Thursday, July 15, 2010
Grasshoppers are from Mars
As you may have read on Acidemic's sister blog, Divinorum Psychonautics, I'm an ancient astronaut / alternate history / alien conspiracy enthusiast, at least part of the time (my obsessions wander freely). That's why light bulbs go off in my DNA over Hammer's 1967 mind-bender, FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH, because it fits the paranormal theories of our times; it could be true!
When a giant metallic capsule is found buried in the earth during an East London tube dig, a moody Brit named Dr. Quatermass (Andrew Keir) tangles with by-the-book Colonel Breen (Julian Glover) over whether its a military threat or a science project. They find dead grasshopper-ish aliens in the ship, and then all hell breaks loose--literally!--as it turns out these creatures can create hallucinations of themselves leaving their dying planet during a big ethnic cleansing. Turns out it's Mars! Space Locusts from Mars! Peter Graves knew what to do about giant grasshoppers in BEGINNING OF THE END (1957), but these are Martian ghost grasshoppers, and they've been dead for millions of years while still ghosting it up in the region in the form of wild local populace hallucinations. The Martian antennae might have been mistaken for horns and that's how the devil was born.
I dig that truth and belief have nothing to do with each other and yet create each other; I dig that the human ego is extraordinarily narrow-minded when it comes to consensual reality and maybe for good reason. Few of us want to connect the dots that lead us to the unpleasant possible truths such as that we're the result of some long ago aline's DNA dabbling, especially since it's hard to prove it in any 'scientific' manner. It's scary to think about, so we scoff, also we don't want to be considered 'nuts.' That's the thing. Those who know the evil horrible truth can't help but go nuts. But hey, we need the info, we just need it to be told to us in fiction.
click here and get it through me!) and I suspect it's because it's too close to the truth; it fills in all the missing dots between ancient astronauts and demons; the 'missing link' in human evolution; how the true story of our creation is encoded in our 'junk' DNA, ready to be projected back as soon as we evolve enough to access it. It's like our brain is a DVD player and we don't know how to access the Easter eggs. But the disc is in there, just waiting to go for a spin.
The idea that sensory impressions of alien contact is buried in our DNA connects with the theories held by scientists like Rick Strassman, who suggests alien abduction-hallucination experiences might actually be DNA code playbacks, which can arise naturally through neuron misfires or be triggered by DMT. The idea that the film's spaceships precede our known civilization enhances the "we are them" aspect. Dude, that's Heavy Stuff.
Like PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE, this film is as marred (or enhanced depending on your Brechtian tastes) by lame special effects as it is alive with post-Roswell "truth" (as I write about here). The spaceship looks like two hot tubs taped together and the grasshoppers look like mod sculptures that would be right at home in a beatnik cafe next to Dick Miller's "Dead Cat" in BUCKET OF BLOOD (1956); the visions of life on Mars looks suspiciously like a fussball table with grasshopper heads stuck onto the little wooden soccer players on the long poles. Explosions are indicated by the wave of a sparkler in front of the camera. But I actually love this kind of cheap sideshow flimflam, it credits the audience with having a child's imagination, wherein a guy with a sheet on his head can be scarier than any CGI ghost. With the help of imagination we can be literally hallucinate better effects for the story --we can literally 'see' details that aren't there. When we're adults these details are dismissed as 'hallucinations.' Oh the fools!
I vividly remember being told the story of this film by an excited, terrified kid late at night when I was around seven years old during a slumber party. He was agog with this tale of frozen insect demons on a spaceship that come alive as ghosts and then the whole world is destroyed and everyone turns evil... and... and... I thought the film sounded impressive and since he was scared talking about it I got scared too, but never thought I would see it. In fact I was sure he made it up, for no movie could be that cool and me not know about it. The way he made it sound I figured if I ever saw it I'd just drop dead from fear. But then decades later I finally see FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH (AKA QUATERMASS AND THE PIT) and, whoa! This is what that kid was telling me about... and it's still cool, but much cheaper looking than I 'remembered!'
I had imagined all sorts of shocking images: giant blue grasshopper-like monsters glistening and gleaming in their icy chambers, huge pillars of flame cracking the earth in half.... Seeing it now is to laugh heartily and also to wonder if there's not even a purpose to the almost surreal level of jokey cheapness, a sugar-coating of lies over a core truth too shocking to consider as fact without the accompanying option that it's fake. The official cover story about the crashed craft is that it's a German V2 left over from the Blitz. That's a good alternative truth for the panicked people, and a parallel with the theory that UFOs are experimental Nazi craft brought to the States via Operation Paperclip. People need a story like that to deflect their anxiety. If we ever saw a real flying saucer we might remember it only as a hubcap; we might remember a 'grey' as a white owl; a mantis alien as a grasshopper art project, and that's how it should be. The aliens are too horrible to imagine straight on; we need to believe it might be fake to even consider it might be real. Think of the hardcore fundamentalist conservative who dismisses global warming as liberal brainwashing, or those who just can't wrap their heads around the possible solar storms coming our way in 2012 (as discussed on Fox News!)