If you’re up to date on your T.V knowledge, and especially if you’re a Science fiction, or comic book fan, then you’ll have heard of the hit TV show, Hero’s.
If by a miracle, you haven’t heard of, or watched the show. The show tells the story of individuals all over the world discovering they have super powers, such as the ability to fly, to heal from any wound, or to create electricity. If I had to compare it to a particular comic book, it would have to be the X-Men.
(Kristen Bell stars as Elle Bishop, attempting to kill Sylar for murdering her father.)
Written by Tim Kring and directed by Allan Arkush. In series three of Hero’s, episode one, entitled ‘The Second Coming’ – the show played homage to two very popular and successful horror movies. If you know your horror movies you will have spotted it. The movies were the original ‘Halloween’, and the eighties version of ‘The Fly.’
Sylar (Zachary Quinto) is the resident bad guy in the show. His ability is to steal the special powers of others by removing the top of their heads and examining their brains. I know - gross right? We did think he was eating them until this episode, which pitched him against the main ‘hero’ of the show, a girl named Claire (played by the beautiful Hayden Panettiere.) Claire has the ability to heal any wound that she might suffer, if she breaks her arm; it simply heals straight away. An ability that Sylar has been after since he first learned of it. Also the main plot drive behind the first series.
In series three, episode two, Sylar visits Claire’s home, and she’s home alone. The clothes Claire is dressed in are reminiscent of Drew Barrymore’s in the opening scene of ‘Scream.’ She is dressed in a white, v-neck sweater and jeans. She’s getting ready to leave the house when Sylar enters. Knowing what he’s after, and knowing that she isn’t really a fighter, Claire arms herself with a knife (taking it from a knife block – also ‘Scream’ esque.)
Sylar then appears behind her, walking slowly, as in most horrors, there is a scene where the viewer can see the menace, but the hero can’t. In a break of luck, Claire hits him over the head and makes a run for the door. Only to find Sylar has sealed them all with his telekinesis. Claire then makes a run for the closet.
The way this scene is filmed is exactly like the scene at the end of ‘Halloween’ with Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) hiding herself in a louvered door cupboard (it has slats.) Claire does the same thing, even winding material around the inner handles to keep her stalker out. The camera then pans up, showing Claire hiding in the corner, on the floor, and Sylar standing outside, as if a shadow; the exact same shot as shown in ‘Halloween.’
This entire scene plays like that of a horror/slasher. Sylar then disappears (becoming invisible, another ‘special power’ he has stolen from a victim.) Taking her chances, Claire leaves the safety of the cupboard and runs towards the front door and freedom. She can sense Sylar is there though and slashes air with the kitchen knife. Hesitating, she hears a sound and Claire knifes Sylar right in the chest. Yes! We yell, but she’s not out of harms way yet – she runs for the front door, but Sylar throws her up in the air and manages to pin her against the wall, he then starts to slice open her forehead as she screams. Cut to him playing with Claire’s brains, trying to find her power to regenerate, before he bleeds to death.
This shot is similar to the shot in ‘Hannibal’ where Anthony Hopkins is feeding Ray Liotta his own brains.
"Are you going to eat it?" Claire asks, referring to her brain (Claire can’t die because of her healing powers – we thought only Sylar could kill her since series one – seems not.) "Eat your brain? Claire, that's disgusting." Well that answers that question. Sylar now has Claire's ability. Sylar gives Claire her scalp back and lets her live, saying she's 'special' and 'different' and that she can never die. "And now I guess neither can I." Her scalp then reattaches itself and Claire gets up.
Another scene which plays homage to horror film, is when actor Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder Suresh) starts turning into a giant cockroach. These scenes play out like scenes from David Cronenberg’s ‘The Fly’, with Mohinder running around the ceiling and swinging from metal pipes in his apartment as his horrified girlfriend watches. Exactly like the scene where the shocked Geena Davies watches Jeff Goldblum do the same.
‘Hero’s’ was a fantastic show, and made all the better when you could read the little ‘in-jokes’ that the director and writer is having with the audience. I'll never forgive them for killing off Kristen Bell's amazing character, Elle Bishop, though.