Studying the monsters born from human imagination.
Perhaps the worst monster of them all, at least when its darkest aspect manifests, is that deceptively unassuming creature, Man.
When I think of monsters, what immediately comes to mind are the countless "human monsters" aka serial killers. Not many people know this about me (unless we went to college together) but my thesis was on female serial killers and the disparity in classification. Not to get too deep into the minutia, I have a deep fascination for serial killers. It bordered on the obsessive in college. I wanted to be a behavioral analyst for the FBI as my career after I graduated high school. But life pulled me in other directions.
Anywho, the human monster within us all, not creature or fantasy, is my kind of monster.
That's not to say I can't appreciate a good made up monster. I always appreciated Oogy-Boogy from Nightmare Before Christmas. The classic child monster. Or the monsters that despise children (often to teach a lesson?) like the old lady in Hansel & Gretel or the rat leader in The Witches.
I love this and I'm thinking of exploring it on my Substack for lesser-known mythical creatures from Northern Europe and the UK. Knockernmen, brownies, wishing well sprites, huldra, nighthags and so many other things in the run-up to Halloween...
Lovecraft's monsters originally derived their power to scare by being spoken of rather than being fully depicted, as he understood that this was the true source of fear. Recent attempts to actually depict Cthulhu and company as physical Dr. Seuss-like beings completely defeats that purpose.
The Thing, synths and Lovecraftian horrors beyond our comprehension have always been my favourites.
The Thing is terrifying because it hides in plain sight and requires incredible discernment to deduce who is not themselves. Testing the bonds of friendship and how well you truly know someone.
Synths, think Blade Runner, are slipping into forbidden knowledge territory. Man becomes god and creates fully functional, but fake, life. A psuedo act of creation that is so similar as to confuse the divinely created man as to his true essence and self-worth. Constantly asking, is imitation enough and when does it become genuine?
Cthulu and the Outer Gods are all the forbidden knowledge that turns our world upside down. We cannot comprehend it and all that comes from it is chaos. Teaching us there is a limit to science's application. A world beyond where better microscopes, tools, and tests simply won't cut it. That simply adding more and more knowledge won't answer all your questions about life and will only turn you mad in the end. Meaning is not found in data.
Found this really valuable, thank you.
As kids, we knew that our stepfather ( somewhat of a monster himself ), kept magazines hidden in his bottom drawer. When we were left alone in the house, we would head for that drawer and pore through deliciously terrifying graphics from the Vault of Horror, The Crypt of Terror, The Haunt of Fear, Tales From The Crypt, etc. We were thoroughly creeped out, but it didn't stop us. I don't remember ever telling anyone about that. He also took us to the drive-in theater where our eight-year-old psyches were subjected to the Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Blob, The Thing and other nightmares. We all grew up to be normal human beings. Sort of.
I love all the monsters from monster of the week tv shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scooby-Doo, and Supernatural. Scooby-Doo is probably my favorite because of the color palette and the fact that the monsters are just selfish humans.