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I've got some Hershey's on me forehead...
October 28, 2006 11:45 PM   Subscribe

What is the goo that drips down Mr. Zorg's forehead in The Fifth Element (1997)

Sweetened condensed evil? Molasses? 10W30?

I like this movie, and I am always a little dissapointed with this scene. I mean, I guess it's some sort of residue of malevolence or something but when so many of the details in this film are so well grounded in 'reality' (even when they are basically nonsense) that it just seems strange that this simply happens with nothing to root or define it.

I guess I am not even sure what kind of answer I am looking for here, but I'd love to get one.
posted by dirtdirt to Media & Arts (37 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I always assumed it was the essence of 'evil' manifesting itself.

Curious myself if there is another take on it.
posted by qwip at 11:51 PM on October 28, 2006


I always figured it was blood, and that on that particular day of shooting the SFX guys had run out of fake blood so they used chocolate syurp.
posted by dantekgeek at 11:55 PM on October 28, 2006


Looks chocolatey to me! An earlier draft of the script talks about a black slimy liquid melting the computer screen J.B.E. Zorg talks to Mr. Shadow on, so I don't think it's trying to be blood.

I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be sorta like ectoplasmic residue but, y'know, licorice flavor more evil.

The part that bugs me the most about the movie is not the chocolate syrup, but the fact that Aknot clearly uses a Master brand combination lock to turn on his own bomb near the end. And the fact that Tricky didn't get more lines.
posted by aubilenon at 12:08 AM on October 29, 2006


(not to imply that this isn't one of my favorite movies ever)
posted by aubilenon at 12:09 AM on October 29, 2006


I always assumed that it was his hair gel melting from the mental pressure, but I have no way to prove that this is the case.
posted by Paragon at 12:13 AM on October 29, 2006


I always thought it was evil and that during the phone call with the forces of darkness Zorg just had his Evil levels topped off. Plus a little.
posted by Ookseer at 12:24 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Dude, it's concentrated, chocolate-flavored evil. The best kind.

I hated this movie the first time I saw it, and now I love it.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:46 AM on October 29, 2006


Tricky didn't get more lines.

"I don't beeeeleeeve this!"

I always thought the goo was more like crude oil. Then again, I was raised on Fern Gully. And Zorg's little wonderland was decidedly Texan-Industrial.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:56 AM on October 29, 2006


I felt the scene was a nod to Vader force-choking people mid-conversation - the evil power demonstrating that he (or it) could cause harm without needing to touch the supplicant. That said, I assumed it was his own blood.
posted by datacenter refugee at 1:31 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


I don't know either, but I have two probably useless items of information:
- I think the same thing happens to one of the members of the space battleship crew at the start, when they encounter the evil ball for the first time. I think he's being ordered to escape or fire more missiles at it, but all he can do is stare straight forwards while the slime slides down his head.
- There is a novelisation which may contain an answer. I saw it in a secondhand bookshop once but didn't buy it because the first page was unreadably bad. So if you are truly tormented by this question, here it is. Let us know if you find out the secret.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:00 AM on October 29, 2006


I always assumed that it was blood as well, but now that I think about it, it doesn't really look like blood.
posted by cerbous at 3:15 AM on October 29, 2006


I always thought it was blood. It's not red, but there's no real proof that he's even human, so it wouldn't have to be. And he looks like he's suffering.

Essence of pure evil could work, but the movie seemed more like straight SF than outright fantasy-in-space... and, of course, off-colored alien ichor is a fixture of both genres.

Blood would seem to be the least supernatural explanation. Barring more evidence, that's the explanation I'd go with.
posted by Malor at 3:55 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Another vote for essence of evil, I like the chocolate flavouring though!
posted by arcticseal at 4:23 AM on October 29, 2006


Blood?
posted by jimmy0x52 at 4:32 AM on October 29, 2006


Definitely liquid evil, I think. To me it doesn't seem any less "realistic" than the rest of the movie--sure, there's actual sci-fi stuff like flying cars and cloning, but then there are the magic crystals, and the evil-stopping power of love, and all that.

Also, I could've sworn I saw an interview with either Gary Oldman or Luc Besson where they explained that it was indeed chocolate syrup portraying liquid evil, but unfortunately I can't find it anywhere; maybe I'm just imagining it...
posted by equalpants at 5:00 AM on October 29, 2006


blood isn't always bright red. Deoxygenated vinous blood can be ruddy brown or even a shade above black-purple.

I've never thought his forehead goo was anything else, but i agree it looked a bit too brown. And if there was a deleted scene/scripted part where the goo appears elsewhere, then that certainly would be the preferred explanation. But lacking such a scene, I think blood is reasonable.
posted by clord at 5:47 AM on October 29, 2006


I've always assumed that it was the "Essence" of evil, a visible sign of the evil's influence over Zorg.

(That and they used chocolate syrup for it.)

Unless my mind is playing tricks on me, the "essence" also drips off of the Spaceship commander who keeps ordering attacks on the Evil (thus strengthening it).
posted by Atreides at 6:19 AM on October 29, 2006


when so many of the details in this film are so well grounded in 'reality' (even when they are basically nonsense) that it just seems strange that this simply happens with nothing to root or define it

Isn't that arguably the point? I mean, the villain is a BIG BALL OF EVIL that speaks telepathically across the cosmos.
posted by mkultra at 7:23 AM on October 29, 2006


That "spaceship commander" is noneother than John Neville, the great british actor, who had a recurring part on the x-files, buy you may know him as Baron Munchausen(sp?).

my vote is for it being a metaphor for what happens to all life when it comes into contact wiith the supreme evil. You know how when you die your fluids all flush out of every orfice? Like that, only it happens just *talking* to that guy.

So I don't think it's "evil" in and of itself. It's the fact that any extended contact with that much evil makes you seep.
I think it's brown for a reason, specifically NOT to look like any kind of blood, but more like waste. Wait... waste doesn't sound right either, it's like a random, gross, body product.

I'll bet that if you were drinking with Luc Besson, that he'd say they were never that clear on exactlly what it was, just that it had the right gesture to it.
I love the fact of that brown goo. Even though it's hard to come up with a concrete explanation for it, it's clear that it belongs there. It's right for the narrative.

That's cool. To me it's like the apple in front of the bowler wearing man's face in the Magritte painting 'Son of Man".
posted by asavage at 7:30 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


I always thought it was hair dye for some reason.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:34 AM on October 29, 2006


the part that bugs me the most about the movie is...
Chris Rock
posted by Rash at 7:55 AM on October 29, 2006


Oop -- I mean Tucker. Imagine how much more palatable it would have been without his "Ruby Rhod" char.
posted by Rash at 7:57 AM on October 29, 2006


Awww c'mon! There had to be one useless character to twist an ankle/be generally pathetic in there.
posted by gomichild at 8:20 AM on October 29, 2006


I especially like how Chris Tucker became the stereotypical annoying woman and Leelu was a stronger character.
posted by cellphone at 9:00 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Melting hair dye/gel from the intense pressure was my take.
posted by Mitheral at 9:39 AM on October 29, 2006


hehe just saw that scene again last night. 10/40 weight blood - vicosity is important
posted by prodevel at 9:57 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


datacenter refugee said exactly what I always thought about the scene.
posted by Stauf at 10:33 AM on October 29, 2006


hair dye - it is to show he is sweating
posted by A189Nut at 12:47 PM on October 29, 2006


I always assumed it was blood, too.
posted by crunchland at 1:50 PM on October 29, 2006


You've got to be kidding me. How did the object get inside the blue woman? The movie is barely coherent in all sorts of ways. It was probably just some effect that the director figured would look cool and cause people like yourself to assume that there was actually some sort of meaning behind it.
posted by bingo at 4:03 PM on October 29, 2006


Huh. I always thought this was the big reveal where you find out he's actually a cyborg, and this is some kind of high grade machine oil required for cyborg operation.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:45 PM on October 29, 2006



It is pure evil, from the big ball of evil. Also goes on the commander of the human vessel. I saw it as a side-effect to being under _strong_ influence of the ball of evil.
posted by lundman at 5:50 PM on October 29, 2006


bingo writes "How did the object get inside the blue woman?"

Surgery? Maybe blue divas are marsupials?
posted by Mitheral at 6:26 PM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Or how were they expecting to expel them as well without needing to die.

Maybe she has talents like this guy - The Regurgitator?
posted by gomichild at 6:58 PM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


I always assumed the pressure the big ball of evil was putting on the minds of the starship commander and Mr Zorg was causing them to rupture blood vessels in their scalp/forehead and that it was blood running down. I never noticed it was chocolatey. I'm still running with blood, as residue of evil just sounds kind of stupid.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 8:54 AM on October 30, 2006


Well, I'm with the 'blood' crowd primarily because it smears to a dark red when he wipes his brow at the end of the 'phone call'.

What it actually is from a real-world makeup point of view, I suspect, is the dye they use to paint henna tattoos, which has similar black-goo-to-deep-red-smearing properties.
posted by genghis at 9:49 PM on October 30, 2006


What it actually is from a real-world makeup point of view, I suspect, is the dye they use to paint henna tattoos, which has similar black-goo-to-deep-red-smearing properties.

I'm doubtful. Henna is neither black (it's usually green, sometimes brownish depending on what you add to it) nor gooey (not unless you add goo).
posted by rikhei at 11:31 AM on October 31, 2006


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