Does Monster Size Matter?

Godzilla and Friends

Godzilla and Friends

No matter what I looked for, I could only find Godzilla creatures under the ‘Monster Size Chart’ search.  Most of them had the Cloverfield monster, which I didn’t take because I remember getting in a debate with a fan of that movie.  I asked if it was bigger than Godzilla and all I got was ‘Cloverfield would kick Godzilla’s ass!’.  Needless to say I disagreed and wasn’t a fan of the shaky camera movie anyway.  That’s besides the point here because I’m going to talk a little about how the size of a monster can determine the use of it.  After all, a solitary Gremlin can’t go stomping through New York City and having a swarm of King Kongs is what you might call overkill.

  1. Microscopic–  Let’s start at the monsters that you don’t see.  These are your parasitic beasts that you don’t actually see beyond a microscope.  Using these usually involves having a scientist among the heroes and the creatures take over the host to have them do something.  I’m not 100% sure of an example here.  There was ‘Invasion’, which is a movie that I never saw.  You get a lot of tension out of an ‘invisible’ enemy too because you can’t beat it with a standard weapon or even see it coming.
  2. Golf Ball to Basketball Sized–  I admit right now that I don’t know how to categorize these things.  I’m thinking of the Facehuggers and other smaller monsters that you see in a lot of science fiction films.  These are great for swarming threats, young stages of a bigger monster, and a stealth killer.  They might not have the power and presence of the larger monsters, but they have the jump scare ability if you’re using them for horror or at least startling your heroes.
  3. Child to Large Dog Sized–  Another category that ends up involving more stealth and speed than brute strength.  After all, can you imagine Chucky hurling large man through a window?  One thing that can be done with these monsters with more ease than Category 2 is having them go solo.  I can see this being even scarier than a swarm because there’s less chance of hearing a solitary creature than multiples.  This definitely gives this category more versatility and that isn’t even counting that here is where you can start making them humanoid.  Something about monsters being bipedal and symmetrical makes them freakier, which might be because they’re more relatable.
  4. Adult Sized– You can figure this one out pretty easily because it’s so common.  From Jason Voorhes to American Werewolf, there’s a lot of normal-sized monsters out there and they tend to be incredibly human.  Many of them have some type of motivation beyond the primal survive/eat.  The size of the body allows you to do more alterations because of more mass too and they can handle bigger ‘prey’.  This might be why you find them more often than other categories.
  5. Van to Airplane Sized– Here is where we get into monsters that always possess incredible strength and not the stealthiest creatures.  They can still hide in certain environments like large cities, jungles, and thick forests.  You have to do some major explanations for them hiding in open areas like how the Graboids in Tremors can burrow.  You get back into a primal mentality with these monsters too.  They predominantly attack for food, protection, or because they’re simply creatures of pure destruction.  It’s rather easy to make humans scared of these monsters considering they jack into the ‘fear of big predators’.  Then again, these creatures don’t even have to eat people.  They can just as easily be a herbivore and kill to protect itself.
  6. Building and Beyond Size–  Godzilla, King Kong, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Galactus, and do I really have to keep going?  Extreme destruction, massive fear, normal weapons don’t work without overuse, high body count, and possibly another giant creature for them to fight.  Uses for this is either a mega weapon being used by the main villain or the main threat that mankind is struggling to find a way to defeat before it destroys a single city that the monster randomly chose by throwing a dart at a map off-camera.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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36 Responses to Does Monster Size Matter?

  1. StCyril says:

    “Size matters not. Look at me, judge me by my size do you, and where you should not.”
    Just thought this applied. Basketball sized (Birds from resident evil) to me are the worst, simply because of a tendency to swarm.

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  2. sknicholls says:

    Size doesn’t matter. It’s how you use your monster. 😉

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  3. You’ve got me thinking today. I don’t know where it will go, but it was inspirational. The Birds, Cujo, the compsognathus from Jurassic Park, those worms from The Swarm…

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    • The birds and compies would probably be in group #2. Cujo would be #3. I’m also wondering if you can count crazed ‘normal’ animals as monsters. Probably a personal preference thing. I’m not sure what the worms are that you’re talking about. If it’s what I saw in a commercial a while back then that’s probably microscopic.

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      • I like the way you broke down some of the expected cast members and approaches to combating these baddies. The trick is to tackle the problem some other way. These kinds of posts have me looking over my shoulder for my Muse.

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      • There’s always unique ways to handle a monster. You have to factor in location, what the prey is capable of, any weapons at hand, time period, and even the time of year. For example, fighting a flock of fire bats may be easier during the winter than summer.

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      • I’m toying with the idea of what happens when you don’t have the expected medical expert, the big assed gun, or time for the Martians to catch an Earth disease.

        It makes the problem harder to solve, and probably makes a better story. How are you going to get Godzilla to step on punji sticks?

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      • For something like Godzilla, an ‘average’ person’s only goal would be to escape. We always think killing the monster is the option, but some stories make more sense if the person is only trying to survive and escape. It’s like how bizarre it is that everyone seems to become survivalist and decent shot in a zombie apocalypse.

        As for the Martians, I’d trick them into watching reality TV. That should take them out.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Man: “That’s him officer! Big scaly guy, that’s the one who ruined my brand new Merc!”
    Copper: “Erm, they’re *all* big and scaly, sir.”
    Man: “No, they’re not, they’re – oh…” (deflated)
    Lawyer: “If this is all, gentlemen, my client and I will now be leaving.”
    Godzilla: *stomps everyone in a burst of joy. Looks down, scratches head.* “Ooops”

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  5. Also, for microscopic, you may want to check “The Last Ship” – a TV series now on its second season.

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  6. I’ve always thought the monster picked a city based on a random drawing from a huge rotating drum on the show, “You Pick the Destruction.”. Now to find it is a matter of throwing a dart is a little bit of a let down. I used to enjoy seeing the other two monster contestants having to be escorted out of the studio by bouncers when they lost the opportunity to pick from the drum. (The fire throwers were the best to watch)

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  7. C. Miller says:

    I hate to get on Cloverfield, but I’ve never seen it so I don’t have a clue what the monster looks like. It’s one of those movies that I was interested in and just never got around to. (I was also a little worried that the shaky camera would make me a bit sick.)

    It might just be because I’m slightly (that might possibly be an under-exaggeration) germaphobic, but #1 is actually scarier to me than the massive monsters.

    Great post!

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    • I saw it . . . Godzilla would whoop it’s butt. The shaky camera was nauseating to me and the characters seemed so stupid. That’s just me though. And the friend I watched it with.

      #1 is really frightening because it’s probably the most realistic. Just look at the Ebola nonsense and you can see how a monstrous disease would topple humanity.

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      • C. Miller says:

        For now, I’ll just have to take your word on that. I’ll probably end up watching the movie eventually. Sometime. One day . . .

        ‘Ebola nonsense’ is right. >.<

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  8. The scariest monsters are the ones small enough to fit under your bed. 🙂

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  9. Love your image! I think minsters are really interesting because they reveal so much about what the author and readers consider to be frightening and what kind of damage or death is most terrifying. At the same time, there’s a reason why most monster movies hide the creature until the last moment. So often, once you see the creature, it’s pretty silly and funny rather than scary. Something like Alien or the spiders in Eight Legged Freaks still keep their punch after the reveal.

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    • I never saw Eight Legged Freaks. Mostly because I hate spiders. I always thought the hidden creature was for tension, but you have a point that the monsters tend to be rather silly. At least in most movies. I still can’t watch ‘The Thing’ at night. Then again, I’m skittish.

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