Instead of a movie this month, we will be reviewing a special Halloween magazine about horror movie monsters.
Movie Monsters is a Halloween themed magazine that features articles from several publications owned by Conde Nast. Vanity Fair, GQ, The New Yorker, and Wired all have articles that appear in this special edition. The magazine itself is broken into five sections, each focusing on a different type of horror film.
First, we have Big Beasties, centralizing on King Kong before talking about other giant monster (kaiju) movies. The main article, The Monkey and the Metaphor, comes from Vanity Fair. Keep that in mind. Most of the article talks about how Kong, from the original film to the new Skull Island, is a symbol of oppression. As an ape he symbolizes racism and as a male he symbolizes sexism. Or, you know, he is a giant freaking monkey. Yeah, you can call Kong discriminatory but with enough arguing, you could claim that about anything, like a refrigerator. Most other films in this section have small tidbits about them but a lot of the greats are included. Films such as Tremors, Them!, and Jaws are all mentioned. Plus a top 10 list for Godzilla monsters from Wired (they really scraped the bottom of the barrel for some of those choices).
Section two is titled It Came From Somewhere Else and deals with aliens. Namely the film, Alien. Unfortunately, this is another Vanity’s Fair article. They describe H. R. Giger’s monster as “phallic, vaginal, biomechanical artwork”. The fine folks at Vanity Fair seem to spend a lot of time with their minds in the gutter (hiring requirement?). The other smaller sections are fine, little blips dealing with films like Predator, Day of the Triffids, and Starship Troopers.
Very Superstitious deals with supernatural films, starting with an article about Guillermo del Toro. Taken from The New Yorker, the article was very informative and discusses his start as a young filmmaker as well as the making of Pan’s Labyrinth. The other article here is from Vanity Fair and talks about The Exorcist. This Vanity Fair article is fairly normal (thank god) and also focuses on Father Gabriele Amorth, a real exorcist. A third article here also highlights the recent film The Babadook (one of the scariest films in recent years). There are also small sections featuring details about the film Poltergeist and an interview with a scary clown for hire (linked with the recent remake of Stephen King’s IT).
The fourth section, Almost Human, deals with more human monsters like Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The articles here are broader, focusing on types of movies rather than specific films. The first deals with werewolves while the second highlights zombie films, particularly Night of the Living Dead. A few other sections feature blips of films like Nosferatu and it wraps up with a section about Freddy Krueger.
Lastly, you have The Evil That Men do and there was no better way to start than with Hannibal Lecter. While subsequent works have been not so great, no one will ever forget Anthony Hopkins performance in Silence of the Lambs. This section also features an interview with Jordan Peele about his film Get Out (this could have been the best horror movie of 2017 if not for IT). The rest of the magazine deals with the classic slashers of the 70s and 80s: Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface.
Overall this was a good little compilation. Nothing groundbreaking was in here, but there are a few things that even longtime horror fans might not know. Especially for those of us who are not regular magazine readers. If you are looking to kill an afternoon before Halloween, pick up a copy of this.