MONSTERS INC. ended with the world of monsters looking for laughs rather than screams. With prequel MONSTERS UNIVERSITY hitting UK cinemas today we thought it was time to pitch Mike and Sulley against each other. Let’s see if monsters are better when making our hearts melt or when ripping them from our chests. It’s Team Mike Vs. Team Sulley:
Say what you will, but Pixar’s number one cowboy is every bit the monster that Chucky is. Sure, he probably isn’t possessed by the soul of a serial killer but he is a toy that can come to life. Woody even proves his penchant for terror when he takes on the toy destroyer Syd. Chucky on the other hand is simply devilishly cruel and wicked in every imaginable way. Murder and bad jokes are just a few of the sins he is capable of.
Victor: WOODY – It just has to be the sheriff considering he knows how to play it both cute and scary. He chooses to be good, which is a harder choice than deciding on being evil. Chucky on the other hand just can’t pull off the cute thing. He looks terrifying in his docile form and he’s supposed to be a children’s toy. Ain’t nobody buying that.
In case you are confused, E.T. was the cute and inquisitive alien that was left behind on our planet. Whereas Alien was the one that burst from out your stomach causing a severe case of deadness. E.T. obviously came from a civilised and technologically advanced culture, making him more accessible to human audiences. Alien just sort of relied on his animal instincts. Then again, when you’ve got acid for blood, your future’s pretty set for you.
Victor: ALIEN – no amount of cuteness can erase the sheer terror of H.R. Giger’s horrifically simple creation. It’s just human enough to make it seem plausible, but the array of weapons it houses on its person are immense. A mouth within a mouth, the aforementioned acid blood, and that sharp ol’ tail mean E.T. wouldn’t be phoning home, but probably an ambulance.
“I want to be where the people are!” Why Ariel? So you can feast on our flesh? The half-human, half-fish combo is something that is always chilling and confusing. Ariel pulls off adorability by being obsessed by human culture and making us chuckle at her misunderstandings pertaining to our way of life. Using a fork to comb your hair? You’re mad. CABIN IN THE WOODS offered us a more diabolical look at the same species. It was more of a cameo, but the mermaid left a lasting impression.
Victor: ARIEL - Ariel’s got it going on whether she’s half fish or not. Even when she gives up her incredible singing voice, she still manages to completely command the screen. Good looks, great talent, funny, and enthusiastic, she’s a little dreamboat. Plus, she obviously takes care of herself as you would assume that salt water would ruin her hair. Perhaps the CABIN IN THE WOODS mermaid is just Ariel in a decade or two.
It’s an inter-film smack down that you just can’t ignore when discussing cute vs. scary. Gizmo is the original Mogwai, and even though he is as cute as a button, he’s also quite dangerous. Once he gets wet he multiplies, and once they eat after midnight, they turn into little green Gremlins that just love to cause mischief…and sometimes death. While Gizmo is humming cute little songs and watching Clark Gable movies, leader of the Gremlins, Stripe, likes to drink beer and stuff his face with candy.
Victor: GIZMO – This is a rare occasion where the monsters in question actually go toe to toe with one another. Everything Gizmo does is so endearing, that we’re completely on his side throughout the entire film, no matter how hilarious Stripe and co. may be. Gizmo actually defeats Stripe on screen and proves himself as a courageous hero. He’s even voiced by Howie Mandel, and who doesn’t love Howie?
You’d think that Pixar would have kept its monsters for MONSTERS INC. and MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, and yet they just keep creeping up in other films. Lightning McQueen is a carthat talks and have cognitive thoughts. Luckily the voice of Owen Wilson makes him a bit more manageable. The n we have Christine, the monstrous creation of Stephen King and directed in the film version by John Carpenter. She may not talk or have beady eyes, but Christine will kill the life out of you.
Victor: CHRISTINE – Lightning McQueen may be sweet at points, but he also has a lot of arrogance to set aside before we can like him. Christine may be evil and deadly, but she does seem to have a caring side for her owner. No matter what though, if Christine could catch Lightning, she would make sure no DirectLine could bring him back.
The last robot on Earth has huge eyes that make him more human than any of the obese creatures he’s cleaning up after. He loves old musicals and falls in love. Who doesn’t wanna just hug the compacted waste from this little guy? The T-800 is freaky enough in his skeletal form, but stick on the skin and muscles of an Austrian body builder with a monotone voice and you’re achieving iconic badass status.
Victor: WALL-E – We’re pretty sure that Wall-E was used to turn the T-800 into a good guy protector in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY. Wall-E is one of those awesome characters that doesn’t have to try too hard to be cute, and even though THE TERMINATOR saw T-800 haunt many of our nightmares, the next time Arnie played a villain was in BATMAN & ROBIN. Need we say more?
Here’s a rare case where the same monster is portrayed by the same actor in two completely different interpretations. Before playing himself in self-detrimental comedies and just after prancing about the STAR WARS universe as a teddy bear without a picnic, Warwick Davis spent the 1990s as a leprechaun. Although most famous as the serial killer Irish fella looking out for his pot of gold, he also starred as Lucky in A VERY UNLUCKY LEPRECHAUN and THE WHITE PONY.
Victor: No Winners, Only Losers – The horror version of a Leprechaun is far too corny and focused on making nonsensical puns, whereas Lucky is probably more terrifying despite being a nice chap. It’s a bizarre mixture that many people will never want to experience. With both of them rating 0 on their respective cute/scary scale, I’d suggest sticking with another Lucky, and that’s the guy on a box of Lucky Chalms.
It’s a rat-eat-rat world out there. Although in the context of these two miniature monsters it’s a rat-control-human world. In RATATOUILLE, the rodent in question makes humans create delectable dishes by pulling on their hair. In WILLARD, Ben manipulates psychologically by simply standing around very still and staring. It’s the ultimate in understated performances.
Victor: BEN – It doesn’t matter how cute Remy is he’s still a rat around food and in people’s hair. That’s just plain gross. Meanwhile Ben seemingly does nothing and manages to control an entire rat army. That’s power, and that’s scary. Even when Michael Jackson is singing about him, there’s still an essence of unrelenting horror.
Japan are well known for their monsters, so let’s put up two of their most iconic. Totoro is a big ball of cuddles that rides around in a cat-bus and plays with kids when their mother is sick in hospital. Godzilla is a gigantic lizard that destroys major cities again and again. However, a Godzilla has also been the hero on a number of occasions, so let’s just stick with the original. It was a force to be reckoned with because, let’s be honest, you aren’t going to reason with that thing.
Victor: Tie – It’s too close to call. Seeing a monster calmly waiting for a bus in the pouring rain is simple but moving, whereas a massive creature that is just relying on its instincts is scary on all kinds of levels.
Puppets! Whether they be marionettes, ventriloquist dummies, or just hand puppets, the darn things are freaky deaky. In PINOCCHIO one of the devilish things comes to life, but rather than grabbing an axe and yelling “KILL IT! KILL IT”, its creator takes it in as his own little boy. MAGIC sees Anthony Hopkins overcome his stage fright by incorporating a dummy into his act. Unfortunately, it becomes a psychological release that fragments Hopkins’ mind. Is it the dummy or Hopkins himself? It’s debatable, but either way it’s going to give you nightmares.
Victor: FATS – Like Ben from WILLARD, Fats is even petrifying when doing nothing. His voice, his eye movements, and his control over Hopkins is both heart pounding and heart wrenching. Pinocchio may be cute to some, but he’s also an untrustworthy little brat who tells lies. Pass me the fire!
Well at the end of that it’s all even. Monsters can be used for both ‘AWWWW’s and ‘AAAHHHHH’s. Perhaps that’s why MONSTERS INC. was so successful in the first place. We’ll leave it up to you to choose your own winner by going to see MONSTERS UNIVERSITY in UK cinemas from today.