From female teens to old women and those of us (ehem!) in between, an epidemic plague took root years ago and shows no sign of dying off: Many of us have lost the instinct to run away from things that go bump in the night. Vampires? Werewolves? Bring them on, we say! And let them approach us with candy, roses, a bottle of wine, or just a simple, "Hey, how you doing?" Sometimes I wonder what would happen if someone stuck Taylor Lautner's face on Frankenstein's body or George Clooney's mug on a mummy or ghoul. Interesting thought, no? Would a whole new monster obsession be launched this way? "What Mr. Lautenstein? You can't speak? That's okay, you don't have to." Either that, or "What George? You're trailing mud and rotting bones through my house as you walk? Can you still give me that trademark grin? Yes? Then don't worry about it, baby."
So why do so many women gravitate toward monsters, anyway? I would say the reason has something to do with an attraction to the tortured soul -- the plight of the monster who would do anything not to be a monster, and our female tendency to want to heal or validate the downtrodden. Add a bit of danger to the mix and we're hooked! My theory begins with Louis of Anne
Rice's Interview with the Vampire and the books that followed. Was there ever a more tortured creature than Louis? While his maker, Lestat, might have had a large following as well, who couldn't feel for Louis, who tried to right his own wrongs and the wrongs of vampires against humanity? Poor guy just couldn't be happy, but all he needed was the right girl to love him, right ladies? I think Louis was my first monster crush. (I'm thinking Lestat was more the "bad girl's" tortured soul.)
It's no wonder the Twilight saga is as popular as it is. Meyer matched up a tortured soul (Edward) with a rather lost girl who didn't have much going for her. Call her emptiness lack of confidence or the result of coming from a broken home, but Bella found herself and found a home within Edward and his vampire clan family. (I'm sure she found a bit of herself in werewolf Jacob, too. But I'm Team Edward, so I'll focus on him.) The whole, "I'm a nobody, help me feel like somebody" coming from Bella and the, "You, Bella, are everything, but I'm a monster, not worthy of your love," coming from Edward is a perfect recipe for conflict, romance, and a potential happy ending. I adored these books (less so, Eclipse. Really Bella? You had to kiss Jacob?) The movies, while I've seen them outside of the theater, are a poor substitute, badly cast for the most part, and make the whole story line look cheesy. Although, to be fair, I have not seen Breaking Dawn yet. Yes, I've probably ticked some of you off with that statement. But, really... if you loved the books, can't you think of quite a few ways you would have made the films better?
My favorite tortured soul monster isn't a traditional sort of monster. Sam Winchester of the WB's Supernatural has been referred to as a monster because of the bit of demon blood he ingested as a baby. That snack eventually brought on some mind power abilities and put him in line to have Lucifer take over his body. On top of it, Sam has made huge mistakes in judgment that have resulted in deaths, opening the gates of hell, and, oh yes, the Apocalypse. The wonderful part about Sam is that those mistakes in judgment have always resulted from trying to do the right thing out of his love for humanity. His heroism, love for his brother, and self-deprecating nature is a stronger lure than any vampire's sparkling skin. (At least to this author!) I mean how can any monster compare to this one who has literally been to hell and back to save the world? The poor guy was even separated from his tortured soul at one point.
Who is your favorite tortured soul?