Monday, January 30, 2017

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Pointy Ears

When we finally encounter intelligent beings from another world, I think many of us will be disappointed if they don't possess pointy-ears.

For more than fifty years, pointy-ears have represented cult-television's way of physically marking a being as an other, either as an alien or a demon, depending on the genre.

The most famous of all pointy-eared individuals is, of course, the half-Vulcan Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) of Star Trek (1966-1969).  

His pointy ears were a constant source of humor for Dr. McCoy (De Forest Kelley), and an apparent source of admiration for other aliens, including the Horta ("The Devil in the Dark.")

But Spock was neither the first nor last alien to be defined by pointed ears.  

The Outer Limits (1963-1965) for example, featured many beings that possessed pointy-ers. The extra-terrestrials of "The Keepers of the Purple Twilight" had pointy ears, as did the super-evolved human being of "The Sixth Finger."  The weird beings of "The Children of Spider County" also possessed ears with pointed tips

The Draconians of Doctor Who (1963-1989) also possessed pointy ears, and even the Ocampa of Star Trek: Voyager (1995 - 2001) featured same.

Pointy ears are also seen in animated programs.

A fantasy being, the shape-shifter Klone of Filmation's Blackstar (1981) is another being with pointy ears, for instance. 

And the superhero Namor, or the Sub Mariner of The Marvel Superheroes (1966) is similarly distinguished by this physical characteristic.

In terms of horror programming, pointy ears apparently denote "evil." 

Consider The Twilight Zone's (1959-1961) Devil in "The Howling Man," or Buffy the Vampire Slayer's (1997 - 2003) first "Big Bad," The Master.  Both possess pointed ears.

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