Today I saw the trailer for a new project from Netflix based on a world I explored from a hospital bed in 1982 or 1983. Later this year Netflix and Jim Hensons’ Creature Shop will begin work on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and watching the teaser over at Nerdist, I got very excited. VERY excited.
Go watch if you would like, I’ll wait…
Ok, are you back? Cool! Now let me tell you a story about why this got me all geeked up and set me on an expedition into my memories.
While I was in junior high school, in the 7th grade I think, I played basketball. Poorly, but I had fun and worked hard with a bunch of my buddies. One day during practice, I unexpectedly had a grand mal seizure. One moment I was passing the ball to a teammate. The next I was sitting on the wall of the gym covered in a bit of my own vomit with my coach and wondering what the hell happened. Definitely one of the scariest moments of my childhood.
That led me to an ER visit, which led to visiting various specialist doctors, and eventually I ended up at Children’s Hospital in downtown Denver. The very nice doctors and nurses there got me sorted out and I was on my way after a few days. I won’t bore you with the details, but will suffice it to say it was a side effect of a thyroid issue and treatable with medication I’m still on today.
While I was there, I had a TV in my room and that TV had HBO. I think this was before the time we had cable TV at home, so HBO (and cable in general) were luxuries we simply didn’t have. And all I remember watching are two movies over and over again while I was in that bed hooked up like a video game.
- Firefox. Clint Eastwood as a pilot of a super jet he stole from the Russians and had to use his mind to control. It was awesome. Gun fights. Cool planes. Spies. Everything a growing boy needed to kill a couple of hours.
- And The Dark Crystal. Wow. Jim Henson took it up a notch for that one. Fantasy. Magic. Monsters. Humor. Peril. This one blew me away even more than Clint flying an amazing jet.
Quite honestly I think The Dark Crystal formed most of my initial impressions of the fantasy genre. This was about the same time I discovered Dungeons & Dragons and played with my friends every weekend we could. To this day, I remember the Skeksis being cruel and interesting, while the Mystics were slow and meditative. The Gelflings were my entry into a world very far beyond our own. And they had a pet — Fizgig — and I wanted one.
My other influences were Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flash Gordon, and many many books. I devoured fantasy and science fiction and hardly touched a comic book.
But if you look at the stories I create, they’re a combination of Conan the Barbarian and The Dark Crystal. Sure, there are more variations than that, but my sword and sorcery influences are strong even today.
Why am I excited about The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance? Because I’ll be revisiting my childhood and revitalizing my love for Jim Henson fantasy… YAY! I hope they don’t screw it up. 🙂
So let me leave you with this question…
What were the movies, TV, or books that influenced you the most in your childhood? Let me know in the comments!