Monster Man

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
Monster Man TV Poster Image
Behind-the-scenes at special effects shop with gory images.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The special effects artists featured on the series represent mostly self-made professionals who have worked hard to achieve success in a highly unconventional field. This sends a strong message of the value of working toward dreams and trying to do what one most wants to do for a living.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While the show's designers are very good at their jobs and communicate the intricacies well, they are also poorly behaved at times and demonstrate occasional poor interpersonal relationships, for example the frequent anger between a daughter and father duo on the series.

Violence

The show depicts special effects projects for film and television that involve heavy gore, such as shark attacks or Siamese twins splitting apart. But while the images can be gross, it's clear that everything is fake.

Sex

Occasional views of scantily-clad women being attacked by monsters in horror film clips, or being fitted for prosthetic appliances in the FX shop.

Language

Occasional use of "damn" or "hell," very rare use of stronger language, but always bleeped.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Rare references to social drinking or smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this behind-the-scenes reality series focuses on a Hollywood special effects shop that works exclusively in horror films. Their projects often involve very specific and gory violence, and the shop's employees seem to delight in that fact. While the team working on these projects is occasionally rough around the edges in terms of their treatment of each other, their skill at their work clearly shines through. These are talented craftspeople depicted working at a job they clearly love.

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What's the story?

Syfy's reality series MONSTER MAN explores the art and life of one of Hollywood's great "monster men," the special effects artists who have become cult heroes among horror fans for creating the iconic scary creatures that inhabit our nightmares. Cleve Hall has more than 30 years experience building strange beasts, prosthetic appliances, otherworldly aliens, and many more FX creations. Monster Man follows Cleve through his day-to-day life as an FX creator and his many interpersonal encounters with his daughters and ex-wife, who work alongside him, as well as his best friends, one of whom is technically his boss.

Is it any good?

Monster Man suffers from the same awkwardness that so many reality series today suffer from: It just doesn't feel very "real." Although there's plenty of interesting material, most of the cast exhibits a deer-in-the-headlights reaction to discussing their work on camera.

There's also an unshakable sense that the entire enterprise is scripted to within an inch of its life -- not that most reality shows aren't, but at least most other reality shows are better at disguising the unreality with a sense of spontaneity. It's ironic that a team credited with so many amazing unreal creations can't manage to overcome the unreality of their own reality show.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Monster Men's extensive depiction of violence and gore. Are scary movies just as scary now that you know how the effects are created?

  • Does this show make you want to go into special effects arts as a career? If not, what is something you really love that you could make into a career?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love reality shows

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