Welcome to Women in Horror Month at We Who Walk Here, Walk Alone! Throughout February, we will be celebrating the women who make horror the spooky, scary, and sublime genre that we all love.
I spend the majority of my time here talking about horror in movies and on television, but there is so much more horror out there in other media waiting to draw you in and creep you out. In the spirit of Women in Horror Month, I’d like to look at a few of my favorite female artists who summon their demons off-screen.
If you ask most horror fans to name the scariest book they’ve ever read, they will likely answer with a Stephen King or Clive Barker title, and that is always (well, almost always) a great answer. But if you ask me which book kept me up all night with every single light on and a baseball bat in each hand, my answer is Come Closer.
Sara Gran writes a tight, terrifying story about Amanda, a woman dealing with a marriage that doesn’t fulfill her and a demon that unfortunately does. (I’m sorry. I had to.) I read Come Closer when it was published in 2003, and 15 years later the imagery of Amanda’s demonic nightmares – a woman with sharp teeth beckoning from the other side of a blood-red sea – still keeps me up at night.
Gran wrote another favorite book of mine, a nasty little noir gem called Dope, and in both books Gran’s writing is economical but evocative. In fact, Come Closer is more of a novella than a novel, so if you have a couple of hours to kill on a dark and stormy night, pick up this book and try not to imagine something skittering around in your walls.
A former finalist on Ink Master (who should have won, in my completely biased opinion), Kelly Doty is a phenomenal New School tattoo artist whose work celebrates all things spooky and creepy. Her work has incredible depth and humor, and her tattoos often seem to glow from within.
I love me some colorful horror ink, so one of my biggest goals in life is to get a tattoo from Kelly. You don’t have to be a tattoo fan to appreciate her art, though. Go check out her Instagram and enjoy the gorgeously disturbing and disturbingly gorgeous pictures. (While you’re there, please give a follow to your friendly neighborhood horror blogger!)
Camille Rose Garcia
If ever there were an artist to describe as phantasmagorical, it would be Camille Rose Garcia. Her paintings have the feeling of a neon nightmare, as if the viewer has traveled through the looking glass to a world lit by blacklight, where things feel fundamentally wrong but they are just too beautiful and too weird to look away from. Her book illustrations bring new life to classic works, emphasizing the absurd and grotesque aspects of fairy tales that have been sanitized or softened for modern audiences.
This probably goes without saying at this point, but “beautiful, weird, and fundamentally wrong” is totally my aesthetic, and if I could afford it I would fill every inch of wall space in my house with Garcia’s paintings.
Do you have any Random Recommendations of your own, dear fiends? Tell me all about them in the comments! The creepier and more random, the better. And thanks for reading. I’ll see you tomorrow for more Women in Horror Month madness!