A to Z Challenge – Z

Z

My theme for the A to Z challenge is Villain Archetypes.

Yes, 26 descriptions of some of your favorite villains of literature, TV, and movies.

April 30 –  Z is for Zombie and (god)Zilla

The final post of the challenge, and I’m going to cheat a little. The last archetype I’ll discuss is the Zombie and (god)Zilla, which is my lame-ass way to bring up and include the non-sentient, non-conscious, and/or non-human antagonistic forces that are so near and dear to my heart. What the hell am I talking about? I’m talking about zombies, monsters, forces of nature, anything that doesn’t think critically and consciously about their actions. These are the Godzillas, the Zombies, Jaws, Giant Squids, even Tornadoes, Volcanoes, and Hurricanes. It could be alien, animal, natural, etc. Basically, anything that, simply through behaving along its normal, survival instinct or inherent design creates a dangerous and terrifying situation for the protagonists. They’re cool, terrifying, and sometime fascinating to the audience. A well-crafted and creatively transcribed monster can be the creepiest, most chilling villain in all of fiction. They’re often the base point of movies, comics, and books, while the human characters essentially provide a backdrop for the Zombie/godZilla to be painted on.

Why is this (sort of) archetype my favorite? Because they’re just so damn cool. There aren’t any human characteristics to hate, just excellent special effects and descriptions that capture the imagination. These villains don’t fit the redeemable or irredeemable paradigm; they’re just exactly what they’re supposed to be. You can’t hate them or despise them, because they’re doing what they’re designed for. All that leaves is the awe, fear and respect for the protagonists and the audience to feel. These antagonistic forces are captivating because we can’t relate or understand them as an audience. Often they’re exaggerated versions of natural creatures, or more often supernatural things with base instincts derived from nature. I love a good, well-crafted human villain as much as the next guy, but a giant (or not so giant) scary monster, unthinking but cruelly intelligent, is a story in and of itself.

Everyone has a favorite monster movie. Or Zombie movie. Or book, or any kind of fiction with an antagonist that fits into the Zombie/godZilla archetype.They can be campy, suspenseful, horrific, science fictiony, and even fantastic. While their origins vary, their level of awesomeness tends to be constant. The lack of cohesive thought often means the Zombie/godZilla are almost included in the setting, and will have some human storyline surrounding them. Many times, a corrupt human arch-villain is involved as well, to grant a little more relatability to the storyline. My favorites involve the unthinking beastie proving to be the demise of the arch-villain, in the most delicious and satisfying way possible.

Some Great Zombie/godZilla examples:

  • Godzilla (der)
  • The Cloverfield Monster
  • Tyranids (Warhammer 40K)
  • The Relic (Book and Movie)
  • Jaws
  • Aliens (The Whole Franchise)
  • Cthulu (and the associated pantheon)
  • The Creature (White Shark)

As I wrap up my first A to Z challenge, I feel accomplished. I didn’t think I’d get through it, but I did. I really appreciate the visits, likes, and comments.

Signing Off

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One thought on “A to Z Challenge – Z

  1. An excellent and creative post to end your A to Z challenge series…with the non-sentient beings and monsters as they are some of the most prevalent villains of disaster and horror movies, they are the nature (or paranormal) part of man versus nature and as such, will always be present as antagonists in stories. 🙂 My favorites of the lot that you’ve listed has got to be Jaws and cthulu (loved that South Park episode with him in it) and though you’ve already listed it in a previous post, I think the t-rex would fit well here too…though perhaps not the raptors, as they were quite clever problem solvers. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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