Prometheus, a horror movie that was released in early June, has given science fiction fans a new reason to visit the movie theatre. Part of the allure of Prometheus is that it tells the story of what happens just before the classic movie â??Alienâ? from the late 1970s.
If youâ??re familiar with the film, you probably had more than one nightmare featuring the alien parasites that were the brainchild of director Ridley Scott. However, Scott wasnâ??t the only one to model his creatures after parasites; check out this list of movie monsters and the actual parasites that they resemble.
1. Thereâ??s Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself
Throughout the years, there have been a lot of movies featuring parasites that feed off of humans. One early example is The Tingler from 1959. After discovering that there are parasites living in everyoneâ??s body, a scientist begins to experiment and see how the creatures operate. He discovers that they get bigger and more powerful when their host feels fear but canâ??t or wonâ??t scream. Over time, his research has horrifying consequences for everyone involved.
While actual parasites usually donâ??t play off of emotions in this way, some can influence how or when fear is expressed. The toxoplasma gondii parasite has been known to make mice and rats act differently. The little rodents are influenced to be attracted to the way that cats smell, which goes against their natural instincts to be afraid of the animal. Both the cat and the parasite benefit from this behavior; the cat gets to eat and the parasite can reproduce once the mouse has been devoured by the feline. Surprisingly, almost nothing else about the mouseâ??s behavior changes as a result of the parasitic infection.
2. The Power of Suggestion
The killifish provides us with a great example of real life mind-control. The euhaplorchis californiensis parasite settles into this fishâ??s brain cavity, and once there, makes it rise to the top of the water and flop around, showing off its shiny belly. The activity usually captures the eye of birds flying overhead and provides them with a convenient meal. After being eaten, the parasite remains in the birdâ??s stomach where it lays eggs that eventually hatch into larvae. The larvae then continue the process by infecting more killifish.
The behavior of this parasite is mimicked in several Hollywood films, including one of the Star Trek flicks. In the movie, a Ceti eel situates itself within the brain, causing the host to do things that they would not ordinarily do. Over time, the presence of the eel can cause death, just like the euhaplorchis californiensis.
3. Using Nature as Inspiration
Some movies model their monsters very closely after nature. One creature that Hollywood has gotten inspiration from is the parasitoid wasp, which plants their eggs inside a variety of bugs, including ants. As the baby wasps emerge from their eggs, they break free of their hostsâ?? body, destroying them in the process. If this sounds familiar, it should; essentially the same thing happens during â??Alien,â? the 1979 science fiction thriller starring Tom Skerritt and Sigourney Weaver.
When he isn’t catching horror movies with parasites bursting out of people’s chests, Jim Flick kills parasites and pests for a nj pest control company.