Falling to earth

Mad science circle
Fueling up?

Nicolas Roeg‘s The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) contains little or nothing in the way of mad science (it does contain copious nudity and sex), but re-watching it recently on a Criterion Collection DVD I did note a certain kind of theme that seems to have influenced me over and over — something that might be called Overcoming the Fear.

A very brief plot summary might help.  An alien world is dying, devastated by planet-wide drought.  One of the planet’s inhabitants, played by David Bowie sees terrestrial television broadcasts depicting a planet brimming with water and resolves to try to get some for his homeworld.  He comes to earth, where he takes the name Thomas Jerome Newton.  Acquiring a series of patents on his world’s superior technology, he becomes a vastly wealthy industrialist as part of his plan to build a spaceship back to his home planet.

Scouting a research location in New Mexico, he meets a lonely hotel worker (played by Candy Clark) named Mary-Lou.   Mary-Lou falls in love with the enigmatic stranger.

Eventually Thomas and Mary-Lou fall into a marriage-like relationship, which entails cohabitation.  And marriage-like fights as well.  When Mary-Lou bitterly denounces her lover as “an alien,” he decides to remove the prostheses which make him look human and reveal his native appearance.

This leads to one serious freak-out on the part of Mary Lou.

Eventually she masters her fear.

And makes her way back to the bedroom where the naked Thomas is lying.

A strange scene occurs, intercut with somewhat hallucinatory footage suggesting erotic between human woman and alien.


It doesn’t quite all work out (it is very hard to follow what in the movie is happening on a literal level), but there still something very compelling about what happens here.  Think Nanetta observing the Apsinthion Protocol for the first time, or any number of implied backstories of other characters in the Gnosis College  canon (for example, I’ve never written the Iris backstory in any detail, but I’ll bet her reaction to a proposal of being reduced to dinner and resurrected was not to squee),  and you’ll see what I mean.

Oh, and as a bonus, there’s a hint of liquid girl going on in that last screencap, isn’t there?