Written By: Ken Hulsey
Source: SFX Magazine
You have to give the fans over in the UK a lot of credit. They have helped to turn the long-running sci fi series "Doctor Who" into a national treasure. They support fantasy series based on character and plot development over ones with razzle-dazzle special effects, and they 'get' a lot of sci fi stuff that gets 'lost' on American audiences (like Babylon 5 for example).
I should also note for the record that three of the top sci fi/fantasy television series in the world right now, those being "Doctor Who", "Torchwood" and "Being Human" are produced in the UK.
Yes, they sure know and love their sci fi over on that side of the Atlantic, but when it comes to monsters, well that's where the Brits seem to get a little 'lost'.
Let me explain.
In a recent poll put on by the UK fantasy entertainment magazine SFX the fans in the UK voted the Daleks (from Doctor Who) as their "Favourite Monster, Supernatural Beings or Fantasy Creature".
That should really come as no surprise, due to the fact that the Daleks, like the series they come from, "Doctor Who" is so beloved in it's native country.
Fair enough, but let's take a look at the rest of the list:
Behind those nasty trash cans bent on universal domination are -
2 Lorne (Angel)
3 Aliens (The Alien franchise)
4 Death (Discworld)
5 Gollum (The Lord Of The Rings)
6 The Shadows (Babylon 5)
7 Gizmo (Gremlins)
8 The Thing (The Thing)
9 Aslan (The Chronicles Of Narnia)
10 Predators (The Predators franchise)
11 The Borg (Star Trek)
12 Pilot (Farscape)
13 The Cybermen (Doctor Who)
14 Godzilla (Godzilla)
15 Ludo (Labyrinth)
16 Pinhead (Hellraiser)
17 Nibbler (Futurama)
18 The Great Dragon (Merlin)
19 Frankenstein’s Monster (Frankenstein)
20 Slimer (Ghostbusters)
Now, that's a very interesting list, don't you think?
Now, the parameters of this poll were that the 'monsters' could be either from movies or TV, literature, mythology, or the paranormal realm.
Here's what is missing from the list, and would certainly be on a list compiled by US fans:
Dracula, The Wolfman, Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Klingon's, King Kong, Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster (and she's a local gal in the UK) The Yeti, The Raptors from Jurassic Park, Chewbacca, The Cylons, The Mummy, Grey Aliens and a lot of other creatures that aren't coming to mind right now.
Now, I should point out that in 2005 SFX published their own list of top monsters, which had some odd entries in it to, like "Audrey II" from "Little Shop of Horrors" and the Rancor and Sarlacc from "Return of the Jedi", but overall was a little more 'right on' when it came to movie monsters.
The top three there = 3. Godzilla 2. The Thing 1. Alien(s)
Okay, you won't get any arguments outta me for either "Godzilla" or "Alien", but "The Thing" (the John Carpenter movie version not the superhero from Fantastic 4)? WTF?
Oh, and let me state for the record that the monsters from "Jedi" are cool, but not two of the greatest movie monsters ever.
In the end, I really don't think that the fans over in the UK get monsters, or really understand them. I honestly got a good feel for this back in the late 90s when UK fans used to repeatedly bash me for being a "Godzilla" fan on MSN groups.
Actually, I'm kinda surprised that they have seemed to have warmed up to the monster over the past decade, after the razzing I used to take.
You also have to admit that the UK hasn't produced very many good 'original' movie monsters. I mean "Gorgo" was good, but then there are the awful "Konga" and "Queen Kong" on the opposite side of the spectrum.
They did make a couple of good dinosaur films over in the UK back in the 70s, plus the Hammer horror films were great, so I don't understand the fans in the UK have such a different (I didn't say bad) take on monsters.
Different strokes for different folks I guess?
"Audrey II"? Really ...... wow, that one still gets me.
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