Modern Incarnations of
the Classic Monsters
Are the '80s slasher movies simply
well-disguised versions of the classic Universal monsters?
Maybe. I certainly don't think the modern monsters are rip-offs
of their predecessors, but they share strongly-defining traits that
suggest they occupy archetypes left vacant in the wake of the monster decade. Some things to
I always think of the '80s as the Era of New Monsters. There was a huge
void left after the classic Universal monsters of the '30s through the
'50s. Most films from the period that followed tended to be
anonymous creatures created by science (e.g., giant insects) or from
another planet (e.g., things/invaders from other planets/worlds).
By contrast, the idea of monsters as definite and singular characters
came back around in the '80s, and it's interesting that three of the
most successful of the modern era seemed to slip neatly into niches
established by their predecessors fifty years earlier.
Look at the commonalities in the characteristics of each of the old vs.
new pairing, everything from their motivation to physical
*Has supernatural powers
*Attacks people in their sleep
*Lots of creepy one-liners
Frankenstein = Jason Voorhees
*Scarred and disfigured
*Immense and physically powerful, though
no supernatural abilities beyond his super-human stamina
*Homicidal tendencies emerge from
The Mummy = Michael Meyers
*Silent, lumbering killer
*Face hidden behind a mask
*Singularly focused on a female character
The closest incarnations of a later monster like the Creature from the
Black Lagoon might be something like Alien and/or Predator. I
explore the idea of re-tellings of classic stories on this page.