This isn’t strictly a review, but it is worthy of a post on the subject of what this mini-series means. I also suggest you watch the YouTube series if you haven’t already.
Today I watched the recently published The Film Theorists two-part series on this 2004 horror story, from (and definitely based in) England. The theory, like many others, was originally conceived by others online, but the high quality of the production makes it more attractive and easier to digest. Please watch it for the sake of this alternative theory.
The Film Theorists suggest that “Salad Fingers” is a mixed-race illegitimate child who has been disowned and has suffered mentally from possible racial abuse. I’d like to add that in many scenes we see Salad Fingers’ bedroom window which has bars on it, giving the distinct signal that he is, in reality, in a mental institution, while the world outside of his bedroom is entirely within his own head. My alternate addition to this theory is the possibility that Salad Fingers hasn’t even been born.
The creator, David Firth, would often respond to people theorizing over his series with scorn and insist that his work has no objective purpose or message. He may be rebutting all of these theories, or more likely, he may not be aware of the deeper story he’s telling. A great many stories of seeming nonsense have been told and yet people have found meaning in them, but where do such elaborate unconscious structures come from? In Firth’s instance he could be channeling an unborn uncle or other family member, aborted due who is father was. The Film Theorists refer to an abortion in the 10th episode, but conveniently leaves the significance of that out of their theory. Another compelling scene is his conversation with himself where a father figure confronts somebody who seduced his daughter – this scene preceded the abortion scene, which suggests the confrontation came first in real-life chronology. Why would a backroom abortion be opted for instead of a “shotgun wedding” if not for a darker motive such as interracial relations? We see Salad Fingers take the form of many characters in the context of this theory, so why is the tree necessarily the one his brother is buried under, particularly since his brother wasn’t dug up from under the tree? In one character Salad Fingers measures the distance of the tree from his front door and complains that he/it hasn’t grown far away enough from his front door over the past week. Why? This hasn’t been addressed by the Film Theorist. In my alternate theory, Salad Fingers is currently playing his mother or another family member checking to see how far the MEMORY or effect of this unwanted child is from their awareness and whether it’s becoming more distant. I thought it was particularly interesting when a branch of the child-tree crept into the house and Salad Fingers bit the end of it, not knowing what it was. Could this have been symbolic of the spirit of the unborn child trying to reach back to it’s mother for connection and comfort and being rejected with hostility? It’s also interesting that Salad Fingers also transitions between genders, related to the possibility of the child being aborted before a gender could even be assigned to him.