Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Todd's Top 10 Greatest Monsters

OK, so I am really trying to get in the swing of posting more regularly, and I am planning to post in a specific format starting next week. The format will be:
Monday: Todd's Top Ten
Wednesday: New & Exciting Stuff
Friday: Serial Story Chapters

This week, with Halloween two days away, I wanted to focus on the scariest monsters in film history:
10) Frankenstein's Monster: Though more lamentable than truly scary, Frankenstein's monster still has the ability to make us cringe. Far scarier than the monster is the Doctor himself, whose mono-maniacal drive destroys most things in his path.

9) The Thing: The John Carpenter film 'The Thing' featured a creature that was able to mimic anyone and anything out there. These creepy beings left a small base out in the snows of the Arctic completely vulnerabl, and in true horror fashion, there are no survivors.

8) The Wendigo: For those of us who remember a strange little film called Ravenous the Wendigo has some pretty scary connotations. The main reason that this creature is frightening is that it could be anyone... well, anyone who eats the flesh of their enemies, anyway.

7) The American Werewolf: Whether it's London or Paris, you cannot help but feel bad for this poor shmuck. In the original film, he has to contend not only with his own transformation, but the hunting of his rather annoying friend (who decomposes from scene to scene). In addition, you have characters like the one in the Jack Nicholson portrayed in Wolf, and the characters from the film Cursed, where they do not understand the change taking them down a more bestial and feral path.

6) Demons & Devils: Before John Constantine, the Hell Blazer, made it cool to fight the legions of hell, men like Father Merrin were trotting around the globe casting out Satan. Whether they are possessing little girls, as in The Exorcist and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, or manifesting in person to threaten life and limb, as in Hellraiser, the damned have a special place in the mythos of monsters, and can still scare the pants off of believers and non-believers alike.

5) Ghosts: Move over Beetlejuice, for there are far more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophies. The restless dead are fodder for many stories, and it is no wonder that they haunt the living with spite and malice (after all, most of them are rotting in the ground, which is enough to make anyone cranky). From Peter Straub's Ghost Story to The Others to An American Haunting, it is amazing what lengths the dearly departed will go to in order to have a bit of closure.

4) The Mummy: Peter Cushing and Brendan Frasier share a common problem: there is a fellow swathed in bandages trying to kill them to fulfill an ancient curse. Stinks to be them. The various incarnations of the Mummy have been alternately frightening and silly, but what makes the Mummy stand out is that it has such a wonderfully complex story to prop it up. Even if you don't care about the actions of the creature, the story of its curse is always really cool (especially when you get to see the poor priest being buried alive).

3) Zombies: I will admit that I do not particularly like zombies, but even I will agree that these things scare the crud out of the living. Dr. Kim Paffenroth, author of The Gospel of the Living Dead and Dying to Live, tells us that there is more to Zombies than just walking corpses who eat flesh. When you get down to it, George Romero made some of the scariest films of all time with a fairly small budget simply because these things are really frightening. See the movies and read Dr. Paffenroth's books, and see if you don't agree!

2) Witches: Not many people liked Halloween III: Season of the Witch, but I thought it was pretty damned scary myself. Step aside Charmed Ones, the girls from The Craftand the guys from The Covenant would like to show you how it's really done. Yeah, we all laughed at Hocus Pocus and The Witches, but was anyone laughing at the movie Warlock? I doubt it, cause that was some scary stuff. Think that was tame? Try The Serpent and the Rainbow on for size, and see who is laughing now.

1) Vampires: Salem's Lot, Nosferatu, Dracula, and so many more it is impossible to keep track. The Vampire is, bar none, the most terrifying creature out there. Why? Because they seem so normal. They are so much like regular folks, right up until the whole blood sucking part, that it is alarming. Also, the fact that they can control their victims and make them obey, even when they know it will doom them, is pretty horrifying. Vampires are the most horrible 'monster' because of their complete lack of any redeeming or mitigating factors. Zombies, Aliens, Werewolves... they don't know any better, they are doing what comes naturally, but Vampires have no such crutch. They know what they are doing and glory in the action. Ugh.

No comments: