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A Remembrance, Monsters, Etc.

Cleaning my office, packing, I came across an invitation to the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Lynn-Henley Building of the Birmingham Public Library (which, at the time, was the Birmingham Public Library). This is the same building I visited on Tuesday and spoke of in my first entry on Thursday, the reading room with the Ezra Winter murals. Anyway, so I found an invitation to the 70th anniversary, April 7th, 2002. The building was opened to the public in 1932. My Grandmother Ramey was 17 years old. The US President was Herbert Hoover. Amelia Earhart flew from the US to Ireland in 14 hours and 54 minutes. Anyway, here's a contemporary illustration of the library, the one from the invitation:



Also, there was a somewhat odd list on Yahoo today, "The Good, the Bad, and the Slimy: 20 Great Movie Creatures." Some of these truly are iconic movie creatures — Kong, Giger's Alien, Jabba the Hutt, Godzilla, Oz's flying monkeys, Harryhausen's skeletons, Gollum, and heck, maybe even the magnificently erotic Davey Jones. A couple may, in time, prove to be iconic — the "Pale Man" from Pan's Labyrinth and the creature from The Host. But the list, as a whole, shows too much of what paleontologists call "the pull of the recent." That is, it's top-loaded with creatures from very recent films. In a list of 20 films spanning 1933-2008, 75 years, fully 50% of the list is derived from films released in the last six years! Even admitting that advances in CGI and SFX make-up are giving us many marvelous new monsters these days, this is baloney. Where's Lugosi's Dracula, Karloff's incarnation of Frankenstein's creature, Gort, or the "gill man" from the Black Lagoon? All of these are clearly more iconic, and far more deserving than some of those who made the list. The "ultra-cute baby Loch Ness monster" from The Water Horse? Not. Kraecher from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? Wrong. The gelflings from The Dark Crystal. Nope (though you might make a case for the Skeksis). Saphria from the godsawful Eragon? That's a joke, right? You want a dragon, then choose Vermithrax Pejorative from Dragonslayer or Maleficent's draconic incarnation from Disney's classic Sleeping Beauty. Sheesh, people. Someone needs to look up the word "icon" in a dictionary and try again.

Comments

( 21 comments — Have your say! )
sovay
May. 18th, 2008 12:23 am (UTC)
and heck, maybe even the magnificently erotic Davey Jones.

He should be iconic. But I'm biased.

Where's Lugosi's Dracula, Karloff's incarnation of Frankenstein's creature, Gort, or the "gill man" from the Black Lagoon?

Seriously, none of those? That is not a functional list.

The gelflings from The Dark Crystal. Nope (though you might make a case for the Skeksis).

Jareth in Labyrinth before either of those. I know twelve out of thirteen hours he looks human, but he's a beautiful underworld king.
greygirlbeast
May. 18th, 2008 02:21 am (UTC)
He should be iconic. But I'm biased.

As am I.

Seriously, none of those? That is not a functional list.

Nope.

Jareth in Labyrinth before either of those. I know twelve out of thirteen hours he looks human, but he's a beautiful underworld king.

Hmmmm. Agreed. But is he genuinely iconic? Maybe. A problem that arises here is the fallibility of attempting to put together anything like a quantitative set of criteria for inclusion on the list. The Yahoo list, clearly, is ridiculous, if only for its obvious bias towards very recent films. But they're far more subtle biases that could work there way into such an effort.

Edited at 2008-05-18 02:29 am (UTC)
sovay
May. 18th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
A problem that arises here is the fallibility of attempting to put together anything like a quantitative set of criteria for inclusion on the list.

Time would have to be one of them. Most of these haven't existed long enough to determine if they will last.
greygirlbeast
May. 18th, 2008 05:16 am (UTC)

Time would have to be one of them. Most of these haven't existed long enough to determine if they will last.

Exactly. I included Gollum because he actually goes all the way back to 1937. And Davy Jones is my bias showing.
loki1978de
May. 18th, 2008 10:46 am (UTC)
Jareth in Labyrinth before either of those. I know twelve out of thirteen hours he looks human, but he's a beautiful underworld king.

Hmmmm. Agreed. But is he genuinely iconic? Maybe.


Yes, he is *g*

A problem that arises here is the fallibility of attempting to put together anything like a quantitative set of criteria for inclusion on the list.

It is nearly impossible. Personal taste plays too big a role

I wouldnt put any Potter elf, but consider the Dementors.
I fully agree with Giger's Xenomorph and Jabba, but not the Pale Man, rather would have chosen the Pan himself.
Legend's Lord of Darkness is a good choice. While talking about movies that had Mr Cruise in it, i want to advocate for one Anne Rice Vampire.

And i already now want to nominate the Sandman from a yet to come movie version of it. Pray they do it right
robyn_ma
May. 18th, 2008 01:08 am (UTC)
Any such list that ignores Rob Bottin's Thing is not worth the internet paper it's printed on.
greygirlbeast
May. 18th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)

Any such list that ignores Rob Bottin's Thing is not worth the internet paper it's printed on.

Agreed. One good criterion for inclusion would be the frequency of creatures clearly derivative of the one deemed iconic, which would land Bottin's brilliant creature squarely on the list.

And why no werewolves or vampires?
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
May. 18th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)

(A certain author managed to do so in THRESHOLD.)

Thank you. I do my best.
scarletboi
May. 18th, 2008 04:47 am (UTC)
You want a dragon, then choose Vermithrax Pejorative from Dragonslayer or Maleficent's draconic incarnation from Disney's classic Sleeping Beauty. Sheesh, people. Someone needs to look up the word "icon" in a dictionary and try again.

Thank you. Vermithrax is still the most powerful image of a dragon in cinema, despite attempts like Dragonheart (a winged/scaled cat, for Nyarlathotep's sake) and Reign of Fire (how can a movie with that cast be that bad?)... Give me Dragonslayer any day.
greygirlbeast
May. 18th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC)
Reign of Fire (how can a movie with that cast be that bad?)... Give me Dragonslayer any day.Reign of Fire (how can a movie with that cast be that bad?)... Give me Dragonslayer any day.

I do love Dragonslayer but, I must confess, I also love Reign of Fire.

Edited at 2008-05-18 05:13 am (UTC)
scarletboi
May. 18th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
Reign of Fire had its moments, but overall, I found it disappointing. I think it didn't go quite as far as I would have liked, and with a cast like that, it had the potential to go much further.
loki1978de
May. 18th, 2008 10:19 am (UTC)
Dragonheart (a winged/scaled cat, for Nyarlathotep's sake)

wow that's mean. I rather liked him. Ok...could have been his voice. In either the English or the German version.
What dragon will we see in Hobbit?
bluharlequin
May. 18th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC)
"You want a dragon, then choose Vermithrax Pejorative from Dragonslayer or Maleficent's draconic incarnation from Disney's classic Sleeping Beauty."

Interestingly, in a recent forum post regarding his approach to Smaug, Guillermo Del Toro mentioned those exact two dragons as the only ones worthy of being considered iconic.
greygirlbeast
May. 18th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)

Interestingly, in a recent forum post regarding his approach to Smaug, Guillermo Del Toro mentioned those exact two dragons as the only ones worthy of being considered iconic.

We use the same brain sometimes. ;-)
ex_kaz_maho
May. 18th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
I am so glad that Medusa and those skeletons made the list... :)
greygirlbeast
May. 18th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC)

I am so glad that Medusa and those skeletons made the list... :)

While the skeletons from The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad are deserving, I really don't think that take on Medusa is.
ex_kaz_maho
May. 18th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
Heh. *lowers voice* I think I'm just biased when it comes to Clash of the Titans...
greygirlbeast
May. 18th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)

Heh. *lowers voice* I think I'm just biased when it comes to Clash of the Titans...

As am I. However, I'm biased against it. ;-)
ex_kaz_maho
May. 18th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Aw... How can you not love a film with a mechanical owl called Bubo? ;-)
greygirlbeast
May. 18th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)

Aw... How can you not love a film with a mechanical owl called Bubo? ;-)

You have answered your own question, I think.
whiskeychick
May. 19th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
i adore the flying monkeys!
( 21 comments — Have your say! )