Model Fiends: Our Friendship with Monsters, Lil Nas X, Jason Voorhees, And More
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The Bite #154
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Model Fiends: Our Friendship with Monsters, Lil Nas X, Jason Voorhees, And More

March 30, 2021

In this Issue:


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, 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.


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