Monstrous Mondays – The Garthim

Name: The Garthim

From: The Dark Crystal (1982)

Classification: Black Shelled Beetle Monster of the Movies

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In 1982 Jim Henson and Frank Oz created one of the most ambitious and beautiful movies ever created, The Dark Crystal. Henson and Oz teamed up with artist Brain Froud to craft the world of Thra and all of its inhabitants. In a world so distinct and fantastical the need to create a creature so vile and unnerving to accompany the equally evil and grotesque Skeksis feels like it could have been a challenge. It’s said that Henson’s direction to Froud was to “make something really scary”. I think Froud was successful.

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The Garthim (or Beetles as I called them as a kid) were created from the memories of ancient sea life from the original planet of the urSkek by the Skeksis scientist, SkekTek and SkekUng the Garthim Master . The Garthim were created after a  prophecy revealed that a Gelfling would reverse the Great Division, returning both Skeksis and urRu to their original form of the urSkek. After their creation, the Garthim almost hunted the Gelflings to extinction.

These mindless and violent creatures reacted only to the orders they were given by SkekTek and SkekUng. When not needed these large,  black-carapaced, beetle-like monsters would sit dorment and be nothing more than a statue. But when they did surge to life they were strong enough to smash through stone and could scurry with enough speed on their many tentacle-like legs to capture Pod People with powerful crab claws.

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In the Dark Crystal, the duality theme carried over to the Garthim as their only natural enemy was the Landstriders (or Stilt Walkers as I called them as a child). Wherein the Garthim were dark, strong, and thuggish the Landstriders were bright, graceful, and almost ethereal in nature. In one of the sadder parts of the film we see a battle between the two warring creatures.

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The Garthim is a monster from my childhood that will remain with me forever. Not for the simple fact that is was scary, but for how much it was a beautiful balance of imagination, engineering, and puppeteering. Everything from it’s glistening black shell to its almost locust like clicking sounds populate the crowded landscape of my nostalgia.

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Check Out & Enjoy Past Monstrous Monday Entries 

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12 thoughts on “Monstrous Mondays – The Garthim

  1. Can’t wait for my Garthim figure to come in! I’ll be adding it to my Dark Figure figure feature. I love how they just break apart when the Dark Crystal is healed. It’s so symbolic that they are basically nothing on the inside.

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    1. The whole movie is beautifully symbolic. Enjoy the figure when it arrives. One day I hope to be able to collect again…darn responsibilities and darn crappy job…lol. Cheers 😊

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  2. Okay…I know this hurts my nerd-cred but I’m gonna say it. I’ve never seen ‘The Dark Crystal.’ I know! I’m sorry! I’ve always felt I should check it out. I really need to see it right? I should…

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    1. You NEED to. But you need to go into it with a open heart and a child like sense of awe. I’ve tried having jaded adults see it (wife) and they couldn’t fit their mind around it and the fact that there are zero humans on screen. It’s a great fantasy movie, and you should check it out.

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      1. Open heart and a child like sense of awe? Check! That’s how I try to watch as many movies as I can now :). It’s just, I don’t know, nicer to try and enjoy something for what it is first before letting the cynicism run rampant you know? So, okay, I’ll give this a go and let you know what I think!

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      2. I think, as a culture, too often we forget about that part of entertainment you know? Come Oscar time it’s all soul-crushing depictions of pain, struggle, and (if we’re lucky) triumph. That’s important but we also (really!) need art to lift us up, make us laugh, be fun, and make us forget about our problems.

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