For my whole life, I have seen myself as a monster. That there is something deeply wrong with me at my core. I felt like some kind of frankenstein’s monster, something that was never meant to be. A lot of people think of themselves this way to an extent, but it does get poked and prodded at a lot when its also validated by interactions as a visibly gender nonconforming person, someone who can’t hide it even when trying very hard – the knowledge that people can see the monstrosity in you under whatever you try to cover it with has a lot of weight to it. You should see my drawings of myself, they’ve been the same since puberty. Monster body.
When I started to re-identify with womanhood and do some amount of healing from self hatred, or at least that self hatred was transforming, I reclaimed a lot of monster woman imagery. For those of you that have known me a few years, that will sound very obvious and familiar to you. Monster woman. Failed female. I have a horror blog called themonstrousfeminine. I love my wolfman-wolfwoman figurine, I love gorgons and huge fucking creatures and body horror. God, I love the warped and conceptually disfigured body! It makes living in my own larger than life. Someone spits on the ground at my feet and I think, yeah, yeah, that’s what happens to monsters when they walk amongst their neighbors in the sunlight and not the sewers! They’re afraid! I’m not afraid!
This past weekend, I went to a music festival with a thousand lesbians. I’ve never seen so many different ways to be a woman in one place. There are so many ways to live in these bodies. Its not the first time I’ve met women with features like mine who move through the world like I do, but it was the first time seeing so many, and so many seeing me, that there were too many to talk to. It was the first time seeing us everywhere I looked, it was the first time I saw us in the context of community.
When we are with each other, it makes it the most obvious and clear fact in the world: These women aren’t monsters. What has been done to them is monstrous, but they are not monsters. Monsters are imaginary, and we are real. They are larger than life, and we are alive. They are ugly and scary. I cannot imagine anyone who is less so. A recognition on a deep and visceral level: I see myself in these women and they saw themselves in me.
I don’t know how I will feel a week from now, when I’ve been around more people who do think I’m a monster (or I’ve watched a couple of cool horror movies), but for now, I don’t agree with them. Some affirmations: I will not draw myself as a monster, I will not use monstrous language to conceptualize myself. There is nothing wrong with me and I was not born wrong. I would not say these things about the women who I recognize as being like me, and they would not say these things about me.
I can’t reclaim and revel in the hatred of myself and my body anymore, I can’t let the only way of relating positively to myself be thinking its actually cool to be pushed into the sewer. Not when I know in such a real, material way that women look like this and we can and are part of communities and can and do walk around in the sunlight with one another, basking in it like we deserve to be there. And we do.
Nova #5 (January 1977). Marv Wolfman (W), Sal Buscema (A), Tom Palmer (I), J. Costanza (L), Michelle Wolfman (Colors)
Nova heads to the offices of Marvel Comics in Manhattan (575 Madison Avenue) to see if he has what it takes to star in his own comic book. This sequence is self-deprecating, self-mythologizing, and self-promoting at the same time. Featuring appearances by writer Marv Wolfman, artist Sal Buscema, Stan Lee, Editorial Assistant Beth Bleckley, “Production Chief” John Verpoorten and other Marvel employees. Stan Lee’s chest hair is a nice touch.
I’ve always been a fan of scenes where superheroes interact with, read, or comment on their imagined exploits in comic books, movies, and other media, and this sequence is fun. I particularly love the idea that Wolfman has someone keeping tabs on Dracula in Boston for his Tomb of Dracula work. Also, Dracula lives in Boston in the Marvel Universe in the 1970s!
My final top horror list for the year, here’s my top 10
(sort of) Universal Monsters list. This is exclusively just the Universal
horror films from the silent era to the 50s. I won’t be including later ones
like Jaws or anything, just the original Monsters collection, or this list
would be too big and messy.
The third in the Frankenstein series, I don’t feel it’s as
good as its two prequels, but a damn good film all around. While hardcore fans
of the Monster may be let down by how little he appears in the movie, I feel
the real star of the show is Ygor, played by Bela Lugosi. It’s an interesting
turn for the series, but still perfectly captures that classic Universal
atmosphere. I feel this is the last great Frankenstein film in the Universal
library, ironically also being the last one with Karloff behind the Monster.
I know many people would probably rank The Mummy higher than
this on their personal top 10 Universal lists, and it IS a great movie, but
I’ve always felt it was a bit weaker than the other greats in the Universal
series. Karloff is amazing as the resurrected haunting mummy, Imhotep, and the
film is far smarter and better acted than the other unrelated Mummy “sequels”
that followed (not to mention all remakes). I have a few problems with the
movie, like the rehash of many of Dracula’s elements (some argue it’s the exact
same story), the lack of much spooky scenery and settings, and they kill a dog.
Come on. Why do movie directors always have to kill the dog?
My personal favorite film adaptation of the classic romance
tragedy, Lon Cheney IS the Phantom. His look and mannerisms (all makeup done by
Cheney himself) were the perfect defining version of the character, and all
later iterations always felt a bit flat in comparison. This one doesn’t seem to
be as widely renowned as all the post-Dracula films, as silent movies rarely
get enough love, but it truly is one of the greats, and in my opinion, the
first Universal film to kick off their style of gothic horror.
This one is not only important in that it practically set up
an entire genre, but is also just a really great film. The most famous
character is likely the mute, drunken butler played by Boris Karloff, but the
whole cast is really good. The mood and visuals of the film make it perfect for
a stormy, spooky night.
Lugosi and Karloff together in one film, the Black Cat,
which is really not at all related to the Poe story beyond the title, is
actually a surprisingly damn good film despite the little buzz about it these
days. We see Lugosi in a heroic role, which was not common at that point (or
ever, really) and he actually plays a really likable guy, despite being really
bizarre at times. The acting from Lugosi and Karloff is some of their best, and
there are a lot of really interesting and ambitious effects and scene
transitions for its time. I won’t spoil the whole film, but I will say that the
ending is the only thing in the movie I don’t really care for. It ends on a
crappy, throw-away joke after some really heavy events just occurred, which to
me weakens the mood and, considering what the main protagonists just
witnessed/did, makes them seem pretty inconsiderate and messed up.
A direct sequel to the 1931 classic, Dracula’s Daughter,
Countess Zaleska, is an extremely interesting vampire for her time since she is
reluctant to give into her curse. She’s sympathetic and dreams of a release
from her vampirism, much in contrast to the monstrous pride of her father. Not
only do we want to see her get better and succeed, but her gradual failure to
fight her urges make for a very unique and complex vampire film for its time.
Though this is sort of the odd man out in the Universal
series, as we don’t see any old European castles, mansions or laboratories,
this film is still a ton of fun and a worthy member of the Universal Monsters
Collection. After decades of magical monsters terrorizing the screen, the 50s
gave birth to more monsters of science. And when it comes to sci fi horror
films of the 50s, few are better than “Black Lagoon”. Some may find the Gillman
suit a bit too silly and tacky looking today, but if you enjoy the slight
campiness, this movie is a great time. It’s sequel, Revenge of the Creature,
however, I probably feel is the worst Universal horror film I’ve ever seen. Not
TERRIBLE, but not NEARLY as good as its prequel.
The Invisible Man is a smart and cheeky flick. Not as horror
based as many of the other Universal classics, but still enough so to fit right
in. The acting is great, the special effects are mind-boggling for their time,
and the movie can actually be damn funny, especially with how surprisingly not
weirded out the people are by Griffin’s invisibility. The only two complaints I
have is that I would have rather had there been no explanation that the drug is
responsible for his madness, and think it would have been more powerful and
interesting if his madness was the result of his living in terror and paranoia,
as well as realizing the freedom of his new form. Also, I hate that loud old
woman. She’s so freaking annoying. I guess James Whale found her really funny,
because she plays the exact same kind of loud annoying comic relief role in
Bride of Frankenstein.
Often considered possibly the best Universal Monster film,
Bride of Frankenstein is definitely one of the greats. While it is probably the
best written, acted, and directed of the Frankenstein series, I do personally
think it is not AS enjoyable as the first one. That being said, though, it is
extremely well made, and surprisingly smart, emotional, and even witty for a
1930s horror film. It clearly has more to say than your average classic horror
flick, but still delivers all the eerie atmosphere and sets you expect from
And for my #1 space, I couldn’t decide. These are the
generic standard for Universal Monsters. They’re the three everybody thinks of
first. But I genuinely just love these three the most. I used to say The
Wolfman was probably a bit higher for me than the other two simply because I
LOVE those foggy woodland sets, but Dracula and Frankenstein are so damn good,
it’s impossible for me to choose. If I had to pick one as my favorite, it might
be Dracula. It just perfectly embodies everything I identify the Universal
collection by. All three of these movies excel in that perfect gothic style of
visuals and setting and just have great simple yet absolute classic monster
stories. Not to mention, the actors playing the monsters are perfect. It
doesn’t feel like Halloween season any year if I don’t watch these three.
Say what you have to say
Try not to cry
This is just not what you wanted
At this point in your life
It’s so hard to stay
When all you want to do is ride
I totally get you, I was a birdcage
And you were meant to fly
You are a broken heart tattoo
I’ll have forever on my chest
For a love that I have lost
But never could forget
Larry Talbot has a special place in my heart, I love the Wolfman. I can’t real explain why but it’s probably something to do with the tragic nature of werewolf stories in general
I have a fondness for the Wolf Man, too. If you’ve listened to me in past episodes of War Rocket Ajax, you’ve heard me talk about how I wanted to be a werewolf as a kid, and some of my earliest comic-like stories were elementary school me drawing myself as a werewolf named Howler. So Wolf Man has some real way back meaning for me.
And I think the movie is fine overall, certainly better than a lot of what came after. I just think a doughy jowlfaced sad sack was a weird choice to be the central character of the entire line for several years.
I would make one of those “here’s my opinions on a thing I haven’t consumed the canon media for yet” PowerPoints for Langworth since that’s the top ship I get asked about—but if I did make that PowerPoint it would just say I Love This Weird Wolfman And His Terrible Bro Fashion Sense And He Should Kiss Miles Edgeworth. I love my anons too. I can’t tell if you’re all different and you don’t know that I haven’t played AAI or if you just think it’s funny at this point. (I think it’s hilarious)
10!!!! he seems like a sweetheart. Chiefbaddass told me he knows all of his 99 subordinates’ birthdays?? Lang is a good dude and I love him.