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As I watched Edward Scissorhands this last week I caught this image early on. Notice the house with the fumigation tent. At first I wondered what it was doing there, I mean there must be a reason to have taken the time to cover one of the set homes with a fumigation tent right? But that is not my question.

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After I saw this I remembered the episode of The X-Files The Post-Modern Prometheus which is about a "father" who creates a son and is trying to find him a mate by inseminating various people in town. He subdues these victims by gassing them out while their house is covered in a fumigation tent.

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There are a lot of similarities in the stories of Edward Scissorhands and The Post-Modern Prometheus and so I'm curious if the use of the fumigation tent in the episode is meant to be a nod to the movie.

  • I think the writers simply came to the same idea that any activity going on inside a house can be hidden by using a fumigation tent. Something similar was done in Breaking Bad. – Chanandler Bong Jan 25 '16 at 11:10
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    @Tautologist thanks for your comment but I respectfully disagree. In Breaking Bad the tent was the perfect cover for them to hide what they were doing under the pretense that they were fumigating the home. In the X-files episode, no such pretense is implied, in fact they tent the homes while the owners are still inside. If they were trying to avoid being noticed, draping a giant tent over the house unexpectedly seems like a poor choice. – sanpaco Jan 27 '16 at 2:30
  • It's not to avoid being noticed, it's to prevent people from entering the house and see what's going on inside. I'd say that 'subduing these victims by gassing them out while their house is covered in a fumigation tent' qualifies as an activity that you want to hide from public :-) Anyway you seem to have some good points in your answer and it may be a reference to Edward indeed (+1), but I wasn't completely wrong either :-) – Chanandler Bong Jan 27 '16 at 6:33
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After quite a bit of research, I've decided to answer this myself. I believe that this was indeed meant to be a nod to the Edward Scissorhands movie and I will tell you why.

To begin I had to look into the title of the episode, The Post-Modern Prometheus. Why postmodern? What does post modern even mean? It is a relatively complex idea and there are a lot of definitions out there depending on the context but I think the best definition I could give it here to back up what I'm about to say is that post modernism is a form of using classical styles to present a style beyond modernism. Take the form of the episode. It is filmed in black and white with cliched lightning strikes similar to the style of an old Frankenstein movie. This is the key of what makes the episode "post modern" is that it brings in other styles and references to make an ironic self reference to the style of story being told. The age old tale of man creating what is perceived to be a monster when the monster only wishes to fit in.

Some examples of post modern references in the episode:

  1. The title of the episode is a play on Mary Shelley's "Frankenstien" subtitled The Modern Prometheus
  2. The black and white style is a reference to the old Boris Karloff Frankenstein movie from 1931. This was also done by Mel Brooks in creating Young Frankenstein
  3. The mutato's favorite movie is "Mask" from 1985 about a severely deformed kid becoming friends with the high school crowd. It also stars Cher whose music is used prominently in the episode's soundtrack.
  4. The original score by Mark Snow is strongly influenced by John Morris's theme from The Elephant Man, another movie about a deformed man rejected by society, and also filmed in black and white even though it was made in 1980

As you can see the episode draws heavily on the styles of other similar movies in a post modern fashion which brings me to Edward Scissorhands. I can't help but think it is more than a coincidence that both have the fumigation tent which looks very much like a circus tent and calls up thoughts of the freak show in Elephant Man. It is my opinion that Chris Carter likely had all these films in mind when making the episode and drew items like this from all of them into making The Post-Modern Prometheus.

  • Very interesting. I know that you have stated your opinion, which is very intuitive, but are there any facts stating that Was Chris Carter's intention? – steelersquirrel Jan 27 '16 at 2:10
  • I wasn't able to find anything that specifically mentioned Edward Scissorhands, but the other references I listed are mentioned by Chris Carter as being there intentionally with the purpose I've described. I've left my answer purposely unaccepted because I hope someone might be able to find something more concrete. – sanpaco Jan 27 '16 at 2:24
  • I think that your answer is great! I was just curious. +1 :) – steelersquirrel Jan 27 '16 at 2:34
  • Thanks :) If I ever get a chance to meet him I'm going to ask him. I know he considers it one of his best episodes and one of his favorites so I think it will be a great way to start a conversation. – sanpaco Jan 27 '16 at 2:37
  • HA! Great conversation starter! I also think that your question was great too, btw :) – steelersquirrel Jan 27 '16 at 2:40

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