Artful Conception #14: Images of Horror

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Theme: A door being opened (on the left hand side) with a horrific creature waiting on the inside - the viewer is from the perspective facing the oblivious people about to have the shock of their lives.  It's an extremely effective arrangement, and it's been recycled to death.

Let's have a look at some more horrifying themes that have been swiped from one artist to another.  Keep in mind, this is not a criticism - reusing a theme is nothing to be ashamed of.  Indeed, all art borrows from other artworks.  Plus, a paperback or magazine cover is a very limiting canvas -you can only do so much with this format.  It's not the Sistine Chapel - it's small, and it's also got to be simple and attention grabbing.

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What says horror better than a severed head? It's an old standard, and one of the main offenders which caused the uproar in the fifties that resulted in the comics code.  For a great list of all the recycled horror conventions,  I recommend this site.

Women running from houses is perhaps the most time-honored horror trope of them all.  Indeed, Gothic paperback romances of the sixties and seventies stuck to this theme without exception.  If you think I exaggerate, check out his awesome blog aptly titled Women Running from Houses.

Then, there's the old reliable "scary hands" motif.  The come in two basic varieties.  First is the outstretched hands about to grab hold of some poor victim..

... and then there's the Giant Hand.  The theme is pretty common in science fiction; however, this is a horror post, so we'll just look at examples in this genre.  Personally, I'm not frightened of the giant hand, but I think this variation is not necessarily used to ilicit fright, but rather the dread of an all powerful force of evil that man is powerless to resist. Just a theory.


  1. Awesome post, sir! You are doing horror & Halloween proud!

  2. Thank you! Halloween is my second favorite holiday (the first obviously being George Washington's birthday).