Classic monsters - think Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, Godzilla – underwent a makeover with the evolution of the paranormal genre (and particularly paranormal romance/erotica – I know, dino-erotica was a freakin’ surprise to me too). Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, every creepy crawly thing you can name, suddenly had this other facet - a mystique which took them out of the realm of horror and made them desirable.
Monsters lost their bite, so to speak.
Within the last decade YA literature ran away with the monsters and reinvented them time and time again, until ‘paranormal’ became a monster in its own right, shooed away from the door of publishing the world over…OK, maybe that’s a little overdramatic, but we are talking monsters here. But horror – good, old-fashioned horror where the monsters monst to scare rather than seduce – seems to me to be sticking around. Whether this signifies it being an ‘evergreen’ genre, or one which is simply hitting the right spot right now, we’ll have to wait and see.
Can literature claw back the classic monster?
Although literature has taken a step toward the sparkly, loveable monster, this hasn’t strictly crossed over into movies. Of course, there have been book-to-film adaptations of novels like Twilight and Warm Bodies, but there have also been a huge number where the monsters are actually meant to inspire fear. World War Z, Pacific Rim, Prometheus…and yes, even the future-classic Big Ass Spiders, are all recent monster flicks which show that audiences still want to be scared and creeped out by their monsters, not just admire how their grey-tinged skin looks by moonlight.
Personally, I’m looking forward to being terrified by the new literary monsters, and to creating a few of my own. BRING ON THE FEAR.
Kat Ellis is a young adult writer from North Wales. Her debut novel, BLACKFIN SKY, is forthcoming in 2014 from Firefly Press (UK) and Running Press Kids (USA). She will supply you with links to Welsh church songs about goats changing colour if you ask nicely, and is busy learning the fine language of Afrikaans one strange phrase at a time.