Jan. 5th, 2012

partly: (Stand)
[livejournal.com profile] tvrealm has a prompt where you are supposed to claim 10 words and do something off of them. "Meta" was one of the choices, so I'm going with that. This post's prompt: Monsters.

I don’t like horror as a genre. I do watch a few shows that fall under "horror" -- Supernatural and The Walking Dead are the two most obvious -- but as I’m not a big fan of gore or shock horror usually falls flat for me. I also think that I look at “monsters” and their place/use in literature differently than most do.

Take, for example, the Walkers in The Walking Dead. I get that the concept of Walkers/zombies -- hordes of mindless, decaying corpses that methodically track you down to kill you -- is creepy, even horrifying. But once you really start thinking about it, it fails the “pragmatic” monster test. They are, after all, decaying corpses, it won’t take long until they are nothing more than rotting goo on the streets. And since cremation stops the dead from becoming Walkers, get some pyres going and make the world a safer place. Unless you toss in some sort of supernatural element and have the Undead not decay or have them heal themselves, they are a limited time threat. And if The Walking Dead would be just a zombie flick, I wouldn’t watch it.

The same is true with Supernatural. If all Supernatural did was toss creepy creatures and blood and gore at me, I wouldn’t watch it. Granted, Supernatural has an advantage in that it has a greater variety of monsters and can create and dispose of them before their obvious practical faults can distract me. Plus it’s, well, supernatural, meaning that it can magic wand and make everything work (at least for a bit). But even different flavors of monsters are still basically the same and wouldn’t hold my attention for very long.

See to me, people are always the most interesting monsters. There is so much more story dynamic and thematic potential that comes from using people as your monsters. I would say that the show I watch that has the most monsters on it is Criminal Minds. What makes them really terrifying is that they are just people and usually people that you could meet and know and like and never realize that they are monsters. More than that, they can also be people whom you can identify with, who you empathize with but who are still monsters.

For me, the point of a monster in fiction isn’t to be an outside force that prompts people to act, but rather the psychological and moral battles that take place within a person. In The Walking Dead it’s the fact that people may become monster before they die and become Walkers. In Supernatural it’s the battle of the hunters to stay human. The tragedy isn’t that someone gets infected or taken over and are monsters, it’s that little-by-little its possible (for all the right reasons) for someone to become monstrous.

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