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Halloween Horror Photography – Week Two

The Gingerbread Girl and I Know What You Need

This week is about fighting back.  It’s about digging in your heels and gritting your teeth, dealing with the pain and the horror and coming out stronger.  It’s about who you are on the other side, in the aftermath of conflict.  How it has changed you, toughened your skin and hardened your gaze.

This week is also a look into King’s work with women.  He walks an interesting line when writing female characters; they tend to be domestic and fit into traditional archetypes but are tough – as – nails and carry a powerful inner strength.  Often they arise from devastating circumstances by finding resolve that they never knew they had.

These are two of those women, Emily and Elizabeth.

The Gingerbread Girl

She could outrun him.  Something in his gait said he would be fast for a little while and then flag, no matter how strongly his insanity and his fear of exposure pricked him on.  She thought: “It’s as if I was in training for this all along.”

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From the collection Just After Sunset.

After the death of her child, Emily’s life starts to fall apart.  Her marriage disintegrates and, alone in her own world, she begins to run to soothe her pain.  She soon learns of Pickering, a nasty man who is despised by the locals.

After accidentally finding one of his dead victims, Emily is kidnapped by Pickering.  He ties her to a chair in his kitchen, intending to rape and murder her.  During a chance moment alone, Emily frees herself from the chair.  As she tries to escape, Pickering returns.  Emily’s realizes her only option is to do what she’s been doing for months.  She has to run.

There’s a whole genre of horror that is not supernatural boogymen, ghosts and haunted houses, but incredible tales of adversity.  That’s what The Gingerbread girl is; a terrifying foray into a world where horror is the monsters around you.

This image was shot in Ocean City, MD on a rare warm day in October.  Although I had originally intended to shoot from in front of the model, I prefer this view; from the side and above.  The empty expanse of beach and ocean serve as a nice compliment to the solitary girl sitting alone.

I Know What You Need

I don’t know how he can do those things.  I doubt if even he knows for sure.  He might not mean to do you any harm, but he already is.  He’s made you love him by knowing every secret thing that you want and need, and that’s not love at all.

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From the collection Night Shift.

His name was Edward Jackson Hamner Jr.  He’s a forgettable face; the kind of guy who blends in with a crowd.  He’s socially awkward, introverted and a little strange.

And he knows Elizabeth better than anyone else in the world.

After her fiancee is killed by a speeding motorist, Ed Hamner is there to comfort Liz.  He listens to her, he helps her cope and he watches as she slowly falls in love with him.  Why wouldn’t she?  He’s the perfect guy; almost too perfect.

As their relationship progresses, Liz begins to realize that Ed Hamner might be more than he appears.  Wherever he goes, unexpected successes and tragedy follow.  And anything he wants, he gets.  Even Liz herself – whether she likes it or not.

Voodoo and it’s mythic rites are fairly uncommon topics for horror writing these days. Stories like this harken back to a time when we believed anything was possible if it came out of the darkness of a third world country.  King does an excellent job modernizing it and making it believable and terrifying.

I shot this image at the southern pier on Ocean City’s boardwalk, just at sunset.  The car is a die cast Audi R8 instead of a Fiat convertible.  There’s some warm/cool split toning on this picture, which I always love against the ocean and sky.

Next week, we turn to supernatural horror and the things that lurk just out of your vision.  Watch out behind you.

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