Friday, January 14, 2011

The Gems in the Junkheap

I live for the moments when memes converge in the most unlikely places and then step outside the boundaries of their ostensible origin points. They Came from Beyond Space provided one of those moments; it's a very low budget British sci-fi quickie from the 60s, the kind of junk that usually doesn't even scan with most people. But I can attest that you'll find strange symbolism pop up in these films like mushrooms in the New Jersey rain. And compared to the bilge that passes for genre entertainment these days, the storytelling is practically bulletproof.

Beyond Space offers up a secret army of alien walk-ins (one of my very favorite fringe sci-fi tropes, for reasons I can't quite explain) and a pretty obvious ripoff of the plot of Quatermass II. Then the film becomes a knockoff of yet another Nigel Kneale opus (via HG Wells, that is) First Men in the Moon, only with a stronger Theosophic tinge. Curiously, the lead characters are named "Temple" and "Mason"

So aside from the walk-ins, we have a whole host of secret society themes bouncing around. Somehow, that all makes sense for a UFO movie, even though it shouldn't. It all makes me wonder how long some of these groups have believed that the ancient gods were actually extraterrestrials and how the whole concept of walk-ins and soul transference would play out in that context. All the more so given that AAT really entered the public consciousness first with Quatermass and the Pit (a Mystery initiation narrative in disguise) and then with Morning of the Magicians.

The Temple/Mason surnames here give me that old telling tales out of school vibe, which seems to be uncannily common in these low-budget sci-fi/grindhouse quickies. What better place to leak forbidden knowledge than in a film that absolutely no one would take seriously? That way if someone started having inconvenient thoughts about secret societies and the space program or mankind being banned from the moon, they could quickly be dismissed as having watched too many cheesy sci-fi movies.

Like Starship Invasions, for example. UFO literature is filled with undersea alien bases and hybridization programs and so is this film. But it's interesting to note that the alien base in question is a pyramid and the film presents us with a war between opposing alien factions, one of them led by one Captain Rameses of Orion, played by Mr. Hammer Von Wickerman himself, Christopher Lee. Boilerplate stuff, you say? Probably, but that secret war trope is lent a bit of extra frisson by this sequence... which a UFO slams into a skyscraper. Fascinating little coincidence there.

Speaking of secret societies, I know I promised a review of The House of Anubis but I couldn't make it through an entire episode - even by tween standards, it's some truly atrocious television. I thought this clip was mildly curious, in that the Eye of Horus is distinctly a vesica piscis, but that's as far as it goes. Most of the show offers up the tedious teen angst of future hedge fund managers, agribusiness executives and European Parliament bureaucrats.

I realize the usual suspects are getting themselves all worked up by the "Illuminati" symbolism in this show but that's only because A., they secretly get off on it, and B., they're so convinced that Jehovah will soon make them a billionaire that they don't dare question the kind of corrupting, in-group privilege that is the real raison d'ĂȘtre of private school fraternities like the one we see in House of Anubis.

If anyone noticed anything of real interest in the show, let us know. Bonus factoid -- House of Anubis is based on a Belgian show- you can check out its site here. If you must.

On a much happier note, House of Anubis got me thinking about Blood from the Mummy's Tomb, which is worth a look even if it's not one of Hammer's finest hours. It's based on a Bram Stoker novel (Jewel of Seven Stars) that was made into a number of films, including the Charlton Heston vehicle The Awakening (1980), which was Mike Newell's first feature. Just to bring it all full circle, Newell also directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the Potter novels are obviously a major influence on House of Anubis.

Blood centers on the whole walk-in/possession trope as well, just in case you're so distracted by Valerie Leon's epic curves that you can't make heads or tails of the plot. And just to bring it really full circle, Blood also stars Andrew Keir, my favorite Quatermass.

NOTES: The Libyan Sibyl explores a strange Oprah utterance about "human suits" here.

Todd Campbell talks about the alien walk-in narrative The Astronaut's Wife in relation to the Tucson horror, via Goro (who sees Tucson as Two Suns a la Jupiter/Lucifer in 2010). If any of you are wondering why I'm not writing about that myself I have a policy of avoiding any appearance of exploiting someone else's tragedy. Although you or I wouldn't see it that way, others most certainly do and I believe it's incumbent upon us to avoid seeming insensitive to others' suffering. I generally keep any research on these kinds of tragedies to myself.


  1. I can't shake the feeling that this sudden "news" about ophiuchus, the dubious 13th sign of the zodiac, has some strange symbolic connections to the Tucson tragedy and our current memestream...

    Ophiuchus is a rarely used astrological sign and is not included in most versions of the Zodiac. It is also known as Serpentarius. The eponymous constellation is situated behind the sun between November 29 and December 17.

    Above: It forms part of The Celestial Cross (Video link to History Channel's "Lost Books of Nostradamus 2012 & Ophiuchus" doc)

    Quote: "The eight-armed cross...represents the alignment, in space and time, of the divine cross above and the terrestrial, mundane cross below."

    Below: The image of the celestial cross echoes the controversial SarahPac Crosshairs that many in the media have linked (by way of an acausal connecting principle?) to the tragic shooting and the rhetorical climate that may have paved the way for it.

    Quote: "17 more to go!"

    (Disturbingly, this same crosshair sign is also associated with the Zodiac killer.)

    Add to all this the assertion by one of the shooter's classmates that (in addition to lucid dreaming and mind control conspiracies) he was "oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy." Weird, huh?

  2. And I thought it was just me! Old sci-fi and horror is so much better than the drivel that passes for story telling these days. We watched the STNG episode "The Inner Light" a few nights ago, another story about well... just about everything we always talk about here.

  3. Chris you rock!!! Prolific and consistent like no other blogger I read. Thank you!!!

  4. Chris, thanks for the mention of "Starship Invasions", I was curious to get your take on it.

    Interesting that this Zodiac revelation about Ophiuchus is hitting now, as this very subject was written about in these previous pieces.

  5. This talk about the changing Zodiac is rather strange because there always has been 2 zodiacs. One is tropical and is based on the Earth's (and therefore our) relationship to the sun, not to the stars. And the other zodiac is Sidereal (based on the constellations)

    Most astrologers use the tropical zodiac which has not changed at all. The Sidereal option has always been there including the constellation Ophiucus, but it is completely irrelevant to what we know as western astrology.

    So basically, Chris Knowles is still a Cancer, and not a Gemini! :)

  6. Just when I think I have things figured out, I come to Secret Sun and my mind is blown. All of this talk from the mainstream media about how we should prepare for extraterrestrial contact had me sure that we were being programmed for the false-flag alien event that Rik Clay and Serge Monast were telling us about shortly before they both passed away. What can you tell us about man being banned from the moon, Chris?

  7. A keen eye as always, Chris.
    Great stuff.

  8. A keen eye yes, and a gentleman to boot.
    Thanks for that Chris!

  9. Raj is right, you don't miss much.

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  11. Tron, Transformers, Skyline. I keep picking up "Oh my God" memes in science fiction productions.

    Re-watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind last night. During the alien contact scenes, human characters say "Oh my God" not once but twice.

    Is this all subliminal programming? Random coincidence?

    Who is that the elites really serve? Most critical analysts take an economic angle. The Iraq War was about oil. 9/11 was an inside job to bolster the oil wars, or the corporate-Republican agenda.

    I am not saying that I agree with the following analysis. But wouldn't it be fascinating if these tragedies had an even deeper and possibly more sinister meaning? If the elites were motivated not by greed, but rather by orders from Orion or the Abyss?

  12. Another Oh my god reference last night in I am Legend.

    The female lead say "my god" when looking at pictures of the neck-biting, pale, night-dwelling zombies.

    This could all be mathematical coincidence. A common English phrase randomly showing up in American dialogue. Or, are these covert references to our alien or subterranean masters? A continuation of the Hollywood fixation on greys, vampires, and zombies?

  13. Did you write about The Solarians on a post a while ago? If so can you remember which post it was?