As the resident Freakytrigger fearologist, I can no longer hold my fire on the most insidious trend of monster movies of the last twenty years. It is OK when a few late night shockers tumble down this line, but when even a Narnia film tiptoes into this area of excess, I have to make myself heard. In Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, in the big final battle, the crew come up against a sea serpent. A pretty well realised sea serpent, peril levels were actively high for this bit. Big, slobbery and bitey, I was rather impressed with how this effect came out. And then the serpent had to go and open up ITS ENTIRE BODY to reveal some sort of chitinous extra sets of mouths, legs and a whole mess of needless rubbish. I must speak up. And when I speak I open my mouth and what’s inside BUT ANOTHER EVEN SCARIER MOUTH.

We all know who to blame.

Teeth are scary. Biting is scary. But I never understood why having a second little mouth inside you more than adequately toothy mouth made the Alien more fearsome. Is the little mouth a tongue with teeth, can it eat with the big mouth? All questions which are happily ignored when discussing the Xenomorph, as nothing about its reproductive or biological make up makes any sense. The extra mouth comes low down on the list of oddities with this creation.

Or indeed this one:

The Predator seems to have a little mouth in his big mouth and then a few extra teeth on the outside just for a laugh. Not as funny as his piggy eyes though. I remember the reveal in the original film for this everyone being a bit underwhelmed. Is this horrifically ugly or just badly designed?

When you think about it Star Wars has that pit full of teeth which never seem to be able to chew, The Thing seems to evolve teeth out of nowhere and I have no idea what was going on inside the Graboids mouths in Tremors, it just didn’t seem evolutionarily plausible. The giant worms steeling people from the surface was scary enough, I don’t need additional pink mile long tongues with teeth in too.

Obvious revealing something hidden can provide a nice shock, all for the good in a horror movie you would think. But when something is already scary, adding stuff on to make it more scary often undermines the effect. The Alien fulfils out fears by being fast, strong and deadly. The moment that second mouth pops out I wondered why is this ultimate killing machine bothering with this silly little mouth? Same in the Dawn Treader: the serpent is a very effective antagonist, because it is bigger then the boat and will eat people. As soon as its banana like body unfolds to reveal pointless bits (and what appears to be a soft underbelly) you ask yourself “how would that have evolved?”* Sure slipping some surprising teeth inside an attractive insecure girl can be scary (as seen in Teeth). Adding an additional layer of teeth to a MONSTER, doesn’t make it more monstrous. It makes it oddly less.

This is the only picture of the serpent I could find, and its after the “reveal”:

*OK, I know its Narnia, and magical and this is a figment partially of Edmund imagination. BUT EDMUND HAD NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE TROPE YET.