In a recent study, literature scholar and monster expert Leo Braudy outlines four major types of monsters: 1) The “monster from nature” who reflects our fears of losing control over the natural world. 2) Monsters that reflect human concerns with science and its power. 3) The “Jekyll and Hyde monster,” doppelganger figures that represent the ways that many people live double lives, or have more than one “true” self. 4) Monsters that serve to interrupt our modern developments and changes (especially those that somehow return from the past). For part one of your blogpost, I’d like you to discuss how a monster you viewed during your filmwork for this week fits within one of Braudy’s four over-arching categories. Whether you choose a creature from a horror film or a “classic” monster movie, I’d like you to explore how/why your chosen monster fits into one of these categories and thus works to “indulge our fears and desires” (to quote Braudy).
Sadly, this will be your final blogpost of the semester. Therefore, I thought this would be a good opportunity to make some final connections and draw some over-arching conclusions about your work this spring. So, for part two, I’d like you, again, to discuss a specific movie monster you screened in preparing for class this week – but preferably a different beast than you considered in part one. For this section, I’d simply like you to connect your monster to certain creatures, themes, and ideas we have covered previously this semester, and see what broad conclusions you can draw about movie monsters through these connections. Since this is your last blogpost of the semester, how does your selected cinematic beast tie into some of the key historical, social, and political ideas of the course, and what overall conclusions does it point to with regards to monsters and monstrosity? That is the question I would like you to answer here.
1.) Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) is the movie that I watched where the monster, Freddy Krueger, seems to fit as the monster who returned from the past and interrupts modern developments and changes. After watching the movie we learned that the highschoolers that are being haunted by Krueger are all from the same preschool class. Supposedly in the past the janitor of the preschool, Freddy Krueger, used to terrorize the students. When the parents of the preschoolers found out about this they decided to give him some revenge for harming their children, and they burned him alive. Freddy’s revenge is to kill the parent’s children in their sleep and ultimately interrupt the changes of their new life (trying to forget about this past). The plot of this movie can refer to the common theme that your past can and will haunt you.
2.) Another movie that I watched for this section was The Blair Witch Project where the witch which is the monster of this movie can be tied in with some of the other creatures, themes, and ideas that we have covered in class previously. Witches are a great scapegoat, this can be connected with different people’s social characteristics. Even though the witch in this movie is a pure monster who feeds upon humans, many historical witches were wrongly and inaccurately accused because of their social characteristics. Witches can also represent that the human soul can easily turn evil, like many politicians. Witches are also very historical, we used to and still have witch hunts and hangings. Witches like many other monsters can be wrongly accused and considered a monster.
1. The movie that I chose was The Shining. This movie represents the fourth type of monster, a monster that comes back from the past and disrupts modern development. In this movie, a family moves into an old hotel, where a man once went crazy and killed his family along with himself. Now the family living in the hotel is being haunted by a sinister presence.
2. Another film that I watched was Halloween. It is about a man named Michael Myers who was put away for killing his sister, but then escapes and goes back to his home town to terrorize the people in it. We can compare Michael Myers to Jeffrey Cohens monster theory. Number two of the theory is that the monster always escapes. Throughout the movie, we see that Michael Myers cannot be caught. Number five of the theory is that a monster polices boarders of possible. In the movie, we see multiple attempts to kill Michael Myers, but he resisted all of them.
1. I think a movie that could fit Leo Braudy’s first major type is White Zombie. Braudy’s first major type focuses on movies where we as humans lose control of the natural world. I would say someone turning into a zombie definitely qualifies as losing control of the natural world. The concept of zombies in general fits this type even better because it adds to the “natural” element of it. For example, if the zombies are caused by a dangerous plant, that would be a danger coming from nature.
2. I think the movie Frankenstein perfectly represents a lot of what we learned this semester. For one, it raises the question of what a monster truly is. We discussed that a lot at the beginning of the semester, defining what a monster is, and recognizing that it is not always clear. Frankenstein is a good example of this because it shows why the creature turned monstrous and makes the point that he may not have been this way had he been treated better. We also talked about history in the semester and Frankenstein is a very historic story. It has been told for years with hundreds of different wide-ranging variations. This is often a sign of a quality story that includes a monster worth talking about.
1. The monster King Kong, from the 1933 film of the same name, fits in Braudy’s first category, “The “monster from nature” who reflects our fears of losing control over the natural world.” To explain, King Kong comes from the remote location of Skull Island where he has not been introduced to modern civilization. The crew who bring King Kong to New York City want to control him and show him off, they can’t contain him and he ends up breaking loose and causing chaos with his primal antics. It’s not until the very end when they kill King Kong do the humans “have control over nature” again.
2. Ghostface from the movie Scream fits with Thesis II of Cohen’s Monster Theory “The monster always escapes” as Ghostface is able to evade the police and those who try to capture them, whether by film or handcuffs. The fact that Ghostface continues to exist in the Scream franchise also fits with this category of escaping and taking on different social beleifs. Sticking to the first film, Ghostface is also fits with Thesis V and VI as Ghostface is a way for Billy Loomis to exact revenge on Maureen Prescott who committed adultery with his father and causing his mother to abandon him. Ghostface in this context in the physical embodiment of horror’s past as he repeatedly makes reverences to older horror films and the horrors caused directly and indirectly by Maureen Prescott on the Loomis family.
I watched Halloween for this week. Halloween is one of my all time favorites. I think the infamous Michael Meyers is a perfect representation of number one. Which is our fear of losing control over the natural world. Michael Meyers was supposedly a natural born boy, who was somehow invincible. Nothing can kill him, they try everything in the series, bullets, fire, knives. He received the title the boogie man in the first film. His ultimate goal is to kill his whole family, a goal he began when he was 12. He murdered his step dad and older sister. Leaving the only two members of his family he liked left. He took mercy on his baby sister Laurie. When his mother came home to the sight he was sent to a mental institution. Micheal never spoke and was declared a psychopath. This movie shows a fear of losing empathy within a human being that can be a very scary scenario. Leading to a ruthless empty killer.
For part two, the other question that we have is especially the original movies of Halloween, “Why did he become a monster”. If you’re not a die hard Halloween fan like I am and only watch the first movie it barely talks about Michael Meyers as a person or a child growing up. It is very easy to label him as a mindless killing monster and it is no one’s fault but his own. But in future movies in the franchise you learn that maybe this would not have been his outcome if he did not have to grow up in the house that he did. With an abusive alcoholic stepfather. Or that he got ruthlessly bullied in school for being different. That actually ends up being his first murder, his school bullies. This raises a question we have been talking about all semester, that who is the real villain, the monster or society.
1. I re-watched Ju-on: The Grudge for my horror film. The main evil spirit in that film, Kayako, can show how we all have a second personality. In life she was a housewife and mother, but in death she is a vengeful spirit filled with wraith over her death and taking out her anger on all those who enter the house she once lived in. It’s a scary transformation, from a normal woman to a very angry murderous spirit.
2. Another film I watched was Alien. This creature fits in nicely with our earlier lessons. It is a representation of the fear of the unknown. The crew of the Nostromo lands on an unknown planet and discovers hostile life in the form of the Xenomorph, which is able to invade their very bodies with the Facehuggers. The creature itself is an amalgamation of parts, making itself look both familiar and alien at the same time. It is nigh unstoppable in the original movie and shows that if humanity wants to explore the unknown, they will face obstacles.
1) This week I watched Ridley Scott’s Alien, and I feel that the Xenomorph would most accurately fit into Braudy’s 1st major type. The titular alien has come from nature, but it is from a place in nature that has been previously unexplored. Due to its inherently foreign nature, the human characters are unsure of how to even react to and handle the situation when members of their crew slowly start being killed off. I first had thought that the Xenomorph could fit into the 2nd type due to the science fiction style of the film, but realized that the monster wasn’t made through human scientific means, but instead came from a more “natural” place. That place just happened to be based in science fiction.
2) For another movie, I watched Netflix’s Bird Box that was popular last year. The movie intentionally leaves the monster(s) vague, and decided to never show them on screen, as the sight of the creature causes those who see it to either go crazy and/or commit suicide. Though doing a little digging into the novel the movie was based on, as well as behind the scenes interviews, it seems that the image of the monster varies from person to person, as it takes on the appearance of the viewers worst fears. I feel that this also fits into the 1st type, as the creature literally taps into a person’s worst fears in order to manifest itself. It is unknown where the creature came from, but it seems to be derived from some sort of natural (or supernatural) means.
Part 1: I’m going to focus on Michael Myers from Halloween as the monster. I think that Michael fits into the category of the “Jekyll and Hyde monster” because his monstrous behavior started when he was younger and killed his sister. Michael lives a double life in this sense because no one ever expects a child to be a murderer, especially not one that goes after their own family members.
Part 2: Frankenstein is a good film for this part because it ties together a lot of ideas and concepts that were discussed throughout the course of the semester. To be more specific, we spent a lot of time questioning what a monster is and what features make up a so-called monster. We talked about physical, psychological, and any other type of characteristic you could possibly think of. I think Frankenstein relates to the everlasting question, “What is a monster?” because Frankenstein’s monster goes against the expectations of our perspectives. The backstory of the monster plays a major role in this question and allows us to be more sympathetic towards him because of how he was created, especially because he didn’t ask to be made. There’s so many different ways you could take Frankenstein’s monster and form some kind of answer to this question, which is why it makes the perfect example for part two of this blog post.
For this week, I chose to watch Halloween. I think that Michael Myers fits in the fourth category. After Michael was sent to a mental hospital in his youth, he came back to disturb the lives of others. The people in his town are living their everyday lives without fear. After many years, Michael comes back and he attacks again. This works to “indulge our fears and desires,” Brsudy, because we are afraid of things that we left in the past to come back and hurt us. This could be as simple as a mistake you made or a person. An event in someone’s life with negative consequences.
For part two, I chose to talk about Frankenstein’s monster. He is created in a lab by Frankenstein and escapes into the world. In the way, he kills a few people before he begins to understand them. He realizes that due to his deformity, he will never be able to live among humans. After reading the novel, many conclusions can be made. This speaks towards the monstrosity of humans and society. We do not accept differences and are afraid of those who are different. On the other hand, we see Frankenstein’s monster as such because that’s the way he is portrayed. Society not accepting him made him a monster. He killed because he wanted to be happy and humans only showed disgust towards him. In other words, society was who created the “monster.” In reality who is the bigger monster? The monster or who created him?
I chose to watch A Nightmare on Elm Street for my modern horror movie. The clear monster in the movie is Freddy Krueger because he haunts all of his victims in their dreams. I would say that Freddy fits within the 4th type of monster, one who disrupts modern development and somehow returns from the past. The reason why I believe this is where Freddy fits best is because all of his victims are from his past. He was a maintenance man at the preschool where all of the kids went but when they grew up and met in high school, they forgot how they knew him and didn’t understand why he was haunting them. Once the first few kids start to die in their sleep, the remaining characters start to put together where they remembered him from. The reason why Freddy came back from the past and is now haunting every last one of them was because of their parents. The kids would come home from school with marks all over their bodies and they suspected it was Freddy. The parents cornered him at a factory and lit the place on fire, which is how he is seen as “burned or melted” in the nightmares. Freddy is now coming back for revenge and is preventing the kids from living their lives by killing them in their sleep.
A different monster that I would discuss for part two would be Michael Myers from the movie Halloween. Michael Myers is a very known and “popular” monster who seems to never go away. He murders his sister and is sent away to a mental hospital, only to escape and return to his hometown to terrorize more teenagers. I could connect Michael Myers to Thesis Two, The Monster Always Escapes from Jeffery Cohen. Michael always seems to survive and escape anyone who tries to kill him or capture him. No matter what the police of the town try to do in order to stop his murder spree’s, nothing stops him and he always comes back one way or another. In order to tie this monster to social ideas recently discussed, all of the Halloween movies take the time for the viewers to understand Michael and why he became the monster he’s known as. If you watch all of the movies, you see that he was bullied from a young age because he was “different” from the other kids and he had an abusive and alcoholic stepfather. He missed out on proper nurturing and a strong father figure to help him through tough times like being bullied as a kid. It’s easy to see him as a murderous monster, but it isn’t entirely his fault when he’s never felt truly accepted by society or even his own family.
1.The film that I choses is Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), which I watched last night. The monster was Freddy Krueger, who came through dreams to kill the teens. During thought the movie we found out that the students’ parents killed him because he was harming the teen when they were in preschool. Freddy Krueger goes after all the teens by killing them in their dreams but before that he terrorizes them when they fall asleep wherever they fall asleep. This film goes with fears because he is trying to kill them in horrible ways, where they are scared and freighted to dead by him.
2.The other film I watched was Halloween, which is about a man named Michael Myers. He is the monster in the film because he was locked up for killing his sister when he was a young kid. However, he escapes and goes back to the town to kill the teens in that town. Throughout the movie many people were trying to kill him, but he could not be killed. They would go back the to area that they left him, and he would be gone. He could not be killed, and this turned series of him killing people and disappearing. Overall, he becomes this monster that cannot be killed that kills teens of his obsessions.
1. Godzilla represents a true force of nature in reaction to nuclear weapons. He definitely is a creature made by science hence the nuclear weapons. Godzilla shows signs of the Jekyll and Hyde type due to his dual nature of attacking human cities and structures but also defending earth from other monsters. Finally, the fourth just speaks for itself; he’s an essentially immortal creature who never stops returning and always regresses society when he shows up.
2. Godzilla is a physical manifestation of the effects of nuclear weapons on the ecosystem. It shows the true extent of mother nature’s wrath and just how deadly natural disasters can become.
Part 1: I chose to watch the film the Shining, and Jack Torrance fits the third type of Leo Braudys four major types of monsters. This is the “Jekyll and Hyde” type, where the character starts off one way, but eventually shows their true self. At first, Mr. Torrance is a standard father, with a wife and a young son. He works hard to provide for his family, and to put food on the table. However, he undergoes a major transformation while being the caretaker for a hotel during the off season with his family, and twists into something sickeningly evil. He harms others, and even attempts to murder his wife and young son. While most people don’t anticipate that they will become a murderous killer that slaughters their entire family, this movie speaks to that fear of becoming a person you don’t even recognize.
Part 2: Another movie I chose was Halloween, as it is an all-time family favorite in my household. This to me is the most classic representation of a movie monster. He has an interesting backstory, to give an explanation on why he is the way is he is. The film also does an excellent job at adding “horror” into it, such as the creepy music, dark lighting, and other camera tricks. Michael Meyers also fits some of Cohen’s ideas that we have talked about, such as the “the monster always gets away” theme. This is because at the end of every film, no matter how heroically the protagonist triumphs over Meyers, we always get the idea at the end that he got away. Talking with my mother about this movie, she remembered when it first came out in theaters and why it was so scary. Being a young girl, and also a babysitter, this film to her was something that could actually happen. Halloween night happens every year, and if we’ve learned anything this semester, its that people are the real monsters. Whether its an empty imprint in the grass, or a footprint left behind, we always know that Michael Meyers will be back. Even if it is just another terrible movie remake.
In the movie Frankenstein the monster fits into the second major types of monster, the monster that reflects human concerns with science and its power. The Monster in Frankenstein fits into this category because the Monster is created as an experiment by a scientist. The monster represents the fear that society has of scientist taking their experiments too far, causing harm to others. The monster is the result of the scientist not knowing when to stop. Victor kept experimenting until he created the monster and it was too late to stop it. The monster in Frankenstein “indulges our fears and desires” by playing to the fear that people have of science and the consequences we as humans face by experimenting with nature.
In the shining the monster is the dad, Jack and the hotel. The film demonstrates that a monster does not need to look like Frankenstein to be a monster/show monstrous behaviors. This m though movie also shows that humans. This semester we talked about what makes a monster and that monster can look different. The definition of monster can vary from person to person. Even though humans do not like to admit it we are monster. We commit terrible acts like murder and abuse. The monsters in the shining are an example of terrible things humans can do.
1) Jurassic Park can actually fit into the second category, Monsters that reflect human concerns with science and its power. The movie follows scientists who push the limits of science too far and create murderous dinosaurs stronger than they could have imagined. A big theme is “just because you can, does not mean you should”.
2) In Halloween, Myers is always able to escape. This fits into Thesis Two of the seven theories of monsters. He also can fit into the first thesis, which states that a monster is a cultural body and born of things we are afraid of. The idea of someone born seemingly normal being a psychopath with no way to have prevented it is scary to us. We think, “That could happen to anyone. That could have been me”.
1. I feel that Frankenstein connect with the monsters that reflect human concerns with science and its power. In Frankenstein the monster is created basically through a science experiment. Once the monster started doing monstrous acts people began to fear the monster’s power and what it could to. In a sense fearing the power that science created.
2. For this part I am going to use Michael Myers from Halloween. Michael Myers fits this part because like we talked about a few weeks ago monsters can seem monstrous until you get their back story and until you can relate. They don’t show you why Michael Myers is killing but you watch more you will find out that his life wasn’t the best considering the people he kills first are the people who bullied him when he was in school.
Part One: I found that Freddy Krueger from “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” would fit within the monster that “[serves] to interrupt our modern developments and changes.” Freddy was burned alive by the parents of a preschool class after the kids confessed that they were abused by him. However, the kids were so young that they had suppressed these horrible memories of Freddy until he began to appear in their dreams as they grew older. The kids, who were now teenagers, would see Freddy with a melted face and knives for fingers on one of his hands in their dreams as he tried to murder them as an act of revenge on their parents.
Part Two: The monstrous antagonist, Samara, portrayed in the movie “The Ring” allowed me to connect to one of Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s seven theses on monster culture. In this case, Samara would connect to “Thesis V: The Monster Polices the Borders of the Possible.” Although there are geographic borders to cross that would put one at risk, the tape that Samara appears in in the film shows that “curiosity is more often punished than rewarded.” One of the protagonists, Rachel Keller, watched the disturbing tape out of curiosity and received an anonymous phone call telling her that she would die in seven days. It wasn’t until her son watched the tape that she needed to understand what the tape meant and how to prevent herself and her son from dying. As a result, she was put in danger multiple times throughout the movie for the sake of learning about Samara and the tape. In the end, Rachel believed that she set Samara’s spirit free. Yet, when she returns home to her son, Rachel realizes that she set Samara free into the world where she could physically kill her victims.
1. A movie monster that reflects the fear of humans losing control of the natural world is Godzilla. Humans consider themselves to be at “the top of the food chain.” One of the quotes from Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) is “This is Godzilla’s world, we just live in it.” If monsters such as Godzilla lived on this Earth, humans existence to them would be as insignificant as an insects existence to us. Our entire existence would be based on who which monster is in control. Godzilla just happens to have mercy on the humans, but this could change at any point in time. The idea of a living thing with more power and intelligence than humans existing is terrifying.
2. A monster that fits into what we’ve learned is the shark from Jaws. This monster fits into Cohen’s second thesis: “The Monster Always Gets Away.” The monster in Jaws always attacks its victims and manages to escape right after, leaving everyone in fear of when and where it will return. This idea is notoriously scary and has appeared in many monster films Jaws’ success, such as Anaconda, Piranha, and Frankenfish.
After watching the horror film Halloween, the monster in the film, Michael Myers, fits into the category of 4, “monsters that serve to interrupt our modern developments and changes (especially those that somehow return from the past).” Michael Myers fits into this category because no matter how many times the characters within the storyline think he is gone; he never truly is. He always finds a way to come back from the past somehow, and it is always scary. This concept indulges our fears and desires because sometimes people fear that things from the past will come back one day to get them in the end and ruin what they have achieved or have desired for so long.
The cinematic beast of my choice for this second part is Freddy Krueger. Freddy ties into some of the key historical, social, and political ideas of the course because he is purely evil and has a story that makes him the monster he has become. Freddy is the definition of a monster and monstrosity because he was originally a human who killed children and when he was caught, the parents of the children burned him alive thus killing him. Due to the parents burning him alive instead of allowing him to rot in prison or be executed for his crimes, he is reincarnated in the dream realm and haunts children in their dreams. He uses their fears against them and through their fears can come through to the real world and kill them. Monsters focus on and feed off of the fears of people, and this is exactly what Freddy does.
The movie that I decided to watch and discuss for the first part of the assignment is The Shining, which I felt matched with Braudy’s fourth major type of monster, one that interrupt our modern changes and developments. Humans are very social people and thrive off of social interaction. So when Jack doesn’t get that contact from other people, he is altered into a monster who has different social interactions than “normal” people. Because we are currently in a situation where we are dealing with very limited interaction with one another, I thought that this would be a good idea to focus on because it shows how something such as our situation could develop into something else much more extreme like in the case of The Shining.
For the second part of the assignment, I decided to focus on the movie and series Halloween and how the characteristics of the movie add to the horror aspect. There is a very recognizable theme song that plays throughout the movies which is very haunting and creepy, and the fact that Michael Myers mainly strikes at night focuses on the idea that the dark is something that people can find scary. A social idea that I feel like the movie series discusses is the idea that past acts of nurturing, the way in which someone was raised, can shape a person into a specific figure. For example, it is not really explained in the first movie but further along in the series we find out that Michael Myers was bullied, lived in a household that was not the best, and other things along those lines. Because he was growing up surrounded by things that did not make his lifestyle the most comfortable and enjoyable, it altered him and therefore shaped him into a monstrous creature.
The monster from the film I watched is Michael Myers from Halloween. Michael fits into the fourth category where he is a monster that serves to interrupt the modern developments and changes of the people in the film. He fits into this category because he always seems to come back to haunt and harm the people of his hometown. He was sent to a mental institution when he was just a child and he somehow manages to escape and return to his town of origin. To the people that know of Michael, they fear the holiday of Halloween because that is when he always comes back.
The monster of my choice for this next question is the creature from Frankenstein. The creature and Victor Frankenstein tie into some of the key historical, social, and political ideas of the course by how the creature is viewed as the monster when in reality the true monster is the creator himself, Victor Frankenstein. This film represents how the treatment of others based on looks can lead to bad things. It shows the audience how science can lead to more bad than good when scientists cross the line and go too far with science. The overall conclusions that it points to with regards to monsters and monstrosity is that people are more times than less the true monsters in stories. It is the actions and wrong doings by people that lead to the creation of the monster. Without people being evil, monstrosity really wouldn’t exist.
For part one I’ll pick Frankenstein’s monster, who obviously reflects human concerns with science, and perhaps man’s desire to play God and have power that outshines other men. The monster is the creation of a scientist, a creation made from a conglomeration of other body parts and brought to life. This should not be possible, but the creature lives and thinks and acts according to how he is treated by others. He ends up killing a few people that would not be dead if he were not created. All this to say that the creation of a monster was not a good idea on Dr. Frankenstein’s part. The story is a warning about the advancements of science and man’s attempt at things he should not attempt.
For part two, I’ll pick Nosferatu, which I watched for Tuesday’s class. Nosferatu represents evil and an “other” being. He doesn’t care who he kills, so long as he stays alive, and is tricked into dying in the end. He has a weird cult following (the guy that kept calling him “master”) that supports him. This could have been a warning about religion, as religion and Christianity was a bigger issue at the time. Since Nosferatu was the descendant of a demon or something like that, the story probably could be taken as a warning against devil worship, with the moral that evil is ultimately destroyed at the end.
Monster: Frankenstein 1) The “monster from nature” who reflects our fears of losing control over the natural world.
In the movie Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein tries to take control of what we know as the “Natural World” By trying to create life, However, this creation becomes what we fear. Dr. Frankenstein loses control over this monster due to his own actions and the views from others. This leads him into becoming the monster he is. His body was created from nature or what should have become part of nature (body parts becoming soil) however as one man tries to take control, he ends up dooming the people around him in the process.
The monster I chose for part 2 is the main character from the Movie “The Shining”, This monster relates to when we were talking about historical monsters, such a Jack the Ripper, Rapist, (for my project) BlackBeard, etc. The reason why the monster from the movie relates to the monsters from earlier in the semester as most of these real-life monsters had underlying mental illnesses. In the movie and books, its portrayed as spirits. However, it could be more related to (if the books and movie were more grounded in sci-fi then supernatural) what we are warned against being stuck at home 24/7 at times. Being cooped up in isolation can create mental illnesses from little to no background, these issues can cause hallucinations, delusions, and even psychological stimulus. As he takes care of the hotel he begins to have these symptoms within the end makes him want to murder his family. such how cases such as schizophrenia can cause voices and other unnatural occurrences to happen to the victim mentally despite no outside stimulus.