Wednesday, 15 May 2013

May Monster Madness #5 - Monsters That Could Be Real

This is my fifth post for the  May Monster Madness Blog Hop.

As I write this post, I am sitting watching The Relic, a horror movie favourite of mine, because reading all the posts from this blog hop has put in the mood for some good ol' scares.

The Relic, about a monster created from consuming a fungus loaded with many, many different different animal hormones, falls into a class of 'almost possible' monster movies. This is the type of movie where science and fantasy combine. The film goes on and on about DNA and evolutionary biology, but the key to the whole plot is superstition and the unknown, that's why it is scary. The mixture of known and unknown, science and fantasy, make it that much scarier, because this thing might be real.

This is something that some science fiction does really well, take something familiar and turns it into something monstrous. The Wirrn from Doctor Who, the Ark In Space is an example of this. The Wirrn are a space-going insect, much like our wasps, and, like the parasitic versions of that species, the Wirrn plant themselves into a living organism and the parasitic grub then takes over the host, consuming them.

This is nasty enough and can be seen in our own nature, so it's not a leap for the viewer, if we accept aliens existing, that one of those races could be parasitic. However, to add another level of menace, the Wirrn grubs can also reproduce themselves by spreading their slime onto another host, something that happens to Noah, the commander of the space station which is the ark, and we see him slowly turn into a Wirrn, his intelligence, as well as his body absorbed into their hive mind.

You may think that this is far fetched, but, there are some parasites who take over the minds of their victims in our nature, there is one that takes over a snail and encourages it to go upwards towards the light so birds can eat it and the parasite can then gestate in the bird faeces. So, it's not so unreasonable and that makes it all the more monstrous when we see it happen to one of our own species!

Another monster that makes me shudder every time is the alien from The Thing. Again, it works on our fear of parasites, something that can absorb something else so completely that it can actually take on the shape of that thing. That's the genius of The Thing, you don't know who it is and as well as man against alien, we see man against man as well. I admire the moviemaker's magic in The Thing, but it gives me nightmares every time, so I don't watch it very often! ;P

I don't think something has to be biological to be a monster, either, there has been many a super computer looking to take over, control, or otherwise subjugate its masters. Computers exist, we have ones that can now hold conversations to a level where it is difficult to tell them from us, so the leap to making them intelligent and sentient is not a big one for the layman. Thus we have HAL in 2001, the support structure that strangles those it is meant to support. Also, we have Vger from Star Trek The Motion Picture, a monster destroying all in its path when we first meet it, but later, one of those loveable monsters, or, at the very least, a child that brings out the sympathy of the viewer.

And I want to finish with the monster that is all too real, the horror that already exists in our society, so is perfect fodder for horror writers: the serial killer. In this creature of nightmares, reality is almost worse than fiction, because it is so horrific to believe what one human is capable of doing to others.

Harold Shipman killed over 200 of his patients just because he wanted to. Ted Bundy lusted after slender young women with long dark hair and he killed them without conscience. So when we see the likes of Johnny Bartlet on The Frighteners, we easily accept that he is a serial killer and the horrors he has perpetrated are a shock, but not anything beyond our realm of possibilities. Thus the leap that makes him more terrible for the viewer is not his murderous nature, it is that he is a ghost carrying on his serial killings from the urn. Okay, so that bit is a lot harder to swallow, if you don't believe in ghosts, but the fact that he has a deluded girlfriend talking to him and helping him is, sadly, not so unusual. Serial killers make good horror.

So, that's me for today. If you have any ideas about monsters that could possibly, I'd love to hear about them. :)

On another note: I'm an author, and I have dabbled in a few horror stories if you're interested. :)

When Darkness Beckons
This is a two story horror anthology created for All Hallows Read 2012.

Catcher of Souls by Natasha Duncan-Drake (that's me :))
When Miles sets foot inside The King James pub he knows instantly there is a disembodied soul in residence. The question is, is the soul responsible for the deaths that have happened on the site or were they just accidents. It's Miles' job to catch troublesome lost souls, but when danger strikes he might just be too late.

Some Things Are Stranger... by Sophie Duncan
Life is weird enough for Jake being a werewolf on the run from The Pagan Dawn, ruthless hunters determined to wipe out all 'paranormal scum'. His luck runs out when he is ambushed after a Halloween party and, badly injured, he dives into the shadows of an abandoned warehouse with his pursuers on his heels. Yet, Jake discovers that he is not alone and his encounter with a goofy hobo, who talks about the place being haunted, teaches him that all strangeness is relative.

Book of Darkness
An anthology of six short horror stories.

Sleep Of The Damned by Natasha Duncan-Drake
How would you cope if you discovered your bed was haunted?
BFF by Sophie Duncan
New school, new best friend, but Karen discovers that Debbie has dark secrets.
Just One Day by Sophie Duncan
The house was a bargain and Georgie loves it, so she's not going to listen to the strange warning from the estate agent that for one day every year it is haunted.
The Crosses We Bear by Natasha Duncan-Drake
Shitty hotel, shitty team bonding weekend, but Lyle gets more than he bargained for when he removes the cross from above his bed.
Queen Of My World by Sophie Duncan
Alfred doesn't like people very much, but he knows how to use them to get what he wants and he wants Lissy.
Dead Not Dying by Natasha Duncan-Drake
Jo loves her cat, Tigger, but when he comes back from near death, Jo eventually realises that it might actually have been death itself.

Sacrifice of An Angel (The Haward Mysteries #1)
"Harry Potter (with grownups) meets Midsommer Murders with a magical version of C.S.I. thrown in for good measure." - Rob Drake

The body of a beautiful girl dressed in a ceremonial robe is found on a playground roundabout. Her throat has been ripped out and the roundabout has a bad case of perpetual motion. Is it a ritualistic, magical murder or a setup to distract from the real killer?
That is the question that faces twins, Theo and Remy Haward, detectives in the Sorcerous Crimes Task Force (SeCT), when they are called to the scene in the middle of the night. That and who could commit such an act. They must find the answers to these and other questions, all the while ensuring the general public finds out nothing about the magical world that co-exists with their own.
 Armed with their experience, their natural magical abilities and their complimentary instincts, Remy and Theo must identify the victim, follow the evidence and find the killer before anyone else dies.

Death In The Family (Heritage Is Deadly #1)

When coming of age means a taste for blood.

Tom Franklin has never really understood his midnight cravings for red meat, he has merely accepted them. His Harley Street doctor had always diagnosed his symptoms as a protein deficiency, aggravated by stress, particularly the dark dreams that haunt his subconscious. Yet, when his dreams and consequently his symptoms escalate, Tom's parents are forced to reveal the truth: he isn't human. Tom discovers that the nightmarish images of dark places and even darker instincts are in fact repressed memories of his early childhood, and he must face the wild heritage from his birth-father, a ruthless vampire known only as Raxos.

Realising his memories are his only hope of controlling his awakening instincts, Tom returns to, Coombedown, the sleepy, Cornish village in which he was born, unknowing that the night-breed in his veins will lead him into danger.

"Death In The Family" is a young adult, paranormal novel.


  1. I completely agree with you on everything in this post. I recently picked up the novel sequel to The Relic, and I hope it's as good as the original.
    And btw, I thought I was the only one who liked the X-Files monster episodes more than the alien conspiracy ones. Glad I'm no longer alone! :-)

    1. I'll have to look up the sequel to The Relic.

      Those of us who like monster X-Files better are a small band, we should stick together :)

  2. Great post; serial killers are the scariest monsters, without a doubt. Think that's why I love vampires - because they are like serial killers with supernatural powers. Shiver! And why zombies come second - they humans who've lost their humanity - and some!

    Shah X

    1. I see your point about vampires. Zombies lose something for me because they are mostly not sentient, they're reduced to animal instinct, although with the advent of Warm Bodies, there's a minor shift to thinking zombies. :)

  3. Not to mention nurse Charles Cullen, who's estimated kill toll ends up in the 4-600 (even though he was sentenced for only 30-40 of them)

    1. It is truly horrifying what some humans will do - yes he is most definitely on the monster list!

  4. Oh my gosh, the Relic! I'd forgotten all about that film! So creepy!
    Stopping by with my MMM'S Carmen Jenner Author and Book Me!
    Happy Hopping! =D

    1. It's on of my 'go to' movies when I fancy watching a bit of horror - it's one of those that has gore, but is not torture porn.

  5. My favorite "monster that could be real" wish has to be Swamp Thing... in full bloom ;-D

    1. Swamp Thing - I haven't seen that in years :D you've made me all nostalgic now!

    2. OMG - I haven't seen that since the 90's, but *laugh* yeah :)

  6. Your right, Serial Killers do make good horror. The evil nside is the scariest! And the alien from The Thing makes me shudder too!
    Here's my day V MMM at Design du Jour.

    1. The Thing really is one of the most disturbing horror movies ever for me. I saw it when I was a kid and it has stayed with me ever since.

  7. I think the scariest thing about serial killers is their apparent normality. Televison tends to show monsters as visually scary or add some quirk so the viewers know their looking at evil.

    Hannibal Lector is introduced in the first film masked up, immediately effecting perception and Hopkins plays him with full sinister intensity. (Far creepier than I recall the book)

    In real life the cliche is 'but s/he seemed so normal' these people work in the community, have neighbours; and yet no one suspects. Media can select only the images that make the people seem 'off' but really they fit in, that's whats really scary. How someone that appears 'normal' can do unspeakably vile things. There's no defence against that.

    1. Absolutely, you're right, it's the fact that they 'were one of us' until the truth came out.

  8. Yes, Johnny and Patricia are an incredibly sinister couple, and if you take out the supernatural element, all too believable!

    1. Sadly yes - something scarier than a single killer is those killer couples who, when analysed, probably wouldn't have killed alone, but put them together and they make a devastating duo.

  9. Fully agree on the alien in The Thing. Jeez, the Spider-incarnation and the dog-transformation still give me the creeps, although I've seen this movie more than 20 times in my life.

    1. You hit the nail on the head with those two bits of the movie, they are what have stuck with me ever since I first saw that film, they are so disturbing.


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