Delight horror enthusiasts by creating terrifying images

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Photo by Benjamin Pecka

October is the month where people begin thinking about ghosts hauntings, ghouls create chaos and monsters hiding in the closet or underneath the bed. According to the Buffyverse, however, Halloween is the one night per year that demons take off (most of the time)

The season is fun for photographers that like experimenting with practical effects. While some like creating their own horror concepts, others like to recreate scenes from movies as detailed as possible or by constructing an approximate interpretation. Some will go as far to emulate the camera work and lighting in the old films, like The Night of the Living Dead. Apparently zombies originally did not crawl out of the grave but they’ve since evolved and become even more terrifying.

Photo by Gene Dianoski

You don’t need gore to horrify; it’s just as effective to trigger existential crises. There are a couple camera tricks to employ to create the desired mood but deployed a so-called “double exposure” is an effective way to create ghostly images. Here, the photographer captured a self-portrait, merged it with a second image of a cemetery and reduced the opacity of the self-portrait so that they appeared semi-transparent. If there are any distracting elements that happen as a result of the merge, go ahead and remove them.

Photo by Benjamin Pecka

Another trick to capturing ghostly images is to use a long exposure and walk through the frame. The subject in the above image moved fairly quickly, which makes them appear as though they are traveling in a transparent tunnel. Depending on what you want accomplish, trying using highly contrasted colors to make the subject stand out better against the background. Here, the subject is wearing a white shirt, which stands out, but the khakis do not even show up in the frame.

Photo by J.D. Duggan

Cemeteries are peaceful and calm but they’re also a source of anxiety because they serve as a reminder that we are all dying slow and painful deaths as a condition of existence. Combining a cemetery with a fall scene would serve as an even deeper reminder. Try split-toning if they colors and not quit spooky enough. Coming to grips with death, our own or of someone else, is not easy. Perhaps it’s best that things go quickly an unexpected. What does it matter the cause?

Photo by J.D. Duggan

While cemeteries may be peaceful but disconcerting during the day, they are downright terrifying at night. Vampires and zombies are known to rise from the dead and since the emptiness means that there is not anyone around to help. It would be horrible if the gate locked itself to keep you inside.

Photo by J.D. Duggan

Is there anything scarier than traveling down a remote gravel road in the middle of nowhere? If the car suddenly breaks down, what happens? Whether you want inside or walk to find help, there’s probably a beastie sitting in the woods looking for a human snack. Whatever happens, do not, we repeat, do not go investigating strange noises.

There are dozens of absolutely terrifying spiders out there and many associate them with evil. Jumping spiders can jump twenty times their own height. Huntsman spiders have very long legs and move fast. The trap-door spider does precisely what you think; they burrow into the ground and weave a hinged door and pop out when prey comes near. These evil tactics makes even the bravest of beings cringe.

Photo by Benjamin Pecka

Many high-rise buildings completely skip the 13th floor because of the superstition that the number is bad luck. What happens when the hotel puts you on the 13th floor and there’s this creepy staircase? Yeah, you’re probably falling down them and killing yourself because some ghostly figure frightens pops out to scream at you. Yeah, forget about taking the elevator … the cable is liable to break suddenly. Don’t blame the ghosts for wanting new friends. Haunting buildings is lonely. Feel some empathy, for crying out loud!

It is not exactly flying but it is definitely an unidentified object. It appears to be moving quickly but then again maybe it just stopped to abduct the vehicle and its driver for a probe. Hopefully Mulder and Scully around nearby to investigate!

Okay,  yeah, the skeptics will say that spooky images can be explained by science, so if you think this is simply a long exposure of a car, try out multiple exposures of the same scene and focus stack them in Photoshop in case there is motion between images.

Photo by Benjamin Pecka

Birds seem innocuous and innocent until you realize their true terror. If they decided to suddenly attack, a person could only take out a few before they peck eyes out to possibly eat them, but fending off hundreds is simply impossible. The crow is perfectly framed by the full moon and its smug appearance says “get away or I’m calling my friends.” Better do as they say.

What are you favorite methods of executing scenes that provoke horror in the audience? Leave them in the comments below and feel free to link to your best work!

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