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Monday, October 29, 2012

Monstrous Monday

          I'm back and will have more to say about my absence in my next post.  Today I'm participating in Tim Brannan's Monstrous Monday Blog Fest.   The list of participants can be found below and the event host is The Other Side.   


MONSTROUS MONDAY!

Monsters Everywhere

        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?    



Here is the list of other participants:


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47 comments:

  1. Godzilla! That is too funny you would mention seeing him in the theater, as he was my monster selection today.
    Welcome back Lee - you've been missed big time!

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  2. This is such a well written post that I can connect with in so many levels Lee, there really is a monster inside all of us which is just natural I suppose. I'm glad to see that you're back too and hope that things haven't been too tough recently, like Alex says we've all missed you buddy!

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  3. I believe in spirits and that they're all around. I don't need a movie to get the hell scared out of me. I do that to myself every time I hear a strange noise. When I was a kid, it was Bela Lugosi's Dracula that haunted me. I thought he was scary yet somewhat seductive. EEEK! What does that say about me?

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  4. Hi Lee - pleased you're back, though I'm sure the time wasn't easy for you. Love your description of monsters - you're so right .. I hated monster movies ... but early on was frightened by the thought of the big bad wolf whisking me away - Little Red Riding Hood has never really been the same ...

    Enjoy the Monstrous Monday blog hop - cheers Hilary

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  5. Awesome post and exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to see when I dreamed this up on my car ride home back in early September.

    My favorite monster would have to be vampires (still). So much you can do with them.

    As for real world monsters, the worst is in my mind Ignorance. It is like a zombie horde; easy to kill but difficult to stop.

    Thanks so much for your monster and for participating.

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  6. Great post! I remember watching Godzilla movies on wet Saturdays, when I had nothing else to do. Fun!

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  7. You burned them - LOL!

    I posted my favorite monster today, inspired by the true master of horror.

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  8. Alex -- The message behind the Godzilla myth has so much relevancy in today's world.

    Matthew -- Good to be back. Keeping the balance between monster and the light of goodness can be a challenge.

    Em -- In a movie or a written horror story we can always tell ourselves it's not real. What lurks unseen around us is a different story.

    Hilary -- It's strange that children start out their lives with so many scary stories.

    Timothy -- Glad to be a participant in your successful blog event. Ignorance can be scary indeed!

    CM -- For me, watching movies on our black and white TV set was a favorite pastime. Loved all radioactively mutated monsters.

    L. Diane -- I curse myself for burning those creations, but if I still had them and put them out for display my wife might burn them for me.

    Lee

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  9. Let's face it, our worst monsters are those in our imaginations --oh and under the bed.

    Glad you're back.

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  10. This MonsterFest is so fun! I'm loving everyone's choices. I don't really have a favorite monster. I've always liked dragons, though. And when I was a kid I thought the sea witch Ursula from The Little Mermaid was quite scary. And King Kong is pretty cool!

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  11. I love Godzilla! And all the other Japanese monsters, too. And the horror monsters as well.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  12. I am such a wimp, I have forever avoided monster movies. So I guess the only thing I watched in my past that seems comparable is the shark from Jaws. That thing scared me to death!

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  13. This is such a personal post yet we all feel like there is a bit of us in it. My husband still remembers that he used to be scared of s witch that supposedly lived in their out houses in India. I am still superstitious that if I do not clean my bathrooms a monster will come there. Our kids grew up watching Godzilla.
    Political monsters? That is a good one.
    I have learned to live with my health problems that I used to think were like monsters. After loosing my full time job, I lost my health insurance,( even thought two part time jobs can add up to more than forty hours a week.) No worries because the fear of being without health insurance actually made me take of my health better than ever!

    than forty hours)

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  14. Teresa -- Glad to be back. Those monsters that we conjure unseen in our minds can be more terrifying--and irrational--than any fictional monsters someone else concocts for our entertainment.

    Laura -- There is a sad innocence to the King Kong story. He was so happy in his own environs.

    Shelly -- Yay Godzilla!

    Liza -- The Jaws shark was pretty scary, but fortunately he couldn't come onto land.

    Munir -- The deceitful "monsters" who run things in this world can do more damage than any imaginary monster even if it were real. We are at the mercy of the powers that be and often those powers are not working in our best interests.

    Lee

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  15. You reminded me of The Hunchback of NotreDame :)

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  16. I love the classic monsters of the silent and early sound era. The best monsters are the ones we can connect or sympathize with, not pure incarnations of evil or meanness. In many ways, they're scarier than monsters in modern movies because they left more to the imagination and were more three-dimensional.

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  17. Lee, my brother tortured me with horror movies when I was a kid. Then I grew up and had 5 boys. You bet ya, I've seen good ole monster movies of every shape and colour. Probably why I'm a bit warped today.

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  18. Snakes were my real monsters as a kid. My friend's brother just loved chasing me with a snake in his head. He got a royal kick out of it.

    Great post.

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  19. I'm a monster lover in general, but I'm a huge ZOMBIE fan. "The Walking Dead" is my favorite TV show, and I plan to write a zombie novel in 2013.

    Jolie du Pre
    Precious Monsters

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  20. Ghadeer -- The films weren't my favorites, but I liked my Hunchback model a lot.

    Carrie Anne-- I agree with that. Like any antagonist, the monster should have a side that we can feel sympathy for.

    Joylene -- Much of the time the monster stories can be much less intimidating and frightening than what's in the news.

    Donna -- Snakes give me the creeps and they absolutely terrify my wife.

    Jolie -- Zombies are my favorites as well. The original Night of the Living Dead is among my all-time favorite films.

    Lee

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  21. We are all monsters...makes me think of I Am Legend (the book, not movie). Cool monster post!

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  22. I'm back as well. Needed a break from all the monsters and I got it. Seems you took off for a bit, too!

    As to monsters, I've always been "fond" of things that slide up out of the water. Ergo, ponds and lakes are my least favorite places to swim. I always imagine there's something down there waiting for me.

    Great hop!

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  23. Nice, personal take on this prompt. I did that, too. Glad to have you back, and I hope the real monsters in your life aren't threatening you too badly at the moment. Take care.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    http://kmdlifeisgood.blogspot.com/

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  24. Yes, in our own way, we are all monsters. I picked Godzilla too!

    Great post, nice to meet you by the way via Monstrous Monday!

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  25. Popped in from Monstrous Monday.

    Those old B horror movie monsters are the ones that give me the heebie jeebies.

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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  26. Yikes, I had nightmares about Godzilla all through my childhood. Glad to see you back, Lee.

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  27. SL -- The scariest stories delve into the darker sides of human beings.

    C Lee -- What lurks hidden beneath waters has always creeped me out as well. I think bodies of water can be quite scary.

    Tina -- I guess we are all fighting our own monsters every day to some extent.

    Yolanda -- Thanks for the visit and please do come back. Yes, Godzilla is a king of monsters.

    Tami -- There's something about the stylistic approach of those old B&W films that was especially creepy.

    Nancy -- I've had a few Godzilla dreams myself. Actually I've always kind of enjoyed those dreams although they seemed kind of scary when I was dreaming them.

    Lee

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  28. Hi, Lee! WELCOME back! Godzilla seems to be a popular monster today. My favorite monster is zombies. I'm a huge WALKING DEAD fan. : )

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  29. I've always related to the Phantom of the Opera and Beast (which depending on what version you're reading is quite monstrous). Blame it on body issues, but I've always related to the misunderstood monsters.

    I love vampires too, but it's because they're a reflection of human desires, whether emotional or primal and monstrous. Elizabeth Bathory in particular is an obsession of mine and I tend to joke that she was my lover in a past life.

    I really enjoyed your bloghop post. Mine's finally up.

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  30. Hmmm...Frankenstein's monster always seemed like he should have been the hero, not the bad guy...the real monster in the book was the man who made the 'monster,' far more so than the so-called monster himself. So I'd say that Victor Frankenstein would be my vote for most frightening monster--a wealthy guy from a very privileged background, obsessed to the point of being maniacally blinded by his unnatural ambitions, going around doing terrible stuff that no one will do anything about until it is far too late...

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  31. I used to build models, too. Only they were dinosaurs. It was so much fun putting them together. I wonder what ever happened to them? I didn't see Godzilla in the theater, but it seems like they were on television every weekend. It was always a great fallback for me. Almost like my comfort-scary movie.

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  32. Amazing post! One of my roommates was a huge Godzilla fan in university. I watched all the old films. So much fun!

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  33. Susanne -- I'm a fan of Godzilla or zombies either one. Two of my favorites.

    Justin -- Misunderstood monsters are easy to sympathize with. Then again, in a sense, I guess all monsters are somewhat misunderstood, or at least hard to understand.

    Garrisonjames-- I like Shelley's depiction of the created creature. He was a tragic figure. Often wealthy people or corporations are depicted as the real monsters.

    Gwen -- I would have probably liked the dinosaur models, but I don't think they were available when I was a kid.

    Christine -- Thanks for stopping by. I haven't seen most of the follow-up Godzilla films in many years. He always seemed to be fighting against other monsters and protecting the humans. He became quite a hero.

    Lee


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  34. Growing up, we used to watch old black & white monster moview on Sunday afternoon. My mom always turned down the sound during the worst parts - it's not nearly as scary without the sound track!

    Great insights about the monsters in all of us. We do have 'em and have to keep working with them!

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  35. Great post, Lee. The monster of my childhood was that shark in Jaws. I still don't like swimming in the ocean unless its a nice clear part of the water that I can see things approach me from far off. I truly hope I hope the only thing I have in common with that sharp toothed fish is extreme intelligence...hehehehe!

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  36. Many authors have said that they used monsters as metaphors. Interesting to think about.

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  37. Can't really connect myself to any particular monster but maybe I'm not very introspective.
    My childhood was pretty grounded and rather than monsters, I was afraid of bears from the nearby woods and snakes from all over.

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  38. I'm with you. I definitely think we're our worst nightmare. Give me a zombie or a dragon to fight any day! But not my evil twin!

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  39. The whole time the monster was me...too true! I liken movie monsters to rollercoasters. They are a safe kind of scary and help us forget the real life scary things. Awesome post :)

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  40. Jemi -- Somehow those old B&W films seem scarier to me than the newer ones in color and more realistic special effects. I think in horror less can be more.

    Sabrina -- I've never felt very comfortable with water, sharks or not.

    Mary -- I think nearly all monster stories can be looked at metaphorically.

    Susan -- The bears and snakes can certainly assume the roles of monsters--and they are more real threats than imaginary concoctions.

    Erin -- Oh woe to meet an evil twin. Now that's a frightening thought!

    Lee

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  41. Lost -- Thanks! Scary movies and stories are indeed like a thrill ride. They're all escapist fun and we go back for more. Not so much with real life terror.

    Lee

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  42. I have loved scary movies for forever or at least as long as I can remember. My lack of appropriate parents allowed me to see my favorites from far younger than I should admit. But those scary movies were always a release to me. I got to know the formula right away and it was safer than any real life horrors.
    Sometimes we all have a monster that rears its ugly head inside of us. Mine tends to be of the strange variety that pops up when I don't follow my true instincts. Thankfully that doesn't happen often!
    Nice post Arlee!

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  43. Lee-

    I'm not sure I buy into the "there's a monster in all of us" logic, but I will say that sadly, humans have proven to be the only species that kills other species...and itself...for a variety of reasons that really do not have much merit (sport, personal gain, different beliefs).

    Mankind are the monsters.

    I do not need to watch zombie movies...I can simply watch the news.

    Larry

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  44. Lee-

    As for the real life monsters of disease, death, unemployment, and financial hardship...

    I am sorry that you have gotten hit hard by these over recent years.

    Sadly, some of these (death, disease) are simply inevitable, and the others (unemployment, financial hardship) enable us to grow and help to remind us what is important in this fleeting life.

    Haven't you made a whole slew of friends you would have never made as a result of some of these trials.

    At the risk of sounding like a cliche....

    Larry

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  45. Very well written, Lee. It's true. We invent these fictitious monsters to protect us from the real monsters, ourselves, other people, death, disease, violence. Fixating on a monster we know isn't real is soothing.


    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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  46. phantom of the opera...never would have thought, but yes...:) new follower, hi!

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  47. Godzilla and Mothra were my favorites as a child. The ants in THEM scared me, probably because of the sounds they made.

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Lee