This week we have been learning about monster theory. For the journal this week, look for something related to monsters, or the theory we have been talking about. It can be a Halloween post, or it could be related to a movie, book, show, etc. Get creative this week. Whatever text you choose, try to connect it to our monster theory. How is it connected? What reminded you of our theory?
Requirements are still the same. About 250 words, summary and response to the article/post/news/etc; aka text.
Comment below with a link to the text and your summary and response.
The Toxic Avenger is a low budget B-movie featured in 1984 as an American action comedy horror film about a monstrous superhero. The movie starts off introducing a stereotypical nerdy kid name Melvin. Melvin works at a health club as a janitor where he is tormented by the beautiful people he cleans up after. One day Melvin is tricked into wearing a pink tutu and kissing a sheep, after that he is chased around the health club by the customers causing him to jump out a window and accidentally landing in a barrel filled of nuclear waste that was loaded in the back of a truck. Melvin survives the toxic waste even though the burning nuclear waste catches him on fire. Melvin returns to his home to wash off the chemical from his scarred flesh but instantly transforms into a hideous deformed monster of superhuman size and strength. Melvin decides that he is going to use his new acquired superpower to fight the bad guys and abolish the crime committed by corrupt politicians and local government officials becoming the Toxic Avenger.
The Toxic Avenger was a byproduct of the American culture during 1980’s because of the nuclear waste disposal issues. During the first 40 years that nuclear waste was being created in the United States, no legislation was enacted to manage its disposal. In 1982 the United States created the “Nuclear Waste Policy Act which established a national program for safe, permanent disposal of highly radioactive wastes” (Govtrack.us). The deformed body of the Toxic Avenger falls under Monster thesis 1; “The Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body”. In the movie poster the image of his burned and deformed body represents the fear of nuclear war and anxiety the American people had over the effects of nuclear waste or fallout on human beings. The American flag behind him and mop in hand express Americans cleaning (disposing) the nuclear waste by enacting the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. Monster thesis 2; “The Monster Always Escapes” applies since there were 2 other sequels, stage musical and cartoon created after the movies debut in 1984. Monster thesis 5: “The Monster Polices Borders of the Possible” Toxic Avenger was a warning of what could happen if we did not find a solution to the proper disposal of the nuclear waste. Monster thesis 6 “The Fear of the Is Really a Kind of Desire”, even though the Toxic Avenger is a hideous monster what nerdy kid do you know would turn down the opportunity to have superpowers and take revenge on all the people who teased them.
In every section of “Scooby Doo” cartoon, there is a monster. The monster creatures anxiety among people smashes the property. The characters try to find who was behind the disorders. The whole team interview some people to see any trace to find the “monster” who they might be a human on their previous cases.
This show connected to the Monster These by Cohen. The thesis number two ” The Monster Always Escapes”. In the cartoon, the monsters are often the entertainment of a famous monster. Communicate the idea that monsters from the past, has returned. The whole team tries to find a particle or pieces to find out. As an example; footprints. This cartoon also highlights the idea that the ” Fear of the Monster is really Desire”. The person wish superpowers or wish to dominance to persuade fear whatever he/she wants or made people do something.
Lastly, monsters exist but for specific reasons or purpose. And at the end when the real monster is revealed, it has to face all the consequences every human who is behaving/behavior is not acceptable in society.
July 13, 2019
Stranger Things Monsters
In this article by, Seventeen Magazine titled “A Breakdown of Every Monster In Stranger Things”. Written by Carolyn Twersky the article consists of an in-depth monster breakdown of all the monsters that were in this summer’s blockbusters hit Netflix show “Stranger Things 3”. In this season of “Stranger Things 3” it had an unsurprising number of creepy creatures. The first creature on the list of “Stranger Things 3” was the “Mind Flayer”. The “Mind Flayer” looked like a giant spider but in reality, the “Mind Flayer” is a giant Interdimensional Shadow Monster that can take over a person’s body in order to cause the destruction of the town in the show called “Hawkins”.
The next monsters on “Stranger Things 3” list that appeared the show was “The Demogorgon”. The viewers of the show believe this creature is a race from the other world that the “Mind Flayer” is from. A Venus fly trap-looking monster that follows the orders of the “Mind Flayer” because these creatures seem to not as intelligent as the “Mind Flayer”. But what they lack in intelligence they rise in physical aspects, being bulletproof with there impenetrable skin and having an incredible sense of smell they are true pawns of the “Mind Flayer”.
I think this article and monsters tie into the Monster Culture Seven Thesis with thesis 2. The monsters always escape because throughout the “Stranger Things” franchise the “Demogorgon” and the “Mind Flayer” always seem to escape throughout all 3 seasons. Even in the season 3 end credits The Demogorgon is still on the loose and that is that last image you see when the show comes to an end.
The movie Hotel Transavia is about Count Dracula and his stigma that the world will never be accepting of monsters and that monsters will always be persecuted as they were in the old days. Dracula’s daughter is adamant that the world is no longer afraid of monsters and wants to go out and explore the world to prove it. A human then comes along and combats Dracula’s stigma that all humans are evil and want nothing to do with them by being a good person he ends up changing Dracula’s mind. The human and Dracula’s daughter end up together and Dracula admits that maybe it is time for a change at the hotel.
In the movie, there is a flurry of monsters both new and old that are present but are shown in a different way. Rather than being the terrors of the night, things that terrify people and keep them up at night they are shown as the complete opposite. Monsters such as Frankenstein’s monster, werewolves and zombies are shown but are not terrifying things but silly monsters. The movies main audience arguably being children, they are shown as lovable and harmless creatures that do not hold the same terror as they once did. Applying to monster theory One, that monsters are a product of culture showing the change of time. In today’s day and age, most are not afraid of things of old and those once terrifying monsters are now able to be shown to children.
Throughout most of modern history, a great deal of people has shared a fascination with monsters. In the article “Monsters on our minds: What our fascination with frightful creatures says about us” by Susan Bell, the topic is explained in detail. Bell writes about how USC’s Leo Braudy has written a book about what draws people to monsters and how they may be classified. Braudy is introduced by Bell as a “professor of English, art history, film and history, at the USC Dornslife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.” Bell continues by describing Braudy as “a monster expert and author of Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds.” Bell does a great job of highlighting the four categories of monsters listed in the book by Braudy. The four categories she lists are as follows: Monsters from nature, Monsters associated with the fear of science, Psychological monsters-from-within, and vengeful monsters that reap havoc based on revenge. The article goes into further details, however, on vampires and zombies. Bell states that “our modern-day enthusiasm for vampires stems from our desire to avoid our own mortality, Braudy believes.” In regards to zombies, Bell inserts a quote from Braudy that explains “fear of zombies represents a modern fear of groups. They might be Islamic fundamentalist, immigrants, Republicans, Democrats – you name it, whatever group frightens you.” That fear of groups is what draws us to zombies. That is where monsters are more effective because of their cultural relatability.
With that justification for fascination, it’s okay to keep screaming, shaking and quaking in your seats.
In this article the person talks about the Walking Dead series but brings up a point that maybe the zombies are not the monsters in this series. They bring up all of the main villains of the show, and what they do to obtain things that they want. They go over all of the questionable and evil things they have all done to more show their evilness. After this they then start to talk about the main character, Rick, in the same light as the villains, also showing all of the things he has done and even reaching the brink of insanity from losing everything to this zombie apocalypse. They end off their point by also saying that “the zombies are the ones acting on instinct but the humans are doing all of the horrible things on purpose”
I think this is an excellent way of bringing up that the “monsters” are not always the actual monsters. With this it shows clearly that the monsters here are the humans, showing all of the ruthless and horrible things they will do to each other in the name of “survival.” This ties perfectly into what we learned in class just by applying monster theory to the humans in the show, they hit a lot of the theories, and my favorite one here being the theory that talks about monsters that are on the brink of reality, because this could all very well happen if there was a zombie apocalypse, and I believe in the same way the show portrays it, I still believe we would be the monsters in the end.
How do we determine a “monster”? The psychopaths we see on television killing people or the stories of monsters of the past Dracula, Frankenstein, the boogie man, etc. but those real life monsters the people we call psychopaths that going on killing sprees those are true monsters. Jack the Ripper infamous in 1888 from August 7 to September 10 in East London for killing multiple women and mutilating their bodies. Jack the Ripper was never identified or caught and is one of the world’s most infamous criminals. Jack the Ripper left his mark on history terrorizing London for months striking fear into everyone then in the fall of 1888 the murders stopped and Jack the Ripper wasn’t heard of but the people wanted answers but they never got them after numerous investigations Jack the Ripper’s identity is still unknown to this day.
Jack the Ripper is a true monster marking his/her place in history as one of the world’s biggest criminals and the fear people had of his/her unknown presence. The little evidence investigators had and nobody knew who Jack the Ripper was and that scared people a killer not being able to be stopped by authorities who everyone thinks protects them but Jack the Ripper was above them smarter than them. Jack the Ripper was a monster he was the pure definition of one even today we talk about him/her because of astonishing events that happens the killing of his victims was brutal to say the least and that nobody knew anything about him/her was terrifying.
This week, while researching potential monsters for our upcoming essays, I looked briefly into some fringe monsters that I thought might be interesting to explore. Unfortunately, all of them suffered from a problem of having far too little information available and/or not having any available portrayals in media and literature. One of my favorite fringe monsters that I researched is one that comes from Argentina. My brother told me about this monster a few years ago after returning from an extended stay in the country. The monster, known as La Luz Mala, takes the form of a floating light which appears in the night and inflicts serious harm to anyone who sees it. The monster touches on a few of the monster thesis concepts. La Luz Mala always escapes, it cannot be categorized scientifically, and it also represents some sort of desire. Often the legend of La Luz Mala includes a warning not to follow the light, as much as you may want to. My brother had a personal experience with the legend. One night while sleeping he was suddenly awoken by the shouts of his Argentine roommate. He sat up to see his roommate shouting and pointing at the wall, yelling, “la luz mala! La luz mala!” My brother looked over and could see against the wall a small red light. He told his roommate to calm down and turned on the light to reveal to his roommate that the source of the light was simply my brother’s camera charger.
There is debate on whether Will-o’-the-wisp is a good creature or a bad creature/monster. Reason for this is because no one knows for sure if the Will-o’-the-wisp wants to help you find your way or lead you to your death. You will most likely run into the wisps in swamplands, or marshes. Will-o’-the-wisp looks like a faint flickering flame like light in the distance. That try to get you to follow it somewhere either good such as treasure, or something you desire. There is also the chance that the wisp could lead you to something horrible that could end in your death. What’s peculiar about them is that you could never catch them, and if you choose to not follow them, they will follow you. No one knows for sure what they are; in some cultures, they believe that the wisps are ghost lights, some say they are fairies, and some have different takes altogether. “The more common, and seemingly more realistic take is that these are the ghosts of the dead, not allowed in either Heaven or Hell, wandering eternally and leading travelers astray to do them harm.” The majority of people over the time don’t believe that the Will-o’-the-wisp are not real and scientist believe that they are simply marsh gas igniting.
Will-o’-the-wisp connects to a few monster theses. Wisps fit into the theses two; that the monster always escapes. It is almost impossible to catch a wisp because whenever you get close to them, they move farther away from you and eventually when they get you to a place where they want you, they disappear. Wisps in some way also fit into monster theses three; that ‘the monster is the harbinger of category crisis.” The reason for this is because wisps don’t fit into one category because no one knows for sure what they are. They could be ghost lights, fairies, etc. The last thesis that I found wisps fit into is theses six; that “fear of the monster is really a kind of desire.” Although we don’t know for sure is wisps are good or bad, we still take the chance to follow them in case they could lead us to riches, and things we want. Some overcome the fear of their death to follow them to get what we want.
Sirens are mythological maritime creatures from Greek mythology. This creature is depicted to be half bird and half woman. This creature is said to prey on unfortunate sailor, usually luring them in by their enchanting music. The physical aspects of these creatures have changed a bit over time. In the realm of art, they first appeared simply as birds with the heads of a woman. Only later did other variations come to light, such as the full bodied woman with wings and scaled feet. This is the one I imagine that most people are familiar with. Their most renowned appearance in the western world would be none other than Homer’s Odyssey, Book XII. This piece of literature set the course of many stories to be told.
Monsters are not creations or ideas from one specific culture. Stories and tales of all kinds of creatures and apparitions can be found all over human history, from all sorts of places and peoples. Some of the most popular sets of mythological creatures come from that of Greek mythology. There are a plethora of them to choose from, and that’s why so many of them have been inspirations for more modern monsters in film, television and other forms of storytelling and entertainment. Not only do these creatures serve as a glimpse into a cultural past, but they also serve as lessons passed through one of our oldest mediums of communication. Looking past face value is something we often promote in this class, and the sirens definitely force you to do so. The sounds and melodies seem pleasant and peaceful at first, but when you’ll soon find that the source is not as beautiful or pure as first thought.
Stranger Things 3 has finally been released on the Fourth of July, this year. To sum it up, the stranger things series is a popular sci-fi Netflix series, that deals with secret government experiences, supernatural forces along with different dimensions involving monster and a young girl who has mysterious powers helping to save the world. This season introduced a new monster called the “Mind Flayer.” Typically, the “monsters” in the show would normally Target the protagonist Will Byers, but this season he seems to get a break as the new monster the Mind. flayer targets someone new. This someone happens to be Billy, he isn’t someone that usually is in the spotlight and when he is, it usually has something to do with everyone fearing him because of how mean and scary he can be, always bullying someone in the previous season that is. He is the older brother of Max, who is one of Will’s friends. So basically, a monster possessed another monster. I found it to be a surprising choice of the Mind Flayer wanting to make Billy as his new host, even though Billy does fit the part. He is already a terrible person so it wouldn’t make any difference and because of the way he treats everyone, it already makes him a “monster”. Therefore, it was very fitting to turn Billy from the bad guy to evil. Everything the Mind Flayer has Billy so was even more terrifying and of course Will and all his friends caught on to his unusual actions. But what made Billy the monster? Well, because of the was he treated others, he was already a monster to begin with. The Mind Flayer of course just made him worse. As the article explains, there are plenty of scenes where it is hard to differentiate the Mind Flayer actions from Billy’s actions because they are very similar. Like for example, there is a scene where the main characters lock him in a Sauna, trying to get the monster out of him and he gets belligerent trying to escape, he then gains super strength and that’s when you’re able to tell that it’s not just Billy’s behavior. Billy is already seen as a monster by the audience and now he has the help from a monster? Of course in the end, Billy saves everyone and doesn’t become the monster anymore, everything he’s been through, along with what all the other have been through, changed him as a person. I think in this case, what made billy a monster was how he would treat others. The Mind Flayer possessing him only gave him supernatural powers and of course corrupted his mind a bit more but he was already a bad person who was feared to begin, no one really saw a change in his actions so it was hard to tell he was even possessed at first. I technically don’t feel Billy was actually a monster, he had a rough abusive child hood that made him into a terrible person. Monsters, in my opinion, are something that we create. Wether it’s the way someone is being treated or just someone who is unique, we create them. In this case of course the Mind Flayer was an actual monster since it’s intent was to do cruel and terrifying things for its selfish desires and had full knowledge of the harm it was causing, making it different from the norm because we as humans would never. If we did, then that would make us a monster too.
This week I went to go see the new “Child’s Play” movie. I try to give it a chance because I’m use to old “Chucky” and that sinister voice it had. This Child Play reboot does not go as the original they went more AI “artificial intelligent” and more of this generation. They made chucky like the terminator to able control all wireless product, and able to use the internet. The reason this chucky is different from all models is that he’s evolving he’s able to learn and see by watching what other people are doing. Also his eyes are red instead of blue gives how sinister he looks. They also the movie has the same names for the old movie and its funny they reference on a lot of today culture.
This movie connected to the Monster thesis by Cohen. The thesis number two” The Monster Always Escapes”. In the movie, the monsters are often the entertainment. Communicate the idea that monsters from the past, has returned. The Andy in his friend tries to find a way to destroyed chucky since they figure out that he was involve in killing of their close friend. As an example, chucky leaves head to Andy of the mother boyfriend. Which he later needs to destroy chucky since chucky can control all electronic devices wirelessly. That give him the power than what people expect also tours the end he escapes by transferring his body to another model of the good guy doll. Leaves it open for a sequel. This is how chucky is related to thesis 2.
Medusa was one of three daughters born to Phorcys and Ceto, also known as Gorgons, were dreadful fearsome beasts. Medusa was an exception in the family, a beautiful mortal. Medusa was the priestess to the Goddess Athena. Medusa was being sought after by Poseidon after he noticed her one day and kept pursuing her because it was love at first sight. Though Medusa always rejected him, Poseidon forcefully took her as his own, thus resulting her into becoming pregnant. Medusa was shunned by Athena because you could only be a Priestess for Athena if you were a virgin. That is when Athena punished Medusa turning her into the horrifying monster she is, a monster with snakes for hair. Athena could not punish another God, so instead Medusa received the punishment. I believe that Medusa was the most misunderstood character in Greek mythology. Many believe that Medusa was punished because of her boastfulness of her beauty and not because Poseidon had raped her.
I think Medusa is monster these number seven, because Athena created the monster Medusa for divine punishment. As more people found out about Medusa becoming a monster because she can turn anyone into stone just by staring at them, many have started to hunt her. She also falls in the Monster thesis number four, because in the movie “Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief”, Medusa lures men with temptation. Also in Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s essay, “Monster Culture”, suggest that a monster is “an embodiment of a certain cultural moment- of a time, a feeling, and a place”.
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