Model Fiends: Our Friendship with Monsters, Lil Nas X, Jason Voorhees, And More
In this Issue:
- Horror History: Model Fiends: Our Friendship with Monsters
- Image of the Week: The Beast of Gévaudan
- Tiny Bites – This Week’s Best Horror Headlines
- Things We Love: Saint Maud Will Haunt Your Turntable
- Hey, That’s Us! – Shudder in the News
Model Fiends: Our Friendship with Monsters
By Matt Konopka
For as long as monsters have existed, us horror kids have seen ourselves in them. Throughout cinema, the monster has represented the outsider. Whether it’s King Kong afraid and alone in a city that hates him, or The Gill Man seeking companionship from Julie Adams, the story is always the same; society hates what it doesn’t understand, and society sure doesn’t understand being “different”.
But monsters don’t judge.
In the Season 2 premiere episode of Creepshow, creator/director Greg Nicotero’s segment “Model Kid” is a love letter to the creatures that love us back. It introduces a boy named Joe (Brock Duncan), a through and through monster kid beaten down in every facet of his life. Kids harass him. His uncle Kevin (Kevin Dillon) bullies him for liking “this horror crap,” and, god, how often have you heard those words hissed at you in your life?
A lot of us horror kids were like Joe. Wearing Dracula makeup as he paints creature models, he might as well be a snapshot of our own memories. For Joe, these models are his way of bringing his favorite monsters closer together as friends. He pulls them from the films and gives them life like a young Dr. Frankenstein so they can be by his side and watch over him.
I used to cosplay as monsters all the time as a kid, for the same reason as Joe; to feel confident. Wearing Dracula makeup lets Joe feel the power of the Count; it gives him strength and hides the bruises he’d rather forget. When he’s missing his mother and feels vulnerable, he wears a skeleton mask, a shield from the outside world. We all do this in some form or fashion to feel the comfort of monsters. They protect us. They make us feel safe.
Monster movies speak to those of us who can’t seem to find our place in the world. As a kid, I was bullied, mocked, and beaten up. But I found solace in creature features because I saw myself in the hideous ghouls that other characters wanted to be rid of. Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, the Wolf Man…I was all of them, and they were me. Society wanted nothing to do with them. In many cases, they were misunderstood. Frankenstein’s Monster, for example, only wanted a friend.
Fans like myself and Joe, we don’t relate to the popular teen characters or beautiful leads that seem to live good, happy, “normal” lives. But monsters, we get each other. A monster knows what it’s like to face the mob with torches, and the people who judge you for what’s on the outside instead of the inside.
In Joe’s case, monsters become literal protectors that branch outside of his imagination and into the real world where he needs them the most. While the Wolf Man is never going to show up at my doorstep to laugh at angst-y vampire movies with me, we all get the same thing from monsters. Loyal friends. They will never shame us for being different. They will never kick us when we’re down. Some might try to eat us, but at least it’s without malice.
Joe’s story is full of darkness, but at the heart of it is something beautiful; a celebration of the creatures who make us feel accepted, and that who we are is okay. For you, me, and every kid growing up that feels different, there’s a scaly/hairy/rotting monster hand held out and anxious to show us that we’re not alone.
There’s nothing quite like a good monster to make you feel more human.
Matt Konopka is a wannabe werewolf and Editor-in-Chief of KillerHorrorCritic.com, a killer horror site for every monster kid. He also rants and raves about horror movies with his wife, Kriss, on the Killer Horror Critic podcast.
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
The Beast of Gévaudan
Just look at this incredible poster by DeviantArt artist Jean-Baptiste Chuat for Brotherhood of the Wolf, which celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year.
LIL NAS X, JASON VOORHEES, AND MORE
Dr. Sam Hirst wrote a fascinating and informative Twitter thread about the use of Demonic and Satanic imagery as a “form of resistance, subversion and disruption” in light of the controversy surrounding Lil Nas X’s latest video.
Certified Forgotten makes the argument that Ghost in the Machine paved the way for the Final Destination franchise.
The good folk over at Council of Zoom took a look at the origins and inspirations behind Hellraiser’s iconic villain Pinhead.
Here are ten songs that were inspired by horror movies.
Want something a bit more aggressive? French synthwave/cyberpunk Perturbator, whose horror influences are always present, announced a new album. Kerrang! has the first single.
Tiktok has proven itself to be the breeding ground for a new generation of found footage horror.
Empire Magazine takes a look at David Bruckner’s upcoming horror film The Night House.
Daily Dead looks back at the 1980 horror gemPatrick Still Lives.
A smorgasbord of horror royalty voice the cast of Netflix’s latest animated series DOTA: Dragon’s Blood.
X-Plus’ upcoming Jason Voorhees figure is all sorts of cute and deadly.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the original Resident Evil, TechCrunch looks at the remakes and how they got the formula right.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw is coming to theaters earlier than expected.
THINGS WE LOVE
Saint Maud Will Haunt Your Turntable
Mondo and Deathwaltz have teamed up with Milan Records, Stage 6, and A24 to release this gorgeous vinyl pressing of Adam Janota Bzowski’s score for Saint Maud. Pre-order your copy here.