MONSTROUS

Encore: October 30, 2020

On this frightful All Hallows Eve, we uncover “The Lore, Gore and Science Behind your Favorite Monsters.”

For more information, click here. 

Aired on October 31, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

♪ THERE IS SUPERSTITION

THE HAUNTING SEASON OF HALLOWEEN.

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY VAMPIRES PREFER RED OR WHAT YOU WOULD DO IF YOU WERE ATTACKED BY A WEREWOLF OR ZOMBIE?

CAN YOU TELL IF THAT FOOTPRINT IN YOUR BACKYARD BELONGS TO BIGFOOT?

AND WHAT KIND OF DINOSAUR IS GODZILLA?

IF YOUR CHILD IS BOMBARDING YOU WITH THOSE QUESTIONS, WE CAN HELP.

'MONSTROUS: THE LORE, GORE, AND SCIENCE BEHIND YOUR FAVORITE MONSTERS' PROVIDES A FUN AND SOMEWHAT EDUCATIONAL DIVE INTO MONSTERS AND THE MACABRE THAT WILL SATIATE EVEN THE MOST VORACIOUS YOUNG READERS.

ITS AUTHOR CARLYN BECCIA IS HERE WITH THE DETAILS.

SO, FIRST, TELL ME WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION BEHIND THIS FABULOUS BOOK?

WELL, I WAS THE KID WHO WAS SCARED OF EVERYTHING WHEN I WAS A CHILD.

SO I APPROACHED THIS BOOK ORIGINALLY EXAMINING THE SCIENCE OF FEAR.

WHY DO WE FEAR THE THINGS THAT WE DO?

AND IT TURNS OUT THAT FEAR IS A VERY PRIMAL INSTINCT.

THE MECHANISMS FOR FEAR HASN'T CHANGED SINCE OUR EARLIEST ANCESTORS.

SO I WANTED TO EMPOWER READERS TO LET THEM EXAMINE WHICH MONSTERS ARE REAL, WHICH MONSTERS ARE NOT, AND TO GIVE THEM SURVIVAL PLANS TO SURVIVE THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A VAMPIRE ATTACKS AND YOU HAVE BLOOD LOSS.

AND ALL THESE SKILLS ARE THINGS WITH REAL LIFE WORLD EXAMPLES.

AND IN A WEIRD WAY, I KNOW WHAT TO DO IF THE MONSTER FROM UNDER MY BED COMES OUT TO GET ME.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SUGGESTIONS THAT PEOPLE OR READERS CAN GET FROM YOUR BOOK?

WELL, ONE OF MY FAVORITE SPREADS IS A PICTURE OF A SNARLING WEREWOLF, AND IT SAYS HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH A WEREWOLF SO YOU DON'T GET EATEN.

AND ALL OF THE TIPS IN IT ARE ACTUALLY THE SAME BODY LANGUAGE THAT DOGS USE.

AND THERE ARE A LOT OF KIDS THAT ARE SCARED OF DOGS.

SO, YOU KNOW, A DOG WILL RAISE ITS TAIL AND IT WILL START WAGGING LIKE THAT.

THAT'S ONE OF THE -- AND THAT'S A SIGN OF AGGRESSION.

THAT MEANS IT'S ABOUT TO ATTACK.

A DOG WILL PIN ITS EARS FORWARD.

IT'S ABOUT TO LUNGE.

SO IT'S SORT OF A TONGUE-IN-CHEEK WAY TO SAY, OKAY, THIS IS IF A WEREWOLF IS ABOUT TO ATTACK, IT WILL DO THESE THINGS.

GUESS WHAT, KIDS?

IF A DOG DOES THAT, YOU ALSO BETTER STAND BACK.

OF COURSE.

NOW, DOES THIS MEAN IF A WEREWOLF COMES UPON ME AND I PERHAPS HAVE BACON IN MY POCKET, I CAN GET AWAY AND MAKE THE WEREWOLF VERY, VERY HAPPY?

BACON IS ALWAYS GOOD FOR WEREWOLVES.

JUST DON'T HAVE WOLF SPAIN ON YOU.

AGAIN, THESE ARE THE KIND OF HELPFUL HALLOWEEN DETAILS THAT I THINK COULD HELP ANYONE WITH A VIVID IMAGINATION.

NOT JUST KIDS.

YES, I HOPE SO.

THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN INTENTIONALLY SO THIS ISN'T JUST A CHILD'S READ.

LIKE THIS IS SOMETHING THAT A CHILD AT HEART COULD ALSO APPRECIATE AND HAVE ON YIR BOOK SHEP.

THAT'S MY HOPE.

IN THE KING DKONG CHAPTER I TAL ABOUT THE SQUARE CUBE LAW AND WHY THAT MAKES KING KONG IMPOSSIBLE.

MY HOPE IS THAT I CAN MAKE MATH AND SCIENCE SO RIDICULOUSLY FUN THAT KIDS WILL LEARN THESE THINGS AND THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW IT.

THEY ARE JUST TRICKED BY IT.

OF COURSE, ADULTS AS WELL.

HOW MUCH BACK RESEARCH DID YOU HAVE TO DO ABOUT THESE MONSTERS AND THEIR ORIGIN STORIES TO PUT SOME OF THESE PIECES TOGETHER?

IT WAS SO MUCH RESEARCH.

IT WAS FIVE YEARS OF RESEARCH.

AND I ALSO HAD TO USE A LOT OF EXPERT READERS BECAUSE SOME OF THE SUBJECTS ARE A BIT OVER MY HEAD.

THE ZOMBIE CHAPTER TALKS ABOUT NEUROSCIENCE, WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE ZOMBIE BRAIN.

I AM NOT A NEUROSCIENTISTS.

I AM JUST A WRITER.

SO I HAVE TO CONSULT WITH THE PEOPLE.

THERE IS A LOT OF MEDICAL BACKGROUND.

I HAD TO CONSULT WITH PEOPLE IN MEDICAL FIELDS TO MAKE SURE I WAS GETTING IT RIGHT.

WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENS IF AN ARTERY IS PIERCED?

I NEED TO KNOW THOSE DETAILS.

I WENT TO CORONERS BECAUSE THERE IS A CHAPTER ON DECOMPOSITION VERSUS VAMPIRES, HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE.

OF COURSE, THE ALL IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LIVING DEAD AND THE UNDEAD?

YES.

VERY IMPORTANT.

YOU NEED TO KNOW, KIDS.

IF YOU SEE THIS REDDISH BROWN FLUID AT THE CORNERS OF THE MOUTH, THAT COULD BE PUNCHED FLUID, NOT A VAMPIRE FEEDING.

SO THAT PERSON IS ACTUALLY DEAD.

YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY.

THERE YOU GO.

A HELPFUL TIP FOR HALLOWEEN.

AND IT'S GREAT DINNER TABLE CONVERSATION, TOO.

OF COURSE.

AGAIN I AM WONDERING, EVEN AS I WAS SAYING CHILDREN OF ALL AGES CAN APPRECIATE THIS, BUT REALLY WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE HERE?

THIS REALLY FEELS LIKE SOMETHING THAT THE EARLY TWEEN, 7, 8, 9, 10-YEAR-OLD WOULD JUST EAT UP?

THERE IS A SAYING THAT CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHORS WRITE THE BOOKS THEY WISH THEY HAD CHILDREN.

WHAT I MEAN BY THAT I WAS A CHILD THAT I DIDN'T GRAVITATE TOWARDS SCIENCE.

MY IDEAL READER THAT READER WHO SAYS I DON'T WANT TO LEARN ABOUT SCIENCE.

I DON'T WANT TO LEARN ABOUT THE SQUARE CUBE LAW.

I CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO LEARN ABOUT NEUROSCIENCE AND WHETHER BIGFOOT, THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL POSSIBILITIES OF BIGFOOT.

MY OBJECTIVE IS FOR THE READER TO MAKE THE SUBJECTS SO INTERESTING THAT THEY LEARN AND THEY ARE NOT REALIZING THEY ARE LEARNING BECAUSE EVERYONE LOVES MONSTERS.

OF COURSE.

I THINK WE PREFER THE ONES OF LORE AS OPPOSED TO IN REAL LIFE.

I'M WONDERING IF THERE IS ANY ONE STORY INTEREST EACH RESEARCHING THIS BOOK OR YOUR OWN HISTORY WITH MONSTERS THAT STAYS WITH YOU THE MOST, THAT'S YOUR FAVORITE?

YEAH.

SO THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION.

THE GOODZILLA CHAPTER WAS REALLY INTERESTING TO ME.

I DIDN'T KNOW THE BACK STORY OF GOD GODZILLA.

I DIDN'T KNOW IT CAME OUT OF A REAL TRAGEDY OF THE ATOMIC BOMBS BEING DROPPED ON THE BIKINI ATOLL.

I WANTED THAT CHAPTER LAST BECAUSE IT SAYS TO ME MEN HAVE THE AMAZING ABILITY TO DESTRUCT.

WE ARE BEASTS INSIDE US.

WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO BE MONSTERS.

I THOUGHT IT WAS APROPOS INTO A MAYBE PHILOSOPHICAL WAY TO END, MAYBE THIS IS FALL OUT, THAT CO HAPPEN.

AND THESE CREATURES EXIST IN FOLKLORE.

OF COURSE, I DON'T WANT TO LET YOU GO WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGING YOU DID THE ILLUSTRATIONS FOR THIS BOOK.

YEAH, THANK YOU.

TELL ME ABOUT THE PROCESS OF ILLUSTRATING THE WHOLE BOOK.

YEAH, THAT TOOK A LONG TIME, TOO.

I HAVE A STRANGE WAY OF WORKING.

SO WHAT I DO IS I WILL DO A SKETCH.

I WILL SCAN IT IN.

AND THEN I WORK DIGITALLY IN ADOBE ILLUSTRATORSER C COUNTRY AKTING VECTORS.

SO IT'S A THREE-LAYERED PROCESS.

YOU GET THE FLAT ART BUT A LITTLE BIT OF TEXTURE ADDED TO IT.

ALL RIGHT.

I THINK THAT HELPS MAKE ALL OF THE DIFFERENT CREATURES AND MONSTERS, IF YOU WILL, SORT OF POP AND COME TO LIFE IN A WAY THAT THEY DON'T NORMALLY IN AN ILLUSTRATED BOOK.

LISTEN, I THINK THIS IS SUCH A GREAT BOOK.

IT IS DEFINITELY A GOOD FRIENDLY USERS GUIDE FOR COMING THIS HALLOWEEN SEASON.

FOR ANYONE WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT MONSTERS AND HOW TO SURVIVE ATTACKS FROM THEM.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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