Monsters! An American Werewolf in London

WHAT DOES THE PROTAGONIST WANT? Hey, good question. "To not become a monster" seems to be the best bet, with "to bed the pretty nurse" coming in adistant second.

WHO IS THE MONSTER? Gaaah! Run for your lives, the monster is the protagonist! The calls are coming from inside the house!

WHAT IS THE WARNING? "To beware" seems to be the dominant warning — beware foreign customs, or rather, observe foreign customs, beware your own nature. Stop being such a lovable, happy-go-lucky idiot — it can only lead to mass murder and your own destruction. Your goofball exterior masks a raging, homicidal beast and the world will kill you for it. I am glad to report that America has taken the warning of Werewolf to heart and the world is now a safer, better place for stats

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"So what’s a monster?"[info]ted_slaughter

monster: c.1300, "malformed animal, creature afflicted with a birth defect," from O.Fr. monstre, from L. monstrum "monster, monstrosity, omen, portent, sign," from root of monere "warn" (see monitor). Abnormal or prodigious animals were regarded as signs or omens of impending evil. Extended c.1385 to imaginary animals composed of parts of creatures (centaur, griffin, etc.). Meaning "animal of vast size" is from 1530; sense of "person of inhuman cruelty or wickedness" is from 1556. In O.E., the monster Grendel was an aglæca, a word related to aglæc "calamity, terror, distress, oppression."

See also demonstrate, but, oddly enough, not stats

"To warn." Well isn’t that a breath of fresh air? A monster is a warning. And, I think we would say, a monster movie is a warning. "If we continue behaving in x fashion, this will be the result." A monster movie may enforce that assertion (Aliens: "if we continue to let capitalism shape the way we think, the result will be our destruction") examine it (American Werewolf: "if we are careless, even the charming and sympathetic among us may become evil") or invert it (Edward Scissorhands: "the monster is blameless, it is we who are the monsters").

Thanks to everyone for contributing to yesterday’s post — there were many excellent suggestions made, movies I hadn’t thought about in years and, sometimes, had never thought of at all.


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Another project has crossed my desk, this one dealing with monsters, and I have been charged with coming up with a fresh take on the monster genre. I invite my readers to submit their favorites — strictly monsters, not "horror movies" or "scary movies" or "ghost stories" or "serial killer thrillers" but pure monster movies. Points given for groundbreakers and movies that view their monsters from unique viewpoints, movies that really surprised you and made you think of monsters in different ways. I thank you in advance.


I sense a pattern here.

The history of classic movie monsters seem to progress from creatures who are recognizably human to creatures that seem to be at least part human to creatures that are demonstrably not (I suppose it’s not a coincidence that Mr. Ridley Scott’s movie was called Alien).  Then it rebounds again as creatures like Jason and Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger come along.  And little Sadako of course.

As part of a project I’m working on, I’m thinking about classic monsters and why they work, why they are scary.  Is it lack of human form, as in Alien?  Or perversion of recognizable form, as in The Thing?  Lack of humanity seems to be a constant, but what exactly freaks us out about the physical form of these creatures?  Is it teeth, is it tentacles, is it claws, is it their eyes, or lack of them?

Tell me, if you will, what was the first, or latest, physical manifestation of horror that completely freaked you out, and what was it about it that did it?
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