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July 26, 2011

"So You Want To Be A Monster?" Episode 1 - He Who Kills

Let's face it. In the horror world, there's usually only one thing that's gonna get your movie over the top.  A MONSTER.  But what we horror fans often forget is that the term monster is entirely subjective.  After all, what may be a monster to you might not be a monster to me.  You might see Bozo the Clown (R.I.P!) walking down the street and freak out at his clowny features, but if I see Bozo the Clown walking down the street I'd be like "Dude, can I play the toss the ball in the cups game? Seriously, that game was like the best thing to happen during my childhood that wasn't Hulk Hogan."  To me Bozo's just a guy in an outfit who made me dream of getting the chance to put balls in cups for a big prize, but to you who fear clowns - he's a monster.
It's worth discussing how and why any potential monster makes the jump to full monsterhood - and here at FMWL, we're up the challenge.  So allow me to introduce our newest feature - which, as you can see, is titled "So You Want To Be A Monster?" - in which I will use my keen insights and opinions (along with some scientific criteria determined by me) to determine just what it is that puts certain villains into the hallowed grounds of Monsterdom.  So, let's meet our first contestant
As played by some carved wood in Trilogy of Terror & as written by Richard Matheson in Prey.

Let's learn a little more about our contestant!
Direct from Africa comes He Who Kills - a Zuni Fetish Doll who's not much of a charmer and carries a small (but useful) stick.  Alleged to contain the spirit of a full-sized hunter, He comes equipped with a trusty spear and a lot of pointy teeth, which really bring out his dark black eyes.  He's midsection gives me the impression that He might need a sandwich or two, but his small size just might be his greatest asset.  He also enjoys hunting, sleeping in boxes, and anything else that allows him to never comb his hair.

The Criteria:
Each contestant will be given a score of 1-4 (1 being a Not Monstrous, 4 being Incredibly Monstrous) on five core traits that could define any monster.  The total of all five ratings will be added up and turned into a percentage to form the contestant's "Monster Rating", which will show us just how much of a monster they really are.  In my head, I'd say a Monster Rating of 80 or above is fantastic, a Monster rating of 60 or above is solid, and anything under 60 means that monster might have some glaring weaknesses.

The five traits? Well, they're listed let's do this.
 Monster Rating Category 1: Physical Prowess
It's really hard to size up He Who Kills.  He can't be more than 18 inches tall on a good day, and probably weighs under five pounds.  Considering that one could grab him and chuck him out a window with ease - or, if they're feeling more Fargo-y they could throw him in a woodchipper and make a chopped Zuni salad - He's certainly not imposing, which is one of the key parts of this category in my mind.  But, as mentioned above, his size is also an asset.  He might be under your bed or couch right now. Or, He might be hiding in your closet behind some towels or pillows.  You really can't rightfully know...and that's worth something.  Though I have concerns about his flexibility, I'd say his rating in this category is Partially Monstrous - which equals a score of 2.

Monster Rating Category 2: Destructive Capabilities
While He's size doesn't put him among the most threatening of folks, I think he ranks higher in this category than I first thought.  That spear and those teeth are awfully pointy, and a poor human's Achilles tendon just happens to be right at his level.  Remember that pencil in Evil Dead?  Yeah, that would be a killer move for He to hit you with.  And once he brings someone to their knees and starts moving around at a fast speed, the amount of damage he can do is pretty serious.  That spear could go a lot of places (ear lobes, eyeballs, reproductive cavities) where it could cause a lot of damage.  It might take him some time to get control, but when he does I think he can be Totally Monstrous - which equals a score of 3.
Monster Rating Category 3: Psychology & Motivation
To be a monster, there has to be some unpredictability.  It's sometimes scarier to know what's going on in the mind of the monster, but at other times it's simply not possible to understand them. And this can effect how much a monster effects us differently in every situation.

In the case of He, there is pretty much no knowing what's going on inside this wooden doll's mind.  He doesn't speak real words, he doesn't emote. In fact, he only does one thing - he kills.  Hence, his name.  So, while we can't very well know much about the little wooden killer or the spirit which inhabits it - we certainly know that it has a singular purpose...and that's pretty cool in Monster terms.  I think the one track mind hurts his score a little, but the primal nature of the little guy has to be admired.  I'd say that equals a rating of Totally Monstrous - and another score of 3.

Monster Rating Category 4: Good Ol' Creepiness
Truthfully, I'm not sure I can rate He Who Kills very high on the creepiness factor.  I mean, He does look kinda scary (and He reads even scarier, because Matheson is a boss) - but it's also kind of hard to take him seriously with those wide eyes and that excited grin.  And, thanks to Karen Black, he's not even the creepiest thing in his portion of Trilogy of Terror.  Then again, do I want him standing on my end table watching me while I sleep?  Not really, but I'd be more open to that than Michael Myers standing over me.  So I'm gonna say his score here is Partially Monstrous, which adds another score of 2 to his total.

Monster Rating Category 5: External Factors
This is the catch all category of our discussion, which will hopefully stop me from forgetting important aspects of our characters' monster application.  In the case of He Who Kills, I feel like I must discuss the allegations of a Zuni Hunter's soul being trapped inside him, because that's pretty effed up.
Let's stop and think about this for a minute. According to Ms. Black's Amelia "there's supposed to be some Zuni hunter's spirit inside of" He Who Kills, and only a golden chain can prevent He from coming to life.  Now it's totally obvious that that's going to happen, and when it does the thing becomes more volatile than a 12 year-old Call of Duty addict after too many Monster Energy Drinks.  He gets ahold of knife and he just starts stabbing and growling and biting.  Now...can you imagine what the hunter that's trapped inside that thing must have been like?  Yikes.  That scares me.  We'll say He Who Kills gets an extra 3 points based on that, because that's Totally Monstrous.

The Monster Rating: 
 2 Partially Monstrous ratings (2 points each); 3 Totally Monstrous ratings (3 points each - for a total score of 13.  When divided by the total amount of points possible (20), we find that.....  
He Who Kills has a Monster Rating of 65

What It Means: 
There's no denying that He Who Kills is one of the more inventive monsters I've come across, and the idea of a doll possessed by a killer's soul (which would come up again 13 years later in Child's Play) definitely gives me a few chills.  If there's a problem with the resilient hunter, it's simply that he's too small to be a long term threat.  And, to be honest, the trained horror fan might say he's even kind of cute.  If nothing else, he's a lot less scary than THIS:


Marvin the Macabre said...

Kind of cute? He Who Kills is absolutely adorable, especially when you see him in action.

Great concept here El Miguel, can't wait to see who's up next.

R.D. Penning said...

Awesome concept Mike...

Do we get to give suggestions on future monsters?!

The Groundskeeper said...

You are always coming up with great ideas for posts, The Mike. This is original without feeling gimmicky, entertaining without becoming rehashed fluff. Very good stuff.

Enbrethiliel said...


This is another one I saw and was terrified by years ago, and then didn't remember again until you wrote about it, The Mike! And sure enough, He Who Kills is the one I remember the most . . . although now that I've reread the plot summaries of the other two, I think I actually liked them better at the time! =P