KLAATU YOU (38)
September 16, 2020
One in a weekly series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of our favorite pre-Star Wars science fiction movies.
FANTASTIC VOYAGE | d. RICHARD FLEISCHER | 1966
Science fiction has always been touted as a gateway into new worlds and possibilities. Audiences are drawn to the genre for its ability to imagine a future different than our present — often better, more equitable, more invested in the things that matter. Of course, the drive to envision these new universes often comes from the sobering realities of our own.
I was seventeen when my mother collapsed on our kitchen floor, convulsing, battling to survive a ruptured brain aneurysm. I sat on the edge of the couch in my living room, sobbing, as the paramedics took her away. At the hospital, my grandmother and I learned that she would survive, but there would be a long road of rehab ahead. The doctor told us that she was lucky, that most burst aneurysms kill immediately. In the branching aftermath of that moment, I spent many days fitting the narrative into a desperate, actionable frame of fiction. Movies have always lent context to my life. Growing up with a single mom, the silver screen filled in many gaps while she worked. I learned empathy for the stories of others. I understood the timing of a good joke. I saw what bold action looked like in various forms. While I digested these things, my mother shouldered what burdens of family she could. To cope, she smoked and ate poorly. Her life shrunk to accommodate the hope of mine.
An obsessive desire to consume whatever material about brain injuries I could led me to Fantastic Voyage. In the movie, a crew of scientists and government agents use shrinking technology to enter the body of a colleague and attempt to remedy the damage a clot in his brain has caused. The conceit lent itself well to my escapist tendencies and I spent more than a few nights dreaming of doing the same for my mother. The distinction between reality and fiction never felt quite as negligible as in those moments. Encouragingly, the opening placard of the film stated, “Someday, perhaps tomorrow, the fantastic events you are about to see can and will take place.” Watching my mother fail to recognize me and have to relearn the most simple of tasks made it clear, however, there was no miracle day ahead.
When I was six, my mom took me to Disney World. It was a huge expenditure for our family and we were damn sure going to enjoy it. We trekked across the park at speed, only slowed by excruciatingly long lines. When we boarded the now defunct Fantastic Voyage-like ride Body Wars, I didn’t know what to expect. We strapped into our seats and were whisked along with white blood cells on the screens surrounding us. As the ship started rumbling through the circulatory system, my mom reached over to hold my hand. It was a comfort during the turbulence. I tried my best to return the favor years later when she lay in the hospital bed. Her hand felt so small in mine.
KLAATU YOU: INTRODUCTION by Josh Glenn | Matthew De Abaitua on ZARDOZ | Miranda Mellis on METROPOLIS | Rob Wringham on THE INVISIBLE MAN | Michael Grasso on THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN | Gordon Dahlquist on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY | Erik Davis on DARK STAR | Carlo Rotella on THE OMEGA MAN | Madeline Ashby on KISS ME DEADLY | Adam McGovern on SILENT RUNNING | Michael Lewy on THIS ISLAND EARTH | Josh Glenn on WILD IN THE STREETS | Mimi Lipson on BARBARELLA vs. SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS | Vanessa Berry on THE FLY | Lynn Peril on ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN | Peggy Nelson on SOLARIS | Adrienne Crew on LOGAN’S RUN | Ramona Lyons on THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH | Kio Stark on THE STEPFORD WIVES | Dan Fox on FANTASTIC PLANET | Chris Lanier on IKARIE XB-1 | Devin McKinney on IDAHO TRANSFER | Mark Kingwell on THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO | Luc Sante on THE TENTH VICTIM | William Nericcio on DEATH RACE 2000 | Rob Walker on CAPRICORN ONE | Gary Panter on ANGRY RED PLANET | David Levine on THE STEPFORD WIVES | Karinne Keithley Syers on ALPHAVILLE | Carolyn Kellogg on IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE | Sara Ryan on ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN | Lisa Jane Persky on PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE | Adam Harrison Levy on BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES | Gerald Peary on CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON | Susannah Breslin on A CLOCKWORK ORANGE | Seth on WAR OF THE WORLDS | James Hannaham on GOJIRA/GODZILLA | Lydia Millet on VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED | Matthew Daniel on FANTASTIC VOYAGE | Shawn Wolfe on ROLLERBALL | Erin M. Routson on WESTWORLD | Marc Weidenbaum on COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT | Neil LaBute on 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA | Vicente Lozano on DAY OF THE DOLPHIN | Tom Roston on SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE | Katya Apekina on A BOY AND HIS DOG | Chelsey Johnson on THE BLOB | Heather Kapplow on SPACE IS THE PLACE | Brian Berger on THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS | Anthony Miller on THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.
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