There are many different types of monsters, but what do they all have in common? In the 19th century, an academic classification was created to categorize monsters based on their origin story. The catch-all term monsters include anything from vampires and werewolves to shapeshifters and ghosts, but they can all be traced back to one of three root causes of monstrosity: supernatural powers, scientific experimentation, or mental illness. While some films don’t utilize any of these causes to explain they’re monstrous villains, others draw from several sources simultaneously.
What makes a film ‘monstrous’?
There are several reasons why people might find a film monstrous. The most obvious is if it’s explicitly terrifying, and a film can certainly class as ‘monstrous’ because it contains monsters or other creatures who threaten, terrify or even kill characters. But there’s more to monstrous films than just their scary content; they also tap into deeper fears about human nature and existence. Some films ask us to confront our darkest impulses and desires, while others explore our capacity for evil or highlight social flaws.
Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960)
Throughout Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho, we see several examples of human monstrosity. The most obvious one is Norman Bates’ (Anthony Perkins) killing spree. In addition to Norman’s homicidal tendencies, however, other characters in Psycho are also guilty of monstrous acts. For example, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) steals money from her employer and abandons her boyfriend in order to escape a bad situation; she clearly has no regard for anyone but herself. This is a good example of how society rewards immoral behavior.
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
This Italian neorealist classic follows Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani), a poor man living in post-war Rome, as he struggles to make ends meet. When his bicycle is stole, he and his son Bruno (Enzo Staiola) work together to search for it. On their journey, they are subject to many hardships: They nearly die at the hands of a thief who try to pawn fake money on them, but they also gain empathy for an African immigrant being racially profile by police officers. Ricci’s tragedy demonstrates just how far a person can fall if they have nothing left to lose.
Schindler’s List (1993)
The Holocaust is commonly referr to as the ultimate example of human monstrosity. Steven Spielberg directed Schindler’s List, which won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. The film depicts German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who is play by Liam Neeson, as he tries to save 1,100 Jews from being kill in concentration camps. In order to succeed in his endeavor and save a thousand lives from certain death, Schindler abuses women and children. He uses deception and sex to his advantage; whenever possible he lies about each person’s age or profession so that they would be more desirable for work detail outside Auschwitz.
Directed by David Cronenberg, Videodrome is a film that talks about our fascination with violence and sex. We see Max Renn’s (James Woods) control video, which he uses to exploit people’s bodies and minds, through his Videodrome show. The film shows us just how vulnerable we are to distract by what we are watching, especially in a technologically advance world. However, it also points out that we have learned to view violence as entertainment – as something necessary to pass time. The Reelcraze movie warns against our tendency to turn every horrific act into something entertaining and whether or not it should view in such a way.
The Ring (2002)
A girl with a grudge, a deadly videotape, and a surreal ending all work together to make The Ring one of the most memorable horror films of recent years. Naomi Watts gives a haunting performance as Rachel Keller and her quest for redemption from beyond, or is it simply all in Sarah’s head? Richard Matheson’s novella has buy to life by director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of The Caribbean) and writer Ehren Kruger. The story revolves around seven mysterious videotapes that are spread across North America. They feature four minutes’ worth of static which,
if viewed by you or someone you love will lead to your death seven days later. Well, who hasn’t got time for that! It may be clichéd but it works every time!
Audition tells the story of Aoyama, a man who was left devastate after his wife was murder by a serial killer. The film shows viewers that not all humans have a pure heart and some can quite wick. The main character willingly goes through with a fake casting to find out if he can attract another woman; even going as far as testing her limits,
like making her jump off an extension with him on it and seeing if she’ll follow him into dangerous situations. Reel Craze movie is just one example, but there are many movies that show human monstrosity and psychopathy,
whether they believe they’re doing good or want to do bad things to others.