I've been plagued by real life monsters over the past few years. Actually all of my life. I'm sure you have too. The real life monsters of disease, death, unemployment, and financial hardship have affected us all at one time or another. Perhaps right now you might be dealing with the effects of some of these.
As we near election time in the United States, we may wonder who are the monsters in disguise and which monsters are scarier than others. A large part of the U.S. is dealing with a weather situation that poses such a fearful threat as to be named after a popular monster--Frankenstorm! Crime, war, natural disaster? Pick a monster. They all loom on the horizon.
Give Me a Monster to Love
The monsters of real life have always been there throughout history. It's no wonder that we look toward the monsters of metaphor and allegory to comfort, entertain, or even cheer us. Goosebumps and chills titillate and thrill while the stories and images of monsters might give us the creeps long after we reach "The End".
The point is we can outgrow the story monsters, but the monsters of reality are always with us. Give me an escape. Something fun and make believe. Give me a monster to love and remember with fondness. I want to escape from some of the terrors of this real life.
My Monstrous Childhood
I fell in love with movie monsters at an early age when I first saw Godzilla in the theater when I was about four or five years old. After that I was hooked. Never scared, but always fascinated, I welcomed any new monster movie my mother would take me to. And she took me to a lot of them. She must have liked them too.
In my tween years during the 1960's, the Aurora Plastics Company came out with a series of monster model kits. I became a huge fan and collected them all. I also built car, ship, and plane models, but the monsters were by far my favorites.
My greatest monster model achievements were The Mummy, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Phantom of the Opera. I think my paint jobs on these were pretty darn incredible. King Kong and Godzilla were unfulfilled monster projects. I dreamed of creating massive dioramas depicting havoc and urban destruction complete with smashed buildings, mangled humans, and crushed vehicles. I never made it that far with those giants of horror and only ended up with measly monsters on a plastic stand. Not all that bad, but not grandiose like I imagined they could be.
We Are All Monsters
Alas, I have no photos of my monsters. After a couple years with my monster models I guess I got kind of bored. I was fourteen and did what fourteen year old boys do best. I burned them. Watching the burning plastic contort and exude a probably toxic black smoke seemed cool. I completely disregarded the work I had put into making and painting the models. Stupid me. I wish I still had those models, but the monster inside of me did not allow it.
Perhaps the lure of monsters is that we see part of ourselves in certain ones. We all have our day or days playing monster. I don't like being mean, but I've done it. I've done some crass and stupid things that I have regretted. Don't tell me you haven't. The monster legends come from within us. We project our monster selves into hideous made up creatures. They are the scapegoats for our own evil thoughts and bad behaviors.
Next time you are frightened by a fantasy monster, look closely and you may see yourself.
What monsters do you identify with? Which monsters do you find most frightening?
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