Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Elements of Horror: Giant Creatures

This one is not too difficult to figure out, feeling smaller than a predator is a pretty scary feeling. Being helpless to defend oneself against an onslaught of nature is not a great position to be in. Almost without fail, the giant creatures depicted in horror movies represent a flip-flopping of the power dynamic of the real world. Ants, moths, lizards, spiders, rats...anything we could normally just step on becomes terrifying at a larger size. Maybe we all feel a twinge of guilt killing any living thing, especially as carelessly as we would an ant. It is only just desserts that they come back and kill us.

Of course, things that are usually tiny are horrific when enlarged. Look at the mites that live in your eyelashes sometime...you don't want to run into those in a dark alley. An insect writ large looks absolutely alien. These are, again primordial fears of not being the apex predator.

How about King Kong? Gorillas are already pretty formidable without being gigantic. I think the origins of Kong are a little more racist than the other giant creatures. From the depiction of the tribe on the island to the portrayal of Kong himself, something feels a little "watch out whitey" about the whole thing. I could be wrong, maybe the movie isn't about being afraid of things from far away coming to steal white women and ruin cities. No, who am I kidding, Kong is racist as hell.

My favorite kind of giant creature is a Lovecraftian monstrosity as seen in Cloverfield or as described in the Cthulu mythos. Unspeakable evils from beyond our dimension should be gigantic canvasses upon which we project our fears. Otherwise, they become manageable in some way. Say Cthulu was the size of a man. No matter how hideous or madness inducing it may to look upon him, a cage or cell should hold him fine. Make him gigantic and you have no choice but to deal with him.

Don't have much to say about this subgenre of horror. It is pretty self-explanatory. See you next time.

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