“It’s a cookbook! It’s a cookbook!”


Eventually I may have something more substantial to say about Lady in the Water. But in the meantime, a bizarro connection occurs to me. And warning, there be a semi-spoiler ahead. (But I’m revealing something from the middle of the film, not the end.)

You know how M. Night Shyamalan has been called a Rod Serling wanna-be? Especially ever since The Village (2004) came out, and a number of people took it to be a rip-off of the Twilight Zone episode ‘A Hundred Yards over the Rim‘ (1961)?

In Lady in the Water, Shyamalan himself plays a man who, we are told, is destined to write a book that will inspire a future “great leader” — and the practically messianic significance of this prompted me to tell my wife that Shyamalan had basically cast himself as the muse to the Antichrist. I’m joking, of course, but the “great leader” prophesied in this film does sound rather similar to the archvillain that one finds in end-times novels; he also reminds me of the righteous dictator who takes over the American government, and then the world, in William Randolph Hearst’s propaganda flick Gabriel over the White House (1933).

Anyway. That tangent aside, the book that Night’s character is writing — the book that will inspire this future presidential saviour, the book that was in turn inspired by the Narfs and their allies in the Blue World, etc. — is called The Cookbook. And it dawned on me today that this may be some weird sort of homage to another Twilight Zone episode, ‘To Serve Man‘ (1962). Wikipedia’s synopsis:

A race of aliens known as the Kanamits land on Earth and promise to be nothing but helpful to the cause of humanity, as dictated in a seemingly innocuous book called “To Serve Man.” They eradicate hunger, eliminate war, and eliminate the need for expensive power sources. Soon humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits’ home planet. All is not well, however, when a decoder discovers the Kanamits’ true intentions. Their book, “To Serve Man”, is a cookbook.

So … is Shyamalan hinting in some strange and twisted way that the Narfs are actually the bad guys, ready to destroy humanity with the aid of a book that was seemingly oh so helpful to us? It is tempting to think so, but naaaah, he isn’t that clever.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17492591447246532970 jasdye

    oh, that was in a Simpsons Tree-House of Horror episode.

    the Simpsons, my cultural connection point.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08741378159534413277 Magnus

    It was also referrenced in Naked Gun 2 1/2.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07593734501647806262 stephanieprophet

    Here on Middle Earth, inspiration is derived from influence, therefore, good and or evil may in fact open the eye to the unseen. The Cookbook is a compelling catalyst to a thought provoking movement. What main ingredient in the Cookbook would be used to fulfill or execute, the ending result, finished product or final plan? Could it be mankind. With that being said there are also other important ingredients or characters if you will that also play a very important role in finalizing God’s plan.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02984854211779876831 Bryan

    to me, the village is based off a book called Running Out of Time. I love the hundred yards over the rim ep of twilight zone, but fail to see the connection with a shitty movie like the village. M Night has nothing on Rod Serling. The sixth sense is as close as he could have come, and that was a good movie, but someone needs to tell him to stop writing because I have wasted too much money giving him second third fourth chances at the box office.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X