Monday, August 15, 2005

Scary, but why?


I took this picture in Peckham on Saturday.

Even though I didn’t think so at the time, looking at it now, particularly in larger sizes, I realise that it is sinister and scary.

This one’s none too friendly either

'I'll swallow your soul...'

The thing is I don’t know why.

Really, I don’t.

So, what is it about slightly weather-beaten, anthropomorphic cartoon characters that makes them the stuff of nightmares? I know that they are but the reason why has got me stumped.


Pete Ashton said...

Weather beaten is the trick. They have too much detail to them so they become individualized. You can't identify with them in the same was as a clean cartoon.

it's a basic principle of cartooning (and other mediums too I guess) that a simply drawn face will appeal to the widest number of people, so you make the sympathetic characters very simple (think Charlie Brown) while the "bad guys", the "others" are closer to photo-realism,

With the duck you're not seeing a simple icon that could represent an aspect of yourself. You're seeing a large dirty duck costume work by a human. There's too much detail to suspect belief.

Or that's one way of looking at it anyway.

zenyenta said...

A lot of it could be movies or even trailers that have embedded themselves in your subconscious. You can sense that these creatures are evil incarnate ready to terrorize innocents in the amusement park from hell. After the foreshadowing, of course.

Stef said...

@pa: I agree that it's the 'photorealistic' creatures that are the scariest - ventriloquists' dummies are at the top of the pile. So you're halfway there - but why would it be scary?

@z: But what came first? The films or the nightmares? Maybe circuses always were intrinsically scary and the films came later. This idea intrigues me as that means each successive generation of children is being unknowingly traumatised by exposing them to these horrors.

Pete Ashton said...

If you can identify with the duck then you're comfortable with the concept of the duck. If you can't identify with the duck then THERE'S A BIG FUCKING DUCK IN FRONT OF YOU!!!

Stef said...

Yeah, that's more like it

jackenstein of all trades said...