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Primitive Culture: A Star Trek History and Culture Podcast

Apr 15, 2021

Suspiria and “Cold Fire”

Despite being teased in the series premiere, it took Star Trek: Voyager well over a year to actually introduce its female caretaker, a being with the power to send the ship home on a whim. And when the entity did appear, in the second-season episode “Cold Fire,” she turned out to have a surprising and distinctly sinister name: Suspiria. An apparent reference to Dario Aregnto’s 1977 film of the same name, in which a young ballet student stumbles into a coven of witches, it was a clear sign that the female caretaker would prove less benign than her male counterpart.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Lee Hutchison for a look at some of the links between Argento’s remarkable movie and this unusually creepy Voyager installment. We discuss episode writer Brannon Braga’s well-documented love of horror, the repurposing of Kes as the archetypal Scream Queen, and whether the horror genre’s conflicted feminism is a good or bad fit for the gender politics of Trek’s first female-led show.

Duncan Barrett

Lee Hutchison

Tony Black (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer)