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The Evolution of the Popular Monster

Monsters have greatly evolved in popularity throughout time. From the vampires of Dracula’s era to the witches of the 1990s to the zombies of the 2010s, we have seen certain monsters grow in popularity to reflect the social and political anxieties of their time. Create an outline of the recent history of monsters, and predict what types of monsters the current era will rely on for social critique and escapism.

  • I agree that there is an identifiable connection between the popularity of a particular monster and the society it is presented in. This topic will get a little tricky because of the diversity of our popular culture now so I would recommend picking a specific genre: tv, film, comic, or literature. Otherwise it will be hugely inaccurate. Part of what needs to be discussed here also is the particular representation of the type of monster, for instance vampires are presented in numerous ways that tend to be related to both a context and a social reflection, we seem to be slowly moving off the "sexy vampire" and back towards the "vicious monster" but it depends on where you are looking. A lot to talk about in this topic! – SaraiMW 5 months ago
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  • Would cyborgs fit in there, maybe around the 1980s to 1990s, with The Terminator and with Star Trek's The Borg? I agree with SaraiMW that focusing on one particular type of monster might make for a more focused and successful essay. – JamesBKelley 5 months ago
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  • Horror movies (and monster movies by extension) often carry the seeds of social commentary Reference the movies "Get Out". "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", the plethora of films that came out using the trope of cell phones turning people into zombies/crazed killers/possessed by ghosts. How do horror stories reflect the real fears of the society they arise out of? – Kidcanuck 5 months ago
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  • Yes, all of this! – ivyskiss 5 months ago
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  • Many 1950s era monsters came as a result of nuclear testing, some as a result of the fear of Communist subversion. I don't see a dominant influence in monster create today. Will a clear influence emerge that is reflected in monster creation? – Joseph Cernik 3 months ago
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  • This is a fascinating and diverse subject area. In addition to the above monsters, there seems to be a continued portrayal of most ghosts as female. Aside from the obvious problem with their having any gender, why would society be so comfortable with vicious ghosts like the one in The Grudge, yet so uncomfortable with portraying living women in this way. Do women have to be supernatural to let out anger or violence? Also, I think older, supernatural monsters have been edged out by actual human ones, such as serial killers or even abusive husbands. One of the most frightening is often a neighbor or even the guy who used to own your house, as in Cold Creek Manor, or Bates Motel! – SharonGenet 3 months ago
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