Monday, March 7, 2011

Transformation Fascination

I've always been fascinated with transformations of the bodily kind. Not slow progressions of change but the rapid, violently awful kind. Ever since I was a kid I've found it mesmerizing. I think it has to do with the things I used to watch growing up in the '90s.
One of my first fixations was the show Street Sharks. The concept of being physically transformed into a powerful shark creature that tore through the streets was so cool to me. But my favorite image from the show is the one above with the needles pointing towards the guys. Experimentation, transformation, chemicals, I ate it all up.

Of course, my appetite for transformation was also fed in large part by Dexter's Laboratory. The show had many episodes featuring physical mutations that I loved, "Monstory" being the big one I enjoyed the most.

Of course, I should also mention what was probably that episode's original inspiration, Tex's "King Size Canary", which was also one of my favorites growing up.

Whether it was Dexter's mind snapping and him doing whatever others told him to do or him turning into a teenager (and a whole bunch of others like the superhero episode or, the one that really creeped me out as a kid, the one where the clown's teeth bit him and he turned into a clown), Dexter's Lab was always one of my favorites for it's abundance of mutation.

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was another favorite. Of course, the character I liked most was Ickis. When he would transform from his small, squeaky-voiced self into the giant, fanged, blood-red-eyed monster to scare the children, I was enthralled.

Later on I would watch Batman Beyond. My favorite episodes were the one in which splicers were involved. Splicers were people who modified themselves to be part animal. To have a favorite animal and then to become it seemed like a good idea to me.

There were also these steroid patches these football players would use that made their veins bulge up and gave them super-strength. That's not really a major transformation but the bad guy at the end of that episode fell into a crate of those patches and he was crippled with chemical energy in his body with his veins running up his neck looking like they'll explode. That was cool.

Animorphs. Never read them but I flipped through the pages watching the little animation in the corner of the kids transforming into their respective animals hundreds of times. Of course, the in-between stages were always more interesting.

Picture not related, but there was an episode of Rocko's Modern Life where Mr. Bighead was trying out a bunch of different products on Rocko. There was this one product that was bubblegum which made different things grow out of your head: trees, a saw, and a beehive.

Jumanji monkey!

Alex Mac. I always wanted to turn into liquid metal and slide under doors.

This might not be physical in a sense, but the ability to talk to animals looked awesome.

A kid gets sucked into a computer (computers were very new to me at that age and their capabilities were a mystery) and turns into Freakazoid! It could happen!

This one scared me and, after talking with some other people my age, it scared a lot of them as well. The idea of putting a mask on and not being able to take it off freaked the hell out of me. In fact, masks kind of have their own category when it comes to this mutation.

It won't come off.

Halloween III was like Videodrome-lite where instead of hallucinations you get eaten alive by cockroaches.

And then, of course, there's the main mask movie itself, The Mask. It won't come off and it takes over your mind!

More recently I've had the chance to watch both An American Werewolf in London and The Fly for the first time on Blu-Ray and they're both amazing. I think I like The Fly more though. Brundlefly's transformation is a bit more gradual but it's also more grotesque.

I'm sure there are more I'm missing (Scanners, The Thing, Gargoyles possibly?) but this is enough to get my point across. Mutations: I enjoyed it then and I enjoy them now.

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