Are you really you? It’s a question that has haunted us all (especially if we’ve just been watching Bruce Willis in Surrogates, because we’re too drunk to change the channel).
In fact it’s safe to say that the danger of being replaced by an evil double is higher on the public agenda than ever before.
Possibly. I’m making this up as I go along.
With this in mind, it’s safe to assume you already have a colossally evil doppelgänger lurking out there, ready to bump you off and slip into bed with your significant other as soon as possible. And it’s not like they’ll be complaining either. Your double has rechargeable plutonium power cells.
Fortunately the world of cult movies has long represented ‘the other you’ on screen, so I’ve waded through a whole bunch of them (even those godawful 70s ones with John Saxon) to compile a handy print out and keep guide to make sure you… stay you!
Mental Projection (As Seen In: The Matrix)
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? So sang buck-toothed Zanzibarian and occasional Queen frontman Freddy Mercury. In Freddy’s case it’s hard to tell whether he was real or the figment of a collective acid dream, but his point is salient nonetheless.
Remember that in the Matrix anyone can be a mental projection. Even Keanu Reeves, a man who technically doesn’t even possess an imagination.
Warning signs include: everything tasting like wheat, a predilection for underground sauna-cum-raves and guns. Lots of guns.
Of course these are also the symptoms of a PCP trip, so try this handy double check…
If you find yourself frustrated by a late train during the morning commute try punching through a concrete support pillar in exasperation. If you succeed, you could be living in a computer generated world with a series of lacklustre sequels to look forward to. You could also be clinically insane, which is, sadly, far more likely.
Robot Double (As Seen In: The Stepford Wives)
Let’s face it, if you’re a world class beauty who keeps a lovely home for that fat pig you married, chances are high that he’s planning to chop your head off and replace you with a clockwork sex machine.
Try rummaging through his tool shed to see if he’s ordered six dozen replacement silicone breasts, or why not follow him to the local Masonic lodge and climb into the vents. He might think you’ve turned into a mad stalker, but it’s a small price to pay for your safety!
It’s an old, old story, so don’t let it happen to you. Try making an inordinate amount of inappropriate groaning noises next time you make love, and if that doesn’t work, try dampening his ardour for all things metallic by leaving large colour photographs of courgettes being lowered into food processors about the place.
Clone (As Seen In: The 6th Day/Multiplicity/Judge Dredd*)
So, you’re headed home from a busy day’s governating, looking forward to slipping into your hairy Conan loincloth and relaxing, but what’s this? You’re already home? You’ve had the nerve to come home before yourself, put your own kids to bed and eat dinner with your own wife? All while you’re slaving away at work?
The clone is a bloody pain in the neck, taking over all the good parts of your life while you do all the work. Of course, there’s no reason you can’t turn the tables, simply following Michael Keaton’s Multiplicity example by having a few extra yous stashed about the place. This will make household chores a breeze. Unfortunately there’s always the danger they might form a union, or (even worse) demand a retrospective trilogy that completely ruins three movies you have fond childhood memories of.
There’s no trusting those devious doppelgängers after all, so perhaps it’s best if you just shoot ‘em in the head. Fortunately your lucrative career in the movies means you should have an array of exotic weaponry in your wardrobe: a magic sword, Mr.Freeze’s ‘Freeze Gun’, or some crap you stole off a Predator which will make liquefying that clone a breeze. Just make sure you don’t accidentally shoot yourself by mistake.
*The shit one. Not Dredd, which was amazing.
Hologram (As Seen In: Total Recall)
Apart from being the perfect excuse to show this video of Arnie killing a whole bunch of people, holograms are, for once, a useful double!
The holographic projector is obviously handy for interstellar secret agents who don’t want to get shot up, but it has plenty of everyday applications as well. Tired of hanging around in shoe shops while your partner agonises over 15 sets of pumps? Simply go to the pub next door and have the fake you accompany her. Just remember to alternately nod and shake your head and say “You look lovely dear” at regular intervals to avoid being discovered. Although this may backfire if the pub is particularly rough.
Pod Person (As Seen In: The Thing/Invasion Of The Body Snatchers/The Faculty)
The tricksiest of the bunch! Things From Another Worlds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Alien Doubles in general are super-sneaky, so much so that you might not even realise you’re one of them. You may already be a hungry hungry exobeast intent on devouring humanity!
Fortunately there’s a simple enough way to check… prick your finger, then attempt to cauterise the wound. If your thumb turns into a gigantic, flesh-eating head/spider abomination, then it’s too late for you I’m afraid. If nothing happens, simply avoid Donald Sutherland at all costs (this is good advice generally) then you’ll be A-okay!
Oh and don’t forget to check your neighbours. If they seem to be spending several hours a day in the bath or under the garden sprinkler system then now might well be the time for that extended holiday to an isolated island you’ve always dreamed of.
Evil Baby (As Seen In: Rosemary’s Baby/Demon Seed/The Omen)
This is admittedly one that’s more of a worry when you’re less than six months old, but Satan is a notorious prankster. If you’re a soon-to-be parent it’s worth checking up on your kids just in case. You don’t want to end up being pushed off a balcony or trapped under a frozen pond do you?
Try to remember the following:
- Were your children delivered by spooky nuns or monks covered in blood?
- Do they have any unusual, numeric birthmarks?
- Is their closest friend a huge black dog with glowing red eyes?
If the answer is yes – and assuming there isn’t a local branch of Ghostbusters available – there’s only one course of action: send them to a top university and prepare them for a career as head of a major corporation/secretary general of the UN, so they can lead us to our untimely doom.
Alternatively, they could become the lead guitarist for Marylyn Manson, although that may be a fate worse than eternity in the fiery depths of Hades. Avoid this by insisting your baby is born in an unassuming hospital in South London, and make sure you label their forehead with a Sharpie the moment they are born. Oh, and when leaving, take the stairs.
Hopefully this basic guide should cover most cases of DoppelGangery, but the Methods staff can’t be everywhere (unless we’re clones too of course) so if you can think of any other cases of strange replacement shenanigans feel free to add to the list. And don’t get your robot double to do it for you either.