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What is next for the figure of the monster?

Generally speaking monsters have had an ideological or didactic purpose. Ancient monsters taught us about social ill, medieval monsters were often used to demonstrate religious doctrines and enlightenment monsters taught the public something about the dangers of science. Contemporary monsters, however, seem to be much better looking and a whole lot friendlier (Twilight, Teen Wolf). What has this done to the meaning of monsters? Do they still teach us something? If monsters are going to be friendlier then what "should" we be scared of/ what is taking the place of traditional monster?

  • Ehh... I don't think you should quite judge the monsters in Twilight and Teen Wolf as their own original "monsters". They already have creative bases in vampires and werewolves/lycanthropes respectively, both respectable and influential monsters. Lycanthropes were popular as far back as Grecian days, so there's not too much in terms of originality there. However, a look at real contemporary monsters and what criteria encapsulates the essence of such a creature would be interesting. What human aspect does the monster reflect? What fear or worry does the monster embody? How are representations in media representative of these claims? Things like that would be interesting. A study into why Edward Cullen sparkles? Not so much. – Austin 9 years ago
  • Modern monster? Dexter. – Jeffrey MacCormack 9 years ago
  • I second Jeffrey MacCormack's comment. Our modern-day conception of "monster" has transformed from external, physical grotesqueness to a sense of internal othering. I would say this is true in both literature and TV (i.e. Dexter, Breaking Bad). The meaning of what constitutes a monster has become the trope of "the monster within," and I think this is certainly stirring and fascinating. I wonder what the specific angle would be that someone could take on this topic. – Rachel Watson 9 years ago

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