Themes of Horror and background development

I decided to have a look at horror for my character animation and background development. I decided since this was going to be an animation horror films such as Friday the 13Th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm St were automatically eliminated. I wasn’t going to have buckets of blood in my animation for two reasons.

  1. It would be too hard to animate blood
  2. I wanted the viewer to think something bad would happen

I decided to tackle the themes of horror by looking at clay animations by Tim Burton, the comic “fables” by , looking at a modern fairytale “Pan’s Labyrinth” and by researching horror in old fairy tales.

I started by looking into traditional fairy tales told by the Grimm brothers and Hans Christen Anderson. Fairy tales when originally written were meant to strike fear in small children but also to give hope in the ending.

I’ve been reading the comic “Fables” which deals with traditional characters in a modern day setting. It also introduced me to new characters as well. This gave me the opportunity to research these characters as well.

I first looked at the story of Snow White. There are actually two tales of Snow White that we know of. The first is the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which was made into an animated motion picture by disney. There is another story of Snow White and her sister Rose Red. In this story the dwarf is the evil character and the bear is their protector. There is no evil step mother and both girls marry a prince and live happily ever after. If you want to read the story it can be found at this site:

The story of Snow white and Rose Red

I also had a look at other fairytales such as the Juniper Tree. This isn’t a common fairytale but probably one of the most gruesome. The sotry starts off as Snow white and the seven dwarfs. A lady would love to have a child white as snow with red blood lips. The woman gives birth to a son and dies from child birth. The father remarries and has a daughter with his second wife. The second wife decapitates the son by tricking him into looking into a chest. She convinces that her daughter has done it and bakes the body of the boy into black pudding. They bury his bones under a juniper tree and birds fly out of the tree. The birds collects items from the shoe maker, goldsmith and miller then drops a chain on his father, a shoe on his sister and a millstone on his mother killing her. The bird turns into the boy and they live happily ever after.

The story could be found here:

The Juniper Tree

Also for more details on horror fairy stories I suggest further reading could be found at these two sites:

The horror of fairy tales
Grimm fairy tales

I then had a look at backgrounds for my character animation. I knew i would be using dark hues for my animation in keeping with the horror theme. I started by looking into Tim Burtons “The corpse Bride”. I found the backgrounds to be very dark and majestic.

The angles are quite harsh and the colours again are dark. The movie itself was not meant to be a horror film but had horror themes within it. However the backgrounds are very detailed and would be hard to animate. However I do think this type of background would work with my animation.

I also had a look at the film “Pan’s Labyrinth”. I have been a fan of Guillermo del Toro ever since the film “Cronos”. This film has a typical style that Toro uses. It was meant to be a traditional fairytale told in horror. There is not so much emphasis on background with this post. The character and the colours look quite lush but muted at the same time as observed in these screen shots:

I decided I would like the background to have an old english appeal. So I was looking for sterotypical views of houses and streets of europe. I found these images over a search on google.

I would like the background to look more like this. I like the cobble stone look and believe I can put this in a comtempory background.

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