The Uprise of Monsters

Monster stories are tales as old as time.  They appear in countless works ranging from fiction to non-fiction to religious.  The number of monster movies is near infinite.  These creatures are the ones that go “bump” in the night.  And guess what?  They are evolving…

In other posts, I have noted that the horror genre has a cycle.  What goes around will come around again in the future.  The slasher movies and stories of the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s are snuffed out.  The ride of the Zombie-Vampire-Werewolf craze is on a downhill trend since its rebirth in the early 2000’s.  Ghosts and demons are about to hit a mid-life crisis before fading back into the Earth.  However, a new egg was laid about 5 years ago and the shell is starting to shatter.  Monsters are about to take over the horror genre scene.

Back in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, monsters were mainstream where much credit can be given to Godzilla and the other kaijus.  Dinosaurs were again roaming the Earth, King Kong was kicking it in Manhattan, and gargantuan aquatic creatures were wreaking havoc on all seafaring folk.  Audiences during this era craved cryptids!  Hollywood and the Toho company churned out monster movies as if these creatures were raining down on the world from the heavens.

What was the drive for these creatures?  Well, we can thank the influential H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) for setting the stage.  It is the epitome of cosmic horror that captivates an audience, and monsters exude cosmicism.  Monsters provide the factual terror that humanity has absolutely no power on the vastness of the cosmos.  We cannot command or contain the Universe.  We potentially have the power to destroy monsters, but lack the control over the creatures’ initial existence on Earth.  Humanity is at the mercy of the cosmos and whatever terrifying creatures it decides to hurl at our little terrestrial planet.

Monsters show the reality of humanity’s insignificance in comparison to the entirety of the cosmos.  – Me

Becoming aware of the human race’s meagerness in the grand scheme of it all is absolute horror.  If tomorrow dinosaurs should reappear and take control of the planet, humanity would be a micro-blip in the Earth’s history.  That is how, through literature, Lovecraft was able to terrify his readers.  His human characters regret gaining knowledge about the existence of monsters, because the characters learn “there is something bigger than I and I can’t control it”.  This  inevitably leads the characters to destroy themselves physically or emotionally because they cannot handle that kind of awakening.

Humanity, you are no match for Dino-Thunder! (c) Carl Jones  by-nc 2.0

Humanity, you are no match for Dino-Thunder! (c) Carl Jones by-nc 2.0

Back on the subject of monsters and the horror genre cycle, the heyday of these creatures was in the mid 20th century.  There was a shift in the 70’s and 80’s that caused the monster craze to die off.  The shift was the Devil, which is probably the one thing more terrifying than any monster in this universe. Movies like Evil Dead, The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen were the horror kings of the 70’s.  Briefly, “modified humans” (Zombies-Vampires-Werewolves) grew rapidly during those later years and into the early 80’s, but ultimately failed to the slasher flicks of the 80’s and 90’s.  Demons and modified humans had a resurgence in the early 2000’s, but that craze is winding down and the cycle of the monsters is about to begin again.  Godzilla destroyed the movie scene this past summer.  Cthulhu and the other Elder Gods are oozing through literature and the Internet, while dinosaurs are just waiting to hatch.

Here’s hoping that this monster mania lasts a few decades, as it may bode well for the series that I am about to produce.  I can’t give a lot away, but I will let you in on a secret:  There is a vile monster that will stop at nothing to eat every human being on the face of this planet.

If you are keen on my love of monsters, check out this post: Here Be Monsters.

Supernatural Horror in Literature by H.P. Lovecraft – Chapter 3

This chapter is one of my favorites because it heavily touches upon the early Gothic literature in detailing all of the players who were the first to drain their blood for this genre.  However, what is fascinating is how Lovecraft makes several references to the women authors as being some of the first pioneers of the Gothic literary tradition.  Ann Radcliffe has a rather large starring role.  If you have not read The Mysteries of Uldolpho by Radcliffe, you simply must go out and find it at once.  It is a pure taste of the earliest works of Gothic horror.

 

Supernatural Horror in Literature by H.P. Lovecraft – Chapter 1

This audio clip is a reading from the first chapter of H.P. Lovecraft’s essay on Supernatural Horror in Literature.  It explores the dynamic of how human terror does not derive completely from true horror.  There is also an essence of cosmic fear that imbues with the horror to make the terror a reality in human minds.

For it is the combination of the unknowing and the awesome that we truly fear.

 

 

“We must judge the weird tale not by the author’s intent or by the mechanics of the plot, but by the emotional level that it attains at its least mundane point.”

-H.P. Lovecraft