Extra Credits: The Beast Macabre

This week, we do a (somewhat premature) Horror Monsters episode.

Show Notes:

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  • I'd say it's a type 3 kind of story, but the monster doesn't fit any of the types.

    Hoookay...if we want to chase that line of thought... Here's my interpretation.

    [spoiler:3m7by02i]Shonen Bat/Li'l Slugger seemed to be directly tied to the cutesy mascot character Maromi and the miasma that almost engulfs the city at the very end. All three were different ways for the people of the city to avoid coming to grips with their own issues. Maromi was idle joy--perhaps a desire to go back to a childlike state of innocence--while the other two entities were more overly malevolent. A symbolic "return to childhood" and an acceptance of the weight of one's own action is what liberates the city in the end. If they're actually facets of the same psychological beast--which I believe they are...[/spoiler:3m7by02i]

    The end result is closest to a type 3. The same sort of type 3 that the Persona series rummages around in, to be exact.

    Paranoia Agent was actually what made me sit down and really, really look at my life. It inspired me to make more of myself than I had been, and I'm happier now than I ever have been, too.

    -- I think we agree.[spoiler:3m7by02i]The series was about a certain kind of lazy and irresponsible kind of childishness... although I'd say Marumi doesn't seem that lazy and irresponsible herself -- it's more like she's very engaged in making others lazy. Just like Shonen Bat isn't lazy himself, but very active in helping others be lazy. And the miasma is just this primal force...

    Maybe I'm over analyzing, but the way I understood it, the type 3 monster is supposed to represent a human flaw by having that flaw themselves -- but these monsters don't seem to have the flaw that the series is addressing.[/spoiler:3m7by02i]

  • Maybe I'm over analyzing, but the way I understood it, the type 3 monster is supposed to represent a human flaw by having that flaw themselves...

    Yeah, I could've gone either way on that point. That's actually what I was trying to delve into with the text versus metatext conversation upthread. I want to say that a type 3 can actually be--literally--a human flaw incarnate, but that takes really careful writing or it ceases to be horror. For starters, actually calling it something like "rage incarnate" should probably be a avoided before the denouement, as it strips away the monster's mystique.

    To keep on with the examples I brought up above, in Paranoia Agent, the events of plot can be interpreted to mean that...

    [spoiler:2ddm7200]Maromi, Shonen Bat/Li'l Slugger, and the miasma at the end of the series all symbolize humanity's collective unwillingness to cope with their guilt, shame, and sorrow. That denial inevitably proves helpful for a while, but the characters all seem worse off for it in the long run. The one time someone stands up to Li'l Slugger, though, he winds up stripped of his power and flees. This is all conveyed metatextually, though: I believe the closest we get to actually hearing the rules behind the "monster" is in the opening narration for the episode that debuts "Radar Man."[/spoiler:2ddm7200]

    Persona 3 FES is less subtle, and less horrifying--unless you really think about what's going on.

    [spoiler:2ddm7200]The plot eventually seems to evolve into a meditation on major depressive disorder, with the true primary antagonist (once you finally see it) being humanity's desire for its own destruction--that is, a desire to commit suicide or otherwise obviate one's existence. This is more or less explicitly stated, but it becomes horrible toward the end of "The Journey" when the town is slowly overrun by near-comatose "Apathy Syndrome" victims--people who have had their volition symbolically consumed by this impulse. Think about your own streets being filled with people who will stare at the sun until they go blind or stand on the sidewalk until the starve simply because they can't be bothered to do anything else, then think about how you'd feel if someone told you that this would eventually and inevitably happen to you.[/spoiler:2ddm7200]

  • Yeah, I could've gone either way on that point. That's actually what I was trying to delve into with the text versus metatext conversation upthread.
    - Ah yeah, of course. Hal doesn't have the flaw his role is about. I agree about your interpretation of the monsters in Paranoia Agent, although I wouldn't say it's always so subtle :mrgreen:

    But the video seems quite clear to me that a "type 3 monster" has to have the flaw he's representing, especially when you consider the examples (vampires and werewolves) -- so I guess I just don't agree with the categories.

  • But the video seems quite clear to me that a "type 3 monster" has to have the flaw he's representing, especially when you consider the examples (vampires and werewolves) -- so I guess I just don't agree with the categories.

    In that case, I suppose I'll stick with expanding that third definition for my personal use, then--that is to say, I'm not necessarily sure I agree with the categories as presented, myself.

    And I should really try to find a Paranoia Agent box set cheap somewhere...

  • You know, I like thinking about monsters in general... Though I mostly like monsters that have their own mythos to them, like vampires, werewolves, etc., not monsters like you'd see in Monsters Inc. or whatever, though those are fun, too.

    Though I do know monsters can basically be anything that can frighten us. Ironically, some of the monsters I think about are usually more casual monsters that don't actively look to frighten people, they just come off that way because of the stories that surround them, not to mention some of the macabre stuff they do.

    You know what I was just reminded of? Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It. So many people are scared of that guy, but after watching the Nostalgia Critic's review of the mini-series:

    http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videol ... c/28239-it

    I can't help but laugh every time I think about him! I suppose it would help if I actually watched it to see if it's as scary as some people say it is, or if people really do just piss their pants when they see clowns with sharp teeth.

    I think Yahtzee said something like this in regards to horror franchises like Silent Hill, not to mention Tom Savini had once said in an interview (that James Rolfe conducted) that he feels that way as well. Something abstract, something you can't see, will ALWAYS be scarier then what you do see... Because your head does most of the work! Not to mention, what scares you can change over time, so keeping it abstract is really the best way to go, especially in the long-term.

    Oh God, Lord of the Flies... that story freaked the Hell out of me when I read it as a kid... for a school assignment, of course.

    Oh yeah, talking about vampires... I didn't know all of that about what vampires represented. I love learning this stuff! Still, I guess I feel kind of bad taking the fear out of these monsters...

    Hell, sometimes I want to think up my own monsters, just to try and be like the monsters of old... Maybe I'll think more hard about it...

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