Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Mind Snatchers

Welcome back, Sporefans. I have some exciting news. Recently I had the pleasure of acquiring 4 movies from a local Shop-Rite, each for $2.50. So far I have had the pleasure of watching 2 of the 4 movies, and to my total amazement the movies I have seen so far are, for lack of a better term...


Last time I reviewed "Graduation Day", a somewhat less nostalgic look at the 1980's. In this next review, we'll be covering the 1972 movie "The Happiness Cage" which is probably known more widely by its alternative title, "The Mind Snatchers". At least, that's what my dvd box says.

Hullo. My name is Christpher Walken, and someone has taken my mind. They're gonna pay.

Right off the bat you've got a very young Christopher Walken playing Private James H. Reese, an aggressive soldier who is arrested on an assault charge and has his arm broken by the M.P.'s. He is secretly evaluated by an army doctor who concludes that Reese is Schizophrenic and is a potential candidate for a new and experimental program. Reese is forced to choose between signing a bunch of legal documents without reading them or not receiving treatment for his broken arm.

After Reese unwittingly signs his life away, he is spirited off to a secluded army hospital located in Germany. There he finds Dr. Frederick, played by Joss Ackland, a shady doctor who keeps a lot of monkeys in cages. He also meets his fellow patients, the folksy Sgt. Boford Miles played by Ronny Cox, and a man who can't stop screaming because of the horrible pain he's in. For those of you who don't immediately recognise the name, Ronny Cox portrayed Capt. Edward Jellico in Star Trek the Next Generation, and was also the villainous Vilos Copenhagen in the 1990 movie "Total Recall", as well as Dick Jones the head of Omni-Consumer Products in "Robocop".

Miles informs Reese that everyone at this army hospital is listed as "dying"... all 3 of them. So it shouldn't come as no shock when the guy in the corner who was screaming throughout the beginngin of the movie dies on the operating table. I can think of a few other things that should die on the operating table as well, but I digress. Miles also reveals that he has lung cancer (ITS NOT A TU-MAH!) and is immenently dying. Unfortunately Miles didn't check off the "put my brain into an awesome cyborg body" box on his organ donor's card.

Oh god. They've snatched his mind! And they put it in a robot!

One would think that the doctor was preparing to sntach his patients in the dead of night to cut open their skulls and tinker around in their heads, but the good doctor does something much more insidious than that. He asks Miles nicely, and uses solid logic to persuade him to let the doctor open up his skull and tinker around in his head. I guess vomiting up large amounts of blood makes a man do strange things, as Miles consents to letting the doctor implant electrodes into the pleasure centers of his brain.

Then he gives Miles the button.


Reese is not so easy to convince, especially after seeing the shambling mess that Miles turns into after 18 hours of pressing the "happy button" over and over again all day. Reese trys to escape, but is caught by the army, and is eventually forced to undergo the surgery. Let this be a lesson to you kids, always read what you sign, even if they break your arm to make you sign it.

Otherwise you might wind up with electrodes in your head.

The movie is incredibly well written and the idea that a person's personality can be altered by physically altering the brain is delved into not only scientifically but morally as well. Even if the totallity of a human being's personality is a collection of electrical impulses running through the brain, what right do we have to meddle with the mind? Is it permissable when a person doesn't conform to societal norms? Who dictates what is normal and what isn't?

I mean, just because Christopher Walken plays a violent and disturbed individual in this movie, doesn't mean he's going to continue to play violent disturbed individuals, does it? I mean, its not like he's going to go on to play some type of "King" of New York, or some angry evil headless Hessian soldier, or the angel of death himself? Right?

Oh, I guess those are bad examples. But my point being that If someone tinkered about in Chrisptopher Walken's head and made him into a smiley happy person, that we would be deprived of a great actor and some really great movies.

I need your help! I need you to hide this watch in the only place you can. Find my son!

Remember kids, the moral of today's story is "don't shove electrodes into peoples heads and run micro-electrical impulses into their brain to make them into better people". Its just plain wrong.

Now, drugs on the other hand...

1 comment:

Edward said...

I would sign away my body to treat a broken arm, in the hopes they inject me with the super solider serum and i become capatain america. We all know well it turned out great for him!