Hi friends! 👋🏻 I may have taken an accidental short break thanks to my ever changing sleep schedule, but I am back in action and ready to act like nothing ever happened!
It is no secret that I love my monsters. I like evil monsters, good monsters, neutral monsters, scary monsters, cuddly monsters, monsters who need a hug, monsters that will probably tear your ears out if you try to go near it, and monsters that are so giant that they would crush your house under their feet. Monsters are great is what I’m getting at here, so I decided that today I would talk about my favourite monsters and why they are so awesome.
Also, look at this GIF. It’s incredible.
Godzilla – Godzilla
Of course, I have to start off with the King of the Monsters. And don’t try to argue with me that someone else is the King of the Monsters because you’ll be wrong. The Big G has a movie called King of the Monsters so it’s undisputed.
What I love the most about Godzilla is that because he is a character that doesn’t talk and we never hear his thoughts (well, most of the time) he can be either a hero or a villain, or neither, and what he represents can change depending on the writer or the director. The very first movie from 1954 features him as a villainous representation of the horrors of nuclear war and it works incredibly well. Shin Godzilla from 2016 goes back to that original style by having him again be a villainous representation of something, but this time it’s of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and how sluggish the government were to respond to it. Don’t let anybody tell you that monster movies can’t be political or metaphorical because they’re wrong.
I have yet to see any of the non-political Godzilla movies where he’s fighting other monsters and being transported to outer space and facing against robot clones of himself but I do plan to sometime in the future. If my wish of the Criterion boxset not being £150 anymore comes true.
The Monster – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I was originally torn between putting Victor on this list instead of his baby because Victor isn’t exactly a saint himself (he decides that he doesn’t like what he’s being taught at university so skips class to make a person out of dead body parts and then abandons it and then blames his dad for everything while running off into the Swiss countryside to calm down, the boy’s a wreck), but I went with the baby instead because he is so much easier to sympathise with than Victor is. And yes, I’m referring to a seven-foot thing as a baby.
I personally like both interpretations of the Monster – the really smart one that never stops talking, and the one that barely talks at all – because both of them are ones that I can easily feel sorry for and want to baby them. Well, maybe not when the book version goes off on some Paradise Lost style rant about being unappreciated. Then I would want to shove him down a hill for annoying me.
Here’s something: I once heard Eli Roth describe the monster as “a zombie who talks way too much” and all I can say to that is no ❤️
Count Dracula – Dracula by Bram Stoker
You know what makes Dracula so scary in the book? You barely ever see him. And there is nothing scarier than a presence that you can feel but can’t see. That mystique surrounding him makes him so much scarier than if he was constantly there. The beginning chapters in his castle already establish that there’s something not right about him, but if we were to see him more than that, his oddness would just become a quirk and not a sign that he’s a threat.
Although I am a lot more lenient when it comes to works based on classic novels, I really can’t get behind the idea of Dracula as a romantic hero. As much as I love Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the idea of him being this tragic romantic figure who has always been in love with Mina Harker is one that just doesn’t do it for me. the scene where he breaks into her room and forces her to drink his blood isn’t romantic, and it’s certainly not erotic, it symbolises sexual assault and the point is to show you that Dracula is a dangerous person. I could go into so much depth on the metaphors and symbolism in Dracula because that’s what I studied for my Masters degree, but that would be a very long, very rambly, potentially boring post.
The Joker – DC
Can a human be a monster? Of course they can, and I feel like the Joker is proof of that. Depending on the writer, of course. I’m not including the standalone movie Joker because I don’t think he’s a monster at all, just a victim of circumstance who made a series of extremely unfortunate decisions against people who treated him badly and became a villain through his own actions.
Although Joker is one of my favourite villains, I do have a love-hate relationship with him because while he is so irredeemably awful that seeing people try to thwart him is entertaining, he gets a lot of overexposure to the point that other DC villains will probably never get their time in the spotlight because the writers think that people expect to see a murderous clown all the time. We don’t. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to a superhero’s rogues gallery.
Also, I feel like I have to say this because so many people still don’t get it: Joker and Harley breaking up and her realising that he’s abusive and she’s better off without him, is not a groundbreaking idea that challenges the patriarchy. It’s her natural story progression. Joker and Harley’s relationship is not one that was originally written to be romantic but came off as abusive, it was always abusive. That was the whole point.
Xenomorph – Alien
Name a scarier horror movie monster than this one. I’ll wait. I’m probably in the minority here but I personally think that the Alien is at its scariest in the first Alien movie because that one is actually scary compared to the rest of the series. Yes, including Aliens.
What makes the Alien so scary in the first movie is exactly why Dracula is so scary in his book: you very rarely see it and every time that we do, it’s very unlikely that something good is going to happen. And the chestburster. That’s scary too.
I personally feel like the rest of the series just cheapened the alien and made it less of a mystery by adding more and making different breeds of them and trying to explain where they came from and kind of failing at that. I pretty firmly believe that the unknown is the scariest thing of all. That’s why space is so scary.
Cookie Monster – Sesame Street
I had to include at least one monster who is completely nice, and I can’t think of a nicer monster than Cookie Monster. Well, maybe Elmo, but he’s a saccharine kind of nice due to being a three-year-old. I didn’t grow up on Sesame Street the same way a lot of other people did because I only had video tapes thanks to the BBC declaring it to be “too authoritarian” which is something I will never understand (what’s authoritarian about teaching kids about numbers, letters, food, and being nice to other people?).
But anyway, Cookie Monster is the monster I like the most on Sesame Street because although we primarily know him as being a food craving monster who has a simplistic manner of speech, he is quite flexible in how he can be portrayed. Plus, he’s bright blue. What could be better than that?
The Darkling – Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo
I often feel like saying that you like The Darkling is a little dangerous in bookish circles because there are people who immediately assume that you sympathise with him and think that he is a precious widdle baby who did nothing wrong and should have gotten with Alina instead of Mal. But that is not why I like The Darkling at all.
To me, The Darkling is absolutely a monster. He’s suave, sophisticated, intimidating, and absolutely ruthless in his pursuit of power. That makes for a good villain rather than a romantic interest. Unless that’s your thing. His relationship with Alina is something that I never really saw as romantic or sexual, but one based entirely on power imbalance, which makes him so much more evil.
President Snow – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Even after reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes I still think that Snow is a monster. In fact, reading the prequel just reinforced that feeling because after going through so many awful things like poverty, deception, and other spoilery things, he still makes the choice to become a totalitarian dictator thanks to his nihilistic world view. Who does that? A monster, that’s who.
I feel like Snow is probably the best YA dystopian villain because he isn’t cartoonish in any way but he also isn’t completely faceless like so many other dystopian leaders. Who really is the leader of the world in Uglies? I don’t know, I just remember Special Circumstances and they weren’t leaders, just enforcers. As much as I love a good faceless villain, sometimes seeing that your enemy is an extremely evil person can make them even scarier.
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Who are some of your favourite monsters? Do you think a person can be a monster or do you see monsters in the more traditional way?