You Monster!

Is humankind’s obsession with fictional monsters a side effect of avoiding predators in our evolutionary history? Wondering what makes us so interested in dragons, minotaurs and other imaginary but powerful creatures made me ask myself this question and as with many questions related to evolutionary psychology we don’t really have a way of testing that. If it was at all possible we could go back in time, create some sort of lineage that never had to experience predators, bring them into the 21st century and see if they enjoy cloverfield or not, but really that’s problematic on so many levels it’s not even worth speculating about.

It would be cool though if we could do it, perhaps when we master time travel we can begin to address those numerous other problems that riddle such an experiment.

But in our modern society how often is the monster-obsession driven by fear? There’s a lot more awe than fear, it would seem, in modern cinema regarding the monster-infested genres like science fiction. Perhaps that’s because the visual effects have developed so well but there could also be an element of the changing landscape of film fiddling around there. Perhaps the incentive to create a movie based upon its profitability rather than its key ideas leads to more badly written movies and therefore less believable monsters. Again, I fear that’s the pessimist in me talking, which is most of me.

Perhaps if we have more movies like the avengers and less movies like transformers in the future we’ll see a spark of fear associating itself with monsters rather than the ‘oh would you look at that?’ effect.

Maybe I shouldn’t hope so if it leads to more people being scared but I’m all for better writing, although once I’ve completed this novel I’ve been working on if it doesn’t go down well some of you might not believe that.


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