We all have a monster we love to watch. Some of us enjoy the gore fest that comes with a zombie while others prefer the smooth, sophisticated wiles of the vampire.
So, just what makes these monsters so ‘appealing’ for want of a better word. What aspects of them make them our favourites? For the 16th day of the advent calendar, I thought I’d ponder the question.
If I had to list my favourite monsters, zombies would probably come top. While the monster itself doesn’t do much except groan and tuck into human flesh in a similar manner I do when I’m presented with a cheesy pizza, the actual world they reside in is something most people enjoy.
Survival storylines are popular at the moment, as we all cringe and wait for the next catastrophe to strike (2016 you’ve been shit) and to be honest every time I’m surprised it isn’t a disease coming to wipe us out.
Zombies make us question what we would do. Would we save a stranger? Would we hunker down and wait it out or would we be out there fighting the undead? Could we kill a loved one who has turned?
Zombies take everything we know and turn it on its head, it involves everyone, there are no secrets. The monster and the world it creates challenges our views on what is right and wrong and we enjoy questioning the choices of the characters in the TV shows and films we watch.
Forget Twilight for a moment, but vampires have always been the sexual, dangerous monster at least in modern culture. Vampires represent everything we think we shouldn’t openly disclose, they are comfortable with their sexuality, they are homoerotic, they are the thing in the dark that leads us to temptation.
For the most part, vampires are beautiful creatures. Even Joss Whedon’s monsters have attractive faces until they fight or feed, luring people in and then transforming. Vampires are a warning against our desires, and have always been used to comment on issues of the time.
I am Legend is an example I’ve used before, as the vampire is introduced to comment on racial segregation in the US, in the 50s. The protagonist in the end realises that this new integration is the future and accepts the changes ahead – albeit quite dramatically as he allows them to execute him.
Ghosts make us question. They make us reconsider our sanity, they exist on the fringes of the real world and the spiritual and their fluid movement between each has an effect on our beliefs.
For those who prefer being genuinely scared, ghosts are the best choice of monster to watch or read about. There are no rules really, they can haunt you in your home, they can travel via electricity, they can even hurt you if they are strong enough. The fear of being attacked in the one place you should feel safe, your bedroom, is something ghosts encapsulate perfectly.
One of the more under appreciated monsters, the werewolf gets a bad rap mainly because no one can get it quite right when it comes to the monster and CGI. They’re either a guy in a hairy costume that could have been stolen from George Lucas’s wardrobe or a poor looking CGI dog looking thing, climbing up walls and leaping at other characters. Or they’re just an enormous but kind of cute wolf like in the Twilight series. Bluergh.
Werewolves are an interesting monster though because they play on the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ effect. They are a seemingly normal person who has no control over their affliction, with deadly consequences. They don’t have an agenda like vampires or ghosts, they are simply primal monsters and that is what makes them so dangerous.
Which monster will you be watching/reading about this Halloween?
P.S Check out one of my latest posts featuring some creepy ‘true’ horror stories!