As more than one comedian has put it, Labor Day is that time of year we get to celebrate having a job by not working all day. However, the official website of U.S. Department of Labor would prefer we take a more somber approach to the holiday. It reminds us that Labor Day “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
In that spirit, we here at The B-Movie Catechism would like to take the time to celebrate those laborers who take care of the most thankless tasks imaginable, those who have the worst jobs in Sci-Fi/Horror movies.
1. LAB ASSISTANT
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working for Victor Frankenstein, Herbert West, or any other of the countless mad scientists out there, the job of lab assistant in sci-fi/horror movies just plain sucks. It’s not just the usual tedious tasks like prepping experiments, recording data, and cleaning up the equipment afterwards. It’s more all of the grave robbing, kidnapping, and dealing with a boss who daily intrudes on God’s domain that makes the job such a chore. At best, you’ll end up dead. At worst, you’ll find yourself strapped to a table and turned into some hideous human/cobra hybrid with an intense aversion to mongooses (not mongeese, we looked it up). If you can find a way to skip such an internship, we highly recommend it.
2. PERSONAL CARE ASSISTANT TO BARON HARKONNEN
Vladimir Harkonnen was bad enough in Frank Herbert’s written works, what with being a pedophile/rapist who regularly drank blood straight from his servants’ hearts. So wretched was he that the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserits cursed the creep with a degenerative disease making him so fat (how fat was he?) that he has to use anti-gravity suspensors just to move his butt around. If you’ve ever watched a single episode of My 600-lb Life, then you know what that means. Somebody has to give this guy a bath every day. If it was just the weight, that might be okay. That’s just one of the challenges of caring for the morbidly obese. But in David Lynch’s movie version of Dune, Harkonnen’s corpulent condition is also accompanied by huge, festering boils all over his body. Nobody wants the job of rubbing a damp sponge all over that, especially not when there’s a better than average chance of getting buggered in the process.
3. TOKYO DEPARTMENT OF SANITATION WORKER
Fandom being what it is, there have been numerous online debates as to whether or not Godzilla poops. The general consensus seems to be that since the Big G ingests nothing but radiation, there would be no physical waste to worry about. Rodan, on the other hand, you just know that guy has to leave droppings everywhere. And then there’s Hedorah, the Smog Monster. He’s basically half-excrement to begin with. So, when the fighting is all done, somebody has to clean all that doody up, right? Well, a little investigation reveals that in New York, it is actually the Sanitation Department’s job to clean up anything the City’s mounted police force leaves behind. As such, it seems reasonable to expect their Japanese counterparts would to have to do the same for any beasts, large or small, roaming their streets. They probably have to use bigger shovels though.
4. NYC SEWAGE TREATMENT WORKER
As the New York Times so succinctly points out, the job of Sewage Treatment Worker is tough, unpleasant, and just plain dirty. It goes without saying, however, that modern metropolises couldn’t function without the public service provided by these dedicated men and women. And it’s not just dealing with filthy working conditions and the occasional vermin that make sewer workers the unsung heroes of the Big Apple. If the movies are to be believed, they also have to put up with giant alligators, flesh-eating blobs, human-mimicking mutant cockroaches, Jason Voorhies, and C.H.U.Ds. Whatever you do, don’t forget about the C.H.U.Ds.
In the real world, a recent study published the University of Chicago showed that if you want to have a job where you are the happiest and most satisfied, then you need to join the clergy. One of the authors of the study noted, “The most satisfying jobs are mostly professions, especially those involving caring for, teaching, and protecting others and creative pursuits.” That pretty much describes being a priest, which got a whopping 89% satisfaction rate on the survey. It’s a little different in the movies, though. In the celluloid universe, anytime some half-ass sorcerer, self-centered Cenobite, dime-store devil worshiper, or demon de jour shows up and wants to make a name for themselves, they head straight for the nearest Catholic Church and try to take out the local pastor. You know, a priest’s schedule is packed enough as it is. Add in having to stop what they’re doing every fifteen minutes to ward off the hordes of Hell, and it just gets unbearable.
And there you have it, the worst jobs to have in Sci-Fi/Horror movies. There’s no doubt more, so be sure to drop a note in the comments letting us know what you think should be added to the list. Happy Labor Day, everyone!