“It–it..the f–, it–flame…flames…flames on the side of my face, breathing, breath… heaving, breaths…heaving.”
–Mrs. White, “Clue”
When I was a child, I had a very interesting interpretation of the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds. Completely spontaneous interpretation.
After watching the film for the first time, I became utterly convinced that Tippi Hedren’s character Melanie Daniels “brought” the vicious packs of killer birds in to Bodega Bay herself.
No, I don’t mean as a metaphor for her being a slick city girl of sin barging into a sleepy small town.
I mean literally: she had some sort of “super powers” and psychically amassed the birds into an apocalyptic swarm…and never even realized it!
Okay, so if that was really the case, why was she constantly being attacked by them???
Because she was oblivious to her own abilities. Notice: the birds never kill her. They just attack her. They just “bloody” her a little bit—as what would happen to a shaman when confronted with his or her fearsome totem animal. But because she doesn’t understand her core self, she doesn’t have the “tools” to defend herself against them. One can only imagine what she might have been able to do with these creatures, had she the self-awareness.
Now, if you apply this theory to the film…you kind of get a completely different movie:
Anyway, that was just my interpretation of The Birds from when I was a little kid. I was certainly no cinematic expert.
As in the case of The Birds, the avian symbol is integral the mythos of the comic book/movie Dark Phoenix saga.
The symbol of the phoenix, of course, is a bird rising from the ashes; the bird is also used a symbol of the Holy Sprit.
In the basic Dark Phoenix mythos, psychic/telekinetic X-Man Jean Grey becomes “evil” by being “possessed” by the unimaginable might of the “phoenix power.”
In the comics (at least the original story I’m familiar with), she is literally possessed by an alien power after undergoing a near-death experience (NDE).
In the movies, that narrative crucially changes.
The Jean Grey of X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) had uncontrollable powers when she was a kid; it’s Professor X who messes with her mind and creates “blocks” so those powers can be controlled. When she has the NDE, those blocks are removed due to trauma. Now all this repressed power explodes out of her, and she fucks a lot of shit up.
This story seems to be elaborated on in the “re-telling” of 2019’s Dark Phoenix movie. Now Professor X is described as the actual “villain” of the story, having massively fucked with Jean’s mind and inadvertently caused all that is to follow.
What’s interesting to me is that Dark Phoenix came out on February 14, 2019…and just a few weeks before that, Glass was released, James McAvoy starring in both films.
McAvoy, who plays Professor X in Dark Phoenix…
…is the “Beast” in Glass (and has a shaved head in both roles, which must have been convenient).
The Beast (and let’s ignore the X-Men character for a second) being, of course, a very “loaded” name in terms of the Bible, Aleister Crowley, etc.
Dark Phoenix is very much, to my mind (for what it’s worth), a “Babalon”-type figure, “the Scarlet Woman.”
Crowley largely cast Babalon as a consort-type (because of course he did), but she is really a representative of the uncontrollably powerful female dark goddess energy (per Kali, and etc.).
Moral of the story? Don’t mess with the mind of a budding incarnation of the dark goddess principle or you might accidentally cause the Apocalypse…and don’t invite Tippi Hedren to Bodega Bay.
If the topic of cinematic birds excites you, do also stop by Fantasy Merchant for my new review of the 2012 film The Raven. Have a great day!