ah, the sweet, sweet lure of forbidden knowledge. we get back to the halloween action with a little look at my second favorite figure in horror cinema, the mad scientist.
i love these characters in all their variations. some are crusaders, working for the benefit of mankind, their eyes fixed on a prize that the rest of us simply cannot fathom. tragically misunderstood, they are often the victims of witch hunts and find their hands forced because to turn their back on their noble goal in the face of threats from philistines is unthinkable. if only they were just given more time...
at the other end of the spectrum we find the megalomaniac whose genius is eclipsed only by a blessed amorality that doesn't blink at the notion of aspiring to godhead. bodies? souls? mere tinkertoys! they have no time for your silly superstitions. take your ethical quandaries and go back to the dark ages, you buffoons!
i admire their eternal quest and unquenchable curiosity. i pull for them, noble and ignoble alike. the mad scientist serves a vital function for all of us. they are the envelope pushers, the boundary smashers. they give us a glimpse of the future and allow us to view it from a place of relative safety. we can sit back and deem them "mad" until it turns out that their crazy ideas - keeping organs alive for transplants, cloning, doomsday weapons - become business as usual for the generation that follows. they put their reputations and sanity on the line for all of us. plus, they have much cooler laboratories than any of those squares that do things by the book. do you think you'll find one of those gadgets with huge switches and sparks flying everywhere in the basement at johns hopkins? i should say not. here are a few of my favorite cinema scientists and their work. mad? who are we to judge?
a toast! to science!