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Can horror be set in space?

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  • #16
    Realised the other day that the whole subject goes another step or two deeper & further back. In fact, the British cosmic horror connections go back to H.G. Wells & his tutor, arch-Darwinist, T.H. Huxley, who was also Aldous Huxley's Grandfather. The two Wellsian works that lay the groundwork for Post-Empire, soon to be post-colonial, Britain's obsession with invasion & contagion of cosmic horror proportions, are, The War of the Worlds & The First Men in the Moon. With an honourable mention for, The Island of Doctor Moreau, in which animals are medically altered to become horrific approximations of human beings.

    In War of the Worlds, although the individual human is not actually invaded, they are used as a food source, by the Martians. However, the World itself is, for a time, invaded & strangled by the ubiquitous, alien, 'Red Weed.' Whereas, in First Men in the Moon, an advanced Moon civilisation of ant-like species specialisation, is portrayed. It's quite likely that Kneale's Martian Hive, from Quatermass & The Pit (BBC 1959), was influenced by Wells' Selenites. In fact, Kneale, like Mike, an H.G. Wells enthusiast, also wrote the script for the 1964, Ray Harryhausen, movie adaptation, First Men In The Moon.

    It is but a short step for the horrors of the Unknown & the Other to be moved from far flung exotic colonial outposts into space & then from there for the horrors to turn inwards, invading & corrupting our very Humanity.

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    • #17
      I am intrigued by postodave's analyses and have signed up for his nonexistent newsletter. However, though I am sure Level-headed Frankenstein is somehow involved I am so far unable to connect the dots between Whale's 1931 Frankenstein and 1965's Dr Who and the Daleks. It must be there, though.

      Pietro, you are too level-headed about the space horror situation. Jason X puts paid to all doubts! Surely, Ella Hunt is just angling for a part in a resurrected Space Jason franchise (In Space Nobody Can Hear the Ki-Ki-Ki-Ma-Ma-Ma*). AND Jason's head is not level, but lumpy like a phrenologist's paradise.

      And, yes, of course it goes deeper than previously suspected. Kepler's The Somnium, besides a trip to the moon, featured a witch AND demons. And though they've tried to cover it up, the ending is clearly due to nightmare!

      * Note: I am still not entirely convinced Jason's message was ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma and not ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha. Seems like yet another cover-up.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
        I am intrigued by postodave's analyses and have signed up for his non-existent newsletter. However, though I am sure Level-headed Frankenstein is somehow involved I am so far unable to connect the dots between Whale's 1931 Frankenstein and 1965's Dr Who and the Daleks. It must be there, though.
        The Daleks are the 'Monster' to Davros, their creator, as a Frankenstein more horrible & madder than his creation. The 'Cybermen' are also the diabolical, if scientific, offspring of Frankenstein. A grisly British tradition of bringing back the dead and creating artificial life, going back to Britain's ancient oracular heads, like that of, King Bran. A narrative culminating, in the legend of Friar Bacon's Brazen head.

        It occurred to me, a day or two back, bringing the strung together narrative trails of alien invasion & contagion, over on the previous page. From the Selelnites, of Wells' Lunar adventures, to the Martian Hive Mind, of Nigel Kneale's masterpiece, Quatermass and the Pit, that it was Kneale, who executed the coup de grâs to the trail, with the truly horrifying twist that we need not fear alien insectoid invasion from Mars, for we are the Martians. The atavistic traces of the alien insectoid already exist within us.

        https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3fjm7q
        Last edited by Pietro_Mercurios; 04-25-2021, 05:25 PM. Reason: Fixed Link

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        • #19
          I've always taken The Daleks as Nazis and The Cybermen as commies. But now they are both Frankenstein too? As Cybers get to make more of themselves, do they get to count as both creator and created?!

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Rothgo View Post
            I've always taken The Daleks as Nazis and The Cybermen as commies. But now they are both Frankenstein too? As Cybers get to make more of themselves, do they get to count as both creator and created?!
            In't a good narrative usually built up of various layers of meaning, metaphor & analogy? Humanity stripped out & what remains repurposed through the appliance of science. Authoritarianism calls out its siren song of mindless obedience and lack of responsibilty to the insectoid hivemind within us all. Weren't Quatermass & Dr Who both reactions to the post-WWII, post A-bomb, World? A way of dealing symbolically with post traumatic stress disorder fall-out. The USA had mutants, flying saucers, body snatchers & Rock'n'Roll. Japan had Gojira, & The Seven Samurai. Britain had a British Rocketry Group, a time travelling police box & some extraordinary crazy R&B.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by postodave View Post
              I want to make clear that I am not for one minute suggesting that aliens might be changing history, but I am saying that they could be. It certainly bears thinking about.
              I don't think it is aliens at all...all these UFO's and little gray, bug eyed, "aliens" are actually an evolved homo species from millions of years in the future with advanced temporal distortion technologies (you know, time machines).


              Regarding the topic at hand, though, I think the question has been answered in the affirmative many times. Alien, for one, pretty much proves the point that horror can, indeed, be set in space. The premise that horror is dependent on the familiarity of environment is flawed, it is the familiarity of human experience and perception with which good horror plays. The environment can be a source of horror but it certainly doesn't reduce the experience of horror.

              "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
              --Thomas a Kempis

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              • #22
                Will nobody think of It! The Terror from Beyond Space? The cult-like reverence for Alien is beginning to grind my subspace-hyperdrive gears. Besides it's a haunted house movie. Ergo, not set in space. Worse, it's clear Ripley survives because she's not a smoker or a drinker (because it's really an extremely well camouflauged Friday the 13th movie--yes, even to the extent of appearing before the first one).
                Last edited by Heresiologist; 05-06-2021, 09:24 PM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by EverKing View Post

                  I don't think it is aliens at all...all these UFO's and little gray, bug eyed, "aliens" are actually an evolved homo species from millions of years in the future with advanced temporal distortion technologies (you know, time machines).
                  This is where the possibilities get even more interesting. Given that you have most likely not done a DNA test then maybe they are aliens from the end of time. And quite apart from the question of how may sci-fi films were actually filmed in space we then have to ask, how many historical films were actually filmed in the past. I remember Von Daniken arguing with formidable logic that the presence of depictions of skeletons in ancient art long before the existence of X-ray technology shows that aliens with that technology much have been active in ancient history. In much the same way we can prove our thesis here. It has been noted that the same goblet appears in BBC costume dramas set in many different eras. The only explanation for that must be that the BBC production team took the goblet back in time.
                  Regarding the topic at hand, though, I think the question has been answered in the affirmative many times. Alien, for one, pretty much proves the point that horror can, indeed, be set in space. The premise that horror is dependent on the familiarity of environment is flawed, it is the familiarity of human experience and perception with which good horror plays. The environment can be a source of horror but it certainly doesn't reduce the experience of horror.
                  As I said earlier many of those making horror films seem deliberately to have chosen unfamiliar historical environments. (It is an open question, obviously, whether they took fake monsters back in time or created genuine monsters using their future technology). Why this is done I am not sure. I think the exotic environments increase the plausibility. This could not happen now but maybe then, and back then it still happened to people very like us in all the important ways.



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