Monsters stalk through modern media. They are heard howling from radio, film and television. They are even spinning their tales on every corner of the World Wide Web. Whether adapting illusory techniques from stage, like Pepper’s Ghost, or creating new and experimental forms of monstrosity that range from classic film monsters to urban legends like the Slender Man, our media worlds are crawling with monsters. This symposium will explore the audio and visual processes, techniques and materials used to create these monsters.

Making monsters often requires skilled and thoughtful approaches to adaptation, making the monster in media texts a locus for debates around creativity, invention and innovation in technology and media culture. These monsters are always constructed, but their construction varies wildly from the use of in-camera effects and sound effects, to make-up effects, to animatronics and puppetry through to animation and post-production CG work.

However, the often villainous presence of monsters in across media types and genres has pushed them into liminal spaces, which means that their significance and centrality to issues of media production and innovation have been under-interrogated in academic scholarship to date. This is particularly the case within current debates about special effects and animated media. Therefore, this symposium takes the production of monsters as its focus as a means to explore and reconsider the wider implications of monsters in media, seeking to reimagine monsters as a crucial nexus point in creativity.

We seek papers of 10-15 minutes on topics including:

  • Make-up effects and monsters 
  • Animatronic and puppet creatures 
  • Computer-generated monsters 
  • Suitmation 
  • Animated monsters 
  • Audio monsters from radio to sound effects 
  • Monstrous transformations 
  • Costuming and making over actors into monsters 
  • Stuntwork and monsters 
  • Monstrous performances 
  • Social media and urban legends 
  • Adaptation of monster effects across media platforms 
  • Monster “makers”: creature designers, make-up artists, special effects artists 
  • Monsters and otherness: gender, sexuality and race in monster design 

Proposals of 300 words to be sent to: by 1stMarch 2021. Please provide your talk title, content summary, name and affiliation, and contact details.