My dad’s a embarrassing, and he tries his best to squeeze a little into every moment we’ve shared. My mum on the other hand is weird, and this is obvious looking back on a lifetime of encouraged monster movies.
I knew I was strange as a child, watching films like: Frankenstein, King Kong, and Godzilla (which all ended with me in tears), I realised that I had a soft spot for monsters. It might seem odd to see a gigantic reptile’s demise move a child of about four to a blubbering mess, but there is method to the madness.
I think the understanding that society had created this monster (whether intentionally with Frankenstein, or unintentionally with the cold cultural response with most of the monster movies), and somewhere in the destruction of what could have been a new form of understanding, we’re reminded that monsters aren’t to be tolerated in the modern world.
I remember thinking that this was unfair, and it took Jurassic Park’s Matriarchal and all round feminist T-Rex to rekindle my love of life. It wasn’t the killing of the monster that terrorised my dreams as much as the lack of care when interacting it. Imagine how the Monster would have been if Frankenstein had only told it to sit down, have a cup of tea, and try and be open minded.
This takes me to a thought that has been swimming around my head is what to do with the monsters that lurk inside our own psyches. And I should point out before you think that humanity isn’t full of monsters, and it’s purely a result of environmental conditioning, then look at all of history and tell me it’s just a coincidence.
There’s far too much placed on the environmental side, which is something that annoyed me in school when we started learning about the evil Nazis. I didn’t see bad people, I saw a country on its knees, and a silver-tongued warrior that promised them heaven if only they gave him complete control, and the weird thing is he kept his word. For a time.
We all have monsters lurking inside, and they like to come out when victimised, chased up the street by an angry mob armed with pitchforks and firebrands. Monsters take all sorts of forms, but all have the capacity for great harm (both themselves and others).
It’s important to know what kind of monster lurks within, and just like I thought as a little boy as I watched king Kong peppered with bullets as he tried to give Fey Rey a squeeze “Don’t kill the monster! Teach it.”
You can devote your life to silencing all negative noise, or you can embrace that not so deep inside your civility is a beast that will hurt people if provoked. You owe it to yourself to provide parental care that Frankenstein neglected in his pursuit of his genius.
For me Shelly’s story isn’t one of how humanity shouldn’t play God, but how if you are going to then you better be ready to take responsibility for it. Environment does shape us, but saying that it is the only factor is like saying the reason why the Swan can fly is because he’s lucky enough to have grown up in the right neighbourhood.
We’ve all got monsters lurking around in the dark, so we better learn how to teach it not to eat the postman when you accidentally leave the cellar door unlocked. “Don’t kill the monster! Teach it”, and what you’ll have is a kind and considerate person, with the power to stand up for yourself when you really need to.