Beyond Cosmic

Hello again! I know cosmic horror is more your fancy, but what are your feelings on other types of horror (general monsters, ghosts, humans as the ultimate evil, etc.)? In the past I would sometimes lump Lovecraftian things as “monster” because of the beings themselves, but I realize they fall into other categories better.

wilburwhateley wilburwhateley said:

Hey, there! Thanks for the great ask.

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The wing gremlin from Twilight Zone: the Movie (1983); this segment was a (same-name) remake of the William Shatner episode, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” which was an adaptation of the short story by Richard Matheson.

Oh, I love all kinds of monsters and always have.

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from The Company of Wolves (1984)

How we categorize these things is (to me) both interesting and occasionally frustrating. I’m usually open to any sort of suggested method as long as I can make sense of it…and if the other person isn’t screaming that theirs is absolutely correct. I got into a super-nerdy (verbal, of course…and actually kind of entertaining) slap-fight a year or so ago about the qualities it takes to call a monster “Lovercraftian.” That sort of thing can get ridiculous pretty quickly, but it can also be a lot of fun.
I think categories help us negotiate expectations (thus avoiding disappointment), and I think I mentioned on a post or ask or something a while back that I was really happy to see, for example, del Toro driving-home the point that Crimson Peak is a Gothic Romance and not a Horror movie. Neither is “better” than the other, but knowing how Gothic Romance differs from mainstream Horror and how it’s similar could mean the difference between having a good time at the theater and spending a couple of miserable hours waiting on the gore that doesn’t come (or hiding one’s head behind a popcorn bucket). My point is that what we call things matters. And since I enjoy talking about monsters, it never hurts to talk about labels and such, I think.

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from Blade II, Goyer/del Toro’s Reaper-mouth Vampire

Now, for your actual question (ha):
I’ve mentioned my thing for werewolves a time or two, and I rarely get tired of them. I even made it through The Twilight Saga years with my affection in tact, and that was a truly dark time.

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I spent a good chunk of my early twenties engrossed in Vampire: The Masquerade, so I have a lot of nostalgic affection for those creatures, as well, despite some media-fueled burnout.

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White Wolf Publishing; 1st edition (March 1, 1996)

I also enjoy traditional ghost stories—folklore, local legends, that sort of thing, as well as the Antiquarian sort that influenced HPL. See M.R. James if you’d like to explore works by the master of that particular subgenre. I also have a not-so-secret and very semi-guilty pleasure thing going with the ghost hunting shows. I don’t actually believe in ghosts (not in any conventional sense of the concept anyway), but that never detracts from my enjoyment of a good haunting story.

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James McBryde’s illustration for “Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” from M.R. James’ Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

And if you’ve spent any time around the blog, you know I enjoy Clive Barker’s work. I’m a sucker for a Cenobite, as well as for any of the Nightbreed. Beautiful, beautiful monsters in those worlds. Look at this handsome devil:

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Nightbreed’s Devil Lude

You mentioned humans/evil humans, and I guess that’s probably the sub-category (?) I like the least in Horror and tend to slot the serial killer/slasher movies under a different Horror umbrella, and it’s just not something to which I’m drawn automatically. That’s not to say there aren’t some great films and books that slide that way, but I usually don’t enjoy purely “evil/homicidal human”-driven Horror. Examples? Orphan comes immediately to mind, as does the Saw franchise. Don’t care for either. There are exceptions, of course. In general, I like my monsters distinctly inhuman and fairly unsympathetic (none of that ‘tragic backstory’ stuff).

Well, that was a crash-run through monsters of interest…and I barely touched the topic! It’s a start, I guess. Thanks for asking the question, however, and for following. 🙂