Monday, May 13, 2013

May Monster Madness #3: Skeksis

On this third day of monstrous fun, I decided to visit a film I viewed many times throughout my childhood.  As an adult, I love it just as much now as I did then.


The 1982 film The Dark Crystal features a classic quest story, a battle between good and evil, and stunning visuals.  The story features a young Glefling named Jen who needs to heal a crystal by finding a shard of it that split away.  When the split happened many years ago, a species of tall, flowing beings were split into two races called the Mystics and the Skeksis.  

The Mystics are gentle, kind, and wise.  The Skeksis are dishonest, scheming beings who will do anything to get what they want.  These two races represent the good and evil that resided within each member of the race that spawned them when the crystal cracked.  Healing the crystal when the Great Conjunction comes (which is the three suns aligning in the sky) will bring these two parts back together to form a whole.

The Skeksis meet many of the criteria for being monsters. They're incredibly ugly, first of all. While it is undeniable that not all monsters are ugly, being hideous does add to a monster's street cred.  They also crave power, and they don't mind who they step on to get it.  They drained most of the Gelflings of their vital essence to prolong their own youth.  They then proceeded to do the same to the Podlings, and they used the withered husks that remained as slaves.

Since they were spawned from the darkness that resided within the original race, this hails back to a recent post I did about Monstrosity and Storytelling.  The basic idea is that we look at the monsters we see inside ourselves in bring them into the world as physical beings so we can confront them.

Since the main audience for this film, however, is children, the Skeksis are not only monstrous.  They can also be quite ridiculous and funny.   The monstrous aspects of these beings are undeniable, but the humor helps dispel and repulsion and fear that might result from seeing their monstrosity.  In a way, the humor operates as a way of defeating the monster.  While it may harm those on screen, being able to laugh at them reminds children that these monsters won't harm them.  A monster's power is diminished when you don't give in to the fear.


  1. Hey I remember watching that and enjoyed it.

  2. I've never seen this film but might have to go looking for it now :)

  3. Oh god how I loved this film! I remember watching The Dark Crystal from as young as three and I loved it to itty bitty little bits and pieces! You've actually just reminded me that I should find a copy for my kids, so thank you!
    Here's my MMM'S for today Carmen Jenner Author and Book Me!

    Happy Hopping! =D

  4. Oh yeah! What a classic... and the Skeksis! They were so bad in the best way! I love the themes in this film, they play on light and dark and good and evil.

    Here's my day III MMM at Design du Jour.

  5. I have never heard of this before but I need to check it out. I love these kind of movies.

  6. Interesting to point out that we all could have a monster inside us. Looks like a cool film!

  7. I remember that movie. They were creepy. A bit like vultures.

  8. The Skeksis were vile and ruthless.. and each with their different "personalities"... cool group... and loved the way that their attitudes played off of each other .... Great choice for a "May Monster"... A graet Monday to you.... the Doctor

  9. The Dark Crystal is a staple of my childhood, along with Labyrinth. One of my best friends loved it so much she has the great conjunction map tattooed on her back!

    What I loved best about the Skesis were that as bad as they were, they part of a whole- as demonstrated when one is killed and you see a mystic disappear mid-march because he was the other side of him. I'll have to go check out your monstosity post as i'm sure that demonstrates my thoughts even better.

  10. Hehe, never heard of the Skeksis before (due to the fact that I've never seen Dark Crystal), but they sure look fun! :)