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Monsterland's Creator Hopes the Hulu Series Helps People Examine Their Own Views of Humanity

Taylor Schilling in Monsterland.
Taylor Schilling in Monsterland.
Image: Hulu

If you haven’t yet watched Hulu’s eight-episode horror anthology Monsterland, beware: the New York Comic Con panel did contain a few plot spoilers (especially for one particularly squeamish moment in the episode starring Mike Colter). But the discussion also dug way into the show’s deeper meaning.

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“I started developing Monsterland right after Trump was elected,” creator Mary Laws (Succession, Preacher, The Neon Demon) explained. “And like many, many people was really terrified, and just sort of took a look around and felt like there was a lot of polarization happening. I still continue to be really scared by sort of the lack of nuance in the world, and the lack of nuance in the way that we look at each other. There’s good people, and bad people, and that’s about it sometimes. I feel a great concern...when we forget to look at each other as complex, complicated human beings with incredible pasts, with trauma that we have experienced, with generational trauma that has been passed down to us, with so many complicated things going on in every one moment, you know?”

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“What I loved about [Nathan Ballingrud’s book, North American Lake Monsters] was he examined people who wouldn’t necessarily have been given that kind of nuanced examination or second thought. People who had done a lot of harm to other people. Characters who had acted badly. Women who had behaved really badly. Blue-collar workers who don’t normally get placed in the spotlight. I was really interested in bringing characters like that to the screen, because I think that only through that kind of fictionalized examination of darkness and of humanity and of what makes people do the things that they do, can we really understand the humans in our world, and also ourselves by proxy.”

Here’s a new featurette that debuted as part of the panel:

“That’s what I hope that people that will take away when they see Monsterland. I hope certainly that they’ll be entertained...that they’ll be excited by the beautiful performances and the beautiful visuals that our team brought to life, and the amazing monsters that K&B created. But I also hope that they’ll walk away with a little bit of a question, of like who was the most monstrous, why the people in the episodes did the things that they did, and maybe a little bit more understanding for how complicated human beings can be.”

Check out the rest of the panel—featuring cast members Colter, Jonathan Tucker, Taylor Schilling, and Kelly Marie Tran—below, but also be sure to head to Hulu to watch Monsterland, which is currently streaming.


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DISCUSSION

I watched the first one this weekend, and I don’t think it’s for me. It was so incredibly bleak and hopeless that a face stealing serial killer was the least upsetting thing in the episode.

It’s similar to Handmaid’s Tale for me. Well acted, well made, does what it sets out to do, I don’t need to see anymore of it.