This week we will be learning about monster theory. For the journal, look for something related to monsters, or the theory we are talking about. It can be a Halloween post, or it could be related to a movie, book, show, etc. Get creative. Whatever text you choose, try to connect it to our monster theory. How is it connected? What reminded you of the theory?
Requirements are still the same. About 250 words, summary and response to the article/tweet/post/news/etc; aka text.
Comment below with a link to the text and your summary and response.
My article for this week’s journal response combines aspects of monsters and Halloween. CNN published a story which basically serves as an advertisement for six Halloween themed board games. The first one is called Hunt A Killer in which the main goal is to, well, hunt the killer using “a plethora of materials, including police documents, autopsies, audio recordings, newspaper clippings and other realistic items like yearbooks and town maps” (Levin). The Werewolf Experiment is up next. Players have to solve different puzzles in one hour to escape from a scientist who is trying to turn you into a werewolf. Flashback, the following game, is a sequel to The Werewolf Experiment, with the only difference being that the game lasts an hour and a half. Eldritch Horror is the fourth game, set in the 1920s and asks players to solve a dark mystery that could have global consequences. Dead of Winter and Last Night on Earth are the last two games and both are zombie themed. The former is practically a survival game, tasking players to get food and supplies to survive the harsh winter and the zombies that are coming. Last Night on Earth has players create a town to fight the zombies in but the town is forced to change while the zombie battle continues.
This article is Halloween themed but how does it relate to the monster theory that we are talking about? “Share some scares with these perfect board games for Halloween” – this is the title of the article and all six feature monsters. As evidenced by the entire existence of the horror and mystery genres, society is fascinated by the unknown and sometimes uses mysteries to solve that which is not known. This story also reminded me of the monster theory because it is Halloween themed and features different classic monsters like werewolves and zombies.
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What I chose to write about is Horror Films the article that I found is from theconversation.com and the article is called “Why true horror movies are about more than things going bump in the night” and it is written by Aislinn Clarke. The author writes that critics over the last couple of years have been shocked over the horror movies that have come out recently. The author writes “they shouldn’t be shocked because, as shock is one of the cheap tricks for which they have always denigrated movies.” Which means that critics only look for the shock value and downplay that is a cheap vulgar trick that audience’s fall for, which we do because a lot of us love a good thrill and a scare.
I think that this relates to what we’ve been discussing when it comes to Monster Theory, we’ve been talking about how we do like to be scared. Even though we all have different things that scare us, when it comes to scary movies alone or we hate seeing that one spider in the corner of the room and we deem that spot the spiders part of the room from now on. We get that rush of adrenaline from seeing something terrifying that we will talk about for days, weeks, months, or even years to come. Same thing with horror films they leave an impact on your life, a lot of people still remember their first horror film and can still recall what they thought and felt in that moment.
The Link: https://theconversation.com/amp/why-true-horror-movies-are-about-more-than-things-going-bump-in-the-night-104278
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This week we have been talking about monsters and monster theories. The one monster that has utterly fascinated me happens to be the “Windigo” and in the article by Mccauley it gives an overall background of the Windigo and how it has changed from its origins. It provides the information that the origin of such a monster if from the “Algonquian” people because of their shared dialects. It explains why the Windigo was created, as a form to “define moral social behavior” and to provide a warning against certain behaviors. The article also happens to mention how monsters are often appropriated and ‘striped of cultural context’. This appropriation happens to change the monster’s appearance from what the Native Americans perceived the monster to look like. This change of the monster also has an impact of how the stories get told as before the original version or the monster was used to show hope in desperate moments with an eventual escape from the monster compare to what the monster is now where escape is inevitable in the face of such a powerful monster.
All this background information on the true origins of the monster allows us to analyze it to what we have been touching on in the class. The most prevalent that I see is the first thesis that ‘The Monster’s Body Is a Cultural Body’ where as mentioned each culture produces their own version of the monster even if the origin is the same, the perspective of the different culture allows of a different monster to rise. Another one that is clearly seen is Thesis V ‘The Monster Polices the Borders of the Possible’ because that is what this monster was for the Native American people, a boundary that one does not cross or they become the monster, and that boundary consisted of “greed and selfishness” and the taboo of cannibalism. Now the main reason that one becomes a Windigo is the consumption of human flesh…
The link: https://www.backstoryradio.org/blog/the-mythology-and-misrepresentation-of-the-windigo/
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So I watched It chapter 2 this weekend. It is very closely connected to the monster theory. There is a certain monster that scares everyone. Whether it be depression, or stress, or even a actual trauma that has happened in our lives.
Just as the ending of the first film foreshadowed, though, the kids who escaped the villainous grasp of the evil clown Pennywise during the summer of 1989 have found themselves back in Derry, Maine—right on cue, 27 years later, to fight him again. They’d all gone their separate ways and carved out vastly different lives, and in introducing us to these characters as adults, Muschietti makes some gorgeous transitions that are smooth and inventive. But returning to their seemingly idyllic small town instantly revives their old rhythms and relationships.
Perhaps the best scene in the whole film is the one in which they all reconnect for the first time over a boisterous, boozy dinner at a Chinese restaurant. They spin the lazy Susan, down shots of liquor, tease each other mercilessly and find it’s as if no time at all has passed—even though the memories of the trauma they shared are hazy at best. “It Chapter Two” is at its strongest when it explores the lure of nostalgia, not merely through pop culture references like “The Lost Boys” and Cameo’s “Word Up,” but also in the cosmic way it can yank you right back to being the person you were long ago and never thought you’d be again. That unsure, evolving 13-year-old remains inside all of us, no matter where we go or what we do.
Coming up on Halloween, one of my favorite reality shows wrapped up with an extraordinary finale episode that made headlines across the internet. The article I found most informative was from Billboard and is titled, “Landon Cider, the First Drag King to Appear On a U.S. Drag Competition Show, Wins ‘Dragula’ Season 3.” The title nicely sums up the situation but the article goes more in depth about the nature of the TV show and how Landon Cider broke a glass ceiling in the Drag community by being the first woman to appear on and win a competition dominated by drag queens. The show is meant to be a place where drag queens and now kings can push the boundaries of fashion into a realm of horror, gore, and general spooks.
Having followed the show for a while, but just now learning about monster theory there are definitely a few connections I was able to see between the success of the show and show’s contestants and some theses of the monster theory we discussed in class. The first being Thesis IV: “Thesis IV. The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference.” There have always been gay people in any society, but only recently and in some places is it starting to become a normalized part of the human experience. Still, throughout history and in certain cultures today, being gay is illegal, immoral, and unnatural. Even in America, the AIDS crisis demonized gay people, spread terror, and painted the picture of a whole community of monsters when really it was gay men who were suffering and dying the most. But the fear of what is different than you, what threatens your knowledge and beliefs, is what keeps LGBT people from having the same rights and freedoms around the world as everyone else. On Dragula and similar competition shows, a common theme among contestants is a past filled of bullying, name calling, intolerance, and often abuse. The art of drag gives them the freedom to celebrate what makes them different and- among Dragula fans and competitors in particular- what makes them monsters.
The second thesis I connected the article to was Thesis VI: “Fear of the Monster Is Really a Kind of Desire.” The Billboard article mentions that the final challenge would be to come up with three different looks “that adhered to the three “principles” of Dragula: “filth, horror and glamour.”” One of those things is not like the other and yet when watching the show, that is what the contestants deliver every week or else they’re sent home. Dragula is an acclaimed program because viewers are drawn in by the gorgeous AND the grotesque, sometimes on one person. I connected this to the sixth thesis of monster theory because the TV show offers you a real life fantasy of monsters and taboo. Viewers get a glimpse of the dark inside of all of us that we might keep at bay unlike Landon Cider and the other contestants throughout 3 seasons.
A fun side note, Landon Cider is from Long Beach, CA which makes his win even more touching for those rooting for him back home. Hopefully, his winning the title of “The World’s Next Drag Super Monster” opens the door for other up and coming drag kings to represent themselves on similar platforms, regardless of they’re monstrous or not.
In recent news, there are many wildfires that have been raging and destroying natural wildlife and forests in the state of California. As firefighters risk their lives and spend countless hours and days to put out these fires, the governor, Gavin Newsom, is doing all he can to work with the damage and the rest of the consequences that he is facing from these fires. As stressful and strenuous it might be, it only becomes worse when the President of the United States of America is blaming the governor for doing a poor job in maintaining and securing the forest. In a Tweet, that was made by President Trump and forward it to the Los Angeles Times Newspaper company, it quoted, “Newsom “has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must ‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers,” Trump said in an early-morning missive on Twitter.” (James Rainly, Los Angeles Times). With this in mind, the governor is still doing the best he can to try and maintain these raging fires. The main observation viewed here that Trump bashed on Newsom is mainly because Trump knows that California is a democratic state and it is known that Trump despises democrats. This might give him the reason why he is acting this way and saying the rude things he is saying to him on Twitter.
The Loogaroo is a Caribbean (Haitiancreole) monster she is both a witch and a vampire who gets her powers from a demon called Bazil. But she has no control over her powers. She has to offer the blood, or the Bazil will take hers instead. The Loogaroo, who in other parts of the Caribbean is known as a “socouyant”, has shapeshifting abilities, and can shed her human hag skin and fly in her true form: a fireball. The only way that one can defend themselves is by spreading grains of rice on her path grains of rice or sand, she cannot resist them. I picked this because she is a recognized Haitian myth this was used frequently when my cousins and i were growing up. Being able to read and get more knowledge on her has given me a better perspective on how powerful the myth can be. It is powerful in the sense that you can be told something when you are younger and it’ll stick with you for the rest of your life.
Recently a new interpretation of the infamous arch nemesis of Batman: The Joker was introduced into theaters and many fans are even taking the bold take of it being the best interpretation to date. Joaquin Phoenix take on the infamous villain is definitely award worthy as he is not just the embodiment of anarchy but rather a victim of mental illness and a brutal city that neglects it outcast. Arthur Fleck did not have an easy life or even a nice one although he seemed like a nice person with an abundance of awkwardness to accompany his slender build. Due to abuse starting at a young age from his mentally ill mother and her companions, Arthur developed a mental nervous act of uncontrollably laughing when out in stressful situations so at times he seems insincere or taunting other citizens of Gotham when in reality he is feeling stressed, nervous, or at times even scared. This take is different from Heath Ledger’s take eon the Joker as his version was a bit more intense and worthy of being on the most wanted list. His Joker wasn’t given a Christian name as the whole time the character was just the crazy clown, which truly embodied the term anarchy. With no rhyme or reason in how he caused destruction as long as the way that caused the most was the one he choose. All to see a city come to its knees because he thought its what it deserved, not because it had wronged him and continuously beat him down like it did to Arthur Fleck. As a viewer I enjoy both takes as they show how intense the character is suppose to be taken but in reality I believe that Arthur Fleck was a more realistic version and one that shows how citizens can turn into monsters.
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