Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good...

...or maybe not.

So onto the most interesting group. The misunderstood monsters. The ones who are out of place, out of time, out of sync.

When I was very young, we had a kind of tradition in our house. On Sundays we'd have a big roast dinner and then we'd watch the Sunday afternoon movie.

For a lot of people in the UK this will probably be quite familiar. The Sunday afternoon films had a kind of theme. One thing I remember is that there were a lot of westerns. I think by the time I was ten I'd seen most of the John Wayne western catalogue. Also lots of musicals. And The Great Escape, Zulu, The Towering Inferno, The Wizard of OZ and The Poseidon Adventure seemed to be shown on a monthly if not fortnightly basis.

Anyhoo, one afternoon when I was four or five we sat down to watch the Sunday afternoon movie. It was the 1933 version of King Kong. At the end of the movie I was hysterical and banned from ever watching that movie again. I think if my five year old self had been in charge of writing the film, somehow King Kong would have got away.

That experience has left me with something of a soft spot for the misunderstood monster.

King Kong didn't do anything but be King Kong. It was the circumstances he was put in that made him a monster. And I think this is what makes "monsters" such interesting characters to me.

What is it that makes someone or something a monster? Is it their actions? Or is it how they are perceived? Is it who they really are? Or who they want you to think they are? I think these characters are actually rare. If they're not the two dimensional bad guy who gets killed off in the final chaper then often they end up redeemed or reformed.

Does anyone have any favourite misunderstood monsters? Or recommendations for complex, morally dubious characters. Or failing that any favourite Sunday afternoon films?


Kris said...

"Oh Lord. Please don't let me be misunderstood."

Had to do that, Lesley. Sorry. :)

Does the Beast in Beauty and the Beast count as a misunderstood creature?? You already know how I feel about him.

Hmmm. When I think about this topic it makes me realise that all the horrible monsters or characters I liked are ones who tended to die tragically - usually defending or protecting someone/thing - and therefore redeemed themselves.


How boring. :(

Artemis said...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the one, the only: The Frankenstein Monster. And what better fodder for a Sunday afternoon movie. I love my B&W classics!

LesleyW said...

Kris - yeah I think this is the thing I really don't like about King Kong. I wish he'd been able to get back to his island where he was relatively happy being worshipped and fighting dinosaurs.

Artemis - I did mention him briefly yesterday. But think I kind of forgot about him in my rush of nostaligia for Sunday afternoons.

I think most of the misunderstood monsters are destined for tragic deaths.

Vikki said...

Dracula was sort of gypped, wasn't he? And, although not a complete monster-genetically-let's not forget the Phantom of the Opera. I know, I know, he murdered, kidnapped, terrorized his way through the script, but imagine the stuff going on inside the poor guy's head!
The Phantom should've ended up in therapy. That would've been a happier ending.

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