People never seem to give the skeleton its due. In video games, books, and movies it's often a minor monster. Rather than being the big baddy or even a mid-boss, it's more like cannon fodder. Alternatively, skeletons will be the extension of the villainous being rather than the villainous being itself. In The Mummy (remake) the monster begins as a skeleton, but in order to gain power has to give up his creepy skeleton ways to become more human. In Psycho the mother is a skeleton, but the "monster" is her demented son.
|"The easiest opponent in Puyo Puyo is far from being scary or even spooky… until you start to think about where all that tea he drinks could possibly go. WOOOOOoooooooooOOOOOO" - Ashley Davis|
How do you kill a skeleton? Chop it's head off? Nothing's technically holding it's head on! It has no physical brain, eyes, or tongue. Somehow removing the head from it's inexplicably capable body only causes new problems. Now that you've removed the head you have to deal with both the head and body trying to kill you at the same time.
"But Aaron," you say determined to ruin my day. "A skeleton may be a frightful foe in theory, but in practice they're just plain silly." Oh no reader, I have a wonderful example of a movie that uses skeletons beautifully. Remember how some people say Die Hard is one of their favorite Christmas movies? It's often over looked because its tone is drastically different from How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is similarly a strong contender for a Halloween film. It's a fun adventure movie, but when that moment pops up when we realize all the pirates on the Black Pearl are undead (pardon the parlance) shit gets reals.
Some of the skeleton pirates are silly, but the main villain, Captain Barbossa, plays a powerful nemesis for our heroes. Most good horror monsters are complex beyond "wanting to kill." Barbossa and the rest of the skeleton pirates long to regain their humanity. During the day they appear human, but that's not the same as being human. They still thirst to enjoy all the pleasures of being alive as Barbossa illustrates by desiring nothing more from humanity than to taste an apple again. The skeletons lack that aspect of humanity. They lack the ability to feel like humans feel. Barbossa's final words are "I feel...cold." This is both a terrible realization and a moment of closure for the character. Skeletons, when given the chance, can be just as interesting as any other movie monster.
But rarely are skeletons given their moment to shine. We're all too happy to let aliens and vampires bask in our hard earned attention, leaving skeletons trailing behind, broom in hand, cleaning up the aftermath of our holiday thrills. This Halloween I want all of you to keep in mind how important skeletons are as part the season. They're our decorations, our candy containers, and candle holders. Putting one up gets the point across, loud and clear, that it's time once again for Halloween. This October 31st I think all you should thank your own skeletons by not being hit by a truck.