It's hard to imagine the history of film or literature
without mad scientists. We'd never have encountered Victor Frankenstein, Dr.
Jekyll, Dr. Moreau, or a host of other colorful, enduring characters that have
captivated our souls for decades. The Devil Commands is a testament to
that prototype's allure.
As a popular narrative trope, mad scientist stories appear,
on the surface, simple. Enter your typical mad scientist. He's crazy and
consequently initiates a firestorm of chaos. Hell breaks loose, innocents die,
he's hunted down and eventually caught, punished, or exterminated. However,
underlying these conventions lurk crucial thematic and generic questions that
defy cursory analysis. Is the scientist's "science" scientific? What drives him
mad: his inherently evil intentions or the science itself and his quest for
knowledge? Is the chaos intentional or accidental? Is the chaos a result of the
scientist or his science?(read more...)