Cloverfield's Monstrosity: Ideology and Terror

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    Cloverfield's monster is effective precisely because we never really see it, because it remains in our peripheral vision and seems to be mutating, changing, multiple and yet perhaps still one, all at the same time. To say that the monster is abject, is to miss the point. Being abject is part of a monster's very nature, but the monster in Cloverfield is both frightingly different and hauntingly familiar. We have seen such monsters many times before in earlier movies, so we cannot fully feel that it is different and apart from ourselves.

    At the same time, the monster is irrational, without meaning, murderous and incomprehensible. It is the perfect personification of how we in Western culture regards the terrorist - it is a myth of evil, which is absolute, which neither can nor should be understood. The monster of Cloverfield stands as the figure of evil as popular imagination sees it; it is a materialisation of an ideological fission which attempts to excise certain ideological constructions, yet paradoxically casting them in a form that is recognizable and familiar.

    The monstrous metonomy which is used shows us glimpses of a horrid being, intended to vilify the attack on New York City. However, it is a being which is reminiscent of earlier monsters - from Godzilla to The Blob. It is evident that the Cloverfield monster is a paradoxical construction which attempts to articulate fear and loathing about terrorism, but ends up trapped in an ideological dead-end maze, unable to do anything other than magnifying popular fears into a familiar spectacle.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOur Monstrous (S)kin : Blurring the Boundaries Between Monsters and Humanity
    EditorsSorcha Ní Fhlainn
    Number of pages11
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
    Publication date2010
    ISBN (Print)9781904710936
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Cloverfield
    • Terrorism
    • Horror
    • Ideology


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