If a creature from another dimension entered our reality, would we even recognize it as a life form? What would a creature from, say, the 6th dimension look like to our 3-dimensional eyes?
The 1884 novel Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott tells the story of the Square, a guy who lives in two dimensions with his friends and neighbors. One day, a sphere from the third dimension visits him in his home. Hovering just over the house, the Sphere attempts communication with the Square, but the Square sees nothing and thinks he’s imagining the voice. So to prove he is real, the Sphere actually “touches down” into the 2-dimensional house.
So here’s the point: The Square does not see the Sphere as a sphere. All he sees is the parts of the Sphere that make contact with 2 dimensions: length and breadth. The Sphere probably looks like a line to the Square. And as the Sphere goes up and down, to the Square’s eye, the Sphere’s “line” increases or decreases in length.
He literally cannot see the “up” dimensional part of the Sphere. He cannot imagine the Sphere’s true form.
Much like the Square cannot see the true form of the Sphere, we in the third dimension would not be able to discern the true form of (for example) a fifth dimensional being. And you can probably see how this might drive someone insane… especially if the creature from the higher dimension has no regard for the lives of creatures in lower dimensions.
As I’m fond of saying, it ain’t about tentacles.
All of which leads up to the two movies I want to tell you about. But first, if you wish, check out this Carl Sagan video, which can probably explain these concepts better than I did:
My recommended Lovecraftian movies page is a list of films that make good use of Lovecraftian themes, but that are not necessarily adaptations of Lovecraft’s work. Recently, I watched two movies that I’ll probably be adding to that page: The Corridor and Pontypool.
In The Corridor, five friends spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods to catch up on old times. Recently, one of them was released from a mental hospital. Apparently, he and his mother saw and heard some strange things that started driving them crazy. What happens in the woods that weekend is an example of a creature from another reality revealing itself to people in this one, and how it affects their mental stability.
Pontypool is a very different movie that also illustrates this example. “In the small town of Pontypool, Ontario, former shock jock turned radio announcer Grant Mazzy drives through a blizzard on his way to work. When poor visibility forces him to stop his car, an underdressed woman appears on the road, startling him. Grant calls out to her, but she disappears into the storm, ominously repeating his words and visibly disturbing him. Grant eventually arrives at the radio station, where he works with technical assistant Laurel-Ann Drummond and station manager Sydney Briar. As the morning proceeds, they get a report from their weather and traffic helicopter reporter Ken Loney about a possible riot at the office of Doctor Mendez in Pontypool. He describes a scene of chaos and carnage that results in numerous deaths, immediately grabbing Grant’s attention. After Ken is unexpectedly cut off, the group tries to confirm his report, but their witnesses are disconnected before they can get them on the airwaves. Ken calls back and reports that he has found the “infected” son of a well-known Pontypool citizen nearby, mumbling to himself.” (Partial plot description from Wikipedia.)
And that’s as much as I want to give away about this movie. In fact, I strongly suggest that you read nothing about these movies, and do not watch the trailers. You will have a much better viewing experience if you go into it knowing nothing more than what I’ve written here.
But after you’ve seen the movies, I think you’ll agree that they are very Lovecraftian… and Pontypool, especially, is very frightening.
(Currently, The Corridor and Pontypool are both available on Netflix streaming!)
After you’ve seen these movies, comment below with your thoughts…!