Artful Conceptions #1: Monsters Carrying Chicks
Ever notice that almost every single horror or science fiction movie poster from the 1930's through the 1960's had an image of a monster/robot carrying a woman? It started with King Kong (or at least was popularized by it) and lasted another thirty or so years. I don't get it, really, and it's something I've wondered about for a long time.
I understand this is just the standard "damsel in distress" or "woman in peril" element, common in the horror/sci-fi genres. What I wonder about is why that particular facet of the film is what was chosen to lure movie audiences for over 40 years.
And it's not limited to movie posters. It's also prevalent in books, pulp magazines, comic books, etc. in that era dealing with the horror/sci-fi genres.
Not surprisingly, I'm by no means the first to notice this. There's numerous articles on the subject. TV Tropes has an excellent little article which basically calls it "the visual equivalent of foreplay". A Man Out of Time also has a post dealing with it, as does the Turner Classic Movies blog Movie Morlocks.
What is really perplexing is how illogical the very concept is. I can understand a vampire, but why would a giant gorilla give damn about a human female? I don't see too many dogs or Komodo dragons lusting after our women. So, are we to believe The Creature from the Black Lagoon was wanting to get it on with a human female? Interesting thought.
Then again, this is the age old "Beauty and the Beast" scenario. The hulking brute, more animal than man, with his female captive, beautiful and helpless - it's an image that has been around forever. So, I guess we shouldn't be surprised to find it in modern cinema.
The sociological images site has an article which attempts to answer it, although it sounds a lot like psychobabble to me. In fact, nothing I've read really satisfied me. So, I guess the moral to the story is: Gilligan is once again over-analyzing everything, and should just let it go. As Freud once said: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
For more retro images of this interesting phenomenon, click the "read more" option below if you're reading the Retrospace home page. But beware, this is pretty image heavy. I was trying to drive my point home, so there's a lot of images. I guess you could say I got a little carried away (insert canned laugh track here).
The SFW Starlet Showcase has a pretty good poster gallery on this subject. Also, see an article at Retrocrush; the "Monsters Holding Babes" article. The Bela Lugosi poster below is from a "monster carrying women" movie poster gallery from Harvard University (!).