Homage in The Shape of Water – Monsters who like candy

Colonel Strickland, the cruel government agent who pulled the amphibious fish/man out of the river muck in South America, continually crunches on green (lime?) hard candy throughout The Shape of Water.

Strickland isn’t cinema’s only early-’60s  antagonist with a sweet tooth, though. Who could forget Psycho‘s Norman Bates, the mama’s boy with a taste for candy corn? (shown here nervously chewing away as he disposes of Marion Crane’s car, her freshly-showered body in the trunk)

Candy adds an intriguing dimension to these two tormented monsters. It makes them somehow vulnerable, possibly even childlike. The line separating the truly evil from the rest of us becomes a little more blurred.

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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