The debate about whether or not horror filmmakers should explicitly show the monsters in their films is one that fans never tire of. Some prefer hinting at the menace.
Others want to see the horrifying beast in great detail. Members of a monster-loving Internet forum were ready to ask all of the hard questions and try to find an answer to this burning question.
1. Seeing Wasn't Believing
The Conjuring was mentioned as a film that had been quite scary to someone until they showed the adversary, the ghostly witch Bathsheba Sherman.
They felt the monster was not impressive enough and let them down instead of causing awe and fear. They felt that suggesting the apparition by merely showing a hand or short glimpses was much more effective than putting her on screen for all to see.
2. Bruce, The Shark
For horror history buffs, a commenter brought up the fact that during the filming of the classic and beloved horror film Jaws, regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, used subtlety for one fundamental reason.
It wasn't related to a desire to suggest fear. It was related to the fact that Bruce, an animatronic shark named after Steven Spielberg's lawyer, didn't work and was difficult to maintain in seawater.
But, since Spielberg was forced to leave the monster out, he had to work on other aspects of the film to increase the fear factor. It was genius that came out of necessity and creative drive.
3. It's About Imagination
The Mist was another film nominated as an excellent example of bringing a story to the screen that satisfies the audience, including those who were fans of the novella by Stephen King.
People who have read the book before seeing the movie are often more challenging to please because they already have time to put their imaginations to work and have preconceived notions of how the material should be adapted.
They have already made an emotional connection to the story while reading it. They can be seriously disappointed if the film fails to meet their expectations or convincingly offer them an alternative vision that they feel is equal or superior.
The user said they felt the creations were very imaginative and had a weird quality that pleased the viewer and cited the Behemoth as a success. For them, the Behemoth was more than just a monster. It brought a sense of wonder to the story.
4. Creature Feature
A creature buff stated that while, as a big fan of film monsters, he usually wanted to see the beast, he felt that they needed to be fantastic abominations and not rely on the ideas that have come before.
Whether or not the filmmakers use practical effects or CGI doesn't matter to him. What matters is the originality and imagination of the creators in making the monster.
He had a great point in that it comes down to storytelling for him. If the writers and directors can tell the story well and it is done correctly, not showing the monster works.
However, he did note that he prefers to see a monster more than not see one, as leaving the theater without having been subjected to a spectacular fiend is dissatisfying for him.
5. Your Favorite Ritual
The Ritual, directed by David Bruckner, was a film that repeatedly impressed the people in the discussion. It was stated that they felt what the director accomplished in The Ritual was an exception to the rule.
They thought the movie handled the problem perfectly, only showing the briefest of glimpses throughout the film and finally giving you a monster that doesn't fit together or make sense if one tries to work it all together in your mind. The film suggests horror and then gives a full reveal that is spectacular.
6. Is It A Cop-Out?
In one person's opinion, not showing the monster is a "cop-out." They find it irritating and insist that it's no longer scary as a tactic. They felt it used to be a great idea, but it signifies that the creators needed more faith in their monster design.
He suggested that the creators might not have a good monster for the story. Maybe they don't have other ideas to use a more subtle approach that they could use to scare the audience, either.
7. It's Endless Fun
The Endless, a film directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, was also brought up. The opinion was that it was a perfect example of a successful movie suggesting a horrifying entity but never showing it directly.
You see flocks of birds circling in the sky, patterns in water-like circles expanding, and trees falling behind the characters as a more subtle menace. It engages the viewer's imagination and gives the monster an otherworldly, disturbing quality.
8. The Theatre Of The Mind
It Follows, directed by David Robert Mitchell, got high marks for using the audience's imagination to create a mysterious entity to scare the audience.
The creature takes the form of someone you already know and love and is an ingenious way to create a monster that looks human but is anything but.
Using the trust of human beings against them is one of the scariest things in the movie. It fired the viewers' imaginations as they tried to imagine what form the creature would take next, and they felt the director did an excellent job of causing terror through this device.
The viewer notes that we are never shown the violence of the victims' deaths, but we do see the horrifying aftermath of it, which again suggests the terror to the viewer, and their brain takes over the work.
It makes the audience's imagination do much of the work, inventing awful scenarios that would be challenging to create as a film scene.
9. The Greatest Fear
Fear of the unknown is one of our greatest fears. The Blair Witch Project worked with a similar, if slightly different, toolbox. The voice of the fellow hiker was used to draw the remaining people in the party into a trap.
You never see the entity, but you know what it leaves behind. So not only are we scared by what we can't see, but we are also even more frightened by what we can imagine.
10. Fearsome Italian Food
The Langoliers television miniseries was cited as a successful creative effort until the reveal. The viewer, as a child, found the show terrifying right up until the moment when they got to see the monsters.
They referred to the creatures as "meatballs with teeth." It made the child laugh, and it was a relief for them because they had been petrified until that point.
As a child, that was their reaction. They had a similar response as an adult when they watched it later. It was a tense and atmospheric ride until the CGI creature revealed ruined it for them. They were baffled by how much they were displeased by the monsters.