messy things starting with “g.” So who the hell dresses a space-freighter crew in white? What is this, the Spring Collection on Rigel 9? And how about the poor sucker who draws laundry duty? I hope they’re hauling Clorox. Or at least some Visine to get the red out (Sure, I’ll just go ahead and apologize for that one; it was beneath me and I’m sorry).

Save Your Quarters
There you have them, Dear Reader, just some of the truly awe-inspiring dry cleaning dilemmas created by the horror movie industry. If you can think of others, kindly mention them in the comments below. Until next time, stock up on your all-temperature Cheer, and know when it’s time to toss in the towel on those ripped undies.


New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler writes tales of hard-science horror, then gives them away as free audiobooks at His latest hardcover, CONTAGIOUS is in stores now. If you don’t agree with what Scott says in this blog, post a note in the comments section below. Please include all relevant personal information, such as your address and what times you are not home, so Scott can come visit and show you his world famous “Chicken Scissors.”

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