Viewing posts tagged spearhead from space

41

Early morning in Britain.

Shop-window dummies twitch, stand up and smash their way out into the high street.  They stalk past the shop logos and brand names and adverts.  Price tags dangle from their fashionable clothes.

Their hands are not like human hands.  They're not organs of manipulation, to be used for work.  They flip open to reveal weapons.

The dummies encounter shoppers, or people waiting for the bus to work.  They gun them down.  People fall and die next to the shop fronts.

The dummies are plastic effigies of people.  Products, manufactured things, fashioned in the human image.  They alienate the human image from humans.  They were made in a factory, on a production line, by workers.  Sold to shops.  They are hostile commodities, made for a capitalist concern; made by people working for a wage, yet out of human control, invested with a life of their own, confronting people as an external, dominating, fierce, blank, gothic, inhuman power. 


The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labour becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him, independently ...

Skulltopus 8: Society of the Tentacle

The quasi-tentacular returns in 'The Claws of Axos'.  Big time.




What's more, this story is an orgy of strange flesh... to the extent of looking like a precursor to John Carpenter's The Thing.










Now, if my idea is right - that, in the 70s,
Doctor Who starts invoking Weird tentacles as a kind of evasion/signification of capitalism when it veers too close to potential systemic critique - then this really, really should show up in 'The Claws of Axos'.

Not to keep you in suspense: it does.


Taking it on the Chinn

Now don't get me wrong.  I'd hate you to get the idea that I was claiming that 'Claws' is 'subversive' or anything.  I'm not.  It isn't.  As political critique goes, objectively, 'Claws' is feeble.  Yes, it is very cynical about the government, but that in itself doesn't amount to subversion.  After all, Clear and Present Danger  (to take an example more or less at random) features a secret plot by the President, the White House Chief of Staff and high-ranking CIA people to launch a covert war in South America - but Clear and Present Danger isn't ...

The Empire of Vanilla

Some things I've noticed about 'Spearhead from Space'

There's a lot of wood in this story.


This suggests a contrast, a conflict even, between older forms of production - the appearance of the hospital, and the Seeleys' cottage, suggest artisanship - and newer industrial technology and mass production, represented by the factory and the evil plastic which creeps out of it.

There are lots of workers in this story.  There's a Nurse.

There's Mullins.
Mullins, one of the many wage labourers in this story...
seen here in the act of labouring for his wage.  

There's a workman in the street, talking to the copper before he investigates the (off-screen) breaking of shop windows (implying the role of the police as protectors of private property and business).  There's the guard at the front gate of UNIT HQ.  There's the guide at Madame Tussauds.

There are the workers in the plastics factory.

I don't know, but I'd guess that these women - together with the male worker
seen earlier in the episode, operating heavy machinery - are actual workers
in the factory where these scenes were filmed.  One ...

Camp Onion

It's coming up to Panic Moon time again. 

The July issue of the estimable print fanzine is now available for pre-order, here.


This time, Yours Truly has provided a piece on 'Frontios', in which I explain why I like it despite reading it as a reactionary parable, and a short sketch of a Marxist interpretation of 'Spearhead from Space', in which I attempt to tenuously connect the concepts of alienation and commodity fetishism to a story about killer shop-window dummies lead by an alien octopus.

This is what is known as 'a waste of a mediocre education'. 

But we have some laughs, don't we?

No?

Oh well.

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