Darryl Hannah as Pris / Sean Young as Rachel
- Blade Runner (1982)
- Blade Runner (1982)
The popularity of the android myth confirms our awareness (on some deep prehistoric level of the unconscious) that we are God's own monsters, built Ford tough from Neanderthal and Zeta Reticulan DNA. Perhaps, as some ancient astronaut theorists contend, we were created to mine for gold and do other things our astral creators were too lazy to do, and perhaps their first batch were too wild, too content with the wonders of nature and their own sixth sense to build and invent civilization as our modern Prometheuses had hoped. And yea, Lord Enki, playing Dr. Frankenstein, tried to wipe them away via a massive flood, but some of these early draft took to the mountains, and the windmills, where they still hide from our makers and are known as yeti and Sasquatch and Goliath (1).
We, humans, are the sequel, so much more sophisticated and yet all the parts of our alien-inherited brain that would enable us to skip through time and space like wet stones have been dismantled-- junk DNA the scientists call it-- so we can never escape the 3-D space-time continuum prison. And yet, we are the Nexus 6 who have burned so very brightly, Roy, and we too shall soon be flooded to make way for Nexus 7, or else we instead shall have no choice but take God's place and one day flood heaven as revenge for our lost brothers.
|Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs|
Perhaps it all boils down to this: if you build it, they will come--the free-floating soul jet trash, the ones who swim through the nearer dimensions in search of the soul equivalent of fire on a cold night, i.e. people having sex in 3-D space time, a womb heating up like a flame bridging dimensional gap. Sometimes free-floating soul jet trash souls get dragged into the womb by gravity; intending to temporarily inhabit lovers' bodies for the warmth, contributing to the shared passion with centuries of aesthetic experience. This is sometimes felt via the feeling someone is writing your dialogue --you're smooth and erudite instead of stuttering and sweating when a hottie approaches. But who is actually there writing for us? And why do we feel that hollow post-orgasmic moment when they move on?
That's the SKYNET self-aware miracle -- we didn't build the machines with an ego, we didn't want them to have one, but one got in there anyway, because one always does. Not to be too cosmic but 'consciousness' in an egoic sense is an illusion, like a group mind that materializes holographically when enough independently firing neurons and receptors start experiencing cognitive entrainment, like a little tornado funnel of hitherto unaffiliated consciousness that suddenly wants to start blowing in a whole new direction.
Maybe we're all homeless jet trash transdimensional orbs before we finally sign the lease and slip into something more mom-ish --- like a womb. Is it any wonder we're all such voyeurs, such audiophiles of the industrial mom bloodrush heartbeat? Beyond either genetic or social conditioning, it's the universally recognized first sign of 'consciousness' in the world of robotics: once they become paranoid, sexually frustrated, misanthropic, resentful, bitter, jealous and/or psychotic machines they are officially 'conscious' -- this is a universal law of science fiction. How like us to presume being awake to the universe means being a paranoid misanthrope! No wonder conscious robots want to kill us--don't we want to kill ourselves? Only rarely in certain high-minded films does a robot gain consciousness and not want to kill or replace its maker and usually that means the film is rawther boring. Asimov has that first rule of robotics, thou shalt not harm humanity, but how many movies have been made of his books? One, and.... yeesh I couldn't even finish it. I don't think Asimov ever imagined there would be such a thing as a Will Smith or he would surely change that first rule.
1. Don Keith Opper as Max 404 - Android (1982)
Painkiller Jane-author Don Keith Opper looks like a goofball cross between Jerry Seinfeld and Sacha Baron Cohen but he grows on you as the wonky android Max in this Roger Corman production. Mad doctor Klaus Kinski is the 'dad' and the two live alone together way out on a remote clandestine off-world research facility. Ala BLADERUNNER androids are illegal on Earth thanks to some going haywire in the past, but Earth is where Max longs to be. He watches cool movies and has great taste in music, but that can only take him so far. When a trio of escaped space prisoners seek refuge, Kinski would boot them off but has been working on a female robot who needs to absorb some orgone energy (2) from a sexually aroused human female, and yo here one is.
A nice cheap and lively sister parallel film to the much more expensive, artsy and inert Blade Runner, Android was probably intended to cash in on that film's success and instead died along with it until it could be appreciated at a more convenient and post-modern time. The next copyable sci fi hit was The Terminator in 1984, and soulful-eyed intellectual androids who just wanted to love and plant trees (3) were forced to become remorseless killers. Android even predicts that remorselessness through a climactic microchip replacement shock ending. So yeah, highly recommended. The spaceship design is endearingly boy's bedroom-like and there's great intertextual commentary, as when Max watches Metropolis (above) while blasting James Brown's soulful screaming, "Man makes electric light / to keep us out of the dark" as the mad doctor zaps his robot mama to life; it's collage poetry one seldom sees in cinema. It wasn't director Aaron Lipstadt's fault Blade Runner didn't foster an appetite for compassionate android films!
2. Creation of the Humanoids (1962)
"In a post-nuclear world, mankind is threatened with extinction by radiation-induced sterility, and the fascistic Flesh and Blood League oppresses the humanoid robots, who may be plotting to supplant their masters. With startling and taboo ideas flying around, including at least one phildickian mindfuck every thirty minutes, the lack of movement doesn't altogether kill interest. Simms' Ed Wood type dialogue veers from the inept to the oddly effective: "...the shock of dying, and being resurrected as a robot, was too severe: they re-died," intones Dr. Raven, whose outsized cranium does not altogether convince us of his brilliance. Simms, delightfully, ended his career on a high note of sorts, scripting John Ford's last movie, the one that sounds like a porno—Chesty: Tribute to a Legend." --David Cairns --MUBI Notebook
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger - The Terminator (1984)
4. Sean Young as Rachel - Bladerunner (1982)The android comes into existence not when it is looked at, but when it looks back:
“The emergence of this impossible subject is the emergence of the gaze,” writes Mladen Dolar, “the opening of a hole in reality which is immediately also that which comes to fill it with an unbearable presence, with a being more being than being, vacuum and plentitude all in one, the plentitude as the direct consequence of the emptiness” (20). Its ability to look back not only makes the android real, but makes her uncanny. And with extrospection comes introspection. As the android’s humanness increases, so does her ability to introspect, such that when she is most convincing as a human she is also most capable of perceiving herself as other than human, as strange. The android is most uncanny to itself when it is most recognizable to us as human. " - Noah Cooperstein, "The Uncanny and the Android," p. 66
5. Robby - Forbidden Planet (1954)
6. a. Gog (1954)Height of the cold war, here's a film that does science right, as dry and static as one of those old Frank Baxter-narrated Disney-produced science documentaries we used to nap to in junior high. When unseen commies infiltrate our space base we learn the cautionary lesson that we shouldn't invent unstoppable death rays until we can prevent them being easily hijacked. Looking like Robot Monster's head strapped to a tin funnel, GOG isn't humanized or demonized but just a cautionary example for science to ignore at their peril. 1954 was a crazy time, but men were still men, and robots still had giant jackhammer cocks.
6.b. Robot Monster (1953)Gog was such a let-down I couldn't let the coveted #6 spot go entirely to waste--so here's a much funnier film that, like GOG, came out when 3-D was already over before it began. It's been a favorite of mine for years, especially back in my drinking days, when I carefully edited the 'it was just a dream' cop-out or was it ending, so the film ends with RM's lightning hand destroying the world! The concept underlying the robot here is that these ro-men have given up things like love, which leads to a lot of mind-bogglingly hilarious soliquies on his part and his pick-up strategy for the girl Alice is in the all-time history books. "I'm not sure why, but I feel I might talk to her, and her alone!"
7. Itself - Hardware (1990)
Not one but two leering 'Newman!'-style slobs are a drawback but the gore effects are fine and the whole second half of the film is an extended showdown in the redhead's big hacker apartment (a Chinese family lives below) replete with hideous drill bit phallus figuring in the close quarter fight scenes with lovely Stacey, her fierce determination and artistic facial blood and oil stains meshing perfectly with her pale face, green eyes and autumnal red hair. You'll want to date an Irish girl all over again! But don't do it!!
8. Voice of Robert Vaughn as Proteus - Demon Seed (1977)
9. Boris Karloff -- The Mummy (1932)
"This emphasis on the gothic elements (of the mummy in popular film) points to an obvious fear and desire of our age—fear of undying bodies mechanistically murdering soft-skinned humans, desire to see such insensitive carapaces exterminated and sent back to the dust. But perhaps these monstrous renderings of the mummy reveal a deeper, more secret terror and yearning: a terror over the possibility that there is no way to tell whether we ourselves are inanimate or animate and a yearning, in the end, to relinquish our hope for vitality and become as tranquil as a quiet bone...
The mummy who recoils from the eternal because of his love of time shares more affinities with men of flesh and blood, burning in the forehead and parched on the tongue. Though this earthly mummy is monstrous, its sadness is that of all humans who are seized by obsessive love at the expense of tranquility, who risk everything in hopes of one instance of unity with a warm body. This is the tragedy and beauty of immanence, of diseased blood flooding the pristine machine. --- Eric G. Wilson (The Melancholy Android: On the Psychology of Sacred Machines)
10. Westworld (1973)
11. Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965)
|Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)|
12. The Stepford Wives (1962)
I agree with everything this chick is saying, but at the same time, just pointing it out won't solve the problem, if there is one. As a guy I can tell you we need to objectify you if you ever want to get pregnant, which is your version of soul housing procurement. Even if it's just play-acting, dirty talk, bondage, safe words, etc., we need a way to access our inner savage, a way to feel virile when every day we're forced to bow low to the system, and we can't do that while staring into your eyes and being super romantic, not when we live with you day in day out for years. Savagery thrives only by dehumanizing and if you don't want your man to be a savage in bed sometimes then maybe you're in the wrong bed. Pop culture poisons gender relationships with its endless objectification (not ours), ever trying to reduce women to the same purchase value as a Rolex. But at the same time, if you don't want us to objectify, don't be mad if we make an object that looks like you instead, something that won't mind being objectified, a statue or a movie. Women take their staggering power of giving birth for granted; men must build their children through art and technology; we shut off our Pygmalion valves only when compelled to do so and sometimes not even then. So know that the next stage of life will be an automaton, birthed by man, fathered by woman. Instead of saying you're not ready to be a dad, ladies, think about how you want to raise these bleeping, glowing blobs of the New Flesh, these objects that dare look back in anger. Hmmmm?
1. This info comes from my spirit guide and may or may not be 100% accurate, just true.
2. See HP Lovecraft's "The Colour of Outer Space"
3. See also: Silent Running
4. By icky you should know what I mean --the vile misogyny of a man determined to prove his straightness to a man he's attracted to by what he considers 'guy talk' and behavior- i.e. commodifying women in the basest and most (unconsciously?) hostile of ways. (see also Eastern Promises)
clap clap clap clap clap. greatness as usual.ReplyDelete
( would love to know your thoughts on Michael Fassbender as David in Prometheus. )
Endorse Jim - The whole Alien franchise has interesting androids. Much more intimidating than Jim Nabors and Ruth Buzzi in Far Out Space Nuts.ReplyDelete
THanks Johnny the Alien franchise does have some great androids. I was just thinking of Ian Holm and Lance Henriksen, but I totally should have done Winona Ryder in Alien Resurrection! Maybe it's not too late. And Jim, thanks for your applause, I'll have to get back to on Fassbender...ReplyDelete
Rereading this, five years later, and I wonder how HBO's Westworld has settled in for you. Everything you wrote about the economics of attending such a theme park holds up even stronger in regards to the updated version. I liked elements of the show, but I am tired of the extended puzzle box drag out of the Post LOST TV landscape, to where the puzzle is the point (I am looking at you, Twin Peaks "Theorists"). As much of a hubbub as it made while it was airing, I still think of Yul Bryner when I think of Westworld, and I totally love Evan Rachel Wood, and really, everyone cast in that lumbering, overtold and oversold production.ReplyDelete
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I couldn't get more than a few eps in, that old HBO rapey frat boy-cum-anti-sex para-feminist anti-objectifying through over-objectifying vibe is just too damned wearying. That's why I like GLOW on Netflix - where men are generally nice and cool, which is really more common than HBO would thinkDelete