Sunday, June 14, 2015

At Flashbak: Don't Tamper in God's Domain - Jurassic Park and the "Life Finds a Way" Horror Movies of the 1990s

This week at Flashbak, I remembered the science run amok horror movies of the 1990s, a sub-genre exemplified by Jurassic Park (1993).

Jurassic World (2015) -- the third sequel to Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) -- opens this week in theaters in the United States, and appears certain to carry on in its predecessors’ footsteps.  
That means not only more rampaging dinosaurs, but a deliberate charting of what disasters can occur when science runs amok; when man dares to “tamper in God’s domain” of creation.

This conceit -- of genetic science as a Pandora’s Box of sorts -- proved a key element of the horror films of the 1990s, including JP.  

If we consider that the best horror movies always deliberately reflect society’s fears, then one can pinpoint events in the Clinton Decade -- the 1990s -- that helped to bring this old Frankenstein trope to the forefront.

In October of 1990, for example, the Human Genome Project commenced.  And in 1997, a sheep named Dolly was cloned. 

The film brethren of Jurassic Park, therefore, didn’t merely feature dinosaurs resurrected by irresponsible scientists, but all sorts of “playing God” creations, or silver screen monsters. 

In all cases, “life found a way” (to quote Jurassic Park’s Dr. Grant) to spread, threatening to up-end man’s dominance on planet Earth. In such films, the audience had to ask: what kind of a self-destructive creature is man that he is so willing to (genetically) engineer threats to his supremacy over the Earth?

Besides Jurassic Park, here are some of the other “Life Finds a Way,” or “Don’t Tamper in God’s Domain” horror films of the 1990s. (Continued at Flashbak).

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