Three seemingly innocuous words, with unknown meaning and little literary worth. Or are they? In the true spirit of geekyness, nerdiness and the downright awesome; your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor brings you easter eggs that have been hidden in movie greats in a referencing conspiracy spanning over 40 years.
Prepare yourself, beloved reader, to be informed
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The first time these words were used was way back in 1951. Edmund H. North who wrote The Day the Earth Stood Still, created an entire alien language for the movie. The spelling of the phrase as used in this article, is considered the official spelling, taken directly from the original script. The words themselves were meant as a fail-safe feature for diplomatic missions, such as the one Klaatu and Gort make to Earth in the film.
Near the end of the movie, Klaatu he tells Helen Benson about his killing machine, Gort, and asks her to memorize the phrase to stop it from killing everyone on Earth, saying “There’s no limit to what he can do. He could destroy the Earth… If anything should happen to me you must go to Gort, you must say these words, ‘Klaatu barada nikto’, please repeat that.”
Shortly after, Klaatu is shot and killed. Gort, knowing he has died, goes on the rampage with his disintegration eye beam and undisputed invulnerability. It’s then up to Helen to stop the massacre by saying, “Gort, Klaatu barada nikto. Klaatu barada nikto.” Yay.
Apparently Keanu, (fight off the woodpeckers), Reeves wanted to include the words in the 2008 remake, but no one cared about him so it didn’t happen.
Return of the Jedi
Didn’t see that one coming, eh? That’s right, beloved reader, the next time the words are used in a movie was in the form of three character names in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
Klaatu: An indentured servant, working off a large gambling debt to the Hutt himself, but he was secretly plotting to kill Jabba. He’s the poor sap that gets cut in half by Luke Skywalker on Jabba’s sail barge.
Barada: A Klatooinian slave and mechanic who worked on Jabba’s pool of repulsor vehicles. He was trying to pay his way out of slavery with the work but the Hutt had tricked him by taking room and food from his wages, leaving him skint. Despite this he was considered a royal servant with great responsibilities and underlings, mainly in the form of droids.
Nikto: Strange name for this easy to miss minor character, because Nikto are in fact an entire species. They are a kind of ‘client’ species in cahoots with the Hutt gangster empire. These reptilian humanoids vary widely in appearance but all have leathery skin and are generally of average human height, around 1.8 metres tall. Most have obsidian eyes, sometimes covered with a protective membrane. Massive radiation from the nearby dying star M’dweshuu caused them to experience a faster rate of mutation, traits that should take millions of years developing in mere thousands, giving them the wide variation of appearance.
Army of Darkness
This one is obvious right? The third time these immortal words crop up in the be-dazzling realm of cinema in the third instalment of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy.
Continuing from Evil Dead 2, Ash Williams, (Bruce Campbell), has been thrown back in time to the middle ages and is forced once again to battle the undead on his quest to return home. In order to retrieve the Necronomicon which has the power to return him to his own time, the words must be spoken precisely or doom and other undesirable business will occur.
The film was made in agreement with a production deal after Darkman was such a success. Universal Studios premiered the movie at the Sitges Film Festival, October 9th 1992 and release in the US on February 19th 1993. The film was dedicated to Irvin Shapiro, who died during its production.
If your geek glands aren’t raging after that, there must be something seriously wrong with your endocrine system.