sneakers horror

Halloween Horror Photography – Week Three

The Road Virus Heads North and Sneakers

This week, we’re going to deal with the horror that lies just outside your field of view; the monster lurking just around the corner or the killer crouching in the back seat of your car.  This week, it’s about knowing that what you fear is out there, waiting for you to move, to look up and to see it coming.

Because this week, the horror is coming for you.

As this week’s images are larger than normal, I highly recommend clicking them and viewing the full res versions of flickr.

The Road Virus Heads North

The picture was still there, but it had changed once more.  Now it showed two glaring white circles – headlights – with the dark shape of the car hulking behind them.  “He’s on the move again,” Kinnell thought…

road virus horror

From the collection Everything’s Eventual.

It was a painting titled “The Road Virus Heads North.” It depicted a man driving a muscle car down a dark road, grinning like a homicidal maniac, and Richard Kinnell couldn’t refuse it.  He found it at a yard sale and, being a horror writer, had to buy it.

But Kinnell slowly begins to wonder if this painting is not just canvas and oil.  Its creator, a tortured artist who was driven to suicide by his hallucinations.  And the more he looks at it, the more it changes; first the background and then the maniac himself.  It changes until Kinnell can recognize the path the Road Virus is traveling, and see the tide of destruction it leaves in its wake.

As he watches the Road Virus cut across the Maine countryside, Kinnell realizes with horror: the maniac is following him home.

My original intention was to use the mirror around the fireplace to depict the Road Virus sneaking up on on its helpless victim.  However, when testing the shot out, I found it worked better as a panorama of the room.  It leads you from the brighter right side to the darker left side and reveals the horror so much more effectively.

My good friend Samuel Hall played the Road Virus.  I shot a second picture of him from a different, lower angle and converted it into the painting in Photoshop, using posterization and brush strokes.

I actually had to reshoot my side of the panorama, because my shadows didn’t match properly and could not be photomerged.  While reshooting, Firecracker climbed up on the table in the background and offered his services as a model.


“So this guy’s supposed to haunt…what, the bathroom?” And suddenly he laughed, because, gruesome as the story had been, there was something comic in the idea of a ghost haunting a shithouse…“You know people…guys would tell me they’d seen him.  Not all of him, just his sneakers under the stall door.”

sneakers horror

From the collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

John Tell is afraid to use the third floor bathroom of his recording studio.  It’s because of the sneakers.  At first, he thought they belonged to an employee.  But they never leave.  Day after day, month after month, those sneakers remain on the floor of the stall.

Truth is, it’s not the sneakers that terrify Tell.  It’s the man they belong to.  Because there was a drug dealer murdered in the bathroom, stabbed in the eyeball with a pencil.  And only Tell knows that he hasn’t left, that he’s still in that third floor stall.

This image was the most fun to create so far.  My buddy J Farell jumped at the chance to play the terrified record exec.  I chose to shoot both pictures in the same stall, to give an unsettling uniformity to the piece.

This is one of the times that an image in my head comes to perfect fruition on the camera.  Everything here is exactly as I pictured it a month ago when I was planning out the shoot.

I was tempted to sketch “All that you love will be carried away” on the wall of the stall, but felt that it took away from the image I was shooting.  Next time, perhaps…

Some behind – the scenes photos from this image:


Next week we conclude with two of my favorite horror stories (and maybe a third if I’m feeling ambitious)…so try to stay alive until then.

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