Posts tagged sci fi haircuts
Posts tagged sci fi haircuts
The Terminator (that is to say, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s depection of the T-800 model from the 1984 movie, The Terminator) sports another truly excellent case of humanising haircut. It’s a haircut that says,
“Hey, I may very well be a walking wall of muscle and metal endoskeleton that clocks in at more than a metric tonne, but underneath all that we’re all the same. Check out my hair; it’s just such a mess today, there’s nothing I can do with it. God, isn’t life terrible?”
It’s the kind of haircut that makes you sit back and think,
“You know what? Maybe he is a cold, unfeeling killing machine without even the barest understanding of what it is to be human, but on some level, I can relate to that. Who hasn’t had a bad hair day?”
At the same time, he eventually loses his skin and is revealed to have the cold, unadorned skull of that most nightmarish of humanity’s enemies, the
bald man machine. Of course, this happens to coincide with his eventual destruction. He’s succeeded by a far scarier entity in the form of a man with perfect hair.
In many ways, the T-800’s hair is the most intelligent piece of design that Skynet ever managed to deploy. There’s no more sympathetic than a figure with that sort of style in an age before the advent of Surf Hair products.
By contrast, the T-1000 (as portrayed in its primary incarnation by Robert Patrick) features a haircut that communicates an abject lack of humanity. This might seem to run entirely opposite to Star Trek’s Data (who features a near identical haircut, in the form of MALE SLICKED BACK 02), but it seems pertinent to point out that in Data’s case the haircut is the most human feature of an otherwise entirely mechanical character. In the case of the T-1000, it’s the most mechanical portion of an otherwise very human appearance.
What a difference that contextual shift makes; the same haircut can be so cold and sinister on one scalp, but so human on another. Truly a semiotic conundrum… though the case could well be made that the T-1000’s hair is a rendering issue; it seems as though it would be far easier for liquid metal to form itself into slicked back styles than eighties hair.
Ash from 1979’s Alien seems to be pretty much the pinacle of “android hair” as I’ve come to think of it (that is to say, artificial hair added to a machine whose primary purpose is the imitation of a human being).
In this case, the hair itself is a sort of a soft grey, kept tight cropped around a head, and indeed a face, so very plain that he couldn’t possibly stick out. Blending in is the name of the game when you’re an android, and it makes an awful lot of sense that the easiest way to seem like a completely ordinary human being is to be completely ordinary.
At the same time, that only really works out until someone splits you open and you start spewing milk everywhere. The one thing I never quite got about Ash, and, by extension, the rest of the androids in the Alien series, was that weird, white milky stuff they have instead of blood.
I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all, if not for the fact that it does such damage to what is, otherwise, a near-perfect android haircut.
Ash also leads me to one of the most fascinating thing I’ve read all day, which was,
James H. Kavanagh places Ash in a Greimasian semantic rectangle to show how the drama of the film is structured around the notion of “human”. Ripley is the human … The alien organism is, naturally, the anti-human … Ash is the not-human … And the anti-not-human is the ship’s cat.