First of all, check out my eerie fractal in the sidebar. Happy Halloween, everyone!
Since it is, after all, Halloween, I thought I'd talk about some of the classical monsters. So many of these - ghosts, zombies, vampires - revolve around the fear of death. It's a concept that leaves me flat. I don't find it frightening. Once a person is dead, their body is an empty shell. I don't find anything particularly horrifying or unnerving about the idea of being confronted by the unnaturally animated form of a departed friend or family member. The thing that gets me (the only thing that gets me) about zombies is the unforgiving nature of fighting one: it doesn't matter if you get away, one bite, one scratch will doom you.
To me, I find humanized monsters less viscerally frightening than the inhuman. If the monster is human, you can reason with it - you have a chance of dealing with it through personal interaction, however slim. The inhuman simply doesn't respond or react. It keeps coming and coming. On the other hand, a humanized monster is more compelling, more nuanced ... likely more ambivalent. With logic and rationale, there is a chance for sympathy, however unwilling.
Witches? So often, today, they're the heroines. Devils? ... well, the same thing, really, but unless handled in a unique fashion, the religious element fails to invoke a deep, instinctive fear.
The only thing I can say about werewolves is - paranormal romance.