Monday, October 24, 2011
Creature Week - Mutants!
Looking to liven up the Halloween season? Why not add some horror movies, books or comics to the mix! Each day I will feature a new kind of beastie, monstrosity, and creepy crawly with my favorite examples of their appearances in popular media.
Mutants are a less often used horror trope these days. During the height of the cold war, as fear of nuclear war gained very real potential, horror movies expounded on the fear with mutated creatures born out of nuclear experimentation. The atomic age brought in new wonders, and horrible terrors.
The mutated monster made a brief return as the fear of science turned from the atomic to the genetic. Irradiated insects that terrorized cities in The Beginning of the End turned to bio-engineered bugs haunting the streets in Mimic.
Now that mutant is often used in more gimicky settings, as the comical monster and a parody of what it once was. It's heyday of the 50s long gone, I still think the mutant can have a relevant place in the horror monster lineup. Much of horror and scifi these days lacks the social commentary it originally had, but in all honesty what is wrong with just using them for fun. If done well, with tongue firmly in cheek, I think the mutant can easily make a return. Filled with homages and inside jokes, a modern mutant film could take any of the old school fiends (from giant reptiles to flesh-hungry sea creatures) and breath new life into them.
In recent years there has been some resurrgence of the rogue giant animal genre, but to be honest, most are rather poorly made and rushed to DVD. But there have been a few notable mutant creature flicks I could draw attention to if you're looking to add a little mutie fun to your Hallow's Eve festivities.
To put it simply, this movie is so stupid you can't help but love it. It ranks up there with Squirm, which would also be listed here if the worms were mutated, but really they were just really pissed off. But these slugs are messed up! Instead of describing the film further I just give you this:
Perhaps one of the best mutant monster films I have ever seen. What starts as a dark giant monster film quickly becomes a rather disturbing commentary on South Korean society and the history of other countries' involvement with them. Whether you are a fan of horror or science fiction or neither, this is one of those films that takes an obvious genre trope and uses it to say a whole lot more. And it works. If something like this were attempted by hollywood it would have easily fallen on its ass early into the script stage.
My preferred medium, especially in horror, as it often escapes the cliched and gimicked effects of films. There are many great mutant creature books though, almost impossible to really choose from.
The Conqueror Worms