Last year I made mention of two short phrases that for as long as I can remember have always stirred uncomfortableness in me… “come and see” and “come with me now.” Neither is inherently a statement that should cause unease, but they nevertheless do in me. There is another such phrase, one I’d long forgotten. In the 1935 movie “Bride of Frankenstein, the new character of Dr. Pretorious convinces Dr. Frankenstein – who had sworn off his life-creation experiments as a blasphemous and bad idea – to get back on the job. Dr. Pretorious at one point offers a toast to their project… “Here’s to a new world of gods and monsters.”
A modified version of that line, “Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters,” has been used in some of the promotional material for the forthcoming “Universal Monster Cinematic Universe,” which is to kick off with this summers “The Mummy.” (It was apparently supposed to have kicked off with “Dracula Untold” a few years ago, but since it kinda bombed…)
Anyway, “a new world of gods and monsters” is a phrase that, like “come and see,” kinda sets my teeth on edge. What’s interesting: I hadn’t thought of “a new world of gods and monsters” in *years* until I saw it revived for “The Mummy.” And yet, now that I am well into a series of interlinked stories set in the universe of “Mass Disappearance” and “Going to Gimli,” being perhaps halfway through what might be a full-up novel, “Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters” would be a fantastic tagline. And while I doubt that the makers of “Bride of Frankenstein” had H.P. Lovecraft in mind when they wrote that line, it fits well into his Cthulhu mythos as well.
My stories, without intending it, would actually almost seem to bridge the Frankenstein and Lovecraft worlds. The world is something that Lovecraft would have recognized, apart from the technology; but the gods and monsters are, unlike HPL’s incomprehensibly powerful beings from Beyond, largely the results of mankinds own efforts, intentional and otherwise.
I have no doubt that there are other such small phrases that have similar impacts upon my tiny little mind. There are some that have virtually the opposite… rather than inspiring vague nameless dread, “ashes of our fathers” inspires pride. Of course, for that to happen, one has to know the fuller context of the phrase, and even then it may well be that emotional links depend on a wide range of circumstances. Had I not seen “Bride of Frankenstein” until five years ago, or never heard of “Come and see” until it was used in season one of “Sleepy Hollow,” they might have no more impact on me than “Yes We Can” or “I Like Ike” or “Make America Great Again.”
So: what have y’all got? What little snippet of religious text, literature, lyrics, poetry, etc. can you hear and immediately feel a sense of dread that seems excessive to the small little phrase?
There’s also always “BWOOP BWOOP Pull. Up. BWOOP BWOOP Pull. Up.” Hearing that in a movie never fails to give me the willies.