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Related: beast - dragon - Frankenstein - freak - horror - fantastique - grotesque - psychopathology - ugly - uncanny

Monster films: Elephant Man (1980) - Godzilla series

Ranxerox is a punk, futuristic Frankenstein, and with the under-aged Lubna, they are a bizarre Beauty and the Beast. This artist and writer team have turned a dark mirror to the depths of our Id and we see reflected the base part of ourselves that would take what it wants with no compromise, no apology - and woe to the person who would cross us. But it is all done with a black, wry, satyrical sense of humor.--Richard Corben

Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964) - Ishirô Honda
image sourced here.

Frankenstein's monster

Invitation, first memphis presentation, Sept 18 1981, graphics by Luciano Paccagnella.
image sourced via http://www.designboom.com/eng/funclub/memphis.html [Feb 2005]


Monster is a term for any number of legendary creatures that frequently appear in mythology, legend, and horror fiction. They are also a mainstay of Dungeons & Dragons and similar role-playing games. "Monster" usually, but not always, implies that these creatures are larger than human size. It almost always implies that the creatures are powerful and hostile to the hero, and must be overcome to succeed in the quest. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monster [2004]

Monsters in history

Prior to its appropriation by the fantasy genre, the monster was an important social concept. Monsters were often associated with unknown lands and unknown things. For instance, historically, unexplored areas on maps would be marked indicating that monsters such as dragons lived there. This connection between monsters and the unknown meant that the monster was an important concept in the Rennaissance and the Enlightenment, as Western society began to use science and other academic disciplines to try to understand the unknown. Monsters were seen as scientific puzzles — things science needed to understand. In the Enlightenment, the cabinet of curiosities would often include monsters in amongst the scientific instruments and toys. Similarly, the monstrous was an important concept on aesthetics during the enlightenment, often closely associated with the wondrous and the sublime.

This relationship between science and monstrosity became an important theme in many Victorian era horror novels, where science was often depicted not merely as studying monsters, but as producing them. Notable examples include Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein.

Some traces of this classic relation to monsters can be found in the popularity of tabloid newspapers such as the Weekly World News. Contemporary philosophers such as Lorraine Daston have written at length about the relationship between how society depicts monsters and the role of science in that society. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monster [Jan 2005]


The medical study of teratogenesis or grossly deformed individuals is called teratology (the study of "monsters" or "wonders"). Monster, is a pejorative term for a grossly deformed individual. These severely deformed humans rarely survive, although there have been some celebrated examples such as Joseph Merrick, known as the 'Elephant Man'. Some cases, such as conjoined twins, were formerly regarded as monsters, but are now candidates for surgery. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teratology

Monster movies: a sexual theory

Why is it that the stories which children enjoy are so often full of horrors? . . . It is not surprising that fairy stories should be both erotic and violent, or that they should appeal so powerfully to children. For the archetypal themes with which they deal mirror the contents of the childish psyche; and the same unconscious source gives origin to both the fairy tale and the fantasy life of the child.

--Anthony Storr (quoted in "Monster Movies: A Sexual Theory" by Walter Evans) via [1]

"Monster movies: a sexual theory." Journal of Popular Film and Television Vol II nr 4 (Fall 1973); p 353-365.
Explains the popularity of monster movies in terms of adolescent sexual changes.

Anthony Storr, is a psychiatrist and author. Born in 1920 and educated at Winchester, Christ's College, Cambridge, and at Westminster Hospital. He qualified as a doctor in 1944, and subsequently specialised in psychiatry. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Storr [Jan 2006]

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