Posts tagged science fiction
Posts tagged science fiction
There’s something staggering about Robocop’s fantastic baldness. It goes beyond plain old surface baldness; it’s a sort of a mechanical-skull-deep baldness. It helps to emphasis the extent to which his humanity is subject to the cybernetic implants. Sure, he’s kept his face and manages to look human, but at the same time, he’s been denied the one thing that makes us what we are… divested of the one thing that separates us from animals.
A beautiful haircut.
Moreover, remember that Robocop was made in the eighties, a time in which man had truly mastered hair. We had climbed that mountain, we had feathered the hair of God himself.
We were cast down for our hubris, damned to a decade of nineties hair, but looking at the movies that survived… it was worth it.
Place Robocop in that context, imagine being a product of the eighties and not having hair.
Is it any wonder that we see him in the above gif, smashing a man who has no body, the one person lower on the eighties totem pole than a man without hair? It’s only made more depressing by the fact that, in life, James Murphy had had such wonderful, eighties hair.
With the beginning of a new month, and the return of wintery weather, I’ve decided that it’s time to give the blog a bit of a theme. Today (April first), marks the beginning of the first time I’ll try to chain a few posts together.
The main point of this is to see how well a pet theory holds up. I’d been considering the prominence of androids and cyborgs in science fiction, and a couple of things occurred to me all at once:
Androids: It seems almost universally the case that androids are either made to be as human as possible or deliberately made to look as human as possible so that they can blend in with humans. As a result, they should have really down-to-earth hairstyles that will help them blend in.
See: Data, The Terminator, Ash (Alien), human-form-cylons (not pictured due to spoiler-risk) and Roy Batty (Blade Runner).
[Much as Roy Batty might seem an exception, we must remember him as a product of the eighties]
Cyborgs: Being a mixture of man and machine, cyborgs don’t have to try and look human. For reasons I can’t begin to imagine, they’re often bald.
See: Robocop, Darth Vader, Cyborg (Justice League) and Lobot (Star Wars).
Over the next week or so, I’ll look into some of the more interesting haircuts that mechanical and partially mechanical characters have.
The first of these, pictured above, is Lobot. Lobot is fairly straightforward, being an administrative aide whose mind is linked directly with the network of computers that operate the cloud city. As in the case of Robocop, Lobot had cyborgdom (and the accompanying cyborg-pattern-baldness) thrust upon him, poor lad.
At the same time, I bet he gets killer bass with that biotech-headband.
I always love when science fiction shows take into consideration the idea of a race having some sort of fundamental (sometimes highly visible) morphological disparity between the genders. I suppose Babylon 5’s Centari are a great example once again.
The other day, I marvelled at the strange confluence of a makeup department and designers that resulted in the look of the Centari. I’d like to reiterate the point from that last blog post; the makeup department for Babylon 5 aimed specifically to design alien races that were “more than just a forehead.” You’re doing a bang up job, guys.
Today’s image comes courtesy of John, who recommended that I watch Babylon 5. His comment on the whole business read,
I honestly have no idea […] to make things worse, all centari women are totally bald. It’s certainly alien, I’ll give them that.
In fairness, they’re not completely bald, they’re 95% bald with a very tidy ponytail and a funny headdress.
That’s not so bad.
I’ve also been informed, courtesy of the excellent FuckYeahB5, that the Centari also boast fangs and genital tentacles (an idea that has me all aquiver).
One of my favourite things about this blog is when someone tells me, “Oh wow, you really have to check out X show, keep and eye out for Y race/character.” This is partially because I love science fiction, and watching it with an eye to upcoming dreadful haircuts gives me a reason to watch more of it than usual.
Apparently, Babylon 5’s makeup department went in with the specific goal of improving science fiction TV shows by making aliens that were more than “just a forehead.” A savvy criticism of other sci-fi shows, certainly, but it makes you wonder when the first thing someone says to you when they tell you to watch a show is, “Don’t mind the Centari.”
The men in the image above are Centari. I’ll be honest, if it were my specific goal to make an alien race that was more than ‘just a forehead,’ I probably wouldn’t have included one whose sole defining characteristic was an enormous forehead…
Oh, and, of course, that hair.
There’s something miraculous about the way low-budget sci-fi works when it comes to tertiary characters, it’s like they just mobilise the cheapest way of making people look somehow strange or foreign.
In the example of the stripper above (who’s only in it for the length of a conversation), her hair is coiled up in what appear to be springs. I often wonder about the circumstances leading up to a given character design. In this case, I wonder how people came to the conclusion that this was the best idea possible,
David: Hey, maybe we should make her an alien?
Alan: I dunno Dave, that sounds like a lot of time and effort…
David: No, no. It’ll be super easy, all we need to do is take a bunch of those alien prosthetics, throw them in a big box and do a lucky dip with them.
Alan: I like your thinking David, but then we’d need to go all the way down to the costume department.
David: Well, what do we have here?
Alan: Just this enormous box of springs.
David: Alright, now bear with me, this is going to sound crazy, but…
I can only imagine the field-day those guys had when someone looked at this and said,
Perfect, she looks just like a space-stripper; this is exactly what we need. You might as well go home now boys, congratulations on a job well done.
She doesn’t have a name in the series, but I like to think of her as Coilette.
Very few science fiction hairstyles have managed to become iconic. In face, that category is probably limited to few examples outside the charming orange-haired Leeloo (Dallas Multipass) and princess Leia.
While The Fifth Element gets a bit of a free pass when it comes to strange future fashions (thank you John Paul Gaultier), it’s hard not to question the style choices for Leia’s hair. I suppose, if one were inclined to analysis, Leia’s strange hair could be seen as an inversion of the Darth Vader baldness.
Where Vader’s head is cradled in the cold, unfeeling metal of his gloss-black helmet, Leia’s head is padded on either side by her soft brown tresses. It’s a classic juxtaposition of the natural and the machined, good and evil.
The dark side of the force and the light side.
The hair and the bald.
Some haircuts have become iconic for being so out there (and here I think of the laser-edged halo worn by Sushi-K in Snow Crash) that they work in spite of the fact that they’re fundamentally laughable. In the opposite direction, some science fiction manages to have haircuts that are so appalling you have to question how the hair-and-make-up managed to convince everyone else involved that this was an acceptable look.
The above bald cap is from Alien Nation, which I’ve always just sort of assumed was a reboot. My friend Eoin informs me that it’s just a film/series that’s had multiple reboots. I guess there are some things so terrible they just refuse to die, no matter how many times they’re put down.
Regardless, it’s pretty horrific.
There are no really fun quotes, it’s pretty dreadful throughout. The hair is the only highlight. I just love her ridiculous giraffoid head…
Star Crash is a beautiful (see also: horrific) attempt to rip off Star Wars ahead of the film’s release in Italy. Its original name was Scontri Stellari Oltre la Terza Dimensione (Stellar Clashes Beyond the Third Dimension), but for reasons I’ll never understand the title was deemed unsuitable for use overseas.
I’ll be honest, when I sat down to watch Star Crash, I wasn’t told anything about it other than that the whole point of the movie was to ape Star Wars. In reality, the film is sort of beautifully confusing. It’s only an hour and a half long, but somehow it feels as though it goes on fo days.
It also contains such wonderful lines as:
I’ll scan him, with my computer waves.
Time for a little robot chauvinism.
Computer… Stop the flow of time!
Half way through the story, David Hasselhoff shows up, lightsabre in hand. It’s really wonderful. Another day, I’ll feature the Hasselhair, but for now, the evil Emperor of the Galaxy’s fantastic Dracula-mullet-thing will have to do.
There’s a bad guy called Zarn Arth. It’s amazing.
When I found this, the filename was “Stepford Borg.”
I’m not sure what that means, but I do wonder the haircuts characters had in Star Trek: Voyager were so horrific.
In a future where everything is perfect and there is no currency or want, everyone gravitates towards hairdoes that look so difficult to maintain.
Ah, the classic Romulan bowl job.
It’s the perfect science fiction haircut. In a world where nobody cares about appearance, the efficiency is to be admired.
Note the similarities to the post below. In spite of all the universe has to offer, hair tends to coalesce around a fixed future.