A monster can be many things. It can be predatory, tireless and hungry. It can be alien and unfathomable. It can be kind and misunderstood. Many see themselves in the monsters on the screen, love the monstrous as a symbol of comfort and solidarity between outsiders. But even then, we understand what it means when we hear someone whisper in a quavering voice “that person is a monster.”
There’s something watching, something waiting…
Hi, my name is Mic, a nonbinary freelance illustrator and I’m more interested in dating the monsters underneath my bed than scaring them off. I was super excited to work on this project !
Horror fiction, ghost stories, monster movies: they’ve always summed up my uncomfortable relationship with my body and my gender in ways that other genres don’t quite touch on. In horror bodies are shown as they can be: strange, often gross, malleable, fascinating, uncontrollable, constricted by the pressure of meeting arbitrary rules and standards where a misstep can seem, or can be, dangerous. Queer is coded as uncanny, seductive, violent. Under these circumstances a ghost disassociates; a monster lashes out; a person turns inwards or outwards but always away from themselves.
I’ve always had an interest in horror, particularly horror involving body horror, body melt and the uncanny valley- though a lot of my current fascination has been taken up by fairies. I always found fairies one of the most fascinating horror monsters, if also because they’re so lightly taken about despite the number of horrifying things they do. I liked the ideas of fairies presenting themselves as imitations of other things. Fairies always seemed fascinated with humans and “normal” life, so I liked the idea of fairies trying to imitate real life beings with incredibly uncanny valley results.
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There’s always some kind of argument about what it means to be human. Empathy, for starters, makes you one. You’re empathetic and sympathetic to the plight of your fellow humans. That’s a human thing to do.
But this article won’t be about empathy.
Instead, it’s a speculation on humanity, a root cause, societal reactions, and as always, the love of the inhuman.
On a wide scale, mental illness isn’t treated well in media. Some get more positive light than others, but at the end of the day there’s one disorder that people talk about in hushed whispers, the one that supposedly breeds more killers and the one that’s arguably the most inhuman: Schizophrenia.
The scene began with a shuffling noise, not unlike a theater curtain. Short, quick, and mechanical, the reinforced door to the patient’s room slid open. Through the sting, as the fluorescent lights turn on and scrape away the darkness, see the prim black heels and the worn red sneakers, then pan upward: the two familiar figures — woman in a long white coat, man in a patch-adorned bomber jacket — rushing in with tired eyes. Hurrying to observe something on a hospital bed, out of sight. The man checks the silent monitors beside it, puzzled, as the woman sets her hands on the curious thing. They tower over the bed, dominating the room despite the concern and confusion plain on their faces.
“What..?” the woman began, trailing off as she poked and prodded.
“What the hell happened here? Cinq, how did you not notice any of this?”
“Castella,” the man replied, “I told you: I’d been paying attention this whole time. The readings just went… silent, all of a sudden! I called you as soon as it happened!”
The wind howled it’s way around the cracks and corners of the tiny house. Inside, the youngest of the family, a boy of five, was the only one awake, the blanket to his chin. He heard that wind in his nightmares sometimes, as it came whipping in off the long plains that stretched around the farm forever. It scared him less when the thunder slammed into the windows with it, or it brought the snow to take the world away. Those times it was right, and natural, and only doing what wind must do, because it is wind.
On nights like this, however, it screamed for no reason but to scare him. His father hated it because it hurt the trees, and his mother hated it because it made her sneeze, but he feared it as it encroached, enraged at him for some reason he could never understand.
He could swear he felt the house crouch lower huddling and hiding against the onslaught. The boy could commiserate, and scrambled further down into his quilts, large eyes staring. It almost seemed like he could hear things rustling in the attic above. Perhaps the wind had found it’s way in, or scared in a creature much like himself, small and quaking. Or maybe, as his mother so often said, her lips pursed, her voice snapping like the knots that burst in the fire, his imagination was simply too active. He tried to make it behave, but it never seemed to listen.
Listen. The creaking of the wood, right above his bed. A hole in the roughly hewn planks tried to catch his eye, and he pulled the blankets higher with a gasping little noise.
There’s was probably nothing up there, just like the apple tree wasn’t a skeleton, and the fox holes weren’t secret tunnels to buried treasure.
Continue reading “It’s Creaking Up Above”
Ben shut the bathroom door before he turned on the fan, the sink, and the tub faucet. He paused for a moment, then turned on the shower as well, a cascade of sound surrounding him. It wasn’t enough. He imagined he could still hear the thrashing in the backyard pool, the way it grew increasingly frantic before it finally slowed. Then, as always, stopped.
He sat on the edge of the tub, almost hyperventilating. The water from the shower beat a warm staccato against the vinyl shower curtain pressed against his back. Drops of mist caught in his hair and mingled with the sweat that trickled down his face and back, soaking into his clothes.
He wasn’t sure how long he remained like that, mind racing but going nowhere, until he was shocked out of it by a knock on the door. He didn’t answer, and after a few long moments, it opened slowly.
While I’ve only more recently began adding gore to my art, it’s been something I’ve obsessed over since childhood. Gross, slimy, horror has always drawn me in. And of course for Halloween I just had to draw a werewolf using his tiny boyfriend as a chewtoy!
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Hi! I’m Morty, or smallmorty on tumblr . I’m your run-of-the-mill queer artist who loves to draw monsters, animals, and all kinds of gore.
Sexuality and self-expression fascinates me, especially when it’s mixed with elements of horror or fantasy. Drawing monsters and monstrous scenarios helps me cope with my frustrations and negative feelings about just about anything- even myself!
For this art, I wanted to explore the line between “scary monster” and “scary-looking, but not inherently dangerous”. There are a lot of animals (spiders, snakes, deep-sea fish, etc.) that are thought of as malicious and gross, despite the fact that they have complex, fascinating lives and behaviors.
Hi! I’m Francine Queen, or Witnesstheabsurd on tumblr and Personfaces on twitter! I was invited to produce a piece for Genderterror and couldn’t be more happy to contribute – the inherent beauty of “monstrosity” or the grotesque has been an intrinsic element of my work for the full span of my career and likely, always will be. A couple of years back I came up with an archetypal design that resonated w some of what I appreciated in both human and monster bodies – the “Jawboy” – impeccably sculpted muscles, long talons, and most importantly, a vats pair of eyeless, slavering jaws hiding kitchen knife fangs. I revisited a similar concept for the Genderterror piece, but this time opted to remove facial features entirely, instead focusing on a long coiling pair of horns. Crucially, the face is blank barring a series of bloody marks, potentially wounds, potentially self-inflicted- I wanted to create a character whose identity was self-created, whose identity might appear inexplicable or horrific to an onlooker – something that drew parallels with my own womanhood, being trans and queer. I hope you enjoy the work and i’m looking forwards to potentially appearing again here soon! I’m available to commission at firstname.lastname@example.org, as well.
(Fyi this is how she kisses )
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A poem about struggling with one’s inner self.
This piece was originally written in 2010, before I transitioned. The piece remains in its original format.
No matter what
It won’t stop
It won’t go away
No matter how hard I try
He stays and he stays
Digging and clawing
He begs and he begs
He whispers into my ears
and fills my dreams
Without him I am nothing
But he is not all of me
Acceptance is mutual
My dark passenger
Such a love-hate
He is all that is
And is all that I am
Yet he is not what they see
Nor will he ever be
Behind a lie and a smile
Bullshit bullshit they cry
but they do not know
know one ever knows
people wonder why they never know
because it is always hidden behind
a smile and a lie
a monster can dream
and a monster can fear
but a monster will always lie
Always hidden behind a smile and a lie
always in the shadows
of your mind
of my mind
he whispers and speaks
and I gladly listen
for a monster’s plan is always
for his dreams and his schemes
for his nightmares and his lusts
I am held captive
for I am the monster
who smiles and lies
who hides behind the clever disguise
the one you never suspected
was capable of anything
quite like the monsters
dreams and schemes
smiles and lies
we all hide behind
smiles and lies
smiles and lies
without them we are nothing
no where to hide no where to run
but we will always exist
they never see us
because our dreams and schemes
are all hidden behind
smiles and lies
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