Author Topic: What do the classic monsters mean to you?  (Read 1757 times)

Big Bad Wolf

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What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« on: October 04, 2017, 02:37:11 PM »
We all love Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, Jekyll & Hyde, so on, but I'd like to talk about just how deeply we love them, why we love them, what they mean to us deep down. I might get a little heavy here and open up a bit, but y'all are welcome to keep things as light as you want.

I'm a fan of many different things outside this realm. I'm into the superhero genre quite a bit too, and I'm HUGE Superman fan for instance, and in a more relevant discussion I could go into my connection with that character and his world just as much. However, there's something special about the classic monsters.

For me, one monster in particular resonates above all others. If Superman is the person I wish I could be, the Frankenstein Monster is who I feel I truly am. That character, that story, is truly a part of me. I've had a lot of problems in my life. As a child my father was emotionally abusive, and is still prone to saying very harsh, cruel things. Physical abuse wasn't a part of it, but the threat of violence hung in the air often enough to leave an impression. I still have anxiety about being around him, or even talking with him on the phone. Growing up I also had trouble in school. I was a big kid, and I'm a bigger guy now, and I was bullied a lot for it. At an early age I developed an eating disorder that still hasn't gone away. The worst thing, the most damaging thing, was a frequent sense of abandonment. I wasn't truly raised with my parents, though I was with them often. They were young, and not ready for a kid. I was raised by my grandma. I didn't have many friends in school, and they tended to drift away. In recent years, I've been mostly cut off from my extended family, people I was close to for a long time, and why? I don't know. I didn't do anything. I didn't cause problems, I wasn't a source of negativity for them, but still they don't talk to me. And romance? Forget about it.

All of this is to say that I struggle with loneliness and isolation and depression every day. Just days ago I sunk to very low depths as my feeling of being unwanted and unwelcome everywhere I went threatened to crush me.

For all this, I see myself reflected in the Frankenstein Monster. In a way, I believe I really am the Frankenstein Monster, in the flesh. Especially when I'm at my lowest point. And yet, reading Mary Shelley's brilliant novel, or watching the many great films, I am strangely uplifted. I cry, sure. I cried last night watching the two James Whale films on TCM, a few times in fact. I'm sure you can guess which scenes provoked the strongest emotions. I'm a baby like that. But I also feel release. The story of Frankenstein is not just a story for me, it's a place where I can see echoes of my own story and heal through them. I consider the Frankenstein Monster a friend, a kindred spirit, an entity that I can relate to on a spiritual level.

All the classic monsters comfort me on some level. With my imagination I can retreat to a beautiful world of gods and monsters where the pains and aches I've felt my whole life can't reach me. And I know that in this world, lurking somewhere in a foggy graveyard, or perhaps near the charred remains of a ruined windmill, or lying on a table in a castle on a hill, I have a friend who knows something of the pain and ache that I feel.

Now then, enough about me. I want to hear from you guys. What about these monsters and their stories resonates with you so much?
 You don't have to ramble on and on like I did, you don't have to get all personal like I did, I'm just curious about the deeper connections we all may have with these frightful friends of ours.
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Kidagain

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 04:16:34 PM »
BBW,don't know what to say except hopefully you might try to get professional help with the depression that befalls you.Also opening up to the members here is very brave on your part and I congratulate you for that.Now to your post,I started to get drawn to them when I purchased my first Famous Monsters Of Filmland mag in the late 1950s and then watching Zacherlie on TV.Had a few of the Don Post cheaper masks Frank,Drac and Topstones Werewolf and Mummy.Me and a few guys on the block would make a monster movie during the summer and show it along with a few monster movies by Castle Films and charge people 50 cents to see them in someone's basement along with a small stage show with us dressed as the monsters from the films. Any money we made was used for the Baseball team we had on the block.My monster craze also had the models of our favorite monsters and I also had an original Ghost Of Frankenstein poster.There was a 40 year gap with my monsters during my career at the New York Stock Exchange and raising a family. After I retired in 2008 I found this website and also the Halloween Mask Association that brought me back into the fold.My name here pretty much sums it up I'm a Kidagain.

Memphremagog

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2017, 04:43:25 PM »
To me, the classic monsters also provide a "safe space", a return to simpler things and times, if only for a brief respite. They are like modern fairy tales and have achieved immortality in their own way. No matter how upset or down I  can get at life's hard knocks, I know that I can always feel comfort and escape for a while in these tales.. :)
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Big Bad Wolf

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 04:46:04 PM »
BBW,don't know what to say except hopefully you might try to get professional help with the depression that befalls you.Also opening up to the members here is very brave on your part and I congratulate you for that.Now to your post,I started to get drawn to them when I purchased my first Famous Monsters Of Filmland mag in the late 1950s and then watching Zacherlie on TV.Had a few of the Don Post cheaper masks Frank,Drac and Topstones Werewolf and Mummy.Me and a few guys on the block would make a monster movie during the summer and show it along with a few monster movies by Castle Films and charge people 50 cents to see them in someone's basement along with a small stage show with us dressed as the monsters from the films. Any money we made was used for the Baseball team we had on the block.My monster craze also had the models of our favorite monsters and I also had an original Ghost Of Frankenstein poster.There was a 40 year gap with my monsters during my career at the New York Stock Exchange and raising a family. After I retired in 2008 I found this website and also the Halloween Mask Association that brought me back into the fold.My name here pretty much sums it up I'm a Kidagain.

That's pretty cool! I wish I could say I discovered the monsters that way. I remember always being aware of them in my periphery, but honestly my first real meaningful exposure to them came from a more recent source than Famous Monsters or Don Post masks (one might say that, compared to most members here, I still am a kid). I have a cousin who's close to my age and he and I used to be close like brothers, especially when we were really young. He had an SNES system and a bunch of games that he would share with me, and the one I played the most was Super Castlevania IV. Through that game I met Dracula, and a few other monsters too (Frankenstein and the Mummy are bosses in that one). Curious about them, I looked for movies about Dracula and Frankenstein at the video store. I owe my entire love of horror to that game (and subsequently I'm still very much a fan of that game franchise).

And curiously, I saw some of the Hammer films before I got to see the Universal films! I was lucky enough to catch them during a marathon on TCM one October (and still to this day I maintain that TCM has the best horror lineup of the month). The first Dracula film I saw was Scars of Dracula, so that one still holds a special place in my heart. I didn't actually get to see the Universal films for the first time until a few years later. Van Helsing was coming out, and during a stop to the local Borders Books store, I saw the legacy collection box set that came with the three busts of Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf Man. I begged my grandpa to buy it for me, and he did. I devoured that box set afterward, watching all of the films over and over for a little while.
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Jimi Bat

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2017, 09:33:08 PM »
I can relate to feeling like the Frankenstein monster as well.
That's why I have several Frankenstein monster T shirts to wear when I'm in one of those moods.

Ludi

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2017, 06:46:25 PM »
This is a great thread topic. 

For me, the classic monsters create a sense of nostalgia, even though I only saw some of the movies after childhood and some I have not seen at all (A&C Meet the monsters).  As a child, I always liked spooky and scary shows, and the Universal monster films were spooky and scary without being too scary.  Even though drawn to monsters I was always and continue to be easily frightened.  I can still be frightened by spooky stories I have read or watched repeatedly for years!  ::) 

Lunkenstein

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 09:56:48 PM »
To me, the classic monsters also provide a "safe space", a return to simpler things and times, if only for a brief respite. They are like modern fairy tales and have achieved immortality in their own way. No matter how upset or down I  can get at life's hard knocks, I know that I can always feel comfort and escape for a while in these tales.. :)

Very well put. I feel that way too. They are like old friends I can always count on.
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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2017, 02:55:21 PM »
My love for the monsters, monster movies, and just classic film and television in general comes from many different areas I think.

I've always had a fascination with the past. Old fashioned, classic, vintage, whatever you want to call it. That's my definition. I'm younger (late 20s) and have never felt like I was born in the right time.

I started watching silent films in 1st grade and my entire brain just shifted. This plus seeing the '31 Dracula and Frankenstein just completely changed my life forever.

Ever since then, I have consumed as much classic film and television as possible --- with a special emphasis on "genre" or "offbeat" cinema. Especially anything with a monster. I watch all sorts of classic film and television - but those genre pictures will always be my favorite and my priority.

When I see these monsters - everything from Harryhausen creations to amazing Monster makeups to rubber suited monsters to shoddy looking UFOs or whatever it may be - it sends me back to that time. I imagine that the world isn't so complicated - that everyone isn't a cell-phone obsessed zombie (not the good kind), that CGI hasn't burned everyone's imaginations to bits, that I'm a kid sitting in a movie theater or in front of his TV on a Saturday night and all I want in the world is to be entertained. It's the ultimate escape - not just for entertainment purposes, but to escape this modern world. Makes me feel like, for at least an hour and half, that everything is right in the world.

I know things haven't always been hunky dory in this world - and the past had its flaws as well. But it's still magical to me. And I'll always be fascinated.
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Big Bad Wolf

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2017, 06:46:28 PM »
I've always had a fascination with the past. Old fashioned, classic, vintage, whatever you want to call it. That's my definition. I'm younger (late 20s) and have never felt like I was born in the right time.
Same here, man. As another late 20s guy I just always feel drawn to period settings and style. Of course there were aspects of the past that weren't great, the same is true of today, but these movies and books and toys I love so much take me almost to another world entirely.

I'm something of a creative sort, and I like to imagine what kinds of films I'd like to make. When it comes to doing my own take on the stories I love, I always think period pieces. My Superman movie would be a 50s sci-fi yarn, a mix of The Day the Earth Stood Still, the old Fleischer shorts, ant the George Reeves TV series. My Dracula movie would be set in a sort of fairy tale Victorian era, stylistically taking after The Fearless Vampire Killers and old silent films. And that's to say nothing of weirder approaches I've considered!

But I digress. The point is, there's just a magic about these old stories that you don't see very often today. Great things might come along once in a while, but when I'm asked to come up with a list of gift ideas for Christmas or for my birthday, I tend to go for the older, sometimes weirder films and books than the recent mainstream stuff. I'm more excited to get an obscure Italian gothic horror flick starring Barbara Steele than I would be with the latest CGI thing.
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Lunkenstein

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2017, 01:55:59 PM »
It does my heart good to hear from fans in their 20s having the love for the classic films that we older folk do. Gives me hope that they will continue to mesmerize movie lovers for generations to come.
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Big Bad Wolf

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2017, 02:13:36 PM »
It does my heart good to hear from fans in their 20s having the love for the classic films that we older folk do. Gives me hope that they will continue to mesmerize movie lovers for generations to come.

I know one thing, anyone I make friends with who isn't already into classic horror, I always try to bring them into the fold. And I'm usually pretty successful. A year ago I introduced a buddy of mine to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for the first time. Now he's pointing out Mario Bava-esque color and lighting schemes in other films he sees.

I think introducing younger people to classic horror is a matter of enthusiasm and finding the right entry points. There are subjects said buddy and I had already bonded over, but when I talk classic horror with him, I have the same level of excitement, if not more. I come off very eager to talk about these things and show them off, and I think it makes an impression. For entry points, well, it helped that he had sort of a thing for War of the Worlds after reading the book in high school and seeing different movie adaptations. It was easy to go from there to other H.G. Wells tales like The Invisible Man and The Island of Dr. Moreau, both of which got great 30s film adaptations.

I used to help babysit the neighbor's kids from time to time. I remember introducing them to Godzilla, letting them play with my soft vinyl Godzilla toys and getting all creative. That led to me putting my Godzilla movies on for them. The older one is in college now on an art scholarship. She wants to design characters and monsters and whatnot for video games. And she still loves Godzilla.
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LugosiFan25

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2017, 02:51:34 PM »
It does my heart good to hear from fans in their 20s having the love for the classic films that we older folk do. Gives me hope that they will continue to mesmerize movie lovers for generations to come.

Believe me, these films and this whole phenomenon will live on, if I have anything to say about it.

I know one thing, anyone I make friends with who isn't already into classic horror, I always try to bring them into the fold. And I'm usually pretty successful. A year ago I introduced a buddy of mine to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for the first time. Now he's pointing out Mario Bava-esque color and lighting schemes in other films he sees.

I think introducing younger people to classic horror is a matter of enthusiasm and finding the right entry points. There are subjects said buddy and I had already bonded over, but when I talk classic horror with him, I have the same level of excitement, if not more. I come off very eager to talk about these things and show them off, and I think it makes an impression. For entry points, well, it helped that he had sort of a thing for War of the Worlds after reading the book in high school and seeing different movie adaptations. It was easy to go from there to other H.G. Wells tales like The Invisible Man and The Island of Dr. Moreau, both of which got great 30s film adaptations.

I used to help babysit the neighbor's kids from time to time. I remember introducing them to Godzilla, letting them play with my soft vinyl Godzilla toys and getting all creative. That led to me putting my Godzilla movies on for them. The older one is in college now on an art scholarship. She wants to design characters and monsters and whatnot for video games. And she still loves Godzilla.

I absolutely love sharing and talking classic film/television in general with people as long as they are willing to listen. I get excited when they seem to be interested. I'll always try to recommend films and see if they are interested in watching. I knew a guy who was really only interested in 80s horror and didn't really go any further back. Found out he liked Vincent Price so that was my gateway into getting him interested in older films. And it worked!
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Anthony Caranci

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2017, 07:37:17 AM »
Quote from Big Bad Wolf: "For me, one monster in particular resonates above all others. If Superman is the person I wish I could be, the Frankenstein Monster is who I feel I truly am. That character, that story, is truly a part of me. I've had a lot of problems in my life. "

I have to agree. I had a very, very, terrible childhood. First off: I was terribly premature and had to stay in the incubator for over a month. I was also born with a cleft-lip and I had rolled over inside of my mother's womb (during development), and it affected my nose. Needless to say, I was different. I was an outsider who was often ridiculed. I had wonderful parents, and the rest of my huge Italian family (aunts, uncles, cousins), were normal looking. However, we all have imperfections in character at times, even if we look perfect.

I really identified with The Frankenstein Monster for all the reasons listed above. He didn't ask for it - and neither did I! Usually kids from school would follow me home just to torment me. I can still hear this little saying: "It looks like your mother took your lip and sewed it together backwards!" Naturally, it causes one to grow up angry and hard on yourself to prove to others that you can function at sports, etc.. just as well as anyone else. It also cause them to be just as hard on others as they are on themselves! I began to lift weights and grew up hard & kicking ass! Needless to say, relationships suffered at times. Two times engaged, and two times still single. Once because of death and once because of common sense. 

All the monsters  I loved came from Universal Studios. It was like they all lived on the same block. Other than being born with a birth defect - my outer world was decent, but I couldn't get over the atmosphere & dead tress that Universal Horror Films had. It was so foreign to my "household atmosphere" that I just latched on to it. Universal Monsters mean everything to me. I'm 63 now, and they've been with me all my life! They've never let me down or made fun of me. They've been TRUE FRIENDS that have never deserted me no matter what. They've given me back all the love that I have given them tenfold!

In adult life - I have had reconstructive surgery performed on my lip and nose and my appearance has improved greatly. I'm almost normal looking. I suppose I could have another round of reconstructive surgery to look 100% since my initial surgery took place in the late 1980s, and they have made many strides in technique since then. But at 63 - I can't see the point now. I'm who I am and those who know me, know the type of person I am on the inside. If people don't like the way I look then -- don't %#*king look!

I never thought that I would recount my childhood on ANY website. Like I previously said - at 63 -- what the hell.   
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 07:46:07 AM by Anthony Caranci »

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2017, 08:29:22 AM »
It's hard for me to put into words, because I'm not quite sure myself, but I'll take a crack at it. They're just SUPER COOL! From the different looks of the various monsters, to the great movies, I can't imagine not liking them. Even though for a great many years, other things occupied me like girls, sports (still do), the monsters were always lurking in the background, just waiting for the opportunity to resurface. Sure enough, as I hit 40 (now 60), they came charging back as if your beloved family dog was missing for a long time, and was returned to you. I'm not even a dog owner, but I feel like I got back something that was lost to me for a long time. I just think your childhood has way more power than you would have ever imagined. It's just like the end of Psycho, where the stronger personality has won out, and Norman is all mother, well, I'm now all monster(s). LOL

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Big Bad Wolf

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Re: What do the classic monsters mean to you?
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2017, 07:06:31 PM »
They've never let me down or made fun of me. They've been TRUE FRIENDS that have never deserted me no matter what. They've given me back all the love that I have given them tenfold!

I feel the same way. They're like friends of mine. When things are difficult (much like the past month has been) they provide a comfort that takes me away from that heartbreak, that pain. Even the nasty ones like Dracula or the Invisible Man!

I was actually born premature as well. I only weighed four and a half pounds! I can only imagine what it must have been like, growing up with the hardships you had to endure. But I'm happy to know that you endured, and came out stronger on the other side. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever have that opportunity. It's not unreasonable for me to see my life being cut short before then. But I have hope in a better outcome than that.

Sometimes our stories don't feel like it when we tell them ourselves, usually because they can be painful, but to others they can be uplifting. So thank you for sharing yours.
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