The Monster Stares Back: How Human We Remain through Horror’s Looking Glass


The Monster Stares Back: How Human We Remain through Horror’s Looking Glass


Monster imagery still permeates popular culture in the 21st century, proving that while monsters continue to instill fear into humanity, their presumed otherness conceal similarities that can help us better understand ourselves.

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When we look at monsters from a safe distance, it is nothing but a glance. To preserve our pristine human identity, whenever we find the monstrous Other, we search for difference, not similarity. But what happens when we allow our gaze to linger and the face staring back at us looks uncannily familiar? When we lose the alterity factor and can no longer discern the boundaries that separate ‘us’ from ‘them’? The nine chapters in this volume investigate how terrifying the Other remains after we strip its façade and discover an unsettling likeness. Also, the saturation of monster imagery and verbiage contained in contemporary literature, film, music, and popular culture solidifies it as a topic that crosses diverse borders. The authors’ interdisciplinary approaches reassess issues such as the current stand of classical monsters, the persistence of animal imagery in Horror and the domestication strategies that reshaped monstrosity.

The Other that Therefore I am: An Unsettling Likeness
Marcia Heloisa Amarante Gonçalves and Mark Chekares

Part 1   Old Monsters, New Meanings: Horror’s Collective Memory Remembered

Developing Co-Dependence between Monsters and Children in Animated Feature Films
Mark Chekares

The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The Changing Face of the Monster
Simon Bacon

Part 2 The Monster Menagerie

Monstrous Heads on the Hero’s Body: Animal Art and Hybridity
Almudena Nido

The Devil Whisperer: Taming the Monstrous Beast in The Exorcist
Heloisa Amarante Gonçalves

Part 3 The Fearful Other

The Other(s) Uncontemplated: Monsters of the Other Side
Peyo Karpuzov

Madness, Stigma and Religion in American Horror Story: Asylum
Jessica Rosenberg, Adrienne Rosenberg and Samuel Julio Rosenberg

Part 4 Monstrosity Revisited: Shifting Identities in Supernatural Tales

Evil Is in the Eye of the Beholder: Snow White and the Evil Queen
Cristina Santos

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: Lycanthropy and Integrated Spaces in Contemporary Fairy Tale Adaptations
Shawn Edrei and Meyrav Koren-Kuik

‘Once Upon a Time’ and the ‘Happily Ever After’
Hannah Madsen

Mark Chekares is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Rhode Island College. His fields of study include comic book form and sequential art, as well as the representation of children in animated feature films. Thanks to his wife Jennie and his children: Sophie, Isabelle, Andrew and Gabriel.

Marcia Heloisa is a Horror genre aficionado who managed to combine work and pleasure by studying and teaching Literature. After concluding her MA on animality in Bram Stoker´s Dracula, she is currently finishing her doctoral thesis on the role of the monster as a psychopomp in modern horror narratives.