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A monster is a creature that produces fear or physical harm by its appearance or its actions. Derived from the Latin monstrum, the word usually connotes something wrong or evil; a monster is generally morally objectionable, physically or psychologically hideous, or a freak of nature. They are usually composites of different creatures, or hybrids of humans and animals, but the term can also be applied figuratively to describe someone with similar characteristics, such as a person who does cruel or horrific things. Monsters pre-date written history, but do not emerge from a cultural void. Instead, they have their origins in a society's literary and cultural heritage, the academic study of which is known as monstrophy. Monsters have appeared in literature and in feature-length films. Well-known monsters in fiction include Count Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, werewolves, mummies, and zombies.
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