History Lessons: “Monsters” (Episode 2.2)

Some quotable quotes from last night’s monster-focused episode of the AMC docuseries Eli Roth’s History of Horror:

Joe Dante: When you’re a kid, you want monsters, and the more monsters the better. And if they got zippers up their backs it doesn’t matter, as long as they’re monsters. Later, you get a little bit more discerning, and you start to realize that maybe the less you see the monster, the scarier he might be.


Eli Roth: Alien‘s dark view of labor relations was a challenge to the status quo. As was the film’s disturbing production design, which powerfully associated sex with death. H.R. Giger’s biomechanical designs played on the audience’s deepest sexual anxieties.


Tananarive Due: [A Quiet Place is] such an immersive film, that even as an audience member, what you’re drawn in with is that you can’t make a sound. Even the people eating popcorn next to you are making you jump.


Quentin Tarantino: The true auteur of King Kong is Willis O’Brien. Because if you look at the original posters of King Kong, Kong is far more a monster. And he has teeth, almost like a saber-toothed tiger. Willis got rid of all the monstrous touches, and the whole idea was to make him as human as possible. And so we responded to Kong not as a monster, but as a true character.


David J. Skal: The atomic bomb brought World War II to an end, but on one level, it didn’t. It was just the beginning of new anxieties and new fears and the prospect of an even more terrifying war to come. This was where the very new and original fright films of the 1950’s came from. Atomic anxieties.


Andre Øverdal: As a filmmaker, as a storyteller, a writer, or whatever it is, you will be fed with emotions of the world you live in at the time. And it will come out somehow credibly. Definitely horror movies in general, and possibly also monsters more specifically, are a product of their world.


Dana Gould: [In the blood-test scene in The Thing] They are seeing who’s the monster. And that’s a beautiful analogy of, you know, life, the banality of evil. The monster could be sitting right here. Ted Bundy looked like a normal guy.


Barbara Muschietti: That’s what both It movies are: it’s about people living in fear and the horrible things we do as human beings. Pennywise is a representation of fear. That’s why we make movies. We want people to see those movies and try to understand that that’s the worst thing we can do, live in fear.


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