Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Looking at more playground images

First up is an image of a slide taken in Chernobyl which is situated outside a school.

There is something so beautiful and so tranquil about this photograph which comes which comes from its natural look but when you look at the slide and take in the context of the image it becomes something much more disturbing. Something that used to be tender and innocent has become wild and somewhat creepy because of the abandonment of the area, which is the sort of feeling I want to convey to my audience.

I feel that my playground scene should shall be covered in snow and set in a night time environment. I feel that this would produce the eerie feeling I'm trying to recreate. This is because with the snow it creates a orangey unnatural colour which I feel would add to the overall eeriness of the image.

Something like this really. I like the idea of the footprints in the snow as well.


Chernobyl slide -

Wintery Park -

I also recommend looking at the other photos of Chernobyl tour as they are rather haunting -

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Snowy Playground

From Phil's feedback I am moving into the direction of producing a Snowy playground. I found a few images on google and there is such an uncanny feel to them.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Swing Ideas

Just some thumbnails of ideas for the swing in front of the house

Abandoned House thumbnails

Just looking at the shapes of old and abandoned looking houses and trying to get an idea as to how I would like my final concept to look like

Monday, 13 December 2010

Swing Map

Some creepy swing pictures more influence maps to come

Photoshop Doll concept WIP

Just a quick concept on coming up with a look for a doll.

WIP at the moment generally thinking it needs longer hair and don't know whether to keep it a darker colour or make it a curly blonde......Dress will probably be a white colour to connote innocence and I'm planning on having a twin with this one

Creepy House exteriors

Wanting to maybe move on from mirrors as I feel they were slightly holding me back I thought of the idea of house exteriors. Mainly the exteriors of abandoned houses with a few childlike objects littering the scene such as a small tricycle and dolls/broken dolls and a swing. 
Houses are supposed to be a welcoming place but as you can see from the above images they don't really seem to fit that description. The bottom image is especially creepy as the view of the house is hindered by the trees in the way and makes the bottom part of the house especially stand out with its shadows to give off the feeling of something lurking in them watching you.

I do feel like incorporating a style into my scene as well particularly influencing from Monster house
I like this poster for the film because the trees are slightly bent and to me that seems like the force of evil pushing them into that shape. With the lights as well and the bump in the middle in gives this look of the front of the house being a face.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Just a quick drawing on photoshop of two dolls

Two dolls sitting in an armchair quick photoshop thumnail

Two more films of interest into doppelgangers

First it's Artefacts which again I found the film through looking on google images where the main character finds out that her friends are being killed off by their doubles

From within is a film also looking into the idea of doppelgangers which I also found on google images

Looking into Doppelgangers

After Phil's prompt of looking into the Doppelganger idea I came across a couple of things which may be of interest to others as well.

First off I looked on google for some spooky images of Doppelgangers to see what would come up and found a picture linking of a still from a movie called The Broken which is about a woman who sees a look-alike of herself driving down the road whom she decides to follow.

After finding the trailer on youtube I also typed in Doppelganger which came up with this short movie which I found rather disorientating and rather surreal.

I will watch The Broken tomorrow. I do like the ideas I've put forward but maybe adding Doppelgangers into my ideas as well? Seems like a nice addition to the scenes.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

@Phil Thinking through ideas

Basically after watching Mirrors I have been really put off of mirrors and have started to finalise in thinking of two different settings for my scene. Influenced by the final scene of the movie I was thinking of doing a twist on a dark street which is mirrored and in the reflections of the floor have the real street with wording the right way round creating the feeling of being in a mirrored world

This sort of idea but as if it was viewed normally rather than being mirrored letters. I was also thinking that the writings not only conveyed through neon signs but on the walls to be a bit more menacing with things that are strange displayed on them rather than the normal open sign. 

The other idea that I have is confining the scene within a childish bedroom. Again with the use of mirrors but I am not quite sure as to what I'm going to have the mirrors doing. For example I was firstly thinking of having the mirrors/mirror display a horrifying alternate to the childish surroundings like a pretty dolly reflected in the mirror as a decaying, stained one and the use of shadows to make normal things look menacing in their silhouettes. Or just a bedroom with mirrors with silhouettes of people pressing against them 


Neon sign - accessed on 8/12/10

Shadow figure - accessed on 8/12/10

Scary girl in the mirror - accessed on 8/12/10

Rosemary's Baby review

Rosemary’s Baby is a story of satanic cults and worries of pregnancy. It follows Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse who move into their new apartment in a building that has a bad reputation. They meet an elderly couple who are neighbours who seem very friendly who invite them over for dinner after Rosemary makes friends with a girl they look after who commits suicide. Rosemary is not taken with the couple but Guy is very interested in Roman Castevet’s old stories which leads to strange events to occur in which Rosemary has a vision of being sexually assaulted by a beast and Guy beings to become distant. She finds out that she is pregnant but begins to fall into paranoia as she feels the neighbours are conspiring against her to use the baby for their satanic cult.

Ambiguity plays a large part in Rosemary’s Baby as the audience is never definitely given a full idea of what is happening within the film. This ambiguity is used well and keeps forcing the audience to question the decisions they make as to whether the neighbours are part of a satanic cult or is she just being delusional and paranoid. ‘a woman who believes herself impregnated by the Devil (in the guise of her husband), its main strength comes from Polanski's refusal to simplify matters: ambiguity is constant, in that we are never sure whether Farrow's paranoia about a witches' coven is grounded in reality or a figment of her frustrated imagination.’ (GA Rosemary’s Baby review This ambiguity continues until the very last few scenes of the film and this is due to such admirable performances from the actors. They all conform to their roles well as Farrow does well to play out the paranoia of Rosemary and Gordon and Blackmer put on equally good performances as the all too friendly neighbours.

Taking into social context Farrow’s personal life mirrors the struggle that Rosemary goes through in the way that the values are very male orientated. At the time of production Farrow was in a divorce battle with Sinatra over her partake in the film against his wishes. The film is brings forward the theme of sexist males in which Rosemary is sidelined while Guy concentrates on his acting career, and the males ignore Rosemary’s painful stomach trouble in which they shoo it off with information like it being perfectly normal for a woman of her size to experience pelvic pains. ‘with Rosemary's Baby, he and Farrow channeled that unease into a Hollywood movie that transformed the prototypical woman-in-peril suspenser into a treatise on the many ways soon-to-be mothers can feel spiritually abandoned during pregnancy—from doctors with suspect bedside manners, from husbands who grow distant and disinterested, and from a world that dismisses their fears as the by-product of raging hormones.’ (Grierson, Wednesday October 29 2008

Farrow pulls off a very impressive performance in the film and in not only looking the part for Rosemary’s traumatic events but also for portraying her emotions so well, the audience can really empathise with her even though it can be questioned in her sanity because of her pain. Gordon also plays Ruth Castevet very well and portrays an seemingly friendly but nosey neighbour who constantly mumbles her words to make her sound very creepy. ‘Mia Farrow seems to grow more sickly and emaciated the more her stomach swells, but she is built for the part of Rosemary and her skillful progression from pain to puzzlement to panic goes far beyond mere looks. The film's most memorable performance, though, is turned in by Veteran Ruth Gordon as the coarse and cozily evil Minnie Castevet - sniffing for information like a questing rodent, forcing Rosemary to drink her satanic tonics of herbs, dispensing that old Black Magic that she knows so well in a voice that sounds like a crow with a cold.’ (Time Rosemary’s Baby review)

Rosemary’s Baby is a frightening film which revels in its ambiguity. The acting is first class which stops the film from becoming silly as we really start to empathise with Rosemary and the actors playing the cult are believable and freaky. Polanski really captures a sense of learned helplessness in the film as Rosemary succumbs to the cult in the end because she has gone through all the horrors but realises that she cannot escape from it, which we feel guilty for because we cannot stop it.


GA, Rosemary’s Baby review, accessed on 7/12/10

Grierson, Wednesday October 29 2008 accessed on 7/12/10

Time Rosemary’s Baby review,9171,900239,00.html accessed on 8/12/10


Movie poster accessed on 8/12/10

Still of Rosemary, Guy, Minnie and Roman accessed on 8/12/10

Still of Rosemary accessed on 8/12/10

Monday, 6 December 2010


A couple of years ago there was a film released called Mirrors starring Keifer Sutherland. I didn't manage to get round to seeing it however a friend of mine did and said it was an average film. After recieving this project my thoughts went straight to this movie in which mirrors terrorise the main character and his family.

This was actually a really freaky movie and I really liked the idea behind it. Mirrors are rather eerie as they can distort things much like that of a fairground house of mirrors. They produce a reflection of things and especially in reflecting people it makes you feel like the refletion is watching you and much like the film we sometimes think that they move of their own accord.

I would like to pursue the use of mirrors in my project because they open a gateway into an eerie world, distorting the reality. I also am now weary of the rear view mirror in my car now after watching Mirrors........

Saturday, 4 December 2010


For a place that is supposed to be welcoming and calming hospitals are actually really eerie and creepy.
This image is really strange and in my eyes reminds me of the cliché in dying or almost dying. There is a lot of darkness in most of the image but in the top left hand corner there is a bright white light drawing your attention in. The colours in this hospital seem rather scary as there is a lot of earthly colours on show a reminder of burial in my opinion.

A picture like this gives off a large feeling of uneasiness and just reminds me of a hospital within a horror film. Its calm but it looks like it has been recently abandoned, and the far away corridor which begins with the lights turning off and getting closer to the person involved which seems to happens in films a lot.

This is a playthrough of the game F.E.A.R. 2 creepy stuff based around a hospital. Check the F.E.A.R. games out they are good games and freak the hell out of me!


Hospital Interior - Bud Interiors film - accessed on 4/12/10

Friday, 3 December 2010

Katrin Freisager

In looking at Freisager’s work there comes across a strong sense of tableau vivant. There are major instances of cropping of the rest of the image which give the photographs their uncanny-ness. The Untitled images all consist of bodies, limbs that have seemingly been placed in their position and seem lifeless, unable to move from their position.

This image was the first I came across and really stood out to me. There is so much linking to the uncanny in these images and from a glance could be interpreted to be the limbs of dolls. Not only that but the skin looks so pale and cold wrapped in bandages or tights providing a cold or seemingly deathly aura. 

‘Katrin Freisager's photoseries combines the concept of the model in the sense of photographic model (her photos are of living women and men lying on a mattress in such a way that they appear to be incapable of ever getting up again) with the tradition of the tableau vivant. The positions of and the relationships between the limbs create the impression of having been positioned by an outsider (the photographer) in such a way that they appear to be jointed dolls or marionettes that can be turned or twisted into any desired position—regardless of how anatomically absurd it may seem. All together, the series of bodies forms a kind of alphabet.’

 Another artist that I think works well with the use of dolls in their work is Cindy Sherman who shows dolls in provocative postions but seems rather disturbing because of their doll like features.


Untitled 2002 Katrin Freisager -
accessed on 3/12/10

Untitled #255" Cindy Sherman -
accessed on 3/12/10

Quote from - The Media/Games of the Doll —From Model to Cyborg. Contemporary Artists' Interest in Surrealism. Sigrid Schade Page 6 accessed on 3/12/10

Ways in which we are immersing ourselves in the Uncanny Valley

After looking on google for creepy pictures of Dolls I came across an 'Adult' Doll photo which linked to an article on the way humans are immersing themselves in the uncanny valley.

Hearing many jokes around sex dolls which take on a much more realistic approach in the presentation I read on to find the strange article within on in which a man paid a company to make a sex doll of his dead lover. The creators found this sad, feeling sorry for the man. Yes sympathy is due it's horrible to lose a loved one but wouldn't it just feel like her corpse is there? Not only that but being intimate emotionally with 'it' it just seems so horrible. Check the article out:

Undoubtedly these look horrifyingly realistic this picture is creeping me out by making the eye contact. It's just so worrying the way in which they are used, and further that the technology advances the further this delves into the uncanny valley. 'Take the recent revealing of TrueCompanion's Roxxxy. She comes with programmable personalities, all of which are sexist stereotypes. Then it was discovered that one of these personalities, called Frigid Farrah, will spurn and resist sexual advances.' Doesn't this just turn it into something so much more sinister.....

Image from - accessed on 3/12/10

Uncanny Dolls

When I was younger I used to stay round my Nan’s house most Saturday nights. When I would wake up early on Sunday morning I would walk downstairs to the living room and watch the television waiting for everyone else to wake up. As I would reach the bottom of the stairs my sisters would have left a buggy with two dolls in front of the cupboard and this used to freak me out considerably. When I was younger I would suffer nightmares frequently and unfortunately these dolls when I visited my Nan would be sitting in their buggy at the bottom of the stairs. 

There were a few things that were creepy about these dolls, firstly being that they were twins but one of them had an off centre eye which brought heavy reminders of the horror of Sid’s house in Toy Story. The worst time I could recall of my imagination running wild in connection with these horrifying toys was when they were left in my Nan’s living room in which I would continuously glance at the doll’s fooling myself into believing that they were watching me. This ultimately led me to push the buggy out of the living room and into the hallway. But for some reason toy makers want to increase the creepiness by adding movement, thank god my sisters are interested in dolls anymore!
Another unfortunate fear brought through from my Nan’s living room was that from the Victorian China Dolls that she collected which stood on top of her piano. These weren’t as horrifying as the dolls in the buggy but still brought feelings of unease in which I would tell myself to keep an eye on them. After watching Barbarella the other week I joked to myself ‘That’s exactly why I was afraid of China Dolls’. 

A few Creepy Images:

 This image is so creepy, the dolls themselves have wide open eyes and look like they are staring at you.....Then you take the girl modelling them and it just adds to the eerieness of it all. Her smile looks so false, she looks almost frightened, raising an almost nervouse or anxious smile. She looks just as creeped out as me!

This is an image of a Porcelain doll which I found extremely scary as a child. They have human features yet the shine of their eyes and skin just make them look slightly menacing in a way. They seem so corpse like with their skin being so pale and they are propped up on a standing, standing there watching over you......

Images: - Porcelain Doll Photograph accessed on 3/12/10

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Haunting Review

The Haunting

 Although The Haunting is an old film seemingly dated with its theatrical acting, the idea of using things that cannot be seen is a much more contemporary idea. Films such as Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch project relish in this technique providing the scare through things which the audience cannot see therefore opening it up to the imagination. 

The Haunting follows a group led by Dr. John Markway who is researching to prove the existence of ghosts by investigating Hill House which has a history for death and unexplainable happenings. Eleanor seems to have a connection with the spirits within the mansion and during her stay witnesses strange events such as loud banging and cold spots within the house. Eleanor becomes fixated on the house as time goes on and the group begin to question her sanity as her belief of noises and other presences become more frequent. 

The Haunting doesn’t derive its scares from gore or masked killers but from the things that the audience cannot see which make things go bump. It works extremely well accompanied with a film noir style with definitive black and white areas which brings to the atmosphere of the film. The scene such as when Eleanor believes that she is in her bed and holding Theodora’s hand there is a lot of blackness around Eleanor’s face which really conveys the idea of her being alone. In John Puccio’s review he says: ‘Things are scariest when we don't know what they are or don't understand them; turn them into things real and tangible and they lose their impact. The tension and suspense in "The Haunting" arise from mysterious noises, weird voices, bangings on the wall, shadows on the wallpaper, cold spots, spiral staircases, and Humphrey Searle's splendidly eerie musical score.’ (John Puccio Aug 3 2003 The Haunting DVD review) This is something which works so well with a film noir style and in linking with the exaggerated angles that are used and the distorted camera lenses it all adds to the eerie effect.

The film noir style not only works with conveying the emotions of the characters but also backs the Gothic mansion that the film is set on. The film does have a cliché aesthetic of haunted houses such as that of other horror films however there are no cobwebs or dust giving the house a scary feel that someone is still living there. Rumsey Taylor writes: ‘The four meet at Hill House and inspect it with an eager curiosity that overwhelms their logical fear (the two women have yet to know of the house’s history). Its interior is a vast maze of oddly interconnected rooms. Ominous stone statues strew the scene, inside and out, as do old mirrors that, in their age, provide questionable reflections. There are no cobwebs or streams of dust following one’s stride (such conventions would lessen the horrific strength of the setting); Hill House looks lived-in.’ (Rumsey Taylor 11 July 2004 The Haunting review)

The technique that ultimately creates the fear for the audience is that of the camera techniques. From them we are transported right up close to what the characters are looking at or the sense of unease as they view the events. This is taken note of in Mark Bourne’s review: ‘Two of its most famously unnerving scenes are all about what we, along with Eleanor, can only hear. When the unseen supernatural presence pounds, boom, Boom BOOM, closer and closer along the hall outside Eleanor and Theo's room, the scare comes from what we can't see hitting the walls and then hammering the door, even as the camera presses us mere inches from the doorknob turning by itself. Later, in bed, Eleanor hears ghastly chanting and the cries of a child behind the wallpaper (where the decorative pattern suggests a malevolent face) — again neither Eleanor nor we can see anything other than what our imaginations show us, an effect that hits hardest when Eleanor screams, the lights come up, and she realizes that the cold hand she had been holding wasn't Theo's. It's a moment that only a select few screen ghost stories, before or since, have approached.’ (Mark Bourne Review of The Haunting These key techniques work really well in providing an uneasy feeling and accompanied with the distorted camera techniques it makes the setting of the film look even more eerie. These techniques make the audience share the emotions of what the characters experience so we are put into their shoes and feel that we are experiencing the events.

Colour was available in use for films in the 60’s but The Haunting chose to ignore it, the black and white colouring with a film noir style creates the emotions that the director wanted to convey. There are uses of extreme shadows around characters to create a sense of being alone to pile on the tension for the viewers as anything can be lurking in the shadows. The film works so well by not divulging the information as to what is causing the scares for the characters leaving everything to the imagination which makes the film so effective, the audience can’t tell what the tormentor looks like but they know that its upon them and could do anything at any time building and building an undeniable tension.   

Puccio, John Aug 3 2003 The Haunting DVD review  (Accessed on 02/12/10)

Rumsey Taylor 11 July 2004 The Haunting review (Accessed on 02/12/10)

Mark Bourne Review of The Haunting Accessed on 02/12/10


The Haunting Film Poster 

The Haunting Film still

The Haunting film still

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Two Renders for Maya Tutorials

After fighting with my stupid move tool with its lovely way of being off axis compared with everything else and then forgetting about mirroring geometry and deleting the history........I came up with these two images I'm really pleased with the result and look forward to making environments on my own

Maya Town house

Here are the screenshots of my maya sorry they are late, I'm tired and unwell

The street is work in progress at the moment because my geometry is a little off as of one of my tools changing axis caused a few problems, hopefully I can get around it and provide the full scene soon

Friday, 26 November 2010

Final influence map


Avatar is a film directed by James Cameron about a paraplegic marine named Jake Sully who, after his brother's murder is invited to take his place on the Avatar programme. This programme is based on the planet of Pandora where the humans there aim to harvest a rare and expensive item called unobtanium. The only problem is the home of the main tribe of Pandora is right on top and the company involved would prefer to find a way of moving them in negotiating terms. This is where Jake comes into play as the Colonel asks him to report back to him on his findings when Jake is invited by the Na'vi tribe to learn from them in return for Jake to receive new legs. Jake begins to learn from the Na'vi but becomes attached to Neytiri. The Colonel becomes agitated and from Jake's infiltration realises the tribe will not move with negotiations and sends in a strike to force them out. Jake has to choose his race over the lives of the Na'vi and stop the crimes against them.

Pandora is an incredible world created by Cameron, full of life and very extravagant. The use of CG is incredible and nothing within the film looks out of place, it all seems so realistic and so integrated it is like the audience is transported to Pandora. Unlike many other films such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy the environments have been created by CG so it is something completely new and Cameron's sole envisioning but it never seems artificial. 'By contrast, Pandora is a whole new world of breathtaking beauty, exploding with wild new life forms that give soar, spark, prowl, pounce, gallop, and graze. Borrowing heavily, and brilliantly, from what he’s seen in deep-sea exploration, Cameron has built the most enchanting magic kingdom since Dorothy first stepped into Technicolor Oz. The first hour feels like something Terrence Malick might film in a rain forest in a galaxy far, far away.' (

The problem however with Avatar seems to be that it casts out story for these CG effects. The acting is pretty average and story is so familiar (Pocahontas in space?) which is the reason why this film isn't the unique film that a lot of the critics believe it to be. 'Cameron’s screenwriting weaknesses are in dire evidence in Avatar. He peppers his story with ludicrous terms like the aforementioned Unobtainium and then oversimplifies the love affair and the social and military tensions in the film. The story isn’t terribly original, nor is it particularly well crafted, but if there is one benefit that comes out of a film as successful as this, it’s that if the diluted concept affects any of its audience and causes a shift in tone, then the film as a whole could be considered a success.' ( Therefore it seems that the triumph of Avatar is the use of special effects drawing the consumer in with a story tacked on.

The problem is that are we becoming fixated with the use of special effects to beef up the look of movies in exchange for a tacked on, generic storyline? Philip martin believes the film exploits our infant like characteristics: 'The chief importance of Avatar is that it’s yet another signifier of the infantilization of our culture. We shout and bray at each other, and consider thoughtfulness a weakness. We are entertained by crudespectacles and bored by adult conversation. We are mostly children these days, petulant and rude and convinced of our own specialness.' (

Avatar is a wonderful experience, Pandora is beautiful but it comes with a warning. The story is generic and let's not hope this becomes the norm of films with them casting out narrative for shinier effects otherwise we will lose the independent side of cinema where the audience can concentrate on the acting which conveys a message.