Common knowledge about squirrels is that they are basically furry rats. Yes, they are adorable in an amnesiac sort of way, what with their inability to remember where they buried their nuts, but the modern squirrel is not typically considered a manifestation of anything monstrous. Interestingly, much like Coca-Cola and Pop Rocks, if you combine Viking aesthetics with squirrels, you produce a malevolent little rodent called Ratatoskr (“Drill Tooth” in Old Norse) that spends his days spreading malicious gossip and trying to start a fight between the eagle at the top of the World Tree Yggdrasil and the angry Wyrm beneath called Níðhöggr, generally with phrases like, “Did you hear what he said about your mother?”
Monster Pamphlets. Monsters for all your tabletop RPG needs. [slTumblr]
We knew Universal Studios was rebooting the classic monster movies into a new cinematic universe. So who's writing them? The "Monster Men," a collective of writers inspired by both the Pixar "brain trust" and the traditional tv writer's room. Among the writers on board: screenwriter/director Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Fringe); longtime Fast & Furious writer Chris Morgan; the creator and writer of the Fargo tv series, Noah Hawley; Prisoners screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski; and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Men In Black screenwriter Ed Solomon. [more inside]
"Okay, the old man in the tavern tells you, 'Many years ago the powerful sage known as Mefi's own Lore collected much wisdom about the sundry monsters of which the elders taught of us in the Monster Manual. Lore's annotations to the work came in the form of the comic series Speak With Monsters. They were once thought lost forever with the fall of Bad Gods and following the trail the mighty JHarris blazed previously four winters past will lead only to woe. But Lore has shared them again in the distant library of Google Plus for seekers after wisdom and gold.' He then falls over with a knife in his back. What do you do?" [more inside]
You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of
Digital artist Laurie Fauvel knows about the terrors that haunt children's dreams. In her "Terreurs" series of digital manipulations, children fight against the monsters menacing them in their beds
The gals at Anglo-Filles have an entertaining (and epicly long) talk about the history of Dracula and vampires as characters and symbols throughout the ages and throughout fiction - topics discussed include Varney The Vampire, The Vienna Vampire Scare, Where Does Sunlight Killing Vampires Come From, The Secret Spanish Dracula, and Jonathan Harker As An Abuse Survivor.
Animal Land where there are no people was a children's book released in 1897, written by Sybil Corbet, who was four years old, and illustrated by her mother, Katharine Corbet. "Animal Land where there are no People is quite near, only you can't see it... They live by the North Pole and in the leafy places near. It is always light there, always day, they climb the poles and always play." [more inside]
How to tell if you're reading a gothic novel, in pictures. A guide to terrible weather, castles, scary eyes, and swooning virgins from The Guardian.
Japanese folklore and horror stories are known for their psychologically terrifying ghosts and monsters that prey on the minds and bodies of humans. But there’s also a lighter side to Japanese folklore, where bumbling spirits cause only mild annoyance, actually enhance your daily life, and otherwise generally botch the whole job of haunting mankind and teaching vague moral lessons about treating your parents with respect and such. 8 Hilariously Nonthreatening Monsters from Japanese Folklore
An interactive version of Olaus Magnus’ 1539 Carta Marina, a map of the sea filled with the usual ( and unusual) monsters and creatures. (Slate)
American myths and mystery allisonmeier "You'll see a good share of serpent-like animals of the Loch Ness Monsters variety, such as Isabella of Bear Lake in Idaho who was spotted by a Mormon pioneer in the 19th century and even had Brigham Young himself send a hunting party after the possible plesiosaur. There's also the famed Champ of Lake Champlain, possibly the most famous of American lake monsters, and the Lake Dillon monster in Wyoming that some think is being suppressed by a secret society."
Tips For Surviving, Monsters! A puppet based guide for monsters who are tired of being hunted. [slyt | via]
Deadly Asian giant hornets - aka Vespa mandarinia - kill at least 41 people in China. Hundreds more have been hospitalized by these 2+ inch beasts with a sting that packs a human-tissue dissolving neurotoxin. Survivor stories are terrifying. Think you are safe in the U.S. or Britain? Nope and nope. (via @BitterOldPunk)
Artist Toby Allen has created fantastic faces for monsters which many are all too familiar with: Anxiety, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression, Paranoia, Dissociative Identity Disorder, And Social Anxiety. [via]
“One day, we looked around and realized that almost no one is making tokusatsu anymore,” said Shinji Higuchi, one of a handful of Japanese directors who still have experience in the genre, having directed three movies in the 1990s featuring the giant fire-breathing turtle Gamera. “We don’t want this technique to just quietly disappear without at least recognizing how indebted we are to it.” - The last days of the rubber-suit monsters.
Monstergeddon is an annual, one-night tournament of monsters competing in various categories -- Best Kill, Most Unnecessary Collateral Damage, Sexiest Victim -- with the top prize being the coveted Killer Cup. The objective of the tournament is killing humans.
China Miéville talks about Marxism and Halloween in a 39 minute audio recording from the Socialism 2013 conference organized by the International Socialist Organization. Miéville, Marxism, and the Fantastic previously (and many more)
Belgian designer Kristof Luyckx recently made six short videos as interstitials between lectures at the Beyonderground graphic festival. They are covers of famous songs, as sung by a cast of bizarre, colorful and very calm monsters. You can see all six at his site, or on Vimeo: [more inside]
Every film Pixar has produced has landed in the top fifty highest-grossing animated films of all time. What's their secret? Mathematics. Oh, and 22 Rules of Storytelling. [more inside]
The long awaited robots vs. monsters epic from Guillermo del Toro sees the release of its first trailer: Pacific Rim. [more inside]
11 Legendary Monsters of Asia. 10 Legendary Monsters of Europe. 7 Legendary Monsters of South America. 10 Legendary Monsters of Australasia and Antarctica. 11 Legendary Monsters of Africa. 10 Legendary Monsters of North America Part 1, Part 2.
12-year-old uses Dungeons & Dragons to help scientist dad with his research: Cognitive scientist Alan Kingstone wanted to test whether people look at each others' eyes or simply to the center of faces. Some had suggested an answer would be impossible to discern because humans' eyes are in the center of their faces. But Alan’s son, Julian, a fan of D&D, told his father about D&D monster characters that have eyes in unusual places, such as on their hands or tail. “[Julian suggested] if you just showed them these images, you could find out whether they are looking for the eyes or not. I thought, actually, that’s a very good idea,” Kingstone said (summarized from Cosmos). The paper describing the results - "Monsters are people too" - was published in the British Royal Society journal Biology Letters this month, with 14-year-old Julian named as the lead author.
Monster Brains is a blog about paintings and drawings of monsters. My favourite post on the site showcased Masters Of The Universe Paintings By Earl Norem, William George and Esteban Maroto.
Theodor Kittelsen (1857-1914) was a Norwegian artist, famous for his (frequently astonishing) pictures of trolls, as well as his illustrations of dragons, fairies, folk stories and the occasional absolute horror. [more inside]
What if Edward Gorey illustrated Lovecraft? It'd look like John Kenn Mortensen's work, that's what. Except Mortensen makes his art in his spare time, on post-it notes. He has an art book.
Let's add some monsters to thrift store paintings! Artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal decided to inject a little fun into these discarded works and give them a second life by adding monsters to the scenic landscapes.
(Monsters) do so best when they believe in themselves. Author and academic China Miéville discusses prose style, weird fiction and the pratfalls of imbuing monsters with "meaning." [more inside]
How will the world end? Encased in ice? Crumbling apart due to over mining? Or maybe beset by amphibious monsters and loathsome animals of huge size creeping their way towards us? An article by Herbert C. Fyfe from 1900, illustrated by Warwick Goble. [more inside]
Here are a variety of strange creatures, realized by the surreal Swiss mime troupe Mummenschanz: 1 2 3 4 5 Previously, and Muppetly. MLYT
Monsters of Grok. Fake band t-shirts for history's greatest minds.
"The Japanese call critters like Godzilla "daikaiju", which means something like 'sacred giant monster'. I like this name, because it reflects the awe felt by mere humans in the presence of these creatures. These aren't just large animals, to be trapped for zoos or shot and mounted as trophies (sites like this notwithstanding). These are beings that, by their very presence, shake humanity's conceptions of self-importance and place in the universe." Chris Jarocha-Ernst makes miniature pixel monsters in the style of MicroHeroes. [more inside]
The Ray Harryhausen Creature List A video compilation of all Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion animated creatures.
Yog-Blogsoth This blog will be an attempt to draw all the creatures Lovecraft ever wrote about or mentioned. (Poss NSFW - drawn nudity, Def NSFSanity)
Show The Monster : "Guillermo del Toro’s quest to get amazing creatures onscreen." Video: Monsters in the Making. (Via)
In September, Jon Schindehette [previously] and Lars Grant-West [wiki] issued a challenge to students at the Rhode Island School of Design: "Create a creature based upon a non-humanoid critter from H.P. Lovecraft's literature. The creature should have a fully resolved form, convey motion where appropriate, and be believable. Creature can be shown as either 3/4 view or 'turn-arounds'." Here are the entries and here are the judges' comments. [more inside]
PORTRAIT-DEX! Cartoonists create Pokémon self-portraits, with all three evolved forms. Featuring, among other fine artists, Scott Kurtz (PVP), Box Brown (Everything Dies, Bellen!), Anthony Clark (Nedroid), Aaron Diaz (Dresden Codak), and Steve Wolfhard (Cat Rackham), who also runs the project.
Monster Commute: A webcomic about the hell that is driving to work in the cute Orwellian steampunk monster-infested mirror universe of Monstru. [more inside]
Weirdly wonderful illustrations from 70s Japanese children's books by Gōjin Ishihara, including much nightmare fuel from the Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters
"Born in Denmark 1978. I write and direct television shows for kids. I have a set of twins and not much time for anything. But when i have time i draw monsterdrawings on post-it notes... it is a little window into a different world, made on office supplies." [more inside]
Her name is Shawnee Jenkins... A brief fairy tale about a little girl and her parents. Who live in the basement... [more inside]
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