(Conan the Barbarian - stills from the movie)
Conan takes on a snake-worshipping bad guy who shape-shifts into a snake and rules over humanity using violence and manipulation to keep them subjugated. The humans are seen as sacrificial pawns, willing to literally jump to their deaths for their reptilian ruler. The palace headquarters of this evil snake cult is a den of sexual licentiousness, where people indulge in orgies and drink from a brew containing human body parts. The cult even has a classic Illuminati-style eye-in-a-pyramid type symbol, although theirs is also adorned with twin serpents.
(Serpentine and all-seeing eye symbolism)
It made me wonder whether this was the subconscious inspiration for David Icke's world view. It was a pretty big movie in the 80's and I'm guessing most people will have watched it. Did it seep into people's minds and inspire a generation? Of course, the alternative view would be that the movie was tapping into a historical vein of truth and that maybe it resonated so well at the time because of this. I guess it's a chicken and egg scenario. Still it's interesting that these themes were so well established in 1982. I'd be interested to see how true the film is to the original Conan fantasy stories created by Robert E. Howard in the 1930's. Were these themes there then as well?
On a parallel note this got me thinking again about our inherent fear of serpents. I think it stems in part from how serpents devour their victims. As humans we seem to be naturally horrified by the idea of being eaten alive. When a big cat kills its prey then eats it, it somehow doesn't seem as horrific as when a bird or a snake simply devours a living creature whole.
I remember watching a nature programme where a baby bird wandered from its mother and subsequently got devoured - whole and alive - by a huge seagull. The image was worse than anything I'd ever seen in any horror movie. Seeing the bulge of a living creature slide down its throat. It actually made me feel depressed for days after it. Even now when I think back I feel a sense of despair. The question is why?
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that as humans we kill animals first before we eat them. We can't digest bones and would choke on them if we tried. So maybe this is partly why we see swallowing animals whole as just plain wrong. And, of course, there's our fear of dying and being killed in general. And being eaten alive must be an especially horrid way to go.
When you see medieval visions of hell, where humans are being boiled, burned and eaten, it's quite often birds or bird-headed men that are doing the eating. Again there's just something inherently more awful about being eaten by a bird or a reptile as opposed to being killed by a lion or tiger. Eating something alive seems in this light to be the very embodiment of evil.
I don't wanna get on my high horse too much, but all my thinking on this does make me relieved that I chose to be a vegetarian. I think if you want to have a positive impact on the world a good place to start is to decide not to eat anything that's conscious of the fact it's being ate.