Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Monster

Hollywood and fantastical literature have long paid particular attention to a category of creatures so dark and so foul they can only be known as Monsters. The beasts nightmares are made of, these dark beings are as fascinating as they are vicious. And yet, one has to wonder if all monsters are are evil, or if some of them are merely . . . misinterpreted So for today's category, I decided to come up with not one, but two Top Five Favorite Monsters – the malicious and the misunderstood. 

M is for Monsters: Malicious and Misunderstood 

Malicious Monsters: 

Count Dracula (Dracula) – The most famous vampire ever written (including that sparkly guy teen girls like to scream about), Count Dracula is the brainchild of Bram Stoker and perhaps one of the most sinister characters ever written. With his seductive manner hiding a bestial nature, Dracula is as deadly as he is enthralling. 

Jabberwocky (Through the Looking Glass) – The Jabberwocky is the star of one of my personal favorite poems, a compelling piece of nonsense written by the glorious Lewis Carroll. Though we have no complete description of its form, we do know a few things about this ferocious beast: it's got jaws that bite and claws that catch, eyes of flame, and of course, can only be killed by the vorpal blade that goes 'snicker-snack'. So always remember, "Beware the Jabberwocky!" 

Basilisk (Harry Potter series) – Sometimes called the "King of the serpents", the Basilisk is a large snake-like reptile with the ability to kill at a glance. Kept hidden in the Chamber of Secrets and controlled by Lord Voldemort, the Basilisk is an instrument of death and a monster to be feared. 

Kraken (Clash of the Titans and Pirates of the Caribbean) – Featured over and over again in film and literature, the Kraken is the great monster of the sea, the massive creature responsible for the destruction of many great ships and the loss of countless lives. My two favorite depictions come from Clash of the Titans and Pirates of the Caribbean, both of which give me sea-monster filled dreams. 

Killer Clown (It) – One of the most haunting creatures ever to be written, Stephen King's "It" is a being of unknown origins. Able to shape-shift into our inner-most phobias, it generally takes the form of a demonic clown, known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Having watched the movie as a small child (thanks so much for that one mom and dad), "It" is quite literally the reason I now suffer from Coulrophobia. 

Misunderstood Monsters: 

Frankenstein’s Monster (Frankenstein) – My favorite literary monster, this one doesn't even get a name. Known simply as a creature, demon or fiend, Frankenstein's creation was once intelligent and gentle, but through the rejection of his maker and everyone he comes across, he becomes cruel and murderous. Seeking revenge against the maker who gave him life only to abandon him to a world he doesn't understand nor understands him, Frankenstein's monster is in my mind, one of the most tragic and piteous creatures ever written. 

Grendel (Beowulf and Grendel) – Described as the demon descendant of Cain, Grendel is a grotesque and monstrous creature that preys on Hrothgar's warriors in the epic poem Beowulf. However, in the parallel novel by John Gardner, Grendel, we get insight into this dark being's thoughts and motivations, humanizing him a deeply sympathetic way. A lonely creature that strives to understand the world around him, his brutality can be seen as a product of mankind's own violent nature rather than a alien bestial. 

Phantom (The Phantom of the Opera) – Known sometimes as the "Opera Ghost", the "Angel of Music", or simply Erik, the Phantom lives in the darkest reaches of the Paris opera house. Born hideously disfigured, the Phantom was the subject of cruelty and abuse from his first breathe, and thus became ruthless and brutal himself. And yet he shows a real capacity for love and selflessness when he allows the woman he loves to go free. 

King Kong (King Kong) – An iconic Hollywood character, King King is the famous gorilla that climbed the Empire State Building with the shrieking, hysterical blond clutched in his enormous fist. Forcibly captured and taken away from the island home to which he belongs, Kong is nothing if not a sympathetic creature. And that scene in the Peter Jackson version where he plays on the ice with Ann Darrow, the one person he cares for and protects at he risk of his own life . . . it broke my heart into teeny, tiny pieces. 

Godzilla (Godzilla) – A surviving prehistoric creature that's mutated after being exposed to nuclear radiation, Godzilla is the beast that terrorizes Tokyo. With atomic breath, advanced healing and superior strength, Godzilla is a formidable foe. And yet, in the 1998 film version (the first memory I actually have of Godzilla), this "monster" is merely a mother trying to protect her offspring. Can you really blame her for being upset after they bombed all her little monster babies? 

Last but not least, here are a few Monstrous Honorable Mentions I would feel ashamed to leave out. And side note, they're all stars of their own spectacular Sy-Fy Channel Original Movies, and NOT to be missed. In fact, they're so terrific I'm adding IMDB links to each creature so you can be sure not to miss out on this action! 

And there you have it, my Top 5 favorite Monsters. What are some of your favorites? __________________________________________________________________________________ This post is part of the Blogging A through Z Challenge 2013. My theme (in case you didn't already guess) is character types and tropes. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you’d like to check in on the other participants, simply click here.


  1. Your blog joins my list of favorites! Really enjoyed it. Interesting topics, well-written. You are so prolific - how do you keep up with it all?
    Thanks for visiting my Mississippi blog. Other things I could have said included the fact that I learned to swim in it. Maybe your dad did, too. One year at camp I swam all the way across - about a mile & a half.

  2. Mr. Hyde is a favorite of mine. I think he's misunderstood :)

  3. Thank you for this valuable monster information. I've often felt that the monster was misunderstood. Very good read. :)
    A to Z April Blogging Challenge

  4. Does the shark from "Jaws" count? That shark frightened the living daylights out of me! I had nightmares for years after seeing the movie.
    Godzilla is one of my favourites :) oh and The Incredible Hulk

  5. Oh, I do adore those Saturday night Syfy movies. Those monsters are always so hilariously horrible.

  6. Dracula's my fave on your list.
    It (book and movie) is creepy!

  7. First off, thanks for introducing me to a new word: Coulrophobia. I absolutely HATE clowns. Don't know so much as I am afraid of them per say, although I started watching IT, saw the freaking clown and said, "NO WAY". And why wouldn't that word be "clownaphobia"?

    I'm not a sci-fi person, so I'd have to say my favorite monster is Cookie Monster. Sorry! :)

  8. I love Dracula, the real vampire! Hate Twilight's depictions of vampires! I could never bring myself to watch 'It' and I can safely say you've secured my decision not to ever watch it!

    I studied Frankenstein on my course at uni and I totally agree with you that 'he is one of the most tragic and piteous creatures ever written', he's truly so misunderstood!

  9. I'm glad you set it straight about Frankenstein's monster. Many, many people who don't know the story think Frankenstein is the monster. I agree. He is so very misunderstood.
    This is a very clever theme you have chosen for A to Z. I'll be back!

  10. I'm not thinking of a favorite, right now...

  11. What? You mean to tell me you never saw the 1970s Godzilla animated series featuring Godzooky...? LOL.

  12. Where are the zombies? And how could you not list The Wolf Man from the original film as one of the misunderstood monsters? *sigh* Well, I guess you had to leave a few for the post-post discussion, eh? ;) (Awesome blog btw--especially love the title.)

  13. Hello, S.L.! This is a fantastic list of monsters. Frankenstein's creature is one of my favorites as well. His story is heart-wrenching.

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  14. I would have to add Mr. Hyde to this list. I can't even read the book because he creeps me out so much. The Balrog and the giant spider from the LOTR books might be on there, too. So glad you visited me and my little sometimes monster (who's terribly cute & misunderstood) today. :)

  15. In a made for TV special about alice in wonderland I saw when I was young, the Jabberwocky was the scariest thing I'd ever seen.

    I love the Kraken!

  16. Yes, Sharktopus was so misunderstood! Traumatized by the other sharks making fun of his arms.
    Godzilla! Excellent choice.

  17. David Maine's book Monster, 1959 is an excellent literary interpretation of classic movie monsters.

  18. You know, poor King Kong gets taken out of his home and they expect him to behave? And Godzilla! Maybe he stepped on a car and it poked his foot and made him mad. Poor big lizard. Good post. ;)

    Mel at Writings Musings and Other Such Nonsense

  19. I just read 'Frankenstein' and the repeated rejection the monster faces by his creator and others is really upsetting! I felt zero sympathy for Dr. Frankenstein.
    I really love the monstrous mummy Imhotep from the 1999 movie "The Mummy"! So scary!
    Happy A to Z-ing!

  20. I find misunderstood monsters the most compelling, think beauty and the beast.
    Katie atBankerchick Scratchings

  21. Great descriptions of your top 5 monsters.

    One of mine is the Giant squid in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

    visiting from A~Z