It’s no secret that I love monsters. Scary monsters, friendly monsters, hairy, scaly, warty, giant, miniature, even passing for human — I love them all.
In my mind, if there were no monsters of any kind, the world would be an unbearable, boring place. I don’t want to know everything. I want mystery. I want magic. I want possibilities around every corner.
I want to believe.
And that need to believe has been a huge influence on nearly every piece of fiction I’ve ever written.
In honor of the upcoming holidays, I bring you a short list (in no particular order) of some of the monsters for which I am thankful:
- All of the monsters ever dreamed up by Jim Henson: Cookie Monster. Grover. Elmo. Junior Gorg. The Skeksis. Ludo. Oh, yeah. Definitely Ludo. If I could walk around all day with Ludo by my side, I would be quite content with my life.
- Sweetums: Yeah, I know. Jim Henson again, but Sweetums is my absolute favorite monster ever. Ever. End of discussion.
- The monsters of Maurice Sendak: Big. Fluffy. Wild. Ferocious. Affectionate. They’re a lot like people, when you strip away the mask of good manners. Except for, you know, the big and fluffy part.
- All of the Universal Monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Wolfman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon. They sparked my imagination from an early age, and that spark turned into a raging inferno. Without them to trigger the blast, I might have ended up telling very different types of stories. Stories about dead car batteries and chipped dishes. Characters whose sole difficulty was whether the red nail polish or the ruby nail polish would be a better choice. Yawn.
- Drop Dead Fred: Not strictly a monster, I suppose, but an imaginary friend. If you have not seen this movie, you are dead to me until you go watch it. I laughed. I cried. And that movie probably had more influence on the tone of my books than anything else out there. Drop Dead Fred might get you into a lot of trouble, but he’ll always be there when you need him.
That’s a pretty short list, but really, I want to hear who your most influential monsters have been. Who do you love? Who do you fear?
Who do you love to fear?
After you share your monsters with us, go watch Drop Dead Fred. There will be a quiz.
R.L. Naquin is the author of Monster in My Closet, available now, and Pooka in My Pantry, coming in March 2013. www.rlnaquin.com