My Favorite Monsters.

There’s a huge difference between horror and gross.  Aliens is horror.  Aliens vs. Predators is gross.

Aliens grabs you by the whatever and squeezes until you squeal.  The movie evokes so many emotions, dialing up the fear factor until it becomes outright terror which morphs into righteous anger which ultimately morphs into sacrifice and heroism.

Aliens vs. Predators goes for the disgust factor, as in fear factor participants eating a live spider.

Movies like Aliens and Predator lead you through the valley of the shadow of death.  This is the difference between horror and goo.  Predator may be a gore-fest, but it’s not goo.

When I watch a horror movie, and I much prefer sci fi to slasher crappola – which I actually will not watch – I want the protagonist faced with a life or death challenge, and I want to see the protagonist rise to the occasion in a realistic fashion.  No Deus ex Machina and no Nickelodeon green slime.

Think Sarah Connor, The Terminator.

In fact, my husband and I just had an discussion about how much the Queen in Aliens weighs – because remember she holds onto Ripley and Ripley holds onto the ladder? My husband says – between 500 and 1500 lbs. I say at least a ton. Heavy exoskeleton. He says hollow, lightweight exoskeleton. Nope I say heavy. Either way IRL Ripley could not have held on, but we’ll let that go…

Ooh, I found an interesting horror movie the other day – Outlander.  No, it’s not what you think, although I did hear a Scottish brogue or two.  The story combines a few of my most very favorite tropes:

Vikings/Norse mythology.


Battle axes.

Woman warrior.

Spaceman, i.e., man out of time, time traveler.  Humanoid who crashes on early medieval earth and locates a forgotten humanoid colony (of course we’ve forgotten we’re a colony).

Mythological monster – a dragon.  The Morwin.

A tragic back story.  A decent man, spaceman, trying to repent for what he views as his sins.  Hot guys and gals battling legendary creatures.  Destruction, death, rebirth.  Story incorporated into local mythology.  Great stuff.

And you’ll recognize the players:  Jim Caviezel from Person of Interest and one of my favorite time-paradox movies,  Frequency, and Sophia Myles from the short-lived and much-mourned vampire series, Moonlight.

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31 Responses to My Favorite Monsters.

  1. Amber Skyze says:

    I don’t like gorefest’s either. I used to enjoy Fear Factor, but my stomach has changed and I can’t handle the show any longer. :)

  2. Penelope says:

    I am an equal opportunity horror movie lover. I love the good ones. I love the bad ones. I love the gory ones. I love the subtle ones. I love the over-the-top ones. I especially love the funny ones (like Shaun of the Dead….so great!). Aliens 2 is probably my favorite….Ripley is such an incredible feminist lead, so unexpected and her evolution to bad-ass is incredibly satisfying. I used to show that movie to my biology students when we discussed insect biology. The aliens have a queen and soldiers, etc. ;^)

  3. Stephanie says:

    I don’t like horror. I don’t like suspense that much. I almost had to leave Das Boot. If I want horror, I turn on the news. TB isn’t really horror because of the hokey black cherry jello factor. Just how I am though.

  4. Casey Wyatt says:

    I tend to skip all horror, gore or mind freak movies. I don’t like to be scared for fun. I used to be much braver when I was younger. Now, not so much! But I do like funny horror flicks like Shaun of the Dead. That movie is awesome and I can watch that anytime. Go figure.

  5. Jaye says:

    Ooh, looks like I ought to go see if I can find that one. Looks like a goodie for all the same reasons you stated.

    I far prefer suspense over horror, though. They have more sticking power with me. Old Hitchcock movies–”Rear Window,” the best!–and my non-Hitch fave of all time, “Wait Until Dark,” with Hepburn and Arkin. What bugs me about many of the suspense movies being made today is they depend too heavily on the action sequences and give short shrift to the characters. Many are so overplotted the dogs adore them because I’m throwing popcorn at the screen.

  6. Penelope says:

    Julia….it’s funny you bring up the question about Ripley holding onto the ladder because I thought the exact same thing. The queen was between 15-20 feet tall? I always thought the same thing….which was that the queen would have ripped her body right off that ladder, or perhaps an arm or leg. I think they designed the queen to look heavy (metal-colored) and substantial. I’m leaning towards the heavy exoskeleton theory myself. Also, that creature is ripping through metal construction on the ships, and kicking the ass of the “predators” in Aliens V Predators. Doesn’t look like a light-weight creature.

    The concept for the alien helped me teach parasitism (where the parasite feeds from and eventually kills its host), insect social behaviors, insect growth and metamorphosis. The last film in the series….Alien Resurrection—got totally ridiculous. Splicing a human and alien together into this dumb-ass monster. Although I haven’t seen it, I think the film Splice looks like it does a better job with this sci-fi concept.

  7. Thanks for your expert answer, Penny. I’m sticking with heavy!

  8. Oh Jaye! I love Rear Window and North By Northwest. And Wait Until Dark is one of my very favorite movies – one of the best! I agree, too much action and CGI, too many quips, too little focus on the actual emotion. Yes, go get Outlander. I think it’s very good and I don’t even know if it was ever released in the theater.

  9. Hey Casey – I do love funny horror! But I adore The Walking Dead – hope the next season is as good as I and II. Will you watch this time around?

  10. Yeah, well, Steph, I couldn’t watch Das Boot. Claustrophobic! TB just got plain old TSTL for me, despite Eric’s sex appeal. Just became annoying. Too bad because I loved TB the first season!

  11. Penny – Aliens (2) is the best Alien movie. Ripley is my hero.

  12. Oh Amber, Fear Factor has always grossed me out! Big time!

  13. Casey Wyatt says:

    I shadow watch The Walking Dead. It’s on nearby and I watch then walk when it gets too creepy. Plus, the minute it’s over my sons start the play by play for me! I’ll try and be less of a chicken this time around.

  14. I’ve not seen Outlander but I do love Jim so I need to see this movie..

  15. Rent it, Savannah! It’s good.

  16. You are so funny, Casey! :D

  17. Katalina Leon says:

    Thank you for bringing Outlander to my attention. It looks like a lot of fun!
    I cannot wait to see “Prometheus” this weekend. I think Ridely Scott is a genius.
    XXOO Kat

  18. Kat – love Ridley Scott. Prometheus could be very very good. Looks scary.

  19. We Stephanies must think alike. If I want to see horror, I can find more than enough in real life. Give me good old HEA.

  20. Stephanie twins!

  21. yoshi says:

    Speaking of monster splice movies, how about the king of them all and one of the most disturbing monster flicks of all time? Yes I am referring to “The Fly” both the original that creeped me out as a child and the remake that creeped me out as an adult. To this day I am apprehensive about looking at spider webs for fear of hearing a reedy voice saying, “help me, help me”. Geez, getting goosebumps right now just thinking about it.

  22. Dear Yoshi, this may be the most frightening comment I’ve ever received. The Fly terrifies me, both versions!

  23. Dex Raven says:

    Great post. I’m with you as far as styles of horror goes…

  24. Tom Stronach says:

    Who cares, Ripley kicks ass, that’s what I like to see LoL

    I have Outlander on DVD, loved it, reminiscent of Beowulf, with a twist

  25. Julianne says:

    Oh, yeah, well, they’re all gross if you think about it (not while eating breakfast!). The Aliens do drool a lot. *gag*

    Personally, though, after Aliens, Alien vs. Predator is actually my favorite in the movie franchise. Don’t you just love “Alexa Woods”? She’s totally cool. And that Antarctic setting! *sigh* Well, I loved it, anyway, but I’m a sucker for women warrior tales.

  26. Alien vs. Predator bugged me, Julianne, because I wanted less special effects, less goo, and more story – the potential was there, just not enough for me.

  27. Tom – it is totally like Beowulf with a twist! And I love Beowulf! And Ripley totally kicks ass. I love her so…

  28. Thanks, Dex. I don’t like gross horror, I like great horror.

  29. Dex Raven says:

    Same here. The Cabin in the Woods may be the exception to that for me…mostly because it’s both gross horror AND great horror. Worth seeing.

  30. Dex, I can’t see that movie because just the previews scare me. It’s like I can’t even open my eyes during a commercial for The Exorcist.

  31. Dex Raven says:

    I totally get that. There are some things that are just too much for me…