15 ways to add evil
To make a work of art that truly disturbs, says Anthony Scott Waters, you need to examine the darkest aspects of human nature
hat do you mean by horror? You’ve got to know that before you get rolling. Are we talking HP Lovecraft? ScoobyDoo? Twenty-five years in art has taught me that it’s the thinking that counts the most. Iteration without knowing where you’re coming from first is just spitballing – you’re just wasting time.
I’ve had the pleasure of creating some scary critters for a variety of projects and I’m deeply curious about what scares us
Wand why. Humans are wired to recognise bilateral symmetry. Deviate from the standard human form in any way and it makes us feel uncomfortable, even scared. As a person with a deformity, I know the truth of this first hand. Everybody has an in-built desire for security. Take that safety blanket away and you’ll have one terrified body on your hands.
Keep in mind there’s some subjectivity here. Our perception of what’s scary changes as we grow up. We’re given concrete reasons for some of our fears (divorce, injury, violence). These can become transcendent (child abuse, rape, murder) in the way they alter our view of the world. Horror’s a kaleidoscope. In one setting it might mean a monster erupting from a coffin, but for a parent whose child has been abducted, to look upon the body of that child would be more horrific still. Context gives us the measure of a concept and helps us figure out where to go next.