It’s the third Friday of the month and I know you’re excited for Dr. Who day! Where I search for horror in a sci-fi show, which isn’t difficult at all. In my last post, we met the Daleks, who run rampant throughout the series, however, today’s monster appeared in one episode.
The Brain of Morbius was originally broadcast in 1976, written by Terrance Dicks and Robert Holmes.
The Fourth Doctor and his fabulous companion Sarah Jane…
land on the rocky planet Karn littered with wrecked spaceships and a headless body of the alien. Of course in true Doctor Who style, they stay and head for a castle, the only sign of life.
Enter Solon and Condo… Dr. Frankenstein and Igor-esque duo.
Solon, a brilliant neurosurgeon from Earth, compliments the Doctor on his “magnificent” head. Why would he be interested in his head? Yeah.
Solon is working for Morbius, a former dictator of Gallifrey the home of the Time Lords, someone who had been killed for his crimes. But Morbius’ brain survived, thanks to Solon. Now he works to build the tyrant a new body, one created from pieces of aliens, and he needs a head—the Doctor’s head, the head of a fellow Time Lord, will be perfect.
Until then a temporary plastic case will have to do, giving us a monster.
When Morbius sees his new body in a mirror, he’s not pleased. Who would be?
He claims that he will find new followers and return to power. The Doctor stops him, of course, by using a mind-bending machine, which short circuits the former Time Lord’s brain and he ends up falling off a cliff. Sad end for our new friend, I know.
Obviously, inspiration for the character of Morbius came from one of our favorite classic monsters. Like Frankenstein’s creation, Morbius was stitched together from different bodies by a brilliant surgeon. His appearance utterly frightening.
Unlike the famous monster, who hid, watching the world he wanted to belong to from the shadows, Morbius sought the spotlight, to rule the Universe… his being an abomination making no difference.
So horror blends seamlessly with sci-fi in this Frankenstein meets space travel show, one that stuck with me after I watched it. Even years later I still remember his name.
The horrific does that, carves its way into our heads and haunts us.
Doctor Who Character Encyclopedia written by Jason Loborik, Annabel Gibson, and Moray Laing; DK Publishing, 2013
Pictures thanks to Bing.com/images