by Joe Coluccio, Parsec President
My old man, a fierce, brave, two-fisted sort of a guy, turned to a quavering shake of fear on the viewing of “The Hands of Orlac” or “The Beast with Five Fingers.” “Something scares the hell out of me,” he told me one candid day, “about a disembodied hand crawling around on the floor.” Lord, knows what he thought about the five fingertip spider ramble of the Adams Family’s “Thing.”
A quick trip to a search engine will show you there are a number of chiller theater movies with ambulatory body parts in the title. A couple mention a nose, but it is hard to raise your hackles with a horror that can only blow at you. What surprised me was the limited number of titles referring to the eyes. There is “The Crawling Eye – The nightmare terror of the slithering eye that unleashed agonizing horror on a screaming world! It’s looking for you.” Not sure how I feel about “out of the oozing mist comes the hungry eye, slave to the demon brain.” I may be disgusted by such a ludicrous ogre, but not particularly frightened.
However, it is the eyes that disturb me.
The eyes are the window to the soul.
Eyes in film close-up show the intent of an inner mind. Eyes flicker and burn. Eyes probe and penetrate. Eyes draw your soul into a heated cauldron of knowing. One of the first manifestations of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula is not through a shot of large sharp fangs but a vision of his luminous eyes, which seem to contain eldritch and ancient knowledge. Gort’s visor opens slowly and a ray, crimson even in the gray tones of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” can dis-integrate, at the very least, your corporeal being. And you can always tell wonky from the sudden opening of the eyelids. My dreams reveal the same drama. I’ve stared down a few demons. Many times at my peril. ’Til I wake up sweating.
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust.
A panorama witnessed through your vision.
“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” – Henri Bergson.
The depth of meaning interpreted in your inner resources.
So, Dad, on the one hand, you’ve got a creepy crawling mitt set on strangling your life, and you, Son, have lined up in a your mounted optical sights, a haunting vision of forbidden knowledge denied you by your limited understanding. Pops, I believe the eyes have it.