Topic: Pure Evil v Complex Monster?

Overall, over your total viewing experience of horror which type of character would you say appeals to you most. Note that I realise that u might like a selection of individual characters from both categories but as I say I am asking in a overall sense.

Frankenstein's monster is a classic example of a sympathetic monster. He was created unwillingly by a doctor demented with power and a god like superiority allowing him to justify creating his own version of life. This is perhaps best explored in Curse of Frankenstein in a excellent performance of Dr.Frankenstein by Cushing. In Universal's own classic interpretation's of Mary Shelleys 'Modern Prometheus' – 1931's Frankenstein and especially 1935's Bride of Frankenstein the monster is explored more and we can see he clearly suffers from a low intelligence (as a result of poor choice of brain by the doctor) and therefore during certain sequences displays a, almost child like personality and child like behaviour. Due to such a key characteristic of the character however he is a danger to himself and others. Despite good intentions his actions, compromised as they are by his child like level of understanding results in tragic consequences – See the classic play scene with the young girl beside the lake. His search for a friend throughout the movie should garner sympathy from others but his outward bold and threatening appearance only draws a xenophobic reaction from villagers (The real monsters). In a touching scene, indeed one of the most affecting and powerful I have ever come across and one of my faves .... [Drag text to reveal poss spoiler]

Frankenstein's monster finds a blind man, drawn to him by the mans playing of classical music (He maybe isn't the brightest fellow but he sure appreciates good music. I hope he would react the same way to Dubstep, as i do as his initial fear/disgust of fire) who has been similarly shunned by the villagers for his debilitating illness, to a degree like the doctors creation. He therefore cant see the creature outward experience but realtes to the creatures loneliness and traumatic desire to find a companion. We see them bonding in some truly moving scenes as the blind man teaches the creature simple meanings and overcoming fears. This is eventually interrupted by passing travellers who see in their persecuting eyes the creature as a hideous monster who must be savagely killed.

Another possible and not so obvious example is perhaps Jason Voorhees. He is in part only killing teenagers in vengeance throughout the series of films because he suffered from child neglect (equal to abuse) as a malformed child – I bet treatment of physically disabled in the real world is not much different than is implied in F13th Part 1) and saw his own mother murdered. I have also got the impression that he suffers from a form of mental illness (Low IQ). All these factos therefore turned him into a 'machine' like killer as unrelenting as a Terminator.

More 'Sympathetic'/Complex Horror characters.

- Bub (Day OTD)
- King Kong
- Wofman (From 1941 Universal film)
- Leatherface? - (product of Family Environment/Upbringing?)
- Lola (Loved Ones)
- Carrie
- Eli (Girl Vampire in Let The Right One In)
- Candyman
- Mark (Peeping Tom)
- Henry Jarrod played by Vincent Price (House of Wax 53)

Or do you overall like characters that embody pure evil like Krueger more. You could solidly argue that they make for more effective horror films because their characters likely invoke more menace and  disturb the viewer more (though the villagers reaction to Frankenstein's monsters is often,of equal disgust). Other examples.

- Myers
- Xenomorphs
- Hannibal
- Capt Rhodes
- Pinhead
- Burke (Aliens)
- The Thing creature
- Severen (Near Dark)
- Dr Moreau (Island of Lost Souls) - Similar to the equally monstrous Dr.Frankenstein
- Chucky
- Irena Dubrovna ('Cat Woman" - Cat People (1942))
- Religious Cult/Organization in Martyrs
- Kids in 1976's 'Who Can Kill A Child'

Personally I find more complex, and 'sympathetic' monsters ala Frankenstein's monster/King Kong more interesting and therefore appealing. Some of my favourite ever horror movies do however feature more purely evil characters, but overall i like characters like Frankenstein more. This is perhaps a reflection of my wider deep interest in the social/political aspects of various film in the genre and current issues in the real world.

Last edited by Vasquez (2012-09-09 13:13:36)

Re: Pure Evil v Complex Monster?

Mostly, pure evil. I like Freddy even though I have sometimes wondered if him being innocent would have worked better and the Fireflys for their completely nuttiness!

But sometimes complex characters envoke the conflicting feelings that are required for more hard hitting and disturbing horror.

Re: Pure Evil v Complex Monster?

I'm more inclined to go for pure evil. Just thinking about the thought process going on behind that mask of Myers gives me the creeps. It leaves it up to your imagination to think about their "reasoning", whereas other characters have their stories and motives laid out. Evil by itself is hard to take in. And even The Thing: what the hell goes on in that alien brain?

I still like the "sympathetic" kind of characters, but that's just my take on it.

Re: Pure Evil v Complex Monster?

While Bane from The Dark Knight Rises isn't neccesarily a "monster" he's been compared to one being compared to the likes of a "classic movie monster". In DKR he was a brute terrorist with one goal, but we also see he has an emotional side to him during his final moments. Bane was a mixture of both pure evil and complex which is what I liked about him, and that was what he was like in the comics too, and not just some mindless grunt in B&R.