The strange transformation that Aloysius manages to work upon himself with his wire machine might have any number of precedents.
The fact that he’s pierced by a lot of wires from his machine is evocative, perhaps, of the martyrdom of St. Sebastian, a subject that found great favor with religious artists and is certainly not without homoerotic interest.
And in another way Aloysius’s self-induced experience might also be thought a version of the BDSM-related practice of needle play.
Closer to home, perhaps, what Aloysius does to himself is live out a pretty common geek fantasy — go from science nerd to Greek god through a miraculous technological (or just miraculous) intervention.
Searching my own memory for antecedents to this scene the one that leaps to mind most readily is the “Den” sequence from Heavy Metal (1981), in which a nerdy teenager is transformed through the Loc-Nar (a glowing green sphere that represents super-evil, or something) with lightening, (in the best Frankenstein tradition), and then transported to a swords-and-sorcery fantasy world far away.
(Heavy Metal definitely deserves to be on any thaumatophile‘s preferred viewing list, since not only does it have this transformation sequence going on, but it also has — at least impliedly — woman on funny little robot sex.)
But perhaps most centrally of all to this scene is that Aloysius has decided to jump in with both feet and adopt, with his “death or glory, here I come” remark the operative philosophy that drove both Moira in Apsinthion Protocol and Iris in Study Abroad.
Must be something in the Pleasant Prairie water supply, I guess.