Updated: March 22, 2022
LOST IN SPACE ALIENS & MONSTERS PHOTO GALLERY #10
During the age of silent movies, monsters tended to be human-sized, e.g., Frankenstein's monster, the Golem, werewolves
and vampires. The film Siegfried featured a dragon that was actually a giant puppet on tracks. A few movie dinosaurs
were created with the use of stop-motion animated models, as in RKO's King Kong, the first giant monster film of the
Universal Studios specialized in monsters, with Bela Lugosi's reprisal of his stage role, Dracula, and Boris Karloff
playing Frankenstein's monster. The studio also made several lesser films, such as Man-Made Monster, starring
Lon Chaney, Jr. as an electrically reanimated zombie.
There was also a variant of Dr. Frankenstein, the mad surgeon Dr. Gogol (played by Peter Lorre), who transplanted hands
that were reanimated with malevolent temperaments, in the film Mad Love.
Werewolves were introduced in films during this period, and similar creatures were presented in Cat People. Mummies were
cinematically depicted as fearsome monsters as well. As for giant creatures, the Flash Gordon serial did not use a
costumed actor, instead used real-life lizards to depict a large dragon via use of camera perspective. The cinematic
monster cycle eventually wore thin, having a comedic turn in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).
In the post World War II era, however, giant monsters returned to the screen with a vigor that has been causally linked
to the development of nuclear weapons, often pitting the monstrous against the scientific elite. One early example occurred
in the American film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which was about a dinosaur that attacked a lighthouse. Subsequently,
there were Japanese film depictions, (Godzilla, Gamera), British depictions (Gorgo), and even Scandinavian depictions
(Reptilicus), of giant monsters attacking cities. The most recent depiction of a giant monster is the monster in
J. J. Abrams's Cloverfield, which was released in theaters January 18, 2008. The intriguing proximity of other planets
brought the notion of extraterrestrial monsters to the big screen, some of which were huge in size, (such as King Ghidorah
and Gigan), while others were of a more human scale. During this period, the fish-man monster Gill-man was developed in the
film series Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Britain's Hammer Film Productions brought colour to the monster movies in the late 1950s. Around this time, the earlier
Universal films were usually shown on American television by independent stations (rather than network stations) by using
announcers with strange persona3, who gained legions of young fans. Although they have since changed considerably, movie
monsters did not entirely disappear from the big screen as they did in the late 1940s.
Occasionally, monsters are depicted as friendly or misunderstood creatures. King Kong & Frankenstein's monster are two
examples of misunderstood creatures. Frankenstein's monster is frequently depicted in this manner, in films such as
Monster Squad and Van Helsing. The Hulk is an example of the "Monster as Hero" archetype. The theme of the "Friendly Monster"
is pervasive in pop-culture. Chewbacca, Elmo, and Shrek are notable examples of friendly "monsters". The creatures of
Monsters Inc. scare children in order to create energy for running machinery, while the furry monsters of The Muppets and
Sesame Street live in harmony with animals and humans alike. Japanese culture also commonly features monsters which are
benevolent and / or likeable, with the most famous examples being the Pokémon franchise and the pioneering anime My Neighbor
Card from the Japanese game obake karuta, c. early 19th century. Each card features a monster from Japanese mythology and a
character from the hiragana syllabary.
Monsters are commonly used in fantasy or role-playing games, especially role-playing video games, when a large number of
enemies to fight against are needed. However, the idea has been used across every genre to varying degrees. These can include
aliens, all types of legendary creatures, or mutated versions of regular animals. However, sentient fictional races are
usually not referred to as monsters. Other times, the term can carry a neutral connotation, such as in the Pokémon franchise,
where it is used to refer to fictional creatures that may resemble, but are not, real world animals. Characters in games may
refer to all animals as "monsters".