This linked article, “19 Movie Characters Who Were In Minimal Runtime, But Made Maximum Impact”, got me to thinking. A character doesn’t have to monopolize the move screen to totally own the movie. And with Horror especially, and even more especially Monster Movies (that beloved subgenre of Horror, for me the *most* beloved subgenre), this applies more than with any other kind of film. It isn’t surprising to find several Horror heroes featured in their list: Hannibal Lecter, Sauron, Beetlejuice, Vincent Price’s character from EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, and Pinhead. None of them had that much time on screen during their respective movies, but they ruled the movie all the same, made it theirs.
With Monster movies, the basic rule of thumb where it comes to showing your monster is, less is more. If you show the monster too much it loses its effectiveness. Hardcore marks like you and me would be fine with it, poring over every second, every frame, in search of as much detail as possible, but for most viewers, the less they see the beast, the better. That’s why we get a whole lot of Larry Talbot and David Kessler and just a little of the Wolfman and the American Werewolf. And honestly, doesn’t it work better that way?