"Her memory swirled back. She found herself lying naked on a brilliantly glowing rectangular table. her limbs were slightly spread to the side and she was motionless. Paralysed. Her next memory is of her knees bent upwards and her legs are slowly being parted. A face becomes visible in front of her. Its shape is unambiguously alien; a humanoid possessing huge eyes, a vestigial nose, and no ears or hair. It is staring into her eyes and she is powerless to look away or flee. Terror is rising in her. The alien says nothing. A clear tube is placed at the entrance to her womb. There is fluid in the tube with little round things, presumably embryos or soft eggs floating down it. She wakes screaming and the doctor is there to try to calm her. He remarks on her deep trauma and inspects a bruise on her arm. In the aftermath of these remarks, she repeatedly relives the experience and the horrific image of the alien even though she has been sedated. When she looks in the mirror later she discovers a second mark on her forehead beneath her hair. Combined with dramatic changes in her behaviour, it is obvious evidence of a mind control operation."
In truth, this account is a description of a segment of the 1980 British film Inseminoid (released in the U.S. under the title Horror Planet). It is little known and can't be found in some film catalogues.
Phil Hardy, science fiction film historian, considers the film a failure because of vapid, one-dimensional characters and an absence of narrative clarity. However film historian Kim Newman singles it out as one of the best of a group of Alien rip-offs. Its hectic lunacy reminded him of kids rushing around with plastic bags over their heads playing spaceman. The influence of Alien more involves the look of the film than the plot. Subsequent to the impregnation scene, the film is an almost formulaic killfest, a rip-off of dozens of slasher films.
Inseminoid presents a conundrum for those who believe in the reality of alien abduction accounts. It shouldn't exist. Read David Jacob's Secret Life (1992). According to this book science fiction movies have never portrayed aliens that were uncommunicative or that refused to discuss their origins, missions, or methods. "Nor have any shown aliens collecting eggs and sperm from their human victims with the intent of producing hybrid offspring." Inseminoid comes close enough since Secret Life also describes embryo implantation accounts. His more general claim that "none has been released with themes or events similar to abduction accounts" is refuted in a dozen ways by Inseminoid.
Let's limit ourselves to motifs that Inseminoid shares with just the abduction cases in Jacob's own book: nakedness, paralysis, examination table (high tech - nonwooden; plasticlike or metallic), staring/eye contact, parting the legs, insemination, little round things, huge eyes, human-like face, human-like body with two arms and two legs and an upright stance, a business-like or clinical manner (unaggressive and unrushed), no communication, doorway amnesia, reliving the terror and imagery.
Jacobs' unawareness of Inseminoid allows him to deny that there are any possible science fiction cultural sources for abductees to draw upon for the experiences they report. While this is now clearly proven false, there is a rather obvious rejoinder he can legitimately offer. So what? Few people ever saw this film. It isn't credible that all his abductees are drawing on forgotten memories of this film. More, the context of the scene is unfavourable for recurrent borrowing since it does not involve a saucer visitation but happens in the tomb-like complex of an extinct race on a frigid, distant world in a binary star system.
All true, but direct lineal descent isn't the only possibility. Inseminoid after all did not spring from a vacuum, but was a product of the human imagination and culture. The similarities could reflect a type of convergent evolution involving common ancestry, common processes, and adaptions to similar environments or selection pressures. How might this work with the cluster of similarities shared by Inseminoid and Secret Life?
Paralysis is a constant of nightmares and they are a resource for horror writers. Abductees often have nightmares. Faces, often grotesque and felt as alien, are also a recurrent feature of nightmares (see Peter McKellar's Abnormal Psychology, 1989, p.92). Large eyes are a recurrent feature of horror imagery with deep psychological roots (see my article 'Eye -yi-yi' in Magonia November 1991).
Communion's best-seller status cultivated a cultural environment seeded with material borrowed from the genre of horror he worked in and from which Inseminoid was a part. This favoured the recurrence of the staring eyes and scary forms of sex. Emotionless aliens have a long history and we need only mention the status of Invasion of the Body Snatchers as but the most widely known source of influence.
Procreation is a common concern found in fictional aliens. A screenwriter back in 1925 did a rewrite of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds involving abduction for the creation of an earthling-Martian hybrid, but it was never filmed. The film tradition relevant here includes Devil Girl from Mars (1955), The Mysterians (1957), I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958), The Outer Limits' 'The Children of Spider County' (1964), Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965), Mars Need Women (1966), Night Caller from Outer Space (1966), Star Trek's 'The Menagerie' (1967), God Told Me To (1976), The Stranger Within (1979). The most critically praised work was Village of the Damned (1960) and it involved the impregnation of a whole village of women who subsequently give birth to hybrid offspring. The actual act of insemination is not visualised and one would not expect it to be, given the more modest sensibilities of that time. The graphic nature of Inseminoid, Intruders and Secret Life share in the coarser aesthetics of more recent times.
The hairless humanoid is virtually stereotypical and outnumbers creative and exotic variants by a wide margin. The high tech. table conforms to our expectations of the futuristic quality of alien possessions. The suggestion of mind control is similarly futuristic and preceded by a long tradition in films, TV, comics, and SF literature.
The embryos being visualised as 'little round things' is not mandatory since we could imagine implantation of a larger, more fetal appearing hybrid, but it doesn't buck the odds for both creations to choose the simpler or smaller form.
I think one can see from this exercise that alien abduction experiences are not beyond human imagination. In fact it seems quite probable that Jacobs' collection of stories are fundamentally as fictional as Inseminoid for there is one more similarity they share. They both require dramatic license to work.
Any alien sophisticated enough to be able to make an earthling carry alien biological tissue without miscarriage is probably going to be able to make the embryo grow in their own bodies or incubation devices. They would probably not be dumb enough to choose humans with their myriad faults as ideal surrogates. Might there also not be better lifeforms to merge with? Dogs have a rather winning, emotional, loving demeanour. Finally, would aliens return an impregnated woman to the hazards of human society rather than keep her under controlled conditions? Inseminoid would never take place in real life. Neither would Secret Life.
Look at some abductees and you might conclude aliens have no standards in their selection of breeding stock. However there is at least one case of an abductee being 'thrown back'. Alfred Burtoo, 77, was fishing on the Basington Canal Bank in the county of Hampshire, England on August 12, 1983 when he witnessed a saucer landing and two figures waving for him to come inside. They ordered him to stand under a light and turn around. After a few minutes deliberation, they tell him, "You can go, you are too old and too infirm for our purpose."
Cinematic aliens offer a rather severe
precursor of this motif. Nyah, Devil Girl from Mars (1955), annihilates
a handicapped man as her first act on Earth. Asked later if she knew if
the guy was alive, she tersely informs the questioner, "No, he was superfluous,
a hopeless specimen." Her opinion of an aging scientist among the contact
group wasn't any more tactful: "You are a very poor physical specimen."
She reveals her world had experienced a decline in the birth rate since
women won the War of the Sexes and so she planned to land in London, paralyse
the population, and choose our strongest men to take back with her. London
would not be my first choice for shopping for breeding stock, but it still
beats the places 'real' aliens have been visiting. For example, if you
were going to land in Florida, would you select Gulf Breeze or Fort Lauderdale
during Spring Break when thousands of perfect specimens conveniently gather
for one-stop shopping?
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