We're returning to Forbidden Planet. It's a classic movie and after having had the opportunity to watch it on a big screen at one of our all-time favorite local theaters some disturbing notions crept into my febrile brain.
Everything is not quite as it seems in this wonderful old movie. There's a dark and sinister side to it, One of Mythic proportions that casts a disquieting shadow over this classic gem of the 1950s cinema.
Come along with me now as we delve a bit deeper into the lurking horrors that await us deep below the surface of Altair 4. Bring a blaster. Mine's out for repairs.
Chris Nigro from the Warrenverse site likewise sees some parallels between Forbidden Planet and This Island Earth and even takes things a good bit farther, right into the Wold Newton Universe:
But we're getting off-track here. It's fun, but we'll have to come back to it another time. Maybe Chris will consent to be a guest blogger sometime and explore this tangent a bit farther.
Back to Forbidden Planet.
From Drew's Transcript again:
This all but divine race perished in a single night. Really? A star-faring civilization that had reached multiple planets was expunged in one fell swoop? That's either a massive over-generalization, a bit of hyperbole, or something really, really rotten is going on deep below the crust of Altair 4.
The highly advanced, highly ethical, all but divine Krell built an impressive super-technological civilization, at least according to Morbius. He wouldn't lie. Would he? Didn't the brain-expansion machines down below in the alien labs located conveniently right beneath Morbius' cozy little chalet also enhance his ethical nature as well? Hmmm...
He should have been able to have used his super-enhanced brain to out-think and out-wit the lonely spacemen on the C-57D. But he didn't. He also revealed too much of what was down below the surface of the planet, much like a classic Bond villain. He put a lot of people in potential jeopardy and a genius like he was supposed to be, with highly advanced ethics like the Krell supposedly had would not have done things that way. Not unless deep down he wanted to do it. Or was being manipulated into doing it.
Keep that thought in mind as we move along a bit.
Whatever happened, it wiped away all traces of the Krell. Or at least most such traces.
Okay. Sounds like a seriously cool post-apocalyptic dungeoncrawl on an alien planet in the making.
What did the Krell look like?
No record of their physical nature has survived...except, perhaps, in the form of this characteristic arch. I suggest you consider it in comparison to one of our...functionally designed human doorwaysThat arch is shaped like a truncated diamond. It would accomodate Daleks, but there is one other vaguely conical rugose race that also were supposedly super-advanced in their technology that spring to mind, But we'll wait on that for a moment.
Did someone say dungeoncrawl?
The alien ruins beneath the surface of Altair 4 are the most impressive, and one of the biggest Megadungeons of them all.
You can watch the Altair 4 Megadungeon sequence here at YouTube.
Over 8,000 square miles …that's 40 miles cubed, 8,000 cubic miles of complex, 7,800 levels, 401 great shafts = 400 surrounding a central shaft—that's if Morbius was accessing the Central Shaft. We'll just assume he was. He was a smart guy after all.
It's like someone was hell-bent to update Piranesi for the Atomic Age. They did a fantastic job.
That's one incredible Megadungeon. You couldn't map it with forty pounds of graph paper and a year locked in a padded cell. Not. That. Anyone. Has. Tried. That. Of course.
On this screen may be projected...the total scientific knowledge of the Krell...from its primitive beginning to the day of its annihilation...a sheer bulk surpassing many million earthly libraries.Yeah. A massive, hidden repository of lost knowledge buried deep under the crust of a planet and maintained by super-high tech perpetually self-sufficient. Hmmm...where might we have read of anything like that before, like in 1934 perhaps?
Morbius knows a lot more than he's letting on. He has gained a great deal of Forbidden Knowledge.
Twenty years ago, I began here with...this page of geometrical theorems. Eventually I was able to deduce most of their huge, logical alphabet. I began to learn. The first practical result was my robot...which you gentlemen appear to find so remarkable. Child's play. I've come here every day now for two decades...painfully picking up a few of the least difficult fragments of their knowledge.A logical alphabet. Geometry. Knowledge that is dangerous to those not properly prepared by the mind expanding mechanisms so as to withstand the shock of its revelation. Knowledge that is difficult to cope with even after letting the alien machines mess around inside your skull. Knowledge that is painfully obscure, esoteric, and incredibly ancient--left behind by a race that was expunged from physical existence in one evening, a near divine race of super geniuses who had been to Earth a long time ago.
In 1934, H. P. Lovecraft wrote a story titled The Shadow Out of Time. In this story he introduced an alien race, a Great Race...
"The Great Race ... waxed well-nigh omniscient, and turned to the task of setting up exchanges with the minds of other planets, and of exploring their pasts and futures. It sought likewise to fathom the past years and origin of that black, aeon-dead orb in far space whence its own mental heritage had come – for the mind of the Great Race was older than its bodily form. . . The beings of a dying elder world, wise with the ultimate secrets, had looked ahead for a new world and species wherein they might have long life; and had sent their minds en masse into that future race best adapted to house them – the cone-shaped beings that peopled our earth a billion years ago."IA! IA! Krell Fhtagn!
—H. P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Out of Time
The Krell are probably not the Great Race. Altair 4 is very likely one more world that the Great Race built one of their repositories of knowledge upon. The Krell, some offshoot of the Metalunans possibly, stumbled upon the Megadungeon-like Machine beneath Altair 4 and in their haste to sample forbidden knowledge they unleashed the Monster of the Id and it destroyed them.
It's a theory.
Another theory is that the Altair 4 installation is a back-up location for the Time Tunnel project.
The Time Tunnel at Hulu.
Whomever built the Altair 4 Megadungeon could very likely have built a simple Time Tunnel and vice-versa.
Who wouldn't want to go exploring a massive 8,000 square mile Megadungeon built by alien time travelers?