The Fashion of Monsters

Okay. Fashion. We can’t really avoid it. We can’t avoid the trends that go through society before they finally die out, only to be brought back to life later – fashion, as it turns out, is very Frankenstein.

The most obvious example is, of course, clothes, but even outside the world of designers and haute couture, we find that “fashion” or popular trends exist in everything. Hobbies. Ideologies. Even mythical creatures.

It’s the latter which this essay will focus on.

Some creatures are seemingly doomed to forever be second best. Unknown to most and with very little focus on them. Creatures like banshees, gargoyles, and harpies. It’s not that we haven’t heard about them, but how many of us can honestly name a movie or a book that revolve around one of them? The closest thing might be The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but even then, the gargoyles play only a secular role.

Other creatures, however, are given their time in the limelight. They have movies and television shows revolving around them, comics and books are written with them as the main focus, and everybody knows them. They are fashionable. They are in.

An obvious example of one of these “fashionable” monsters is vampires. The myth of the undead was immortalised in Dracula, and they have been in the never-ending circle of fantastical trends ever since, ever so often becoming the peak of fashion when it comes to monsters.

Their last boost of popularity was amplified by the teenage romance novel Twilight, which became a worldwide sensation, and which sold millions of books. It also showcased vampires in a whole new light.

During their last boost of popularity, the vampire was a horrifying and extremely dangerous creature. Few girls dreamt of kissing Nosferatu, but Edward has an entire fanbase. And it isn’t that vampires hadn’t found their way into popular fiction before Meyer came up with the idea of turning them into walking disco balls.

Lisa Jane Smith came out with the first novel in her book series The Vampire Diaries all the way back in 1991, and Charlaine Harris’ novel Dead Until Dark came out in 2001, several years before Twilight hit the shelves.

Both book series, however, weren’t transformed into their own, respective television series until after Twilight was torn from the shelves.

Dead Until Dark, the first novel in The Southern Vampire Mysteries became the more well-known television show True Blood (2008), while The Vampire Diaries became… well, The Vampire Diaries (2009).

Countless books were written, and a myriad of movies was created; all revolving around the fanged monster. While several of these vampires were beautiful, charming and well… shiny, we occasionally were reintroduced to the ruthless killer we were used to. 30 Days of Night (2007) is just one example of this.

Another monster which has experienced an even more recent surge of popularity is the zombie.

This sudden wave of zombies in popular media also introduced new and different zombies than what we were otherwise accustomed to.

We can find the classic zombie in the comic series The Walking Dead (2003), which in 2010 was turned into the wildly popular television series of the same name, but the public was later introduced to a new, faster zombie in the movie World War Z (2013) starring Brad Pitt.

The novel Warm Bodies (2010) introduced the idea of an empathetic zombie (and a zombie being used as a main character), and it was later filmatised in 2013. Rather than the classic apocalyptic tale, Warm Bodies was a spin-off of Romeo and Juliet revolving around a human girl and an adorably awkward zombie boy who unfortunately ate her boyfriend’s brain.

The comic iZombie (2010) also used a zombie as an empathetic main character. The intelligent Olivia Moore (Live More – get it?) chooses to get her brains from a mortuary rather than attacking random people, and she is mostly in control of her cravings of brain. The comic was later turned into a television series in 2015.

At a last example of the so-called zombie craze, we have the movie The Cured (2017), which deals with what happens after the world is saved and the zombies turned back into humans. Here, “the cured” remembers the horrible things they did as zombies, and they now find themselves in a society that both hates and fears them.

These are, of course, only a few, personally chosen examples, and a quick google search will reveal countless more. Vampires and zombies are both monsters whose surge in popularity gave us the opportunity to truly explore them. What if they were good? Fast? Sparkling? Cured? Let’s find out.

And now the only question left to ask is this.

Which monster is the next to be in?


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