Thursday, 18 October 2012

Monster of the Week: The Construct

It's ALIVE!!! ALIVE!!!!
Homunculus. Golem. Simulacrum. Gargoyle, depending on the myth. Some forms of Reanimated Dead. These are a few of the many forms that a Construct can take. One of the defining characteristics of constructs is they must be created by someone else. Human or inhuman hands must fashion them. (Re) animating them, usually artificially. It is a minion of a sort for some dark scientists will, an experiment. A wizard might create a hommunculus, or a simulacrum to do his nasty will. They can be made from many different things. Some are made from a Wizards own hair, flesh and secretions. Like a homunculus or golem. A simulacrum will be made to replicate the wizard himself, made from more abstract components, like the wizards own soul. Gargoyles (otherwise known as grotesques) were these hideous beings created to protect churches, and were made from stone and pipes. Non-magical or religious constructs like re-animated dead are made from dead tissue, and given only the barest of intelligence by the makers own desire.

One thing all these constructs have in common is they are created by someone else's will. Not a god, or a higher power, but usually a man or being with slight powers or super intelligence  These "people" who create the creatures think they are superior to normal folks, and even to the divine itself. These beings known as constructs usually tell us tales of man's hubris  his desire to conquer death, the unknown, and have control over forces that are usually considered beyond him. Hell, sometimes it's a woman making these creatures.

I personally have always had a soft spot for the construct, especially The Monster in Frankenstein. He and his mate The Bride are two of the most tragic, yet terrible creatures in the classic monster collection. They are made outside of the normal laws of life, created by a man who thought he could conquer death. His grief over the loss he felt by deaths hand, and his hubris to overcome deaths design created these poor, flawed creatures. I still read the Frankenstein novel sometimes, just like Dracula and other classics I adore. There is something so profoundly painful and horrible in Frankenstein that I relate to for some reason. Perhaps it's the way Dr. Frankenstein cannot let go of his grief, and in so doing destroys all he loves, including himself. Perhaps it's also that the construct, especially in this tale, is a dark mirror of the man who made him, as if Dr. Frankenstein made his own shadow self manifest. There is so much beauty in The Monster too, so much sadness and rage. A tortured spirit unable to connect to a world it just wants to be a part of.

Emotions play a huge roll in good horror. Some monsters represent concepts like repression, sin, greed, violence, lust. But the construct is about the abuse of power and control. No matter if it's made by magic or science, in the end if one abuses any of their gifts that grant them power, they can create their own monsters.

So with that said, here is a sample of some of my favourite construct subject matter:

Sometimes Disney is known for making a few really awesome things. Gargoyles was a TV series I enjoyed as a kid, that had deep story lines and amazing characters. they have brought it out on DVD, much to my joy, and now I can squee as Demona acts like a dick to Goliath. It's a good show, and if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it.  

This anime, Full Metal Alchemist is full of awesome occult stuff. Alchemy is in the title. The thing that makes me bring it up here is that one could argue that Alphonse (who's soul is trapped in the suit of armor you see in the picture) is now a Simulacrum. It's a really good show, has an offshoot show called Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood and deals with some interesting concepts. Of course, the use of control and power is a big concept focused on here too.

And of course, anything with this big lug in it. He's my favourite of all constructs. I'm also a huge fan of his wife, The Bride. I did convince my husband and I to do costumes of them for Halloween because of my huge love for the story and the characters within it: 

What are some of your favorite constructs? Would you create life by magical, religious or with the use of science? And if you did, how well do you think you could control it? 

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