Earth-bound monsters

When I was eight my parents took me to see the classic horror flick Alien in the movie theater. Little did they know what they were getting themselves–and me–into. They were sure I’d be terrified, but I barely flinched through the horror and gore Johnhurt(except for the iconic spaghetti scene, where the baby alien bursts through John Hurt’s stomach).

Maybe that’s because a few years earlier I was terrified by the flesh-eating zombies in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead–and thus inoculated–from horror.

Nevertheless, the Alien franchise features some of the scariest, awe-inspiring monsters. These are creatures that use aliens.1humans not for food but as breeding pods, suffering through slow, agonizing deaths. Very much an H.P Lovecraft view of horror: the alien monster as a destroying force that gives no consideration to our humanity in pursuit of its destruction.

It turns out, once again, that nature parallels these horrors.

alien 1Take this parasite called PhironimaAccording to this article, it is thought to be the inspiration for the Alien monster.

And with good reason.

This tiny parasite lives in the ocean. It survives and thrives by attacking free-floating zooplankton. First it carves out the zooplankton’s insides. Then it climbs in and uses the hollowed out creature as its transport.

It’s not clear whether the Phironima kills the zooplankton, but the parallels to the Alien xenomorph are blood-curdlingly clear: a monstrous-looking creature alters and destroys another to use for its own benefit.

This is nature.

Doctor Who: clip turns canon on its head?

A new webisode promoting the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special teases an altered take on the Doctor.

Doctor Who, the classic BBC TV show about a time traveling alien with the power to regenerate, is set to air its 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, Saturday, November 23. Now, a newly leaked webisode sheds light onto a darker side of an iconic sci-fi hero.

Paul McGann played the eighth doctor in a 1996 TV movie. The hope was it would launch a re-boot of the TV series. It didn’t, and the re-boot occurred nearly a decade later, with Christopher Eccleston taking over as the ninth Doctor. We never saw the transition between the doctors. We never saw McGann again. Until now.

Paul McGann – the Eighth Doctor


In the new webisode titled The Night of the Doctor, McGann makes a surprising return. In the space of 6:49 minutes, we get a burst of action, the Doctor’s wry take on eternal life (he calls it utter boredom), the hint that the Doctor could regenerate as a woman, and a huge clue that quite a lot happened between McGann’s Doctor and Eccleston’s.

Watch the clip here:

The clip packs a lot of plot in its short time frame, and it’s accessible for those who don’t know much about Doctor Who. Credit the writer, Steven Moffat for this feat.

As The Day of the Doctor approaches, we’re getting more info about the event. Click here to see stills from the show, including John Hurt as a mysterious incarnation of the Doctor, the return of Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, and the tenth and eleventh doctors, David Tennant and Matt Smith, side by side.

And click here for some cryptic words by Steven Moffat on how John Hurt’s character will–or won’t–fit in to canon.

I can’t wait.