Monday, February 27, 2012

Monster Monday: Hellhound

Dog may be man’s best friend, but there’s one pooch you definitely don’t want to greet you at the front door – the Hellhound.

Known for its black fur and glowing red or yellow eyes, supernatural strength and extraordinary speed, the Hellhound is often assigned to guard the entrances to the world of the dead, such as graveyards and burial grounds.

In European legends, a Hellhound sighting is much more ominous. Its howl may be either an omen of or even a cause of death. Surely, staring into one of the beast’s eyes three times or more will kill you…dead.

Perhaps the most famous of these creepy mutts is Cerebus from Greek mythology, a multi-headed hound charged with guarding the Underworld; but these supernatural creatures are a pop culture staple.  From the fictional minds of Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling, through to regular appearances in movies like the Omen and TV shows like Supernatural, the Hellhound is definitely more bite than bark.

Survival Tip: No one knows for sure if these beasties can be killed, but voodoo-powder goofer dust, an extract from the Devil’s Shoestring plant, and plain old table salt are known to keep them at bay.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monster Monday: Clowns

From heartless Cupid, out to get the lovelorn, we cover the horrific, evil Clown.

“Where are the clowns?” The opening phrases from the Julie Collins 1975 version of “Send in the Clowns” can strike terror through the heart of many individuals afflicted with coulrophobia – the fear of clowns. This phobia is nothing to laugh at and effects adults as well as children. Wikipedia sites: “A study by the University of Sheffield concluded that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable."

So parents, please skip the clown motifs you may have planned for your child’s bedroom or birthday party – you don’t want them to end up like Bart Simpson.

From serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s day job as Pogo the Clown to the shape-shifting creature from Stephen King’s It, often taking the form of Pennywise the clown - the idea that a playful, trickster character such as a clown has turned into an evil, psycho killer is a relatively new metamorphosis. But we’re finally on to this monstrous ploy – the mask hides a monster.

Whether it is that relentless grin, maniacal, cruel laughter, the oversized red shoes, or those exaggerated, slap-happy painted faces – there’s nothing comforting about a clown in the dead of night.

SURVIVAL TIP: Clowns are not fast moving (would you be, in those shoes?) and tend to lure / trap their victims. Your best bet is to show no fear in front of one of these jokers. Your lack of reaction might have it seeking more interesting game. The moment its attention wanders – RUN, FOREST, RUN!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monster Monday - Cupid

Ifyou’re one of the millions waiting for Cupid to shoot an arrow through yourheart this week, chances are you’re looking for love in all the wrong places.

Surethat chubby cherub is a Hallmark staple, but the real Cupid has gone throughmany transformations over the years. From the god of desire in Roman mythologyto the crass, fat guy on last year’s Valentine’s Day episode of Supernatural, one thing remainsconsistent – Cupid’s arrows pack a powerful punch.

InLatin literature, Cupid’s ability to compel love and desire plays aninstigating role in several myths. Even Ovid gives Cupid a role as the patronsaint of love poets.

Butcontrary to popular belief, not everyone is looking forward to a shot throughthe heart this Tuesday.

While perhaps never depicted as a monster, a Cupidsighting for the unloved,unrequited and the just plain desperate can be downright terrifying.

Survival Tip: More than happy to staysingle? Stay in, order pizza, and watch your favourite movies. But stay clearof romantic comedies, or you’ll be wearing your heart on your sleeve before youcan say, "Back off, Cupid."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monster Monday: The Monster Hunters

“Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Since the dawn of recorded history there have been those lone souls charged with the impossible task of ridding the world of its monsters. The ultimate soldiers in the fight of good vs evil. We call these warriors, Monster Hunters and without them, the world would be a vile place indeed.

From Appolonius of Tyana, the Greek magician who banished evil sprits, Hercules and his defeat of Hydra, the snake-headed beast, and the legendary Beowulf and Grendel. From the Victorian era classics such as Van Helsing to the mod squad hunters like Buffy, the Frog Brothers, Hellboy, Blade, the Watchmen, and of course Sam and Dean Winchester.

And one can’t forget the original video game ghosthunter, PAC Man.

There is one unifying aspect to monster hunters which contributes to their success. Each has a dark past or inner darkness that often helps them identify with the creatures they hunt. It is this underlying struggle that makes them killer at their thankless, mostly anonymous jobs. Monster hunters go beyond knights in shining armor, these hunters are gritty, raw and that’s why we can’t help but love them.

Even the Most-Wanted Monsters crew, four young monster hunters in training, is in danger of falling prey to their inner demons. Take Hope, for instance, her survivor’s guilt might just push her to the dark side:


Hope was used to being the only freak in town.

But here, amid the street performers with their elaborate costumes and awkward acrobatic tricks, she felt almost normal.

The candlelit lanes teemed with frenzied adults enacting a medieval fantasy. Their urbane suits, peacock dresses, and sunshine blonde wigs stood out against the gothic Old Quebec architecture. The city’s historic district at the edge of the Saint Laurence River, with buildings dating back to the 1500s, was a mélange of stone and spire, winding streets, cafes and boutiques. The perfect backdrop for the fall Festival.

Where thousands of souls gathered -- the living and the dead.

Festival kicked off with a Danse Macabre—a grandiose parade to launch the annual celebration where for thirteen nights the old city square was blocked off from cars and other modern conveyances. Thirteen nights to invoke the spirits.

Hope drew in a slow breath. She’d known as soon as she left the modern part of the city and travelled the cobblestone streets of Lower Town that she’d be entering the heart of the beast. Spirits abounded in this region, Festival or not; however, this night attracted more than the usual monsters.

So where were all the zombies?

Hope scoured the night for the flesh-eating ghouls she’d tracked here. With every red flash of undead eyes, her skin prickled in unease. Hundreds of them lay in wait – in the shadows of dark alleys, or behind the massive trunks of elm trees.

How could she confront them alone?

How could she not?

She pulled her hood over her head to deflect the curious stares of the drunk and disorderly, and those oblivious to the creatures amongst them, the dangers lurking in every corner. Being on the outside, walking on the fringe, this was how she lived her life. As a child she’d questioned and tested her parents. Why couldn’t she take dance lessons? Learn to play the piano? Why must she train for hours in gyms and dojos? Her dances were ones of death, the repetitive patterns of the kata where she visualized enemy attacks.

She wielded words, crossbows, even shot guns, if necessary.

But she was untried. She’d never made a kill -- had never really believed she’d have to. Yet here she was, seeking out monsters, attempting the impossible. She’d made a promise she intended to keep. The fate of her mother’s soul depended on it.

If you liked this excerpt of Hope’s story, you’ll want to keep your eye out for information on our first Most-Wanted Monsters fiction tale: Killer’s Instinct.