Monstrous Powers

I saw ‘Carrie’ on Tuesday. No, not the movie with Sissy Spacek — I saw ‘Carrie’ the musical. It was a huge flop in 1988, one of the biggest Broadway flops of all time with only 21 performances, even with Betty Buckley (of ‘Cats’ fame) in the role of Carrie’s mom. The team behind the musical revived it, and it’s now at a very nice Off-Broadway theater in the West Village.

It’s not a monster hit. It’s also not the worse monster I’ve seen in the theater. I’m fortunate to have adventurous friends who join me for various off-the-beaten path experiences in art (weird museums, weird shows, weird music, weird dance…). My most adventurous theater friend and I decided during the intermission that we’d stick it out till the end, if for no other reason than to see how they handled the famous bucket of blood at the prom scene.

Ho, hum… it wasn’t scary.

But it did get me thinking about the monstrous nature of special or supernatural powers. Telekenesis was Carrie’s special talent. Her ability to make things move with her mind was pretty creepy in the book, but on Tuesday night — not so much. In the hands of a creature, human or otherwise, with monstrous intentions that kind of special power could move space ships or even mountains.

Invisibility is a great start for a story about a monster. I wrote a story a long time ago about an elderly man who believes he’s becoming invisible because fewer and fewer people seem to notice him. He begins to take advantage of his new invisibility to do illegal, unethical and just plain mean things. He was becoming a genuine monster.

If you can read minds, telepathy, then you are a kind of monstrous person. Having access to every stray thought that crosses another person’s mind, however fleeting, gives you way too much knowledge to be trusted. A little telepathy, the sensitivity to read another’s face, or to hear something more than words are revealing, is good. But a total access pass to everyone’s head is a dangerous power.

Still, I’d like to know what they were thinking when they decided to do that show again.


  1. It’s the power you have, that no-one else has, that is scary. In a world full of blind people the sighted man would be a monster. Unless, of course he used that unique talent for the good of all…. Saint Teresa anyone?

    • Candy

      In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king? Yes, in human societies anything that makes you the OTHER can be interpreted as a characteristic that makes you a monster but…. invisibility and the rest could be very useful — especially in fiction.