Groovy Age of Horror recently posed the question what do cute versions of monsters tell us about horror? While it was directed primarily toward the LOTT D, the question is an important one for anyone interested in horror and how this genre's commercial, sociological, and philosophical impact on popular culture can be analyzed.
It is not so much a difficult question to answer, rather, it requires more than one simple answer. Given any of the multifaceted influences--with each directing a specific outcome--you care to look at, the possible depth of the answer will vary.
The more obvious influence of marketing adult-themed iconic imagery in such a way as to increase marketability to a broader audience is one possible and fairly easy answer. Examples of this include Frankenberry and Count Chocula cereals. The serious images of the Frankenstein Monster and Count Dracula are rendered harmless and lovable to sell cereal to children (and adults like me who revel in the colorful pastiche of horror and nostalgia--and the sugar rush).
But is there a deeper meaning possible here? Why use monsters at all when Rainbow Brite, charming leprechauns, and Trix-loving rabbits will suffice?
Marketing horror to teens and adults is also a rich vein of potential sales to tap into as well. From the more socially conscious vampires and werewolves of Twilight, to Teddy Scares, Living Dead Dolls, Skelanimals, and Voodooz Dolls, these products offer 'safe' horror monsters to identify with, play with, and collect (control).
Perhaps, like how an inoculation works against a virus, if you weaken the monster to the point it becomes empathizable or a safer and more manageable terror surrogate, you create a palliative horror-play used as a defense against real or imagined terrors.
This horror-play can be viewed as a reaction formation that dramatizes and forestalls the terrors by day and the horrors by night every child and every adult faces in ever increasing severity given our more stressful times.
At least this is one possible answer. What do you think?
What the LOTT D'ers think:
Vault of Horror
Groovy Age of Horror
Strange Kids Club
Drunken Severed Head
Monster Magazine World
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