Splice Poster Art
Vincenzo Natali's Science Fiction Horror film 'Splice' is in essence scientists trying to broaden humans understanding of modern medicine by genetically engineering a new species. Conducted with selfish intentions, Scientists Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast commit perhaps the biggest sin, playing God. This is one of the most common Sci-Fi horror clichés whereby scientists delve into the unknown, and end up creating a monstrous creature. "Like just about every science experiment in the history of cinema, things get a bit out of hand" (Halfyard,2010). Splice however, inspite of its theme is seperated from other horror films that share the same moniker because it is relates to the current agendas of Genetic Engineering. With recent events such as the human cells that were fused with rabbit eggs at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 or the 150 human-animal embryos that were created in British Laboratories throughout 2010 Natali has touched on a subject that is relevant and very potent at the current time.
Dren (Nerd spelt backwards) a human-animal hybrid is the fruit of Clive and Elsa's experiments. We see Drens transition from an innocent and curious infant to a rebellious teenager to monterous adult in that similar to a human. Freudian psychology plays a part in the morality of Splice, the biggest example of this is the Oedipus Complex Dren expresses in both female and male form. The urge to sexually possess her father figure and kill her mother figure is more repressed in Drens female state showing her human characteristics. Once transformed into a male however Dren rapes his mother and kills his father. This inability to distinguish between right and wrong shows the animal side of the para-human.
Elsa's true intentions for creating Dren are made apparent later in the film when she expresses her views on children and raising a family are different than Clive's. We find that Elsa endured an abusive relationship with her mother which is why she had dreams of living in a stylish and sleek apartment as a way to separate her from the rural farm she was brought up in. She does not want to bear children because of her abusive past so sees her creation as the child she never had. Although Elsa's maternal instincts kick in when Dren is young her methods of raising her eventually become mean spirited and cruel as it was how she was brought up. "These are not perfect people, but you don't quite realise how messed up they are until it's too late, which makes for some superbly tense scenes." (Turner, 2010).
It could be argued that Dren, however monstrous in its actions was merely running on animal instincts and the real monsters infact were the genetic engineers whom created the hybrid for personal gain.
"It is fascinating to see the arrogant human scientists revealed as monsters, even as the ‘monstrous’ Dren reveals her complex, vulnerable humanity." (Floyd, 2010). This is reminiscent of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein whereby we see the creator as the real monster.
List of Illustrations
Fig 1. First encounter with Dren
Fig 2. Dren attacks Elsa
Fig 3. Dren's sexual desire towards her father figure Clive
Kurt Halfyard 'Twitch Film' (Published January 22, 2010) http://twitchfilm.com/reviews/2010/01/sundance-2010-splice-review.php (Accessed on October 12 2011)
Matthew Turner 'Veiw London' (Published July 22,2010) http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/films/splice-film-review-30300.html (Accessed on October 12 2011)
Nigel Floyd 'Timeout' (Published July 21,2010) http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/88628/splice.html (Acccessed on October 12 2011)