For the record, anyone who wants to use ideas in this article may do so without further permission from nor compensation to the author.
Re-watching Prometheus the other night, my mind went back to another example of science fiction/horror, this one from 1966. Queen of Blood certainly comes across as the most schlocky kind of flick imaginable. Just the idea–an alien vampire queen feeding off human males–seems almost worthy of porn!
Okay, the movie was dirt cheap. It made use of Basil Rathbone in the last legs of his career, as well as a fair amount of stock footage (including some from a Soviet science fiction film). The alien vampire queen is even green! But it also approached the science in a relatively accurate manner. Set in 1990, it even presumed humanity would have reached the moon twenty years earlier (we actually did it a year before that). And kudos to the fact the female crew member proved useful! All too many films then (and now for that matter) portray women in the cast as either sexual villains or eye candy.
Hopefully in the wake of Battlestar Galactica as well as other, more sophisticated science fiction fare, audiences today would realize how weirdly unlikely that any alien organism would find human blood nutritious. Hence we need some way to justify it all. Three possibilities come to mind:
- The alien vampires in fact created life on Earth, seeding it as a crop for themselves at a later time! (see the aforementioned Prometheus)
- The alien vampires are in fact mutated humans from the future, their craft having somehow traveled back in time (see the motion picture Sphere).
- The aliens are supremely adaptive, rapidly changing to match their new environment/prey (a la The Thing).
Any of these premises might work well, and from which one can re-build the initial plot. In the not-too-distant future, a space craft launched to Mars finds a crashed vessel there. One survivor remains, weak but alive. A humanoid who seemingly does not or cannot speak, and at any rate would they understand English? Either way, our intrepid astronauts head for home with the alien on board.
Said alien seems eerily attractive. And before long begins feeding on the blood of the crew.
In keeping with the idea of making remakes edgier than the original, suppose the humanoid alien seems not only beautiful, but androgynous? So that all members of the crew are at least potential prey (in the first film, the title character takes an instant dislike to the female crew member). Maybe more than prey? Candidate for conversion, even a mate? This offers up another potential conflict–is someone so infected to be still treated as a human being? How much of them remains?
That direction would pretty much require breaking norms and expectations to work. A tough-as-nails military type covered in tattoos who turns out to have an enlightened moral code, perfectly willing to disobey orders to commit murder, even when such really looks prudent. A benevolent physician who panics and goes too far. The cynic who falls in love with the person everyone else calls naive. Or a rookie who soon breaks out in serious nerves but keeps doing exactly the right thing. The more real and non-stereotypical the characters, the trickier audience members have in predicting what will happen.
Along those lines, might I suggest someone as the Queen? Emily Blunt! The fact she’s nearly always regarded as a “good” character or someone no more than troubled might make for a more compelling antagonist. After all, perhaps she isn’t evil!
What do you think, would you like to see this remake?