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What makes a Monster?

Updated on September 24, 2013
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Classic Monster

We've all seen the Monsters that each and every child are afraid. Whether it's a general statement of clowns, which is a bigger fear than most people know, or something that took years to create. Frankenstein's Monster is classic. A monster that is pieces of human flesh stitched together and brought back to life in the name of science. Frankenstein's Monster is a beautiful creature that feels love for his creator, and is so mistaken among the village around him. His story is almost depressing...you feel bad for him and view him as your hero. Other Monsters are different. Dracula is feared universally. Although vampires have become incredibly mainstream (which is something worth loathing) the "original" monster is terrifying. A creature of the night that will prey on anyone that is weak and easy to catch becomes something that hides in the shadows behind you. He approaches while you're asleep and attacks without you knowing. He is not misunderstood, he becomes the monster that is truly terrifying. The Werewolf is nothing to taken lightly. A beautifully created monster that stems from real life. There is no way to know if the Werewolf is your neighbor, or yourself, or your child...it's the monster that escapes from the inside and bursts out of you. By the light of the full moon a normal person could change into a terrifying, murderous, monster that wouldn't think twice about spilling the blood of someone you love.

Those are classic Monsters. The classical traits that span through generations and whose name is household knowledge. They stay in the imagination of anyone who has encountered them through words or movies. These Monsters are something that will last the test of time and never be lost through time. Their lives will be everlasting. They will be remembered for every inch of fear and feeling they've created.

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What is fear?

Fear is that quickening of breath...that moment where you feel like there are a ton of bricks on your chest...that sense that someone is watching you from the shadows...that moment where the hairs on the back of your neck stand up...that feeling like someone brushes against you purposely...that moment when you can't tell if that's a person in the darkness or a clothes dresser. Fear is a universal feeling. Everyone is scared of something. There is a moment that will always terrify you and bring back that feeling of complete helplessness.

Fear is a story told to someone, whether a fairy tale gone bad, or the story of a crazy person stalking someone, they all have a moment of being engraved in our brains. It is something that is passed down from generation to generation in the shadows of our minds. What makes something so terrifying is the fact that it could happen in real life. Think of Leatherface, Dracula, Hannibal, or even Jack in The Shining, all these people have the ability (and sometimes the caption) of being "based on true events". Something in this movie, book, or story, happened in real life to inspire someone to create this monster. Everything inspires something else. The terror comes from real life, it comes from the fact that these events could happen in real life, that these could happen to your neighbor, or even yourself...the fear comes from not knowing what is around the corner and what crazy person might be watching you through your bedroom window. The fear is knowing that these Monsters could be in your backyard.

The Universals.

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Which Monster Scares You?

Which Universal Monster terrified (or still terrifies) you the most?

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What makes an original Monster?

So many things make an original Monster. There is absolutely a way to take something that exists today and turn it original, but I think there's a portion of that which takes all the fun away. Creating something original takes imagination and a strong thought process. In order to create a Monster one must think of the following things:

  • What its name is
  • Where it comes from
  • What are its strengths
  • What are its weaknesses (most importantly, what kills it)
  • What turns it on (like the moon for the Wolfman, or nighttime for a vampire, or electricity for Frankenstein)
  • Who fears it the most (whether it be children, or women, or hikers...which specific people are you targeting)

Although there are many more things to consider, these things are a few of those which seem to matter most. In order to create an original Monster to stand the test of time a person must create something that will never be forgotten. That is a task that is not easy and takes so much consideration and time. There may not be a specific formula for a Monster, but it takes a lot of knowing what fear is and what scares people. There are some things the imagination can picture that would scare an entire population, those are the things that (in the name of horror) have a chance to be immortalized.

"A Brief History of Horror"

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