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Posts Tagged ‘monsters’

Vampires Don’t Suck

May 31st, 2017 Comments off

When I was a kid I wanted to be turned into a vampire. OK, I didn’t really think through the lead up to becoming a vampire, mainly the being killed part, but I thought vampires were really – and I mean REALLY cool.
What’s not to love? They’re immortal, strong, fast, they can hypnotize victims, turn into bats or mist; they just rule the roost.Vampire - Salems Lot variety
Vamps have their limitations of course: garlic, wooden stakes, sunlight, crosses.

Now traditionally Dracula was not destroyed by sunlight but instead became a mere mortal during that time so sunlight isn’t always a problem. Some of the scariest vampires are pretty darn ugly so I wasn’t too happy about that in my childish imaginings. I loved comics as a kid (who didn’t?) and Marvel fed my vamp fetish morbiuswith Morbius the living vampire.

Ah good times. Vampires have had many forms and I tend to think most of them are really cool Did you see The Lost Boys? OMG it was awesome fun with fun juvenile delinquents as vampires – there was probably a whole new generation of youngsters influenced by that. Of course in more recent years you started getting the romantic vampire appearing – I’m not talking about the original Dracula lost love romantic vampire but the Anne Rice style brooding vamp. It all went downhill from there in my opinion (YMMV) ending in the greatest abomination of all, glittering vampires with no measurable weaknesses at all except their need to stalk moody teen girls. *shudder* And what was it with that story? Why is a vampire who is hundreds of years old obsessed with acting like a teen and chasing immature young girls? For God’s sake he’s OLD. Just because the body hasn’t aged doesn’t mean the mind hasn’t. And he was a stalker, not romantic. OK, I’m not going to go there any further, it will just annoy me, and you in all probability.

What’s my perfect vampire?  Well he or she should look normal since after all it WAS a human. Maybe the vampire should become more monstrous when enraged with blood lust but then that could revert back to normal once the blood lust is sated. The vampire is strong and invulnerable to most harm except sunlight and maybe a stake when at rest. It never ages thanks to drinking human life force.

I really don’t need my vampire to be super fast or transform into animals of mist but I do expect my vampire to use what he’s learned from his unending life. He should know how to manipulate people, understand human nature and be SMART. Good God he’s seen centuries of human life, nothing should surprise him.  I also think if I were writing a vampire I’d make it so that just a bite doesn’t form a new vampire, even feeding them your blood won’t do it. The vampire should only be able to create offspring after it’s survived a certain amount of time – maturity after all. That’s how you keep vampires from exponentially increasing like a bad zombie plague and overrunning the globe.

So what’s your favorite or least favorite thing about Vampires? How would you design one?  Until next time….

bat

 

 

 

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Categories: Monsters Tags: , , ,

Werewolves

May 17th, 2017 Comments off

Let’s talk about one of my favorite movie monsters – the werewolf.

Throughout most of history wolf represented danger, evil, and maliciousness. The werewolf was seen as  a creature created by the Devil or as punishment from a deity. The last thing you’d ever want is to become one.

Zeus turning Lycaon into a wolf; engraving by Hendrik Goltzius.

Zeus turning Lycaon into a wolf; engraving by Hendrik Goltzius.

What appears to be the oldest story of a werewolf (in European culture) is an ancient myth. Ovid wrote the Metamorphoses in 1 A.D. In it, he told the tale of King Lycaon (the origin of the word Lycanthrope) who tested Zeus by serving him the roasted flesh of Lycaon’s own son Nyctimus, in order to see whether Zeus was truly omniscient. In return for these gruesome deeds, Zeus transformed Lycaon into the form of a wolf.

I’m not going to launch into a scholarly examination of the history of werewolves or give a blow by blow of all the versions. I want to discuss why we modern readers and movie viewers  like them.

The werewolf represents something modern man has gotten away from – the  primal world. Back in prehistory wolves were a real threat to humans. Eventually our brains figured out  how to beat back the wolf from the door; our guns made us invincible.

The thought of an ancient carnivore rival to our superiority taking over our body or that of someone near us brings back that primal fear. A wolf can’t be reasoned with, it can’t be bribed. It only understands its primal need to hunt, feed, mate. Unfortunately I think the mating part of the equation has taken the lead these days and werewolves are seen as steamy sexy love interests in romance thrillers. But who am I to judge, everyone has their own joys in fiction, so let’s not go there.

As a kid I thrilled to Lon Chaney Jr. in the 1941 movie The Wolf Man. He was a frightening monster who stalked the hapless humans through the darkness.

werewolf18century

18th Century engraving of a werewolf

When I think of some of the great movie werewolves what springs to mind are tortured souls, trapped by a curse who painfully transform into a monstrous beast that then goes forth to kill and main. Quite often the beast kills or tries to kill those closest to its human form. There’s some great self loathing psychology happening there even if the writers didn’t realize it.

Werewolves embody strength, rage, animal lust for life. They are nature incarnate come to punish humans for their transgressions. AND to top it all off they’re just a blast to watch chase screaming men and women across the screen.

Lucky for those hapless people, the werewolf usually loses in the end, but that’s just cinema. I think if a real werewolf existed that was as tough and powerful as cinema leads us to believe the poor humans would be up shit creek.

So what’s your favorite? Old school tortured Wolf Man? Creepy werewolves from The Howling?

Werewolves on Wheels 1971 ‧ Outlaw biker werewolf movie

Werewolves on Wheels
1971 ‧ Outlaw biker werewolf movie

Maybe your faves are bad B movie critters like in Werewolves on Wheels (as a fan of bad B movies, I really have fond memories of this movie from when I was a kid – I actually saw it at a drive in with my folks – mom was not amused by it)

Whatever your taste, if you  like werewolves I think you’re in good company. There’s a lot of us out there who love those furry furious monsters.

 

 

Here’s a good discussion of werewolves in cinema which kind of matches my thoughts.

Here’s some great transformation scenes from movies. The first couple are my favorites from slightly older movies. I think the thing that makes those transformation scenes great is that they are not the slick CGI instant transformations like the Twilight movies. They are painful, slow, terrifying. They show the horror of the curse coming on the human. Werewolves have mostly been seen as cursed souls. Lately we’ve tried turning them into sexy hunks who aren’t scary at all but instead just want to hook up with a hot woman and make little Wolfman babies. I’m not sure where the werewolf lost its horror but if you look at all the Shifter Romance stories out there you’d think that they were no more dangerous (to the right woman) than a poodle. These clips are mostly featuring bad ass monsters.

Until next time keep howling at the moon.

 

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For the Love of Monsters

May 9th, 2017 Comments off

Classic Monsters

Monster movies or slasher movies? There seems to be only two extremes in most people’s minds when they hear the term Horror.

Personally I love all types of horror but I can only watch so many angst-ridden teens being chased by axe/knife/chainsaw wielding maniacs. Now, some of the ‘maniacs’ like Freddy Krueger and the ever undying Michael Myers or Jason might count as monsters but I tend to think of them as just uber-slashes. The main fear factor of these movies is the chase and how artfully or grossly the hapless victims can be slain.

The birth of the slasher genre is often accredited to Halloween in 1978. but c’mon anyone who has ever looked askance at their shower curtain knows that the slasher genre started in 1960 with Alfred Hitchcock’s, Psycho. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of the genre but it really doesn’t hold a place of love and fuzzy happiness in my heart like monster movies.

I’ve loved my monsters my entire life. I cut my teeth on Saturday morning horror movies when I was a kid in Philadelphia.

The  Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the classics that I think of when I think monster movie.
You can also lump in Godzilla, King Kong, Zombies, Vampires (Dracula and the like – but please, not Twilight *shudder*) and of course the Mummy into the monster category.

Notice that I tend to think ‘classic monsters’. Monsters still abound in modern cinema. Who could doubt that Jaws or Cujo were monsters?
Heck you can even make the argument that ghost stories are monster tales with the spectral creature acting as monster. My wife is terrified by the rage spirit in Ju-on and I quite agree that she’s very unsettling.

Some monsters are just a fun romp. Pacific Rim, while not a great movie was a great monster romp. Not at all scary but fun. Most giant monsters tend to be less scary than plain old exciting to watch. Try to tell me you don’t want to stomp through a miniature Tokyo in a Godzilla costume.

When well done, monsters can be terrifying. When I saw Alien back in 1979 it was sci-fi blended with gothic horror and it was terrifying. Jaws prompted every kid in my high school to run out and catch and kill sharks – for revenge.

Classic monsters like Dracula and the Mummy are perfect examples of monsters who can be brooding and build tension and terror in the viewer.  I think monster movies should build tension and dread before slapping you in the face with the scary monster. You should be worried about every shadow the hero passes, every creak in the haunted house. When that monster finally appears you should have such a dire image in your head that it takes all your will power to peek between your fingers to see just how horrid it really is. Slashers can’t do that in my book, they just have you on edge waiting for the jump scare when they pop out and stab/bludgeon/choke/etc. someone.

I think in future posts I’m going to visit some of my favorite monsters and  figure out why they intrigue me and why they should intrigue you.

So, what do you think? Monsters or Slashers? Both? Neither?   I would love to hear your comments as to what you consider the best horror material

 

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Categories: Monsters Tags: , , ,