To begin with, I love art and films and books that explore fear of the unknown. I love the tension that expectation brings — that there’s something lurking in the periphery of your vision, behind the dark sliver of a partially opened closet door, or between the dark slats of a staircase leading to the basement.
My imagination goes wild for possibility, so much so that I get frustrated when the reveal arrives too soon. Truth be told, I love the monsters as much as I fear them, but that doesn’t mean I ever stop looking: eyes wide open, breath held, waiting just a beat too long for a creature to reveal itself. The expectation is so much worse (and so much better) than the resolution for me that films and books that make you wait end up being my absolute favourite.
I should probably mention that a couple of nights back lying in bed in the dark, suffering the aftermath that comes after a six-thousand word fugue to celebrate the start of NaNoWriMo (which means I basically couldn’t sleep because I was too cranked from writing), I was lying there and examining what worked so well about the creature from Mama. Tibby’s away on a work trip, and I’m by myself for the first time in our apartment, and I’m working on a horror novel that deals with exactly this sort of content: the things that make noises in the dark and the things that live in old graveyards and basically anything that makes you second guess what you know to be true and rational.
So: by myself, in the dark, thinking about Mama and how the thing moves (scuttle-crawling, really), and how the children portray this ghost in crayon drawings, and how they’ve learned to crab-walk backwards and climb furniture and lurk in a way that’s unnatural, and I’m scaring myself, staring at the closet and wondering what the hell that noise was down the hall. I hope it was the heater. Did I lock the door? Oh shit. Oh my god. What if there’s something under the bed and I put my foot down and it grabs my ankle?
And so on.
The buildup in that film was so intense that by the time I actually saw the creature, I lost my freaking mind.
Brian Coldrick’s “Behind You” is a treat for any horror fan
You guys. This is my jam. So hard.
The Behind You project plays on the idea that there is something just outside the scope of your awareness: a little creepy, a little fantastic, a little sinister. There are eldritch horrors, and ghosties, and shadow people, and slenderman-type creatures. It’s a smorgasbord of delicately animated art pieces with lovely atmosphere and captioned with a bit of story to offer context.
Really wonderful, beautifully dark work that you should really check out right now.
About Brian Coldrick’s “Behind You”
Brian Coldrick explains the project at his website:
“The whole thing sprung out of my love of horror films and books, and particularly the reading of spooky internet stories. My favourite type of spooky internet story is the real life account. These barely function as narratives as much as scary scenarios. There are so many gaps in the stories there’s lots of room for the reader to fill them in with their own conclusions. This series is essentially my attempt to purposefully do the same.
Each page is simply a character with someone, or something, behind them and one line of text. While some of them touch on well worn horror tropes, none are direct adaptions of existing stories; I guess fairytales and myths, old and new, are fair game. Hopefully there is some amusing weirdness and genuine creepiness in the mix.”
I’m including some of my favourites below.
You can find the details how to support Brain Coldrick’s work at the bottom of this post.
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