Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fear of the Known is a Lurking Stranger

Those of you who might once have been into the X-Files might remember that as part of the vintage Mulder monologue ending an episode about a necrophiliac serial killer. I was into memorizing monologues at the time, so I still happen to remember what Fox said on the occasion (the perils of having a good memory -- apologies if I screw it up, don't have time to search online):

That boy next door, Donny Faster, unremarkable younger brother of four older sisters, extraordinary only in his ordinary-ness, could grow up to be the devil in a button down shirt. Scientists say that fear of the unknown is an irrational response to the excesses of the imagination, but the fear of the known is a lurking stranger, and the sound of footfalls on the stairs, the fear of violent death and the primitive instinct to survive are as frightening as any X-File, as real as the acceptance: It could happen to you.

That said, I give you something a friend of mine had up on an away message, via another blog I've never read, called "Spare Room": a trailer for a film that will scare least, in New Zealand.

Fear of the known indeed.


Karl Steel said...

Oh god that looks great! Sheep do outnumber people in NZ, so it's only natural--er--that such a film should be made. I thought: reminds me of Peter Jackson's early films (Brain Dead, AKA Dead Alive), and, sure enough, WETA is involved with it. I'm thinking this as a double feature with Shaun of the Dead. My only quasi-intelligent comment as an animal theorist on this film is to see the particular horror of masses of sheep v. individual human heroes and gesture towards Deleuze and Guattari on packs in 1000 Plateaus, on the breakdown (which they celebrate) of one-to-one allegory or monads, to wit, "Above all, it should not be thought that it suffices to distinguish the masses and exterior groups someone belongs to or participates in form the internal aggregates that person envelops in him or herself. The distinction to be made is not at all between exterior and interior, which are always relative, changing, and reversible, but between different types of multiciplicities that coexist, interpenetrate, and change places....We can no longer even speak of distinct machines, only of types of interpenetrating multiplicities that at any given moment form a single mechanic assemblage, the faceless figure of libido" (36).

Anonymous said...

See I grew up in the Yorkshire Pennines on one side of a valley, the other side was covered in hundreds of sheep.

All day sheep watched you, I open bedroom curtains...sheep.

I now have the fear.

Also I earn double points because I not only recognised the Mulder quote, but watched the episode not three days ago.

anhaga said...

Karl> Fascinating, isn't it? I must read more Deleuze and Guattari. It's interesting too -- the most terrifying aliens (to me, anyway) always seem to function on the pack mentality thing -- to wit, the Borg from Star Trek TNG, and the insect-esque "buggers" from Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and its sequels and parallels.

I love the line you quote from 1000 Plateaus, especially the last bit: We can no longer even speak of distinct machines, only of types of interpenetrating multiplicities that at any given moment form a single mechanic assemblage, the faceless figure of libido. The way in which a pack of animals can sort of seamlessly form itself and act as a unit -- it's so interesting. And bizarre, too -- I was reading somewhere about emergent behavior and hive mentality -- the idea that you can't tell how a pack of animals will behave based on its behavior by when solitary.

As an aside, I'm also terrified by the idea that ants may be telepathic, but that's A. Irrelevant, and B. not something I've bothered to see if it's been debunked yet.

Tom> I can see where that would get endlessly frightening. I wonder if anyone's theorized the animal gaze.

Karl? :)

Karl Steel said...

Derrida, a bit, in "The Animal that therefore I am," where he talks about looking at his cat and his cat looking back at him as he comes out of the shower, and being naked v. being nude, and he somehow links it all into the Creation story in Genesis. It's, uh, neat, but I don't do much with it. Can't think of anything else offhand (except for a David Foster Wallace short story, "Little Expressionless Animals," in Girl With Curious Hair, which I ought to reread tonight).

Re: crowds. There's also of course Starship Troopers. Of course 'animalized' humans are also pack humans. Zulu dawn. Zombie movies. Not always: I think Delillo manages to capture something not animal and even human about crowds in Mao II, but I'm not sure, since I just read it over Wifey's shoulder for a while last week.

here's a sheep that did not bother me in Yorkshire. Tom, you recognize it?