The Secret Life of Monsters: Boundary Issues and Beyond

Guest lecture by Dr Ralph Goodman, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

If monsters are things to be feared, why are movies and stories about monsters so popular? This lecture argues that normality is in fact a utopian construct which is unattaonable, and that monstrosity is in fact a part of normality, at an unconscious level. The monstrous evades classification, and evokes fear precisely because it is perceived as unclassifiable - and therefore ungovernable. The permeability of this particular boundary will be discussed using director Ridley Scott's movie Blade Runner, and Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein to suggest a degree of projection, whereby marginalised groups are unconsciously "monstered", and perceived as carriers of the majority group's own unrecognised negative characteristics.