The Biology of B-Movie Monsters

Michael C. LaBarbera some years ago applied his loving knowledge of biology to his knowledgeable love of monster movies. The result:

labarbera_mThe Biology of B-Movie Monsters,” Michael C. LaBarbera [pictured here], Fathom, 2003. It begins thus:

SESSION 1: Biology and Geometry Collide!

Size has been one of the most popular themes in monster movies, especially those from my favorite era, the 1950s. The premise is invariably to take something out of its usual context–make people small or something else (gorillas, grasshoppers, amoebae, etc.) large–and then play with the consequences. However, Hollywood’s approach to the concept has been, from a biologist’s perspective, hopelessly naïve. Absolute size cannot be treated in isolation; size per se affects almost every aspect of an organism’s biology. Indeed, the effects of size on biology are sufficiently pervasive and the study of these effects sufficiently rich in biological insight that the field has earned a name of its own: “scaling.”

BONUS: The classic of classics on the underlying science: D’Arcy Thompson‘s Growth and Form