The Inspiration - Still Life Photography & Japanese Horror Movies
Don't Open the Door - inspired by Japanese horror films

Don't Open the Door - inspired by Japanese horror films

I have always loved Horror films. From gore fests, such as the 80’s classics ‘From Beyond’, which is based on an H.P Lovecraft novel, and Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street series and the comedic Re-Animator. Spanning four decades, I also love the Night of the Living Dead series; and also Japanese ghostly, creepy films such as Ringu, Ju-on: The Grudge, Dark Water and the 1960s classic, Kwaidan.

I love the feeling of fearful anticipation when waiting for Jason Voorhees to pounce on some teenagers deep in the woods, and the moments of sheer dread that the music from The Hills Have Eyes remake gave me. The fear I felt when I was about 13 and saw the Grady twins from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, has never been equaled.

It is the Japanese films that inspired me to create 'Don't Open the Door’. (Spoilers ahead…. )There was a scene in Ringu 2, when Sadako’s dead, ghost mother is brushing her hair whilst looking into the oval mirror, in The Yamamura Inn. She slowly turns around and sees Mai the main character, fearfully, watching her. The ghost drifts across the room behind the door where you, the viewer, and Mai, cannot see her. Her head then very slightly peeks around the corner of the door. Her face looks much darker than how it looked previously. It is a rare moment that sent chills up my spine and it is a film clip that I never forgot.

The same effect is visible in Ju-on The Grudge. A creepy girl ghost creeping out of bedclothes, coming around corners and down the stairs and even under duvet covers. I have to hand it to Japanese movie directors such as Hideo Nakata and Takashi Shimzu, they knew how to create proper, non-gore, edge of your seat, scares. Creepy, fleeting movie moments, using everyday household furniture: having terrifying dead girls with long, dark hair popping out from, and around or down from them. You would then be afraid to look under the duvet at night, or look behind the door!

So this image is kind of an homage to the kind of bone-chilling scare.  This time it’s the screaming skeleton, looking out at you from the stone door opening. I personally think her facial expression is quite chilling, the open mouth shock/scream look. The way the hands are folded over one another looks as if she's just been awoken from a thousand years in Hell’s warm discomforts. The warmish bright light that she is bathed in completely reveals her, in her ghastly glory. So when planning this shoot and creating the Still Life image, it was the concept of having a face peering out at you from a crack in the door, or a crack in the composition, that inspired me.
So if you have looked in my, 'The Dark Art’ gallery you know that I clearly am a horror aficionado. I don't know if there will be a ghost under my duvet tonight, but where my Horror Photography is concerned, one thing is for certain - watch this space, there will be more!