Horror and Me: Our Favorite Thing Is Monsters

No kid ever wanted to be the knight instead of the dragon.

Humans have rules, and worse, consequences. When a human does something, they have to live with it. Maybe they go to jail. Maybe they feel guilty. Maybe they have to keep doing that thing whenever their parents or their bosses or their society tells them to. Monsters have agency without rules, without consequences. Their actions are inherent in their very existence; you don’t blame Godzilla for trampling an HO scale oil refinery, you simply stay out of his way. You don’t send the alien to his room for killing Harry Dean Stanton, you just try to get away with your own life.

And this, ultimately, is why kids, and the adults they sometimes turn into, love monsters. The whiff of being good, or at least manageable, or at least warehousable, hangs over our formative years like the dread miasma of a coffin, burst from the inside by the gasses of decomposition, dragging you toward your future as a productive member of society. Even as a child, you knew the cold hand on your shoulder, the one that made you hug your gross aunt who smelled like cigarettes, the one that made you get up in front of the class, even though all you wanted to do was hide in the coat closet until the bell rang, and read your report. And it fucking sucked.

And so you, we, found solace in the unfettered power of the gargoyle, of the mummy, of the zombie,of the kaiju. We skulked home from school, not a flustered, anxious kid in a crappy hand me down t-shirt, but a rampaging beast, loosed upon a world that had no hope of survival. The monster was the icon of our self-emancipation. We saw the things we needed in the strength of the beast form 20,000 fathoms. We heard our own cries of resistance in the bellow of the mutant and the buzz of the chainsaw.

I’m sorry to go all freshman year on you here, but I kind of wanted to put out into the universe my thanks, my gratitude, to all the creepies and crawlies and beasties and boogens that got me through some rough patches. I still love the innocent terrors of the Creature Double Feature. My heart still grows stronger when I see the zipper on the back of the costume, or when the glue gives out on the wolfman’s fur. I still love the monsters I carry in my soul. They’re the saints and martyrs who set an example for me. And I bet you feel that way too, sometimes. When the stars are right.

I’ll see you around, boils and ghouls.