Analyzing the Bad Eating Habits of Popular Monsters
If movies have taught us anything, it’s not love or music or beauty that soothes the savage beast, but junk food, and mostly sweet, sweet candy. It seems like just about any monster can be tamed with as little as a bar of chocolate. But what is it about candy? Do monsters have low blood sugar? Which could make sense with Frankenstein type monsters or zombies who no longer produce blood (however, they seem to have heartier tastes). Or is it something about the artificial nature of cinematic terror combined with artificial fruit flavors and preservatives?
I've talked before about the heroes who love to eat, but monsters just seem to have junk food on their minds. Just look at how many different monsters, aliens, and supernatural beings have sweet teeth across so many different horror and science fiction genres. Everything from ghosts to circus freaks, but I think there are really two basic types of junk food devouring monsters: those who protect children and those who are childish themselves. Or brawlers and bawlers.
The cynic in me says that the average Hollywood producer sees children as little walking billboards for the 11 and under demographic. If Elliott likes Reese’s Pieces, and Reese’s Pieces got him a special friend with a glowing finger, then perhaps Reese’s Pieces can get me a special friend with a glowing finger (although, I don’t want to know what that special friend would do with that special finger in real life). The optimist in me, however, chalks it up to storytelling. In a movie with a kid and a monster, and the kid has to either defeat or befriend said monster with whatever is handy, then the logical choice is something a child would have access to. And since kids are, in fact, little walking billboards the only thing handy is whatever product is willing to pay the most. However, the researcher in me wants to think that there’s a larger, more unified answer out there in a world of mystery and jujubes. I want to believe.
Type: Bawler Junk Food: Reese’s Pieces
E.T. is like lost child, and the best way to lead any child to Lost & Found is, of course, a trail of candy. That’s pretty much the reason I leave trails of candy everywhere I go because I want to help children… and aliens. And ants. It is, also, a good thing though that aliens don’t have peanut allergies. About 1% of the US population has a peanut allergy, yet most aliens are completely immune to a nut outside their native ecosystems.
Type: Brawler Junk Food: Baby Ruth
While Sloth may not be a true monster, a semi-retarded pinhead with superhuman strength is pretty darn close. He loves Superman, Baby Ruths, and chucky kids in Hawaiian shirts: who wouldn’t want to adopt Sloth!?
Type: Bawler Junk Food: Cookie
His name says it all: a furry, blue, homicidal maniac for cookies. Perhaps, maniac is too harsh; it’s more like a cookie addict. Now would you leave your kids in the hands of a crack addict? It's the same thing with a cookie, scone, brownie or pastry monster. Will Cookie Monster be kind to your children? Probably. Will Cookie Monster put your children in harms way to get his chocolate chip cookie fix? Most likely. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: don't leave your children with monsters.
Type: Brawler Junk Food: Cereal
Count Chocula, Franken Berry, Boo Berry, Fruit Brute, and Fruity Yummy Mummy are all monsters with a serious need for sugar. Count Chocula is the most popular out of the group with chocolate being perhaps the most popular of the candied flavors. In the cereal monster category, it’s interesting to note as me move from chocolate to fruit flavors, the monsters get progressively less popular. Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy were discontinued, but Count Chocula is still lurking in cupboards across the country.
Type: Bawler Junk Food: Space Biscuit
Ewoks use stone tools, build trees houses, make complex traps, have mastered hang gliding, yet are still lured out by a bit candy, sort of like a mouse to cheese. Somehow they’re supposed to be a primitive tribal society and adorable puppies at the same time.
Type: Bawler Junk Food: Pancakes
My first inclination was to classify Hellboy as a brawler, but upon further inspection it’s pretty easy to see he’s a bawler. He’s a big muscle bound demon with the personality of a 13-year-old boy. With the eating habits of a 13-year-old boy as well. Hellboy loves pancakes perhaps most of all. However, they used a Baby Ruth to lure a young Hellboy out in the movie, and it’s interesting that we see Baby Ruths again. Babe Ruth himself manages to combine power with child-like wonder.
Type: Bawler Junk Food: Hotdogs
Slimer doesn’t really care about what he eats just as long as he’s eating. Although, he does seem to have a preference for cured meats. Meaning ghosts have the most savory of taste bubs, but the sweetest compositions (Slimer is composed of 90% Hi-C Ecto-cooler).
Type: Brawler Junk Food: Cream Filled Cookie
This is the classic kid/monster scenario. Ants like cookies. Kids have cookies. Kids control ants with cookies. Of course, what’s to stop the proportionally giant ant from snapping the kids in half and just eating the cookie itself? It might not understand the complexity of food dangled from a piece of string, but it does understand the complexity of it’s big, they’re little, big beats little.
Type: Bawler Junk Food: Coke
Being an E.T. rip-off means Mac needs candy, too, and because Mac is an E.T. rip-off for the sole purpose of hawking products means Mac needs a lot of candy. Mac and Me had product placements for Skittles, McDonald's, Coca-Cola. It's funny that Coke was used as the alien bate as it's much harder to drink a trail of Coke than it is to eat a trail of candy. The further away from the original monster, the more candy is needed for sustenance. With all the aliens who eat candy one has to wonder their advanced technology includes dentistry or if they’ve evolved beyond cavities.
Type: Brawler Junk Food: Cotton Candy People
A cotton candy ray is a more practical form of cannibalism. You get all the humany nutrients and protein with none of that meat bag aftertaste. However, it’s not clear if the ray pulls cotton candy particles out of the atmosphere or transmogrifies humans into cotton candy, which makes sense either way because cotton candy is one of the basic building blocks of life.
From looking at these examples it would appear that hairy monsters prefer cookies. Less substantial monsters (ghosts) prefer more substantial foods (processed meats), while bigger monsters prefer less substantial treats (sugar). Cotton candy can be substituted for human flesh and chocolate for blood. And all monsters like peanuts or peanut butter.
Beetlejuice used a Zagnut bar to trap a fly. And while not for a monster, in the Great Outdoors they used Zagnut for the bears. Meaning the peanut butter and toasted coconut of the Zagnut may be an idea monster treat.
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