Viewing posts tagged creature from the pit

18

Everyone is down a mine.

(Incidentally, it's funny how often Doctor Who in the 70s and 80s keeps coming back to mines.  I'm sure it's nothing to do with the fact that coal mining was a key industry in British economic life during these decades, miners were among the most powerful unionised workers in the 70s, and the 80s saw the calculated destruction of the miners' unions and their industry by the Tory government.  Oh ho no.)

Anyway.  As I say, everyone - the Doctor, Romana, K9, Adrasta, Organon and a giant green blob called Erato - is down a mine.  And things are coming to a head.  (Head.  Pit-head.  Geddit?  Never mind.  It doesn't really work anyway.)

Yes, so anyway...  Erato is, as I say, a giant green blob.

"Erato came here fifteen years ago to propose a trading agreement," says the Doctor, while everyone else still reels from the revelation that the blob has a name, a mind and the ability to talk. "Tythonus is a planet rich in metallic ores and minerals...."

There's an interlude here where the Doctor and Adrasta have a little ...

Skulltopus 7: Tentacle, Plastic and Bone

The first fully-fledged tentacular monster in Doctor Who - in the senses of being both properly cephalopodic and of being a central monstrous antagonist of the Doctor's - is the Nestene entity at the end of 'Spearhead from Space'.  That's seven years in before the show does a proper tentacular monster with real plot significance.

Apart from 'Image of the Fendahl' (which we'll get to one day) and the Cyber-head in 'The Pandorica Opens', 'Spearhead from Space' is also the closest Doctor Who has ever come to merging or (horrid word coming up, but needs must...) juxtaposing the skull and the tentacle.  If you don't know why I think that's significant, please go back and read my other Skulltopus posts, starting here.

The Nestenes manifest as a tank full of tentacles...

Yes Jon, pull a comedy face and go cross-eyed.
That's the perfect way to express mortal terror.

...inside which we can see a pulsing, vaguely obscene-looking anus/oesophagus/lung thing.  Meanwhile, the same story's main images of the monstrous are unfinished-looking plastic replicas of human beings.  There is something faintly but definitely skull-like about their faces, especially when they're not wearing wigs ...

Skulltopus 5: Fair Exchange, No Robbery

Erato the Tythonian in 'The Creature from the Pit' doesn't much resemble an octopus, but nevertheless he/it is a shapeless, amorphous creature that extends a probe which is (briefly) a bit tentacular... though this tends to be obscured by the fact that it also supposedly resembles a cock:

If this picture reminds you of your genitals,
seek immediate medical advice.

Neither seems to have been the writer's intention.  Indeed, in the novelisation, it is specifically stated that "you couldn't call it a tentacle".  The probe is repeatedly described in terms of hands, fingers and fists.  As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Erato is meant to be a kind of giant, disembodied brain.

However, the probe is a long, flexible, green, non-humanoid limb... so let's not fear to call it a quasi-tentacle, whatever Fisher says.

In any case, the Tythonian is - at least until it starts talking - reminiscent of the Weird... if only via its unstable and amorphous blobbiness.

In this post, I suggested that 'Spearhead from Space' erupts into tentacles at the end partly as a way of obscuring something else that is going on in the story, namely a convergence of various ...

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