Biology Run Amok!
Published by McFarland, 2018. 255 pages
By Mark C. Glassy
I first discovered the writings of Glassy with his first book, The Biology of Science Fiction Cinema, which I stumbled across at a Half Price Books a few years ago. Within those pages, he discusses different films in the horror and sci-fi genre, looking at the science in them and seeing what could be true and what is totally off. Such an enjoyable read. This time out, Glassy does the same, but also is educating the reader with a lot of science knowledge and how it is applied in some of our favorite films. These were originally published in Scary Monsters magazine, starting back in 2009, but now are all gathered together in this one volume.
In the beginning of the book, he describes how audiences today are the “Jurassic Park Generation” since we pretty much will believe the science we see in movies as reality. But Glassy goes through these different theories and explains in more details some of the fallacies therein, but also when some of the films gets the science correct.
What I really enjoyed about this book, which is kind of half a science lecture book and then the other half is showing us how it is applied in the movies. There’s a chapter going through the different kind of microscopes and their different uses, and then what movies used which kind. Then there is a section on Frankenstein films and all the fun questions it poses, like how did Dr. Pretorius create the brain for the female mate in The Bride of Frankenstein, going through the details of what would need to happen to actually create a brain. He goes through the reality of the science, going into technical terms and explanations, but still making it easy enough to understand for those of us that are not scientist or medical students. He really does show the amazing beauty and wonder of life and how it is created.
There are chapters on different parts of science, something as simple as hair or a little more smaller as microbes, giving the reader a lot of details on how it all works in the real world. Then he takes this information and discussing their uses in different films that use these theories, granted stretching the facts a wee bit. One chapter, Glassy goes into great detail of just what happens when a body dies, and the different sequences of death, which I found pretty fascinating. When you hear some of the gruesome but yet truthful details of what happens to the body once life is extinguished, you realize just how impossible some of these Frankenstein films really are. But that doesn’t stop our enjoyment of them, that is for sure.
If you’re looking for a book that is just about the mad scientists in the movies and the pictures themselves, then you might be a bit disappointed here. But if you are a fan of these classic mad scientist movies, then you may find yourself being extremely entertained and engulfed in learning the differences in DNA, blood cells, radiation effects, and many other “science” stuff that we’ve seen over and over again in some of our favorite movies.
This book is available from McFarland, through their website (www.mcfarlandpub.com) or ordering directly over the phone (800-253-2187).