The Halloween Countdown: An Ode To Monsters

We love being scared, and that's why we love a good old-fashioned monster. In this Ode to monsters, I will tell you why we can never have enough monsters in our lives.

“Oh, monsters are scared,” said Lettie. “That’s why they’re monsters.” Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I hate horror movies. I detest the cheap jump scares and the gory blood gushing out of body parts. As I said in the previous post, it took me years to finish that horrifying book It, because it had simply caused me too many nightmares. However, when I wrote about that particular monster, and the other nine preceding it, I realised that I actually love monsters. Not all monsters, but those which are one thing on the surface, but have a deeper layer, a different meaning, when you look closer. I think that in a way, we all need monsters. We need them to be able to take a closer look at ourselves and at others, and the way we deal with life. This post, published on Halloween, the scariest day of the year, is dedicated to all those monsters that didn’t make it to the list, but are no less scary.

The monsters featured in this top ten were monsters I felt a personal connection with. Most of these monsters have made me think about myself, and the way I look at the world. It, for instance, is also very much a book about growing up, and how we change over the years. Philip Pullman’s spectres could be a metaphor for severe depression, when not a single feeling remains but indifference. Mr Hyde is a physical representation for the inevitable dark thoughts everyone must have, and how it is impossible to get rid of them. I could go on, but I want you to do your own interpretation too, without me ruining it for you.

This is why reading is so much fun, and so important. Truly good books (and that includes truly well-written monsters) make you think. Of course, the author will always have a particular idea about their books, but they’re always open for interpretation. A book that you’ve read in your teens might very well have a very different impact on you when you read it again many years later. For instance, I could have included the Grand High Witch from Roald Dahl’s The Witches, but right now she simply means less to me than the other monsters which did make it into the top ten.

There’s one final pair of monsters which I’d like to end with, and that’s Mike and Sully from the Disney film Monsters, Inc. In no way could I include them in this list, for a) they’re not from a book, and b) they’re not scary at all, but they really mean something to me. They symbolise the idea that even though we think we identify ourselves in one way and fully accept that, we might at one point discover we’re something much better than that. They encourage me to be better. Furthermore, it shows that even though monsters are mostly, well, monstrous, there’s hope for them. Next time you’re scared, just check under your bed and wave; your monsters might appreciate it.

So, which is your favourite monster? Which monster monster means the most to you, and why? Are there any monsters that you missed? What other topics should I do a countdown on? Share your opinion in the comments!

Happy Halloween!

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