Men Into Monsters – Spidermen, Octopuses, Lizards and Aliens – Why Do We Love Them in Books, TV Dramas and Movies?

Who’s the most compelling character in a Spiderman movie?

Rhys Ifans as Dr Curt Connors
Rhys Ifans as Dr Curt Connors

For me, it’s Dr Otto Octavius (Doc Ock) and Dr Curt Connors.

As I watched “The Amazing Spiderman” DVD again the other day, it was Rhys Ifans in the role of Dr Curt Connors, that my eyes were on. Rhys Ifans is an actor I love from his numerous movie roles, including that of Hugh Grant’s Welsh flatmate in Notting Hill, and Luna Lovegood’s father in the Harry Potter movies.

This was such a different role – with a pleasant, understated manner, he was just a low-key, decent man… until he was driven to extremes by the pressure of circumstances and by the threatened destruction of his dreams.

Ordinary we may be, but I believe we can relate to that!

We’re engaged by the transformation of ordinary, nice, reasonable human beings, into rapacious killers.

Alfred Molina as Doc Ock in “Spiderman 2” was not only horrific, but moving and poignant. Even more so, because, in his monstrous octopus form, he  still had his own, recognisable face: the same face he wore when he gave up his time to chat kindly to Peter Parker, giving him a sense of belonging. A similar idea was used in the Doctor Who episode about The Lazarus Experiment, when we saw Mark Gatiss’s face recognisable in the alien monster.

Dr Curt Connors in the process of changing into a giant lizard

What is it that makes people change, in this life?

I look at this here, in a blog post about people being elemental.

Books, TV drama and movies, and of course, creative writing,  are all safe places for us to explore our dark side.

I explore this trope in my novel Mystical Circles. Although I’m a romantic suspense author, my own Other Side – exploring strange spiritual and psychological alleys in characters – is always there.

And if, after a lifetime of struggle, our dreams were to be utterly destroyed, I believe that many of us may fantasize about going on a rampage, expressing all our darkest emotions. This may come out through images in our dreams. Of course, the checks and balances present in the psyches of most of us, prevent this happening in reality. And so it stays in the world of mystery and imagination.

Would you dare to believe that, on the spiritual journey, alongside our capacity to evolve and improve and be redeemed, there might run another, dark strain: that our nice and reasonable selves might be changed into monsters?

Do you identify with this in any way?

Please share, if you dare!

Published by SC Skillman

I'm a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. My latest book, 'Paranormal Warwickshire', was published by Amberley Publishing in November 2020. Find all my published books here:

8 thoughts on “Men Into Monsters – Spidermen, Octopuses, Lizards and Aliens – Why Do We Love Them in Books, TV Dramas and Movies?

  1. Why of course our development may proceed either towards, shall we say, The Maker, or in a darker direction, as in The Unmaker (to borrow terms coined by Orson Scott Card in his Alvin Maker series). Actually, neither is a smooth line; we are all different shades of grey, moving in one direction or the other with every choice we make. As Dumbledore tells Harry near Chamber of Secret’s end, it is our choices, not our abilities, that define us. Which echoes C.S. Lewis’s metaphor of each soul being the driver of a car we were born with, so to speak–bodies & psyches, limits and abilities, all differing in the “car” each soul is destined to live its life’s journey in. But each of our choices, even those that seem trivial, change us, however slightly, more into one kind of person … Or the other kind of person. The speed/depth in character change made by each choice could be seen as different for each, depending on the raw material each came into the world with, whether a new Aston Martin or an old buggy whose speed and maneuverability are determined by the ailing horses that pull it.

    1. Yes I agree that it is our choices which define us. I like the images of the Aston Martin and the old buggy… an updated version, perhaps, of Plato’s Chariot of the Soul!

  2. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and
    gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was
    a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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  4. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

  5. I refer to this side of human nature as the ‘shadow self’ and yes, I have thought about how different things could be. I admit I have never experienced such strong urges to act out in ways that could physically harm other people, but I have considered the urge to simply break out and behave differently to the way I was brought up. I think it is a constant battle between conformity and our true nature, and those who indulge in fantasy books, movies and television shows use these outlets as a method of release for the crazy thoughts and ideas they might experience.

    1. You put this very well, and I totally agree with your use of the phrase “shadow self”. This reminds me of Carl Jung’s concept of The Shadow. He says that we reject in others our own shadows, which we have projected onto them. And the answer is not to deny the Shadow, but to ultimately come to terms with, and integate it, into ourselves. I published an ezine article about this:

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