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A monster is a type of fictional creature found in
horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
,
fantasy Fantasy is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, c ...

fantasy
,
science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a of which typically deals with and futuristic concepts such as advanced and , , , , and . It has been called the " of ", and it often explores the potential consequences of . Scien ...

science fiction
,
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition ab ...

folklore
,
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. This includes oral traditions such as Narrative, tales, pr ...

mythology
and
religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain v ...

religion
. Monsters are very often depicted as dangerous and aggressive with a strange, grotesque appearance that causes terror and fear. Monsters usually resemble bizarre, deformed, otherworldly and/or mutated
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are organisms that form the Animalia. With few exceptions, animals , , are , can , and grow from a hollow sphere of , the , during . Over 1.5 million animal have been —of which around 1 million are —b ...

animal
s or entirely unique creatures of varying sizes, but may also take a
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes ...

human
form, such as
mutant is an example of a mutant. Image:Physcomitrella knockout mutants.JPG, ''Wild-type Physcomitrella patens, Physcomitrella and Knockout Moss, knockout mosses'': Deviating phenotypes induced in gene-disruption library transformants. Physcomitrella w ...

mutant
s,
ghost In folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or th ...

ghost
s and
spirit Spirit may refer to: *Spirit (animating force) In folk belief, spirit is the vitalism , vital principle or animating force within all life , living things. As recently as 1628 and 1633 respectively, both William Harvey and René Descartes st ...
s,
zombie A zombie (Haitian French Haitian French (french: français haïtien, Haitian Creole: ''fransè ayisyen'') is the variety of French language, French spoken in Haiti. Haitian French is close to standard French. It should be distinguished from ...

zombie
s or
cannibal Cannibalism is the act of consuming another individual of the same species as food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and conta ...
s, among other things. They may or may not have supernatural powers, but are usually capable of killing or causing some form of destruction, threatening the social or
moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
order of the human world in the process. Animal monsters are outside the moral order, but sometimes have their origin in some human violation of the moral law (e.g. in the Greek
myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as gods, demigods, and other supernatural figures. ...
,
Minos In , Minos (; grc-gre, Μίνως, ) was a of , son of and . Every nine years, he made pick seven young boys and seven young girls to be sent to 's creation, the , to be eaten by the . After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in ...

Minos
does not sacrifice to
Poseidon Poseidon (; grc-gre, Ποσειδῶν, ) was one of the Twelve Olympians upright=1.8, Fragment of a relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The t ...

Poseidon
the white bull which the god sent him, so as punishment Poseidon makes Minos' wife,
Pasiphaë In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
, fall in love with the bull. She copulates with the beast, and gives birth to the man with a bull's head,
the Minotaur
the Minotaur
). Human monsters are those who by birth were never fully human (
Medusa In Greek mythology, Medusa (; Ancient Greek: Μέδουσα "guardian, protectress") also called Gorgo, was one of the three monstrous Gorgons, generally described as winged human females with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Those w ...

Medusa
and her
Gorgon A Gorgon ( /ˈɡɔːrɡən/; plural: Gorgons, Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divi ...

Gorgon
sisters) or who through some supernatural or unnatural act lost their humanity (
werewolves In folklore, a werewolf ( ang, werwulf, "man-wolf"), or occasionally lycanthrope ( grc-gre, λυκάνθρωπος ''lukánthrōpos'', "wolf-human"), is a human with the ability to Shapeshifting, shapeshift into a wolf (or, especially in mode ...

werewolves
,
Frankenstein's monster Frankenstein's monster or Frankenstein's creature, often incorrectly referred to as "Frankenstein", is a fictional character In fiction, a character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a n ...
), and so who can no longer, or who never could, follow the moral law of human society. Monsters may also be depicted as misunderstood and friendly creatures who frighten individuals away without wanting to, or may be so large, strong and clumsy that they cause unintentional damage or death. Some monsters in fiction are depicted as mischievous and boisterous but not necessarily threatening (such as a sly
goblin A goblin is a monstrous creature that appears in the folklore of multiple European cultures, first attested in stories from the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th ...

goblin
), while others may be docile but prone to becoming angry or hungry, thus needing to be tamed and taught to resist savage urges, or killed if they cannot be handled or controlled successfully. Monsters pre-date written history, and the academic study of the particular cultural notions expressed in a society's ideas of monsters is known as ''monstrophy''. Monsters have appeared in literature and in feature-length films. Well-known monsters in fiction include
Count Dracula Count Dracula () is the of 's 1897 novel '. He is considered to be both the prototypical and the archetypal in subsequent works of fiction. Some aspects of the character are believed to have been inspired by the 15th-century n Prince , who wa ...

Count Dracula
,
Frankenstein's monster Frankenstein's monster or Frankenstein's creature, often incorrectly referred to as "Frankenstein", is a fictional character In fiction, a character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a n ...
,
werewolves In folklore, a werewolf ( ang, werwulf, "man-wolf"), or occasionally lycanthrope ( grc-gre, λυκάνθρωπος ''lukánthrōpos'', "wolf-human"), is a human with the ability to Shapeshifting, shapeshift into a wolf (or, especially in mode ...

werewolves
,
demons A demon is a being, typically associated with , prevalent historically in , , , , , and ; as well as in such as , , , , and . In and in the , including ancient and medieval , a demon is considered a harmful spiritual entity which may ca ...

demons
,
mummies A mummy is a dead human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. Th ...
, and
zombie A zombie (Haitian French Haitian French (french: français haïtien, Haitian Creole: ''fransè ayisyen'') is the variety of French language, French spoken in Haiti. Haitian French is close to standard French. It should be distinguished from ...

zombie
s.


Etymology

''Monster'' derives from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...

Latin
''monstrum'', itself derived ultimately from the verb ''moneo'' ("to remind, warn, instruct, or foretell"), and denotes anything "strange or singular, contrary to the usual course of nature, by which the gods give notice of evil," "a strange, unnatural, hideous person, animal, or thing," or any "monstrous or unusual thing, circumstance, or adventure."The Rev. J.E. Riddle, ''A Complete English-Latin and Latin-English Dictionary'', London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1870, s.v. ''monstrum'', Latin-English part, p. 399


Cultural heritage

In the words of Tina Marie Boyer, assistant professor of medieval German literature at
Wake Forest University Wake Forest University is a private university, private research university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Founded in 1834, the university received its name from its original location in Wake Forest, North Carolina, Wake Forest, north of Rale ...
, "monsters do not emerge out of a cultural void; they have a literary and cultural heritage". In the religious context of ancient Greeks and Romans, monsters were seen as signs of "divine displeasure", and it was thought that birth defects were especially ominous, being "an unnatural event" or "a malfunctioning of nature". Monsters are not necessarily abominations however. The Roman historian
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
, for instance, describes a snake's absence of legs or a bird's ability to fly as monstrous, as both are "against nature". Nonetheless, the negative connotations of the word quickly established themselves, and by the playwright and philosopher
Seneca Seneca may refer to: People and language *Seneca (name), a list of people with either the given name or surname *Seneca the Elder, a Roman rhetorician, writer and father of the stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger *Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoi ...
's time, the word had extended into its philosophical meaning, "a visual and horrific revelation of the truth". In spite of this, mythological monsters such as the Hydra and
Medusa In Greek mythology, Medusa (; Ancient Greek: Μέδουσα "guardian, protectress") also called Gorgo, was one of the three monstrous Gorgons, generally described as winged human females with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Those w ...

Medusa
are not natural beings, but divine entities. This seems to be a holdover from
Proto-Indo-European religion Proto-Indo-European mythology is the body of myths and deities associated with the Proto-Indo-Europeans, the hypothetical speakers of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language. Although the mythological motifs are not directly attested – ...
and other belief systems, in which the divisions between "spirit," "monster," and "god" were less evident.


Monsters in fiction


Prose fiction

The history of monsters in fiction is long, for example
Grendel Grendel is a character in the Anglo-Saxon Epic poetry, epic poem ''Beowulf'' (AD 700–1000). He is one of the poem's three antagonists (along with Grendel's mother, his mother and the The Dragon (Beowulf), dragon), all aligned in opposition agai ...

Grendel
in the epic poem ''
Beowulf ''Beowulf'' (; ang, Bēowulf ) is an Old English epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem Narrative poetry is a form of poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek language, Greek ''poiesis'', "making") is a form of literat ...

Beowulf
'' is an archetypal monster, deformed, brutal, with enormous strength and raiding a human settlement nightly to slay and feed on his victims. The modern literary monster has its roots on examples such as the monster in
Mary Shelley Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (, ; ; 30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist who wrote the Gothic fiction, Gothic novel ''Frankenstein, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus'' (1818), which is considered an History of sci ...
's ''
Frankenstein ''Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus'' is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley. ''Frankenstein'' tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a Sapience, sapient Frankenstein's monster, creature ...

Frankenstein
'' and the vampire in
Bram Stoker Abraham Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish author, best known today for his 1897 Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes * ...

Bram Stoker
's ''
Dracula ''Dracula'' is a novel by Bram Stoker Abraham Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish author, best known today for his 1897 Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ...

Dracula
''. Monsters are a staple of
fantasy fiction Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became fantasy literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded ...
,
horror fiction Horror is the one of the largest genre Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European language ...
or
science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a of which typically deals with and futuristic concepts such as advanced and , , , , and . It has been called the " of ", and it often explores the potential consequences of . Scien ...

science fiction
(where the monsters are often
extraterrestrial Extraterrestrial refers to any object or being beyond (wikt:extra-, extra-) the planet Earth (wikt:terrestrial, terrestrial). It is derived from the Latin words wikt:extra, ''extra'' ("outside", "outwards") and ''terrestris'' ("earthly", "of or rela ...
in
nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and ...

nature
). There is also a subgenre of
erotic fiction Eroticism () is a quality that causes sexual feelings, as well as a philosophical contemplation concerning the aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), tas ...
involving monsters,
monster erotica #REDIRECTMonster erotica Monster erotica, also referred to as monster porn or cryptozoological erotica is a subgenre of erotic literature that involves sexual encounters between humans and monsters. It sometimes crosses over with erotic horror. Th ...
.


Film


Pre–World War II monster films

During the age of
silent film A silent film is a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or oth ...

silent film
s, monsters tended to be human-sized, e.g.
Frankenstein's monster Frankenstein's monster or Frankenstein's creature, often incorrectly referred to as "Frankenstein", is a fictional character In fiction, a character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a n ...
, the
Golem A golem ( ; he, , ''gōlem'') is an animated anthropomorphic Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thum ...

Golem
,
werewolves In folklore, a werewolf ( ang, werwulf, "man-wolf"), or occasionally lycanthrope ( grc-gre, λυκάνθρωπος ''lukánthrōpos'', "wolf-human"), is a human with the ability to Shapeshifting, shapeshift into a wolf (or, especially in mode ...

werewolves
and
vampire A vampire is a creature from folklore that subsists by feeding on the Vitalism, vital essence (generally in the form of blood) of the living. In European folklore, vampires are undead, undead creatures that often visited loved ones and caus ...

vampire
s. The film '''' featured a
dragon A dragon is a large, serpent Serpent or The Serpent may refer to: * Snake Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes . Like all other squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote Amniotes (fro ...

dragon
that consisted of models, as in
RKO RKO Pictures was an American film production and distribution company. In its original incarnation, as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. (a subsidiary of Radio-Keith-Orpheum, aka: RKO) it was one of the Big FiveBig Five may refer to: Animals * th ...

RKO
's ''King Kong'', the first giant
monster film A monster is often a type of grotesque creature, whose appearance frightens and whose powers of destruction threaten the human world's social or moral order. A monster can also be like a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most popul ...
of the sound era.
Universal Studios Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an int ...

Universal Studios
specialized in monsters, with
Bela Lugosi Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó (; October 20, 1882 – August 16, 1956), known professionally as Bela Lugosi (; ), was a Hungarian Americans, Hungarian-American actor best remembered for portraying Count Dracula in the Dracula (1931 English-language ...

Bela Lugosi
's reprisal of his stage role,
Dracula ''Dracula'' is a novel by Bram Stoker Abraham Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish author, best known today for his 1897 Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ...

Dracula
, and
Boris Karloff William Henry Pratt (23 November 1887 – 2 February 1969), better known by his stage name A stage name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or alias () is a fictitious name that a person or group assum ...

Boris Karloff
playing
Frankenstein's monster Frankenstein's monster or Frankenstein's creature, often incorrectly referred to as "Frankenstein", is a fictional character In fiction, a character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a n ...
. The studio also made several lesser films, such as ''Man-Made Monster'', starring
Lon Chaney, Jr. Creighton Tull Chaney (February10, 1906 – July12, 1973), known by his stage name Lon Chaney Jr., was an American actor known for playing Larry Talbot in the film ''The Wolf Man (1941 film), The Wolf Man'' (1941) and its various fictional cross ...
as a carnival side-show worker who is turned into an electrically charged killer, able to dispatch victims merely by touching them, causing death by electrocution. There was also a variant of Dr. Frankenstein, the mad surgeon Dr. Gogol (played by
Peter Lorre Peter Lorre (born László Löwenstein; June 26, 1904 – March 23, 1964) was a Hungarian-American actor. Lorre began his stage career in Vienna, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, before moving to Germany where he worked first on the stage, then ...
), who transplanted hands that were reanimated with malevolent temperaments, in the film ''
Mad Love__NOTOC__ Mad Love may refer to: Books *''Mad Love'' (French ''L'amour fou''), collection of poems by André Breton *''The Batman Adventures: Mad Love'', an Eisner and Harvey award-winning comic by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm *Mad Love (publisher), a s ...
''.
Werewolves In folklore, a werewolf ( ang, werwulf, "man-wolf"), or occasionally lycanthrope ( grc-gre, λυκάνθρωπος ''lukánthrōpos'', "wolf-human"), is a human with the ability to Shapeshifting, shapeshift into a wolf (or, especially in mode ...

Werewolves
were introduced in films during this period, and similar creatures were presented in '' Cat People''.
Mummies A mummy is a dead human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. Th ...

Mummies
were cinematically depicted as fearsome monsters as well. As for giant creatures, the cliffhanger of the first episode of the 1936 ''
Flash Gordon Flash Gordon is the protagonist of a space opera Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imaginat ...

Flash Gordon
''
serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments * Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print * Serial (publishing), periodical publications and newspapers * Serial (radio and television), ...
did not use a costumed actor, instead using real-life
lizard Lizards (suborder Lacertilia) are a widespread group of Squamata, squamate reptiles, with over 6,000 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. The group is paraphyletic as it excludes the s ...

lizard
s to depict a pair of battling dragons via use of camera perspective. However, the cliffhanger of the ninth episode of the same serial had a man in a rubber suit play the Fire Dragon, which picks up a doll representing Flash in its claws. The cinematic monster cycle eventually wore thin, having a comedic turn in ''
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein ''Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein'' is a 1948 American horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton (director), Charles Barton and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. The picture is the first of several films in which the c ...

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
'' (1948).


Post–World War II monster films

In the
post–World War II The aftermath of World War II was the beginning of a new era for all countries involved, defined by the decline of all European colonial empires A colonial empire is a collective of territories (often called colonies), either contiguous with the ...
era, however, giant monsters returned to the screen with a vigor that has been causally linked to the development of
nuclear weapon A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reaction In nuclear physics and nucl ...
s. One early example occurred in the American film ''
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms ''The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms'' is a 1953 American science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (sometime ...

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
'', which was about a
dinosaur Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic Geological period, period, between 243 and 233.23 annum, million years ago, although the exact origin and timing of the evolution ...

dinosaur
that attacked a lighthouse. Subsequently, there were
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...
film depictions, (
Godzilla is a fictional monster, or ''kaiju is a Japanese genre of films and television featuring giant monster A monster is often a type of grotesque creature, whose appearance frightens and whose powers of destruction threaten the human w ...
,
Gamera is a fictional monster originating from a series of Japanese films of the same name. Gamera first appeared in Noriaki Yuasa's 1965 film ''Gamera, the Giant Monster'', produced by Daiei Film. The character and the first film were intended to comp ...
), British depictions ('' Gorgo''), and even
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
depictions (''
Reptilicus ''Reptilicus'' is a 1961 Danish-American Monster film, giant monster film about a prehistoric reptile. The film was produced by American International Pictures and Saga Studio and separate versions were released in Denmark and in the United States ...
''), of giant monsters attacking cities. A recent depiction of a giant monster is depicted in
J. J. Abrams Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (born June 27, 1966) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is known for his work in the genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) wit ...

J. J. Abrams
's ''
Cloverfield ''Cloverfield'' is a 2008 American monster film directed by Matt Reeves, produced by J.J. Abrams, and written by Drew Goddard. The film stars Michael Stahl-David, Odette Yustman, T.J. Miller, Jessica Lucas Jessica Lucas (born Septembe ...
'', which was released in theaters January 18, 2008. The intriguing proximity of other
planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and ...

planet
s brought the notion of extraterrestrial monsters to the big screen, some of which were huge in size (such as
King Ghidorah is a fictional monster, or ''kaiju'', which first appeared in Ishirō Honda's 1964 film ''Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster''. Although the name of the character is officially trademarked by Toho as "King Ghidorah", the character was originally ...
and
Gigan is a kaiju is a Japanese genre of films and television featuring giant monster A monster is a type of fictional creature found in horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fictio ...
), while others were of a more human scale. During this period, the
fish Fish are aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the ...

fish
-man monster
Gill-man The Gill-man—commonly called the Creature—is the main antagonist of the 1954 black-and-white science fiction film '' Creature from the Black Lagoon'' and its two sequels '' Revenge of the Creature'' (1955) and ''The Creature Walks Among Us'' ...
was developed in the film series ''
Creature from the Black Lagoon ''Creature from the Black Lagoon'' is a 1954 American black-and-white Black-and-white (B/W or B&W) images combine black and white in a continuous spectrum, producing a range of shades of gray. A picture which uses only the two shades ...
''. Britain's
Hammer Film Productions Hammer Film Productions Ltd. is a British film production company based in London. Founded in 1934, the company is best known for a series of Gothic fiction, Gothic horror and fantasy films made from the mid-1950s until the 1970s. Many of thes ...
brought
color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American Engli ...
to the monster movies in the late 1950s. Around this time, the earlier Universal films were usually shown on American television by independent stations (rather than network stations) by using announcers with strange personas, who gained legions of young fans. Although they have since changed considerably, movie monsters did not entirely disappear from the big screen as they did in the late 1940s. Occasionally, monsters are depicted as friendly or misunderstood creatures. King Kong and Frankenstein's monster are two examples of misunderstood creatures. Frankenstein's monster is frequently depicted in this manner, in films such as '' Monster Squad'' and ''
Van Helsing A van is a type of road vehicle used for transporting goods or people. Depending on the type of van, it can be bigger or smaller than a truck and SUV, and bigger than a common car. There is some varying in the scope of the word across the differ ...
''. The Hulk is an example of the "Monster as Hero" archetype. The theme of the "Friendly Monster" is pervasive in pop-culture.
Chewbacca Chewbacca (), nicknamed "Chewie", is a fictional character in the ''Star Wars'' franchise. He is a wookiee, a tall, hirsute, bipedal, intelligent species originating from the fictional planet of Kashyyyk. Chewbacca is the loyal friend and first ...
,
Elmo Elmo is a red Muppet The Muppets are an ensemble cast In a dramatic production, an ensemble cast is one which comprises multiple principal actors and performers who are typically assigned roughly equal amounts of screen time.Random Ho ...

Elmo
, and
Shrek ''Shrek'' is a 2001 American computer-animated comedy film A comedy film is a category of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ...
are notable examples of friendly "monsters". The monster characters of ''
Pixar Pixar Animation Studios (), commonly known as just Pixar, is an American computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform ge ...

Pixar
s '' Monsters, Inc.'' franchise scare (and later entertain) children in order to create
energy In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regula ...

energy
for running machinery in their home world, while the furry monsters of ''
The Muppets The Muppets are an American ensemble cast In a dramatic production, an ensemble cast is one which is composed of multiple principal actors and performers who are typically assigned roughly equal amounts of screen time.Random House: ensemble ac ...
'' and ''
Sesame Street ''Sesame Street'' is an American educational Education is the process of facilitating learning Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, value (personal and cultural), values, attitudes ...
'' live in harmony with animals and humans alike. Japanese culture also commonly features monsters which are benevolent or likable, with the most famous examples being the ''
Pokémon (an abbreviation for in Japan) is a Japanese media franchise managed by The Pokémon Company, a company founded by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures (company), Creatures. The franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1996, and is cente ...

Pokémon
'' franchise and the pioneering anime ''
My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 Japanese animated Animation is a method in which Image, figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent cel, celluloid sheets to be photographed and e ...
''. The book series/webisodes/toy line of
Monster High ' is an American fashion doll franchise created by Mattel and launched on June 11, 2010. The characters are inspired by monster movies, sci-fi horror, thriller fiction, and various other creatures. Monster High was created by Garrett Sander, with ...

Monster High
is another example.


Games

Monsters are commonly encountered in fantasy or role-playing games and video games as enemies for players to fight against. They may include aliens,
legendary creature A legendary creature (also known as a ''mythological'', ''mythic'' or ''fabulous'' creature) is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed ...
s, extra-dimensional entities or versions of regular
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are organisms that form the Animalia. With few exceptions, animals , , are , can , and grow from a hollow sphere of , the , during . Over 1.5 million animal have been —of which around 1 million are —b ...

animal
s. Especially in role-playing games, "monster" is a catch-all term for hostile characters that are fought by the player.
Sentient Sentience is the capacity to experience feeling Feeling was originally used to describe the physical sensation of touch The somatosensory system is a part of the sensory nervous system. The somatosensory system is a complex system of sensory ...
fictional races are usually not referred to as monsters. At other times, the term can carry a neutral connotation, such as in the ''
Pokémon (an abbreviation for in Japan) is a Japanese media franchise managed by The Pokémon Company, a company founded by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures (company), Creatures. The franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1996, and is cente ...

Pokémon
'' franchise, where it is used to refer to fictional creatures that resemble real-world animals. Characters in games may refer to all animals as "monsters".


See also


Monsters in legend

*
Bakunawa The Bakunawa is a serpent-like dragon in Philippine mythology. It is believed to be the cause of eclipses, earthquakes, rains, and wind. The movements of the Bakunawa served as a Geomancy, geomantic calendar system for ancient Filipinos and were ...
*
Basilisk In Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Order ...

Basilisk
* Beast of Gévaudan *
Behemoth Behemoth (; he, בהמות, ''behemot'') is a beast from the biblical Book of Job, and is a form of the primeval chaos-monster created by God at the Genesis creation narrative, beginning of creation; he is paired with the other chaos-monster, Le ...

Behemoth
* *
Bogeyman The Bogeyman (; also spelled boogeyman, bogyman, bogieman, boogie monster, boogie man, or boogie woogie) is a type of mythical creature used by adults to frighten children into good behavior. Bogeymen have no specific appearance, and conceptions ...
*
Centaur A centaur ( ; grc, κένταυρος, kéntauros; ), or occasionally hippocentaur, is a creature from Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture share ...

Centaur
*
Cerberus In Greek mythology, Cerberus (; grc-gre, Κέρβερος ''Kérberos'' ), often referred to as the hound of Hades, is a polycephaly, multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving. He was the offsprin ...

Cerberus
*
Changeling A changeling, also historically referred to as an auf or oaf, is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, ...

Changeling
*
Charybdis Charybdis (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), ref ...

Charybdis
* Chimera *
Cryptozoology Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience and subculture that searches for and studies unknown, legendary, or extinct animals whose present existence is disputed or unsubstantiated, particularly those popular in folklore, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness M ...
*
Cyclopes In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A bel ...

Cyclopes
*
Demon A demon is a supernatural being, typically associated with evil, prevalent historically in religion, occultism, literature, fiction, mythology, and folklore; as well as in Media (communication), media such as comics, video games, movies, an ...

Demon
*
Dragon A dragon is a large, serpent Serpent or The Serpent may refer to: * Snake Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes . Like all other squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote Amniotes (fro ...

Dragon
* Fearsome Critters *
Flying Spaghetti Monster The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Pastafarianism, a social movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religion and originated in opposition to the creationism in public educat ...

Flying Spaghetti Monster
*
Fouke Monster The Fouke Monster, also known as the Boggy Creek Monster and the Swamp Stalker, is purported to be an ape-like creature, similar to descriptions of Bigfoot, that was allegedly sighted in the rural town of Fouke, Arkansas, Fouke, Arkansas during the ...
*
Ghoul Ghoul ( ar, غول, ') is a demon A demon is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By definition, a supernat ...

Ghoul
*
Ghost In folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or th ...

Ghost
*
Goblin A goblin is a monstrous creature that appears in the folklore of multiple European cultures, first attested in stories from the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th ...

Goblin
*
Gorgons A Gorgon ( /ˈɡɔːrɡən/; plural: Gorgons, Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divi ...
*
Mythological hybrid Hybrid beasts are creatures composed of parts from different animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotrop ...
*
Horned Serpent pictograph, Western San Rafael Swell The San Rafael Swell is a large geologic feature located in south-central Utah Utah ( , ) is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States The United States of America (USA), c ...
*
Jiangshi A jiangshi, also known as a Chinese hopping vampire A vampire is a creature from folklore that subsists by feeding on the Vitalism, vital essence (generally in the form of blood) of the living. In European folklore, vampires are undead ...
*
Jinn Jinn ( ar, جن, ') – also romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...
*
Kaiju is a Japanese genre of films and television featuring giant monster A monster is a type of fictional creature found in horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese ho ...
*
Kelpie A kelpie, or water kelpie, is a shape-shifting spirit inhabiting lochs in Scottish folkloreScottish folklore encompasses the folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tra ...
*
Krampus The Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphism, anthropomorphic figure in Central and Eastern Alps, Alpine folklore who, during the Christmas season, scares children who have misbehaved. Assisting Saint Nicholas (European folklore), Saint Nicholas, ...

Krampus
*
Lake monsterA lake monster is a lake-dwelling entity in folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such ...
* Legendary creature * Hydra * Leviathan * Manticore * Midgard Serpent * Minokawa * Minotaur * Ogre * Oni * Orc * Scylla * Sea monster * Swamp monster * Tarasque * Troll * Undead * Vampire * Warg * Wendigo * Werewolf * Yaksha * Yaoguai * Yeti * Yōkai * Zombie


Monsters in fiction

* List of species in fantasy fiction


References


Notes


Citations


Bibliography

* * * *


External links

* * * {{Authority control Monsters, Teratogens, * Developmental biology Folklore Horror fiction