Tag Archives: paranoia

1. The Thing: A Study of Paranoia

The premise in The Thing (from 1982, not to be confused with the prequel from 2011) seems simple enough: An alien spacecraft crashed in Antarctica millions of years ago. Present time, an Arctic expedition. The alien creature thaws from the ice after his long hibernation, and starts attacking. The humans need to defend themselves, led by the alpha male himself: Kurt Rusell.

What makes the premise more interesting is one crucial aspect:

Paranoia

The Thing starts off with a dog in the snow fields, being chased by two Arctic scientists, one of them shooting with a rifle. Already in the first five minutes, the sense of panic and urgency is apparent. The “dog” arrives in a neighboring science station, where the scientists shelter it, before things starts to go haywire. Soon, it is discovered that the dog actually is the alien creature, who is is able to copy any life form, to perfection, in a matter of hours. Except for a blood sample, there is no possible way whatsoever to recognize the “copy.”

Therein lies the horror. The copies are exact copies. Every single expression, every single sentence, every single behavior – everything corresponds exactly to the “original.” It’s not just that the creature lies and tries to act like someone else. It literally becomes the original. The only method in the movie

In many works of fiction, there are certain phrases that always carries a certain sense of security. Phrases that a viewer is supposed to rely upon:

  • “Look into my eyes. Have I ever lied to you?”
  • “We’ve known each other for years. Would I ever put you in danger?”
  •  “I promise. I give you my word.”

The Thing just spits on such phrases. The copy is just as convincing and reliable as the original. Just as eager to help to solve the situation. Paranoia poisons and creates uncertainties. In a hostile, isolated, dark environment, those feeling becomes intolerable. And blessings such as reliability, trust and friendship becomes something meaningless.

And let’s not forget the creature, “The Thing”, itself. Does it deserve paranoia? Well, there are scenes where we see part of the transformation process, and where it tries to defend itself, so the actual monster is not “out of view.” However, when it does show up, the effect of the parasitic creature of staggering. There are more than enough reasons to be afraid that your best friend standing right beside you actually looks like this on the inside…

So what happens when the paranoia poisons people in The Thing?

Well, I’m not particular fond of spoilers. So unfortunately I will not present you with anymore revealing details.

Let’s just say that even though the ending is a pretty final one, the paranoia lingers still…

Why Was My Window Open?

As a fan of the world of horror, do you know what can be a sign of passion and devotion, but also a side effect from an all-too-vivid imagination?

Paranoia.

A few nights ago, I sat in my apartment late in the evening. Even though the weather is pretty hot right now, I rarely bother to keep the windows open, because the apartment is always cool anyway. I’m, also, situated so the sun almost never reaches my windows. Plus, I live at the bottom floor, and I have always been afraid of potential burglars, thus I don’t want to risk anything, however small that risk may be.

So when I turned away from my computer for a moment in the evening…

Why was my window open?

I’m 99.9 % sure I never touched that window during the entire day. But did I do it anyway, but didn’t remember? Is the explanation so simple that the adjustable lever just wasn’t firm enough? Or is it some form of mysterious entity who wants to make its presence known, but wants to wait until one particular night before it shows its true form in the shadows?

Frankly, right now I’m thinking of the later alternative.

A while ago, I had a horror movie marathon with one of my best friends. Among others, we watched Grave Encounters 1 and 2 (far better than I expected them to be!). The same period I had watched Sinister, in my opinion one of the best horror movies of 2012, in my loneliness at midnight. Meanwhile, I’ve also continued to complete the computer game Silent Hill Downpour, which could be called a gigantic mindfuck on the senses.

The only thing missing would be nightmares. But I don’t have those. My imagination takes care of that just fine.

Twisting my peace of mind. Manipulating my common sense. Makes me think that events with an obvious logical explanation might possibly be a cause of paranormal phenomena. Or just scaring the shit out of me.

Am I disturbed if I happened to say I enjoy it?