sun dog halloween

Halloween Horror Photography – Week One

Gray Matter and The Sun Dog

I love fall because I love Halloween.  Everything about this season makes me smile; cool nights, pumpkin beer and a good horror story.

I decided this year I would contribute to the terror of the season with a photo project: a series of horrific images taken from Stephen King’s short stories.  Over the next four weeks, I’ll be recreating moments from these tales in photographic form.  Today we start with two older stories: one is a scene of quiet domestic horror, the other is a literal snapshot of hell.

Gray Matter

“Something gray” is all the kid can tell Henry.  “Didn’t look like a hand at all.  Just a gray lump.”

horror grey matter

From the collection Night Shift

One cold winter day, Timmy Grenadine walks into Henry’s Nite Owl, too frightened to go home.  He describes a scene of terror to the men there; of the old, fermented beer and his father Ritchie’s literal decay.  More than a story of the domestic effects of alcohol, this is a tale of what happens on the edges of reality to those who don’t take heed of the expiration date.

This is the first piece in the series I shot.  The hand is mine.  I overlaid images of peeling paint and cracked stone to give the impression of skin flaking and rotting away.  In Stephen King’s story, the negative effects are the result of a bad case of Schlitz beer.  I used Genny Cream as well, a generous contribution from my friend Andrew Feierabend.

The Sun Dog

God knew how the dog had gotten into that Polaroid world in the first place, but when its picture was taken, it could see out and it wanted to get out…

sun dog horror

From the collection Four Past Midnight

Kevin’s birthday present this year is something different: a polaroid Sun 600 camera.  But this is no ordinary camera; the only photographs it produces are of a vicious black dog.  Maybe the dog is trapped inside the camera, or maybe the camera is trapped inside our world and looking into another.  But what Kevin knows for certain is the dog is getting closer.  And closer…

I love mixing destiny with horror.  I love the idea that there is something behind you, following you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  It’s analogous with our real deaths; we are all going to die, there’s nothing we can do about it and it keeps getting closer.

This is a modernization of the story, call it the T3 Dog if you want.  The bloody paw print is made from the mold of a real – life Grey Wolf paw.  The “dog” on the LCD is actually a sloth bear, heavily modified in Photoshop.

I started with a more traditional processing of the image, but was drawn to the look of a poorly processed polaroid instead, something closer to what the Sun 600 would actually produce.  Light leaks were created in Lighroom using gradients of varying exposure levels.

I’ll see you next week for more horror.  Remember, beware of stray dogs.  They may bite…

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