Thursday, November 4, 2010

Monstrous Musings: Where have all the monster movies gone?

This is a guest post from Natalie Wilson

I am a literature and women’s studies scholar and author of the blogs Professor, what if…? and Seduced by Twilight. I am currently writing a book examining the Twilight cultural phenomenon from a feminist perspective. My interest in vampires and werewolves dates back to my childhood fascination with all types of monsters.

I am a big fan of monster movies –  those flicks where hapless humans battle against (or are terrorized by) beasties.

Weaned on the likes of Godzilla and King Kong as a kid, I soon graduated on to Jaws, Aliens, and The Thing. I ate up movies about human monsters such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Friday the Thirteenth and loved to fear the haunted house focus of Amityville Horror, Poltergeist, and The Shining. Then, my teen years happily coincided with a sort of vampire film renaissance – The Hunger, Near Dark, Fright Night, The Lost Boys. In more recent times, I loved Shaun of the Dead and got good horror fixes from 28 Days, The Descent, and Jennifer’s Body.

Alas, this Halloween season there was nothing that drew me to the theater let alone the recent DVD rental release outlet (I would have seen Paranormal 2 but I am still recovering from the first installation).

As my children enter into prime horror film age (and as I myself yearn for horror films of old), I am wondering where all the good monster movies have gone. I am not a fan of horror porn like The Hostel. I don’t want pure gore and am weary of shoddy remakes. I want the thrill of new fears, of unexplainable creatures, of the creepy sensation that the house just may be haunted or that the dark hides menacing creatures. The kind of kind of monster movies I crave don’t rely on excessive gore nor on the gratuitous slaughtering of women; they are not sloppy attempts to line more pockets. Instead, they have new and original scares, good effects, maybe some political commentary, and definitely several moments that make me jump or scream.Lately, the best monsters have come in kids fair – Monsters verses Aliens, Despicable Me (love that little monster dog!), and Monster High. I am also enjoying the lovely monsters of The Vampire Diaries and sorely missing my True Blood beasties.

For those of you who are monster movie fans, do you have any recommendations as to where I can get my horror fix? Don’t delay if you do – I need to get me in some scares before that truly scary time is upon us – December/Santa consumer madness and the ubiquity of Rudolph, Frosty, and The Little Drummer Boy…