This series of retro ’50s monster movie poster adverts for the SciFi Channel has little to do with animal advocacy – but why let a lil’ thing like that stop me from putting an animal-friendly spin on ‘em?
Each “poster” depicts an iconic movie monster recoiling in horror as a human invades his space:
From top to bottom, we have The Thing (or The Creature from the Black Lagoon or similar), hastily exiting the water and looking back in fear as the head of a human woman begins to emerge from the tide; a dead zombie, previously safely ensconced in the confines of his coffin, trying to escape a menacing human hand, coming at him from above; and a family of gray aliens, frantically running to and fro, as they witness an “alien” aircraft (read: human airplane) circle the skies above. Printed in a retro horror movie font on each poster are the words, “HUMANS ARE AMONG US.”
Though clearly tongue-in-cheek, these posters depict humans as the real monsters, contrary to the plot of nearly every scifi and/or horror movie ever made. The Thing, undead zombies, and anal-probing gray aliens: none hold a candle to humanity when it comes to violence, domination, bloodthirst and evil. Commonly, horror films portray monsters and aliens as creatures to be feared, but in reality, it’s the other way around: they should fear us. Monsters walk among us, and we are them.
I’m particularly tickled by this theme because, more often than not, I find myself rooting for the monsters and aliens in these movies. Humanity tortures, enslaves, slaughters and exploits sentient creatures – mostly non-human, some human – by the billions. Why, then, shouldn’t I root for the reptilian monster men, who have possibly come seeking righteous vengeance for their victimized cousins, made into crocodile-skin purses or brutalized in shitty roadside alligator wrestling operations?
This is especially true of my reading of alien-invasion stories. Here, aliens from faraway planets invade earth, with the intention of exploiting her natural resources – including us! – for their own convenience or survival. As the plot unfolds, almost without fail, humanity rallies together in order to valiantly defend against these malicious, technologically and/or evolutionarily advanced would-be conquerors. The deck is always stacked against us, yet we rarely fail to triumph. It goes without saying, of course, that the audience is to rally behind humanity.
But I rarely do. After all, aren’t the aliens just doing to us, what we have done to non-human animals for centuries? And aren’t (our collective) logic, reason, ethics, science and philosophy on the aliens’ side? As I said, these aliens are usually depicted as more “advanced” than us: they have superior technology; can travel through space (and perhaps time as well); sometimes exhibit “psychic” powers, or abilities that are well beyond our understanding; and are generally portrayed as intellectually more evolved than us (as evidence by their massive heads). Humans point to similar advantages we wield over non-human animals to justify our exploitation and enslavement of them. If superior might/intelligence/emotions/technology/consciousness/self-awareness makes right, isn’t it the aliens’ right to subjugate us?
Of course not! – as any animal liberationist will tell you. But seeing as the human heroes of these alien invasion films (presumably) see nothing wrong in exploiting “lesser” animals, methinks I’ll stick with the monsters and aliens. I’m probably safer among them, anyhow.
Tagged: animals animal rights animal welfare marketing poster retro scifi scifi channel science fiction horror the thing aliens zombies humans monsters pop culture ethics speciesism exploitation violence alien invasion tv movies film