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May 1998, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Lang Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 10 May 1998 01:25:23 -0400
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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One interesting angle to this is how some science fiction films or shows
envision a world where disabilities are easily overcome, though for that to
have any impact on the viewer they still have to represent the disability
in some form.  So Geordi on Star Trek: The Next Generation is blind but
equipped with wrap-around goggles that allow him to see (in the films, he's
given artificial eyes which are colored so that they're obviously not real
eyes).  Luke Skywalker loses a hand but gets a new one in the next scene
and the subject is never mentioned again.  (When the "hero" of Evil Dead 2
loses his, he replaces it with a chainsaw.)  Robocop and the Six Million
Dollar Man are rebuilt.  Babylon 5 has one example when G'Kar's mutilated
eye is replaced with an artificial one; a different color of course but
then it was designed for humans.  (Though by contrast, Robert Silverberg's
disturbing novel Dying Inside is about a telepath slowly losing his powers
and trying to cope with that.)
On the other hand, horror films tend to play up disabilties for shock
value.  Freaks is the obvious extreme (unless you want to count Dead
Alive/Brain Dead) but there are numerous others.  Frankenstein (hunchback
and blind hermit), Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hand, Monkey Shines, Basket
Case and numerous others play off fears of disabilities.  One notable
exception is Silver Bullet (based on Stephen King's Cycle of the Werewolf)
which has a hero who's in a wheelchair.
Lang Thompson
New at Funhouse:  Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan obituary.
"Zathras beast of burden to many others.  Is sad
life.  Probably have sad death.  But at least
there is symmetry."  --  Zathras
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