Rites of passage ceremony and initiation rituals in science fiction movies are always great fun to watch.
No matter if haunting, ghastly, or hilarious, they never fail to make an impression.
Come to think of it, aren't they all just a distorted mirror image of our own rites of passage and initiation rituals?
There's a creepy thought!
Hunter rites of passage ceremony in Alien vs. Predator
The time is the present. The windswept, snow-battered plateau of Bouvet Island - Antarctica. Three warriors set out on a deadly hunt. Armed with an assortment of knives, steel nets, projectile blades, spears they will face the most dangerous quarry this side of the universe.
They brave the harshest climate on Earth until they get to the underground pyramid. There in a maze of corridors and dungeons, which once activated reset with clockwork precision, they track down their quarry. And find themselves beset with vicious adversaries galore.
Only the strongest and most skillful survive the trial. They have proved worthy to bear the mark of the true warrior. They scar themselves with the blood of their quarry - highly corrosive acid which eats its way into their skin. If the party is overcome the options are terrifying; they either end up cocooned and impregnated. Or blown to smithereens by their conscientious relatives who are observing the hunt from a star ship hovering invisible over the place.
Spice Agony ceremony in Dune
Bene Gesserit sisterhood observes a forbidding rites of passage ceremony for their members on planet Arrakis, a dry arid world covered with vast deserts crisscrossed by elusive Freman tribes and humongous and ferocious sandworms. Apt backdrop for what is one of helluva rites of passage ceremony.
The sisterhood co-opts a bluish substance called the water of life. The water is a liquid exhalation of a dying sandworm, which makes it a highly poisonous substance, and also mind-altering drug.
When the time comes for the old Reverend Mother to die she "calls across space and time" for her successor. The acolyte will have to use all her techniques and all the Bene Gesserit training to turn the lethal poison in her body into the vision-inducing drug.
During the ordeal the old Reverend Mother hands over all her knowledge and skills, and her memories, including the racial memories handed down from generations of Reverend Mothers, to her successor. The ritual is highly dangerous to women, and deadly to men. Yet there may be one man who will drink the water of life and live.
Predator vs. Alien
Rites of passage ceremony in the woods of Arboria in Flash Gordon
Captivating name for an exotic and absolutely enchanting place. Yet appearances can be deceiving. The thick jungles of Arboria, a kingdom of planet Mongo, give shelter to a tribe of warriors who call themselves the Tree-Men and who observe a most peculiar and unforgiving rite of passage ceremony.
A young man becomes a fully fledged member of his tribe in a rites of passage ceremony in which he is brought before his elders who stand in a circle around a menacing looking gnarly stump. The stump is dotted with holes. This is a lair of a deadly specimen of local fauna - a poisonous wood-beast. The young man speaks to the Green Father, the high priest, who bids him choose his path, "into this world, or the next".
You can easily imagine what follows. The boy sticks his hand into a hole. If he's lucky he lives. If not the best he can hope for is a quick death at the hands of their leader. Indeed, it is not an easy thing to be a teenager in a highly demanding warrior culture.
Ghastly-Beyond-Belief initiation in Event Horizon
In the decay orbit of Neptune there is a starship named the Event Horizon, which has been reported missing for seven years. Then one day it appeared out of the blue. Receivers on Earth picked up a scrambled message in Latin...That was the beginning.
A rescue team has reached the ship. Very soon they realize something very very wrong is going on aboard.
This is a one-man cult. But, hey, don't they say that the last Catholic is the Pope. One man is haunted by the visions of his dead wife. Through her he is talking to an inter-dimensional terror which has possessed the ship. It gained access to this universe through a black hole created when attempt was made aboard the Event Horizon to fold the spacetime and use this dimensional gateway to travel faster than light.
A gruesome initiation ensues.
Necromonger initiation in The Chronicles of Riddick
Really there are some zany folks out there! There is an armada like no other. They are looking for a place called Underverse. Along the way they raze entire planets and civilizations that get in their way. Those who yield they subjugate, and those who stand up to them they kill.
They come across as all the creepy characters straight out of the complete works of Marquis de Sade rolled into one star ship. They would probably disagree with this description - strictly on a point of principle. After all, they claim they have an agenda - and it is very simple: life is a cosmic anomaly and they intend to correct it.
Their initiation ritual is this kind of torture where they press two huge, nasty-looking needles against your neck - the idea is the novice has to use one pain to offset the other, and at one point when his agony becomes unbearable he gets to see a glimpse of Underverse, which if we are to believe the testimonies of the survivors, seems like a vision of perfection. (Kids, don't try to do this!)
On the bright side, if ever you end up their convert they give you this really cool steel armor covered with pointy tips, which will make you look intimidating, indestructible and cool in a spiky sort of way.
The Chronicles of Riddick
Cyberinitiation in The Matrix
Hip priests and priestesses in stylish leather coats and slick mirror-shades. To be inducted into this order you must have the gift! You have to be a natural born hacker.
These guys pick up people through mysterious messages which they send into their computers. It usually goes like this. Suddenly a message pops up on your screen: "Wake up (the name follows)", which can't be deleted. If ever this happens to you get ready for some raving escapades.
Suddenly your life is invaded by pesky agents who will open up orifices in your body you didn't even know you had, and try to close up some old ones. You are harassed in the middle of the night by anonymous phone calls. You are stalked by the girl in a black catsuit who demands that you meet her in seedy bars and desolate parts of town. Eventually you are introduced to the mysterious burly man who palms off illicit substances. Then he takes you to high buildings and insists you can fly. And that's not the half of it!
Drac rites of passage ceremony in Enemy Mine
A bit of sanity in this wacky universe teeming with human and humanoid crazies! The old-fashioned alien - warts and all - hidebound extraterrestrial rites of passage ceremony. In what has to be one of the most poignant stories of the meeting of two alien cultures mankind is waging a galactic war against aliens who call themselves Drac. In the movie there is this little drac dude who goes by the name of Zamiss.
Zamiss has come to the age when he must take a rite of passage ceremony to be recognized as adult drac. The ceremony goes like this: his father/ mother (er, drac are a bit fuzzy when it comes to sexes, though it all makes perfect sense to them!) has to stand before the Drac council of elders and recite his lineage.
The problem is Zamiss has lost his biological parent and has been foisted on a human named Davidge, who, shall we say, has issues with aliens. Will Davidge rise above his prejudice to replace Zamiss's biological parent?
Great 80s movie and the Drac rites of passage ceremony to end on a positive note, and leave you ponder the alien initiation rituals, rites of passage, and sweet mystery of life.
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