Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: Z is for Zombie

Z is for Zombie for the last post of the A-Z Challenge and in terms of classics, I'll highlight their origins and also the classic film, Night of the Living Dead.

About Zombie Folklore

Did you know you can trace zombies back to Haitian folklore and specifically, Voodoo magic.  A zombie is defined when a dead corpse is brought back to life by a supernatural force like magic.  Zombies served as evil minions to a powerful master.  Cool, huh?  I love the whole evil minion angle.

Nowadays, we see zombies as more of a scientific accident or a deadly outbreak like the undead plague.  Books like World War Z, Patient Zero and The Reapers Are the Angels are some of the top zombie books that feature the undead as we know them today.

About the Night Of the Living Dead

The Night of the Living Dead debuted in 1968 and is one of America's classic horror films.  It features our classic monster, the zombie and since sparked our love and obsession with the undead.  The film is about two siblings who travel their home to visit their father's grave.  Long story short, there is a group of "inhuman creatures" who were created from "the radiation from a satellite that was returning from Venus has somehow reactivated the brain of the dead."   Read more about the film here.

Have you seen this film?  What about the remakes?

Are you a zombie fan?  Do you have a favorite movie or television show?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: Classic Monsters that start with Y?

The letter Y for the A-Z Challenge post has me stumped.  I finally settled on the Yule Cat.

According to Wikipedia, "The Yule Cat (Icelandic: Jólakötturinn or Jólaköttur) is a monster from Icelandic folklore, a huge and vicious cat said to lurk about the snowy countryside during Christmastime and eat people who have not received any new clothes to wear before Christmas Eve."

The history of the cat dates back to the nineteenth century.  Supposedly, it was created to get people to work harder.  If you worked hard and did your chores, then you were spared the wrath of the bad kitty.  If you were lazy, then you got the cat's paw!  Ouch!

The Yule Cat has been referenced as a troll cat and is closely related to the mischievous Yule Lads, which are essentially trolls and remind me of Snow White's dwarfs.  Most people familiar with the hellish cat know about the poet, Jóhannes úr Kötlum and his traditional poem The Yule Cat.

The Yule Cat by Jóhannes úr Kötlum

You all know the Yule Cat
And that Cat was huge indeed.
People didn’t know where he came from
Or where he went.

He opened his glaring eyes wide,
The two of them glowing bright.
It took a really brave man
To look straight into them.

His whiskers, sharp as bristles,
His back arched up high.
And the claws of his hairy paws
Were a terrible sight.

He gave a wave of his strong tail,
He jumped and he clawed and he hissed.
Sometimes up in the valley,
Sometimes down by the shore.

He roamed at large, hungry and evil
In the freezing Yule snow.
In every home
People shuddered at his name.

If one heard a pitiful “meow”
Something evil would happen soon.
Everybody knew he hunted men
But didn’t care for mice.

He picked on the very poor
That no new garments got
For Yule – who toiled
And lived in dire need.

From them he took in one fell swoop
Their whole Yule dinner
Always eating it himself
If he possibly could.

Hence it was that the women
At their spinning wheels sat
Spinning a colorful thread
For a frock or a little sock.

Because you mustn’t let the Cat
Get hold of the little children.
They had to get something new to wear
From the grownups each year.

And when the lights came on, on Yule Eve
And the Cat peered in,
The little children stood rosy and proud
All dressed up in their new clothes.

Some had gotten an apron
And some had gotten shoes
Or something that was needed
- That was all it took.

For all who got something new to wear
Stayed out of that pussy-cat’s grasp
He then gave an awful hiss
But went on his way.

Whether he still exists I do not know.
But his visit would be in vain
If next time everybody
Got something new to wear.

Now you might be thinking of helping
Where help is needed most.
Perhaps you’ll find some children
That have nothing at all.

Cute, huh?  Well, that was the best I could do for the letter Y.  Did you have any other classic monsters you would have preferred?

Monday, April 28, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: Wolfman & Xenomorph

I'm doing a double post today for the letters W and X for the A-Z Challenge post.  For the letter W, it is was a toss up between Werewolf, Windego and the Wolf Man.  I decided to stick to Universal classic monsters, the Wolf Man.  And for the letter X, this was a hard one for classic monsters, but I found one.  X is for Xenomporph.

W is for The Wolf Man

This classic horror flick debuted in 1941 and featured Lon Chaney Jr, the son of legendary actor, Lon Chaney.  The film has the same ol' premise:  Man is bitten by a werewolf and then becomes one...blah, blah, blah.  I know it sounds boring, but it is a classic. Have you seen it?  Here's a little poem the villagers would chant.

Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

Cool, huh?  Have you seen the trailer?

X is for Xenomorph

What is a Xenomorph?  The Xenomorph is the fictional extraterrestrial species in the sci-fi Alien films.  How about this alien for a classic monster?  This beast starred in it's first film, Alien back in 1979 with Sigourney Weaver.  Wow, what a film! Even to this day, fans go crazy for the Xenomorph.  It needs a host in order to reproduce and finds a plethora of them on board the Nostromo.  *shivers*  Ever since the Xenormorph was conceived, this series has spun more spin-offs that it's mindboggling.  In case you were wondering here is the series list of films and I suspect it will continue to grow:

* Alien (1979)
* Aliens (1986)
*  Alien 3 (1992)
*  Alien Resurrection (1997)
*  Alien vs. Predator
*  Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
*  Prometheus (2012)

And let's not forget the queen.  She's a total bad ass too.  Have you seen all the Alien films?  I've seen most and I still can't get enough of this classic monster.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: V is for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

Well...I bet you thought I'd post on a Vampire, didn't you?  Well, I thought about it and decided to feature a different monster for the letter V in today's A-Z Challenge post.  I would say the moment J.K. Rowling's featured this character, he was deemed a classic monster--the Dark Lord...Voldemort.


About Tom Riddle

Tom was a half-blooded wizard, who was born and raised in a Muggle Orphanage and then attended Howarts.  Of course, he was sorted to the House of Slytherin which only made sense since he was heir to one of the founders of Hogwarts, Salazar Slytherin.  Tom was an astute pupil and mastered wizardry like none other.  Eventually, his true sadistic nature surfaced and then he turned to the Dark Arts which lead him to his Voldermort days.


Why is Lord Voldermort a classic monster?

For starters, the Harry Potter series books are classics.  Without J.K. Rowling and her inventive mind, we would have never known the likes of something as iconic, evil and malicious as Voldemort (all that and he's just a wizard.)  Voldemort was obsessed with power and living forever.  He was a murderer, killing anyone or anything in his path.  J.K. Rowling did a press conference back in 2005 where she answered questions about the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  One of the most interesting questions I found on Voldemort was this.

From Edward Hollet representing W H Smith: "If Voldemort ever encountered a boggart what would he see?"  (Note:  A boggart is an amortal shape-shifting non-being that takes on the form of the viewer's worst fear. )

J.K. Rowling's response: "The thing that Voldemort fears more than anything else is his own death. It its the quest of his life to cheat death, so we would have to see himself lying dead on the floor."

Would you consider Voldemort a classic monster?  What other monsters where you thinking about? 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: U is for Ursula

Today's letter for the A-Z Challenge is U.  One of my favorite monsters that Disney created is Ursula, an evil sea witch who's wicked character helped make the The Little Mermaid a classic animated film.

About Ursula

Essentially, Ursula's character was a sea witch.  The original tale of The Little Mermaid, written by Hans Christian Anderson, has the sea witch and a "neutral enabler," who sells her a potion that gives her legs in exchange for her voice.  Disney, however, decided to change her role into a "full-fledged antagonist" when they created the animated version of The Little Mermaid, back in 1989.  For information about Ursula see Disney Wiki.

Why I think she's a classic monster

Although, I think the original tale of The Little Mermaid is darker, Disney definitely brought this character to life.  What I like about Ursula is she's memorable, evil and a little bit funny too.  I like that she seeks revenge from King Triton, Ariel's father because he cast her out of the City of Atlantica.  She's also treats her minion eels Flotsam and Jetsam, like her children.  Remember that?  I read how Disney, after watching a documentary on octupi, lead to the eventual creation of the nefarious character.  It you remember, those who sought her help and made a bargain with the powerful witch, always lost and were turned into polyps.  One of my favorite scenes is when she sings Poor Unfortunate Souls.  Do you remember that song?

Sadly, Disney's merchandising department remade this classic animated character last year and released a slim down version of the doll.  What a crime!  See how the butchered her here.  

What other monsters where you thinking about?  I thought about the Undead and Harry Potter's Dolores Umbridge.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: T is for The Thing

A-Z Challenge continues on with the letter T.  The only classic monster I could think of what The Thing.  The creature is a "malevolent shape-shifting alien" is who is more of a classic horror monster in the sci-fi realm than anywhere else.

About Who Goes There?

This sci-fi movie classic was based on the novella, Who Goes There? written by John W. Campbell, Jr., written under the pen name Don A. Stuart.  Have you read it?  Some say its should have been turned into a full novel.  What do you think?

About The Thing, 1951

Three films were made from the original tale, but the most notable one was the classic, black and white one released by RKO Pictures back in the 50's. From IMDB, here's the classic movie premise:

Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a blood-thirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost. 

See the trailer from the 1951 film.  Have you seen this classic film?  What about the other more recent ones?

Did you come up with a better monster than The Thing?  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: S is for ?

S is the letter for the A-Z Challenge today.  I decided to make you guess again.  The most widely known monster who lurks deep within our hearts and has no face.  It's cruel intentions burrows and festers within people, the good and the bad, and makes them do unspeakable things.  My mystery monster is indeed a classic one....can you guess this vile creature's name?


Let me give you a hint...

Could it be...

I had also considered Sirens, Succubi and the Serpent of Eden but...stuck with this guy instead.  Do you agree he is a monster?  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: Q: The Winged Serpent & R for Jack the Ripper

My double post for today is for the letter Q and R for the A-Z Challenge.  I had to dig down for the letter Q.  My quest was an entertaining one too.  I decided to feature Q: The Winged Serpent, a really bad 80's film that had me roaring when I watched it.  With Michael Moriarty and David Carradine, I'm not sure how a film could go wrong, but it did.  My other R for Jack the Ripper.

About Q: The Winged Serpent 

From Amazon:  Its name is Quetzalcoatl, a dragon-like Aztec god that is summoned to modern-day Manhattan by a mysterious cult. But just call it "Q"...because that is all you'll be able to say before it tears you apart!

One of the world's most renowned unsolved mystery deals with the infamous classic monster, Jack the Ripper.  He trolled the streets of London near the East Side where he caught and mutilated female prostitutes.  Over the years there has been wide speculation as to the identity of this killer.  Was he a prominent Lord, physician or German merchant?  No one knows nor ever will, but the foreshadowing of the serial killers we have today is bone-chilling.

The News

Just take a look at one of the newspaper headlines back then.  The city ran ramped with the gruesome details and speculation.  Scotland Yard had much pressure back then to investigate the killings and find the perpetrator.  Unfortunately that never happened and even today, investigators/historians try to speculate, using modern-day technologies to do so.  Take a look at an update featured last year here.

The Letters

Additionally, there were those who tried to capitalize on the media frenzy, writing direct letters to the authorities from supposedly Jack the Ripper himself.  Take a look at this letter that taunts investigators.  Whether or not this was in fact written by the monster Ripper, we have no clue.  Still the effect that it has on readers is believable--even after all this time.  Click image enlarge.

What are your thoughts on the Ripper?  Classic Monster or historical horror story?  You can read more about this historical monster at

Friday, April 18, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: P is for Phantom of the Opera

P is the letter for the A-Z Challenge today. There is only one monster that fit the mold of a classic monster for the letter P post and that's the mysterious Phantom of the Opera.

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux was one of the creepy classics I read and reviewed a few years ago.  (See the review here.)  I had to reread the review to remember aspects of the book--which is completely pathetic on my part.  Jeez.  Anyway, about the only thing I do recall vividly is the phantom, Erik.  I thought what made this book a classic was the Phantom.  Sure there were romantic fantasies and love triangles but in truth, Erik sparked the most intrigue. His morose nature, vengeful spirit, passion for music, and love for Christine not to mention his dark underground world was so utterly appealing, it's no wonder Hollywood has chosen to retell this story time and time again.

About the Phantom of the Opera 1925 film portrayal 

The classic black and white silent film, Phantom of the Opera, debuted in 1925 and featured one of the best portrayals of classic monsters ever known to Hollywood.  Lon Chaney, took the character of the original and launched it into a iconic stratosphere of eternally gruesome classic monsters. Chaney was known as "The Man of a Thousand Faces," for his ability to transform his face with makeup. He really was a chameleon and his techniques and characters are still marveled today. To see his transformation to characters like the Phantom and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it's extraordinary. When asked about his makeup ability, he was quoted "It's an art, but not magic"


Have you read or scene Phantom of the Opera?  Did you have another idea for the letter P?   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: O is for Orcs

The A-Z Challenge letter today is O.  It wouldn't be a classic monster feature if I didn't mention at least one of J. R. R. Tolkien's monsters.  And boy are there plenty.  The first one that comes to mind is an Orc.

What is an Orc?

Orcs (orcneas) have been mentioned in classics like Beowolf and are as termed in Old English dialect, evil infernal deities from the Underworld.  I love that.  The word, Orc, has also been spelled as orke and even orge and  centuries ago orges were referenced as giant beasts and were usually written about in fairy tales.  Every one is quite familiar with orges, but orcs as Tolkien created, are essentially goblin monsters.

"Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places [in The Hobbit] but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds)."

Tolkien's Orcs

The most common orc we think of today, it Tolkien's.  He has two that I'd like to point out.  One is a weaker, smaller one called the Orcs snaga--which means orc slave according to Wikipedia.  The other which I believe fits the classic monster realm is the Uruk-hai orcs.  These beasts that Tolkein created and that Peter Jackson brought to life are an amazing breed.  They are oversized, menacing goblins who eat man-flesh.  Yikes!  Remember that?  If I saw one of these creatures, I would run.  FAST!  These beasts were created or unearthed rather from Saruman, the White Wizard.  From there many fans and fantasy historians speculate about the Uruk-hai orcs origins.  I found some discussions on Saruman's cross-breeding with men, and then another mention of them cross-breeding elves.  Honestly, I couldn't find anything definitive.  The bottom line is their scary-cool.  I'm not sure if you think Orcs are a classic monsters, but I do.


Did you have another idea for the letter O?  A different Ogre, Oscar the Grouch, perhaps? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: N is for Nosferatu

"N" is the letter for the A-Z Challenge today.  I'm back in the classic monster mode and almost posted about some classics like Nymphs and the Night Monster.  Instead, I decided to stick with one sick (not sexy) monster, Nosferatu.  He's definitely a classic and *shivers* gives me the heebie jeebies.

About the film Nosferatu

Released in 1922, this black and white horror film was an "unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula."  Because the film makers couldn't purchase rights to the original classic, they made some changes to the script like switching the words "vampire" to "nosferatu," which means vampire in old Romanian.  Long story short, Stoker's heirs sued and all copies of the film were deleted.  All except one survived and has since immortalized it's way through the last century as an iconic masterpiece.  Read more about the film here.

I've never watched this film in it's entirety, only bits and pieces.  I think what made this film a classic was the suspense and the utter horror of the inevitable blood sucking.  I know we've seen enough of vamp films over the years, but I swear I can still watch parts of this and it gives me the creeps.  That's kind of cool for being a 90+ old film.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: M is for my Mystery Monster

Today's letter for the A-Z Challenge is the letter M.  There were several monsters I came up with for the letter M, but I decided, once again, to make you guess this classic monster.  Here are your clues:

*  I am dark and I am fae.
*  I wield much power in my staff and in my crystal ball.
*  I can trust no one but my black winged pet.
*  I hate roses, except thorns.
*  I like pricking fingers.

Who am I?


Come on...that was easy.  Even the picture was a dead giveaway.  Did you figure out my mystery monster? Can you think of clues that would have been better? As I said, I had many ideas like Medusa or even the Mummy, but I thought I'd change things up a bit.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: King Kong & Lock Ness Monster

It's another week of the A-Z Challenge and today I'm featuring a double post for the letter K & L.  In the realm of classic monsters,  we can't forget the monster that still makes us go ape sh**, King Kong.  And for the letter L, I'm feauturing by special request, The Lock Ness Monster.

About King Kong, the original film

From Wikipedia, "King Kong is a 1933 American fantasy monster/adventure film directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose was from an idea conceived by Cooper and Edgar Wallace. It stars Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot and Robert Armstrong, and opened in New York City on March 2, 1933 to rave reviews."

I hate to admit this, but I wasn't a big fan of the original.  *Runs for cover*  I think the visual graphics of the film were cool, but beyond that...bleh.  Sorry, I couldn't get into the the monster-ape wants the blond bombshell angle.  And sadly, because I was never a fan of the original, I neglected to see the Hollywood repeat released in 2005.  So, was the remake as good as the original? Anyone?

Even though it may not have been my favorite, there is no doubt this monster was a classic one.

L is for the Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster, a.k.a. Nessie, hails from the largest body of fresh water in the Scottish Highlands, the Loch Ness.  There have been numerous sighting over the years about this dinasour-like beast but the question that haunts us all is does it exist?  The lastest news from the Daily Mail UK reported recently about a monster hunter sighting.  "After two years of patiently scanning the loch, Mr Feltham says he finally caught a glimpse of Nessie, as the monster is known... but he didn't have his camera to hand."  WHAT?  No camera...for shame!

Do you think Nessie exists?  It's possible, right?  I saw the documentary on that body of water they like to call a lake.  Here's a snippet of the National Geographic show.  It sounds convincing, huh?  Do you think Nessie is a classical monster?

The Truth Behind : Loch Ness Sightings

Do you have any monsters you think would have been better to feature?

Friday, April 11, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

It's Friday and today's letter is "J" for the A-Z Challenge.  Of course I've decided to to feature Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde even though Mr. Hyde was the monster.  Still, in my opinion, Dr. Jekyll was a total monster for creating such a concoction that would turn him into Mr. Hyde, right?

About The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Written by Robert Louis Stevenson, this piece of classic literature was incredibly expressive for one written during a time when society was mostly oppressed.  If you think about it, other than the fantasy aspect to it, that might have been why it was so popular.  Robert Stevenson is a master and happens to be one of my favorite classic lit authors.  If you have had a chance to read this short story, check out my creepy classic review here.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1931 American Pre-Code horror film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March. The film is an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), the Robert Louis Stevenson tale of a man who takes a potion which turns him from a mild-mannered man of science into a homicidal maniac. March's performance has been much lauded, and earned him his first Academy Award.

If you could create a potion that would allow your evil alter ego emerge and live vicariously (without consequences) through that version of yourself...would you do it?  Some say drugs and alcohol have that effect, but I'm not talking about that.  Thoughts?

My favorite spin-off - Hyde and Hare

Can you think of any classic monsters that start with J?  Are you a Robert Louis Stevenson fan?  What about Bugs Bunny?