Enrique Bonilla Morales
Monsters are not ordinary villains. Villains such as Gaston (Beauty and the Beast), Captain Vidal (Pan’s labyrinth) or Saruman (The Lord of the Rings) inspire hate and despite. You resent them since their first appearance on screen or the first time you hear them talk. Monsters, furthermore, inspire our curiosity and fear. They are hideous, creepy, horrible creatures that wake us up in the middle of the night and make us wonder if it is safe to unlock a door or walk through a dark alley. We want to know their origin. Sometimes they make us feel compassion knowing that, must of the times, we will regret our benevolence and will pay it with torments that will hunt us for the rest of our life, or will get us killed before the movie ends.
But, why monsters keep our attention and are so meaningful to us? Most of you will know Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street, however, if I tell you the name Nancy, you probably won’t know who is she. I am sure you know who Jason Voorhees is, nevertheless you could not name one of his victims. This is because monsters tell us more from ourselves than what you actually believe.
When I watch or read a good written Monster, I see an echo of my life. They mirror our mistakes and how society, and ourselves, assimilate them. They are the constant burden we carry in our daily existence, a burden we can only see if it is portrayed in creatures of our imagination because we are too terrified to encounter it inside us or inside any living creature that we love. They are the wrong decisions our family has made, the faults people think we have committed, and an impression of the hate we have for others. Monsters allow us to make an introspection on our life, seek a change or solution when needed, or forgive ourselves and others when we must.
For example, Erik or the Phantom of the Opera was a brilliant actor, architect, and musician. Yet, the ugliness of his face was more influential to the world. He hated his face more than he appreciated his talents because everyone he had met had taught him so. We all have been in Erik’s shoes at least once, where no matter all the good things we do, others will always see what we have done wrong or different. The world will remember and judge the time we yelled at someone, the time we failed to fulfil their expectancies, or the things that make us different from the norm: we are gay, we are social fighters, we are introverts, we are ugly, rich or poor.
Likewise, when I watched Poison for the fairies by Mexican director Carlos Enrique Taboada, I was astonished by all the atrocities that were justified in Faviola’s mind because she thought Veronica was a witch. Veronica was Faviola’s friend, and they were infants playing, however, in the end, it didn’t matter because Veronica was a monster. How many times we forget about the human side of criminals or people with different practices than ours. And is only their faults what we see and use to defend the deplorable acts committed against them? But, when we look at these atrocities made on monsters, we can recognize all that is wrong in our actions.
As with these two previous examples, I can find multiple others where horror movie/book monsters are used to tell a complex and profound analysis of human morals and behaviour: Frankenstein’s monster, Stephen king’s It, Carrie, Pazuzu, the creature from the black lagoon, Dracula, the Corinthian from Sandman, and many more. Monsters are an opportunity to accept ourselves and others, to love us as what we are. Accept that we will look horrible in some mirrors even though inside we are still human enough to confront them. They are a chance to fight against our fears, and witness that even the most hideous faces have a complex story to analyze, and they, or better said we, deserve forgiveness. Nevertheless, in the end, if we do not learn from our monsters, we will perish as a simple villain.
We are not always the hero nor the villain, but there will always be a small cabin hidden in a vast and remote black forest, with an abominable spirit waiting to possess us.