So once again I find myself unemployed and isolated. This horribly cold winter and my job search has kept me indoors, inactive and a little insane, truth be told. Case in point: a knock on my apartment door last week prompted me to tip-toe barefoot, Mission Impossible style, to the peep-hole of my front door. Who was this intruder, this interloper who dared to knock at my door, bypassing our lame security buzz code system?!! I saw a small being, hobbit-like, hover by my door, and I heard what sounded like a photo being taken. That was beyond weird. Was it a serial killer taking a trophy photo of their victim’s front door? Was it the Tall Man’s minion, come to take me to another dimension? I wasn’t about to find out and crept slowly away from the door. When my sister came home, she announced that there was a jumbo box of cat litter left at our door. My interloper was the delivery hobbit from Walmart, and the photo was probably them scanning their delivery.
Lack of human contact and a schedule, believing your cats can read your mind, plus the ridiculous amounts of snow and cold weather alerts have contributed to this pixie’s descent into Cuckoo Land. After that delivery incident, I started to think about all the isolation horror films where characters-mostly employed-start to lose it out in space or the elements; battling aliens, themselves and unseen threats. I thought I would do a Cabin Fever post about my brothers and sisters in arms sacrificing themselves, mostly at work, as they fight various terrors or their own mental states (I will however, make a note of putting these jobs in my “circular file” as I look for gainful employment, for obvious reasons).
My top film for this sort of mayhem is of course, John Carpenter’s The Thing. A research team minding their own business out in the Antarctic, is infiltrated by a voracious alien life form that hitches a ride in a cute dog on the run. Imagine being out there in the cold, maybe more than a touch bored, only to have your solitude disrupted by an alien threat. That kind of excitement I can do without!
Alien is the next film on this list. A crew on their way back to Earth after their space mission makes a stop due to a potential distress signal where they find a heap of alien trouble awaiting them. So basically, this lot was on their way home from work only to have another assignment thrown at them and end up being violated by an alien. Talk about your contractual obligations. Sheesh!
Black Mountain Side, inspired by The Thing, is about another set of researchers on the brink of discovering a ground breaking archeological find on an isolated snowy mountain range. When they start to have psychological problems, things become deadly. Once again, researchers doing boring researchy things in the middle of nowhere are at the mercy of an unknown threat.
Mr. Jones is my next pick. A filmmaker and his girlfriend move to the woods so he can work on a nature documentary and they end up becoming obsessed with a reclusive artist who creates disturbing sculptures. This film got mixed reviews, but I liked it. A case of recluse vs. recluse, it’s basically a story of one artist seeking the solace of nature interrupting another artist’s solitude and paying the supernatural consequences. Note to self: artists who live in the backwoods do so for a reason.
The Corridor deals with a boy’s weekend deep in a winter wonderland. Some high school friends try to reconnect years after one of them has had a mental breakdown. They enjoy a laddish night of drinking and re-establish their footing with one another until an anomaly in the forest sends them into a spiral of violent psychosis. This time no one is working, merely trying to relax with their friends and they end up getting scalped, among other nasty things.
To round it all up, I’ll give Mother Nature the final word, because she going to have it whether we like it or not. The Day After Tomorrow, which sounds like my West Indian uncle’s promise to return a drill, kicks our butts with some hard-core, extreme and devastating weather. When a paleoclimatologist warns against a catastrophic event caused by global warming, he is at first ignored, but when the snow hits the fan, he races to save his son and other survivors as North America hightails it to Mexico. While we are not near this type of disaster (yet), it sure as heck feels like Spring has tapped out this year.
The moral of this post? Well, I’m still not answering my door if you haven’t been invited over, but I will take heed when heading out to an isolated cabin in the winter or deep space, maybe just get some fresh air to clear my head and go for a walk in a highly populated area with a decent coffee shop instead, and perhaps apply for a more, um, “people person” job…