Natural History Museum reveals the science behind monster movies

LOS ANGELES – If you ask people at the Natural History Museum, movie monsters are not just for Halloween. In fact, they can give us an insight into how pop culture and science often overlap.

“The Natural History of Horror” at the museum gives us an in-depth look at props and artifacts from movies like Frankenstein. Dracula. The Mummy, and The creature from the Black Lagoon, Like many others, Beth Werling, head of the Museum’s Historical Collection Department, grew up with these films and points out that the Natural History Museum is unique in terms of its scientific and historical collections.

CONNECTION l horror movie monster collects chills in the neighborhood

“Around 1930, we started collecting film artifacts as one of the most significant industries here in Los Angeles,” said Werling. “These horror props you’ll see at the show are some of the pieces that Universal donated to us, including in the 1930s.”

In a display sits a real vampire next to the propeller, which was used in 1931 Dracula with Bela Lugosi. Fascinating facts about the history and behavior of vampire bats merge with the mythology of the Bram Stoker novel and the many following vampire movies.

The creature from the Black Lagoon was inspired by the real scientific discovery of a coelacanth and indigenous folklore. A real newspaper ad from this period shows a reward for capturing these once extinct creatures.

“It has sparked a scientific debate,” said Werling. “By putting a dollar sign on the Coelacanth, they destroyed the remaining small population or actually supported and supported science.”

But why are these movie monsters still holding out?

One visitor to the museum, Billy Greenwood, whose arms are full of monster tattoos, said, “You can watch these films and understand in a metaphorical way that all these people just want to be left alone. They want to do their own thing, but people could not accept that. “

Jeff Pirtle, Director of Archives and Collections at NBC / Universal, said, “It’s not just film history. Here human history is preserved. And to see how the relationship between science and these films comes together here in the Natural History Museum was a real pleasure for me. “

Beth Werling hopes that the natural history of horror will bring recognition to science in most movies and give people more appreciation for some of their favorite movie monsters.

The exhibition runs until 19 April.

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