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Frazetta Man
Frazetta Man in his natural habitat.
Neanderthal Man. Java Man. Peking Man. Piltdown Man. Nebraska Man. Encino Man. Our cousins or predecessors. What were they like? What did they eat, where did they live, how did they behave? What dreams might they have had, what primal gods did they revere? The fact is, most pulp authors just do not do the research, and lump these worthies into a mass of savage, knuckle-dragging thugs: Beast Man. Ape Man. Frazetta Man.

Named for the art of Frank Frazetta, Frazetta Man is the generic subhuman native of the Lost World. He most likely Wants Our Women, and is prepared to pursue them across hundreds of miles of jungle and savanna. He is applied in hordes, can rarely be reasoned with, and basically exists to be triumphed over by Mighty Whitey so the locals may be properly awed. Yes, Frazetta Man truly brings all kinds of Unfortunate Implications to the table in this enlightened age.

Your basic Frazetta Man has the wiry build of a chimpanzee, though he is generally around human size if not larger. He'll be covered in hair (usually not fur) and will rarely wield any weapon more sophisticated than a knobkerrie. Seldom if ever will females or children of the species be seen, perhaps explaining his fixation on the Nubile Savage in the Fur Bikini.note  His language, if he has progressed beyond the grunting stage, will be simple and brutal, and his gods will exist primarily to excuse his bloodthirsty nature.

More intelligent species of Frazetta Man exist, physically little different but typically adorned in primitive jewelry and using weapons as advanced as swords or axes. Such varieties often function as Mooks for the local Big Bad, and may shade over into orcish or Beast Man territory.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • The Trolls in Berserk are this. A savage horde of primitive beasts who eat everything (including the corpses of their own fallen) in their way and kidnap women and drag them don to their lairs to rape, impregante and kill them in that order. Some of them are smart enough to use human weapons and plate armour however, something wich disgusts Isidro when he first sees them.

    Film - Animated 

    Film - Live-Action 
  • The wendol, apparently relict Neanderthals, in Michael Crichton's The 13th Warrior.
    • This applies more to the book. In the movie it is eventually discovered that the wendol are 100% human, just dressed in bearskins
      • But they are described by one character as looking like the mating of a man and a beast, so are presumably intended to be a physically primative human.
  • Trog! has the title character as such a being, though he's more sympathetic than most.
  • One Million Years BC Features these hairy bipeds in a shadowy bit part.
  • The Land that Time Forgot (a Burroughs adaptation—see below) and its sequel feature various forms of primitive humans from All Cavemen Were Neanderthals to these guys to recognizably modern humans.
  • Moonwatcher and the gang from 2001: A Space Odyssey. They were just your ordinary Butt Monkeys Apes of the savannah until the Sufficiently Advanced Alien artifact taught them basic tool-use and they learned how to fight off predators as a group and use weapons against rival tribes.
  • Although it's intended (in-universe) to be an orc, the denuded skeleton which Frodo in Lord of the Rings trips over in Shelob's lair appears to be a chimpanzee's. This suggests that the movie series' orc designs owe more than a nod to this trope.

    Folklore 
  • This is way Older Than They Think. The medieval European folkloric image of a "woodwose", a primitive human living in the wilderness where the Christian civilization ends, has many similarities with the Frazetta man. Shaggy hair and beard, big club, naked or near-naked - it seems that the modern trope has more to do with the medieval woodwose than with any modern ideas from paleontology or anthropology. They were considered, however, not evil - just the antithesis to everything the civilization of that time stood for: urban life, feudalism, Christian faith and kings' laws. One of the Italian words for woodwose was huorco, which is one theory about where orcs got their name.
  • The Chinese also had their own remarkably similar spin on the trope in the red-haired "Yeren", also called "wildman". Nowadays it's often considered to be a cryptid in the same vein as Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti.

    Literature 
  • The Earth's Children Series (which starts with Clan Of The Cave Bear) by author Jean M. Auel zigzags this trope constantly. For example, the Neandethals of this series are depicted as a very loving and intelligent people and not beast-like (which is what the cro-magnons assume them to be) but they are terribly sexist and patriarchal (the cro-magnons are depicted as existing in an idealized primordial matriarchy, the neanderthal males treat the females as sub-human). They are also depicted as having no verbal language, but they do have a perfectly functioning and complete sign-language which the cro-magnon humans cannot comprehend as a language at all. Also their technology never progresses not because they lack intelligence but because they have an overwhelming Racial Memory which is static and inherited.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs made liberal use of Frazetta Man in a myriad of incarnations;
    • The best known and best developed are the Mangani, a missing-link "anthropoid ape" species who raised Tarzan.
    • Pellucidar alone has the Sagoths, an advanced breed of Frazetta Man who act as Mooks to the ruling Mahars, along with separate species dubbed Ape Men, Gorilla Men, and Brute Men.
  • The Wergu (literally "beastmen") from The Lords of Creation, Neanderthals transplanted to the Lost World jungles of terraformed Venus. Played absolutely straight, as vile and filthy creatures who are nothing but menaces to humanity.
  • Trolls, Ogres, and Dawn-men from The Elenium by David Eddings are Frazetta Man on steroids, and (at least the Trolls) backed by genuinely powerful (if stupid) gods.
    • They're also fairly different from each other — ogres are described more in terms of animals than this trope (which is all we get, since they never actually show up in person) and are huge horned beasts, trolls are unchanging (they don't have to change, because of the aforementioned powerful gods) but actually relatively smart. Dawn-men are simpler and unchanged — they are apparently the ancestors of trolls (and, it is implied, humans) brought forward in time by the magics of the bad guys.
  • The Morlocks from H. G. Wells' The Time Machine in appearance, though they're actually more sophisticated and technologically advanced than the more human-like Eloi.
  • These become the primary antagonists for much of The Lost World, though it is perhaps a bit less Mighty Whitey than some examples because the outsider main characters would be toast without the army of the more human natives of the plateau. Much is made of Professor Challenger's resemblance to the chief of the ape-men.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "Shadows In The Moonlight" Conan the Barbarian fights one.
    "A gray man-ape," he grunted. "Dumb, and man-eating. They dwell in the hills that border the eastern shore of this sea.
    • There's also Thak from "Rogues in the House", though he may be a mild subversion — he's dangerous explicitly because he's smart as well as strong even though he doesn't speak, and Conan himself acknowledges after defeating him that he has "slain a man tonight, not a beast."
    • It gets a bit more complex than that when you read Howard's essay on the Hyborian Age and other related materials - it turns out that after the cataclysm that destroyed the previous Thurian Age, several human groups (including King Kull's birth people, Atlanteans), devolved into Frazetta Men shortly after falling back to savagery, and Cimmerians like Conan are explicitely descended from them. Those from Conan's time are the descendants of those who didn't re-evolve back into humans.
  • Subverted in the Doc Savage series. In appearance Monk fits this trope to a tee. However he's of normal human ancestry and a genius.
  • In-universe in the Isaac Asimov short story, The Ugly Little Boy, the press make out that a Neanderthal boy (which has been brought forward in time) is an "Ape Boy" to sell more newspapers to the ignorant public. Averted by the boy himself, as he is intelligent, learns to speak English and read, and likes playing.
  • Played straight by Doris Lessing in The Fifth Child. The titular fifth child born to the Lovatt family is some kind of evolutionary throwback who destroys their domestic bliss.
    • Subverted in the sequel, Ben in the World, in which we see the world from Ben's point of view.
  • Related to the Folklore entry above. The Lord of the Rings has the Woses themselves and they show the Rohirrim the way through the Druadan forest. In reward King Elessar gives them the Wood in perpetuity, and they are never seen again. Interestingly, the Rohirrim say that the Woses remind them of their old legends of the Pukelmen, a word meaning the same as "woodwose".

    Video Games 
  • In Brutal Legend, the Headbangers are a silly version of Frazetta Men. They are built like Neanderthals, and only know how to bang their heads against rocks for mining purposes, so they are used as slave labor without the need of bars and chains. The Hero then introduces them to Heavy Metal, and compels them to bang their heads for freedom instead. They gain intelligence as the story goes by, building cars and weapons.
  • Common foes in the jungles of Quest for Glory III.
  • During the third act of Titan Quest, set in Asia, there are plenty of Neanderthal enemies met on the mountains from Parthia to the Mongolian cliffs. They have both fighters and shamans, and sometimes they ride saber-tooth lions in battle. You also get to meet their warchief, who's a colossal Yerren.
  • Some pokemon may be closer to us than you think. Look up a picture of an infernape. Now look very closely. What do you notice? (Hint:its the feet!)


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