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October 03, 2006

The Biology of B-Movie Monsters

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Michael C. LaBarbera argues Hollywood's approach to movie-monster design has been hopelessly naïve. Which would bother me as so much pendantry if not for the umlaut.

In The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), the hero is exposed to radioactive toxic waste and finds himself growing smaller and smaller. He is lost to family and friends while fending off the household cat and must make his own way in a world grown monstrously large. He forages food from crumbs and drinks from puddles of condensation. In one famous scene, he defends himself against a house spider by using an abandoned sewing needle, which he has to struggle to lift.

Stop the projector! Time for a little analysis.

Shame he does not mean psychoanalysis; this would do a bang-up job explaining why giant spiders are frightening despite any hypothetical scaling problems. And, strangely enough, Rachel Welch remains attractive despite the vanishingly remote chance most cinema-goers would have had at attracting her interest.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at October 3, 2006 06:47 AM