Posts tagged: mummies
“Nepher Has Two Mummies”, Fastner & Larson.
La Momia Azteca contra el Robot Humano
Over at the Vault of Horror, B-Sol has a nice piece up about General Mills’ Monster cereals.
When we break it down, every single one of the General Mills cereal monsters is technically a dead person. Quite jarring to analyze it that way, but also quite true. They are based on beings which do nothing if not remind us of our own mortality. This is the basic source of the horror they all inspire; whether ghost, mummy, vampire, or flesh golem.
And so we do what we always do—we protect ourselves from what we fear, in this case using one of the most tried-and-true methods. We take away its power by turning it into something which is a parody of itself, a harmless representation suitable for small children—so far removed from its origins that one really has to do some mental gymnastics to make the connection.
Making figures of horror and representations of death cute and edible is a way of transforming the fear of death and the knowledge of its inevitability. But personally, I am always more aware of my sympathy for the monsters. The monsters represented in the Monster cereals—Frankenstein, a werewolf, a vampire, a ghost and a mummy—have become more sympathetic throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st. And I think that part of it is that those monsters, while capable of great evil, just can’t compete with human-created, industrially efficient horrors that marked the 20th Century in so many ways. And while a lot of people may not deal with the day to day reality of death all that often, we do have a great deal of immediate intimacy with human atrocity.
It’s not that I think that monsters have lost their power. It’s that maybe we—at least being horror creators and audiences—feel worse about humanity and see ourselves as more horrible than vampires, werewolves, ghosts and mummies. And I see this in the rise of the zombie as the monster of our time, and in “torture porn,” which explores the suffering of the innocent at the hands of other humans, not only reflecting death and decay, but also other horrors that we see around us and fear in ourselves.
Just some thoughts in response.