Gothic Horror Experiment

Secret of Cherry House

I have been working on a photo essay looking at the Gothic Horror genre. The task is to deliver what would identify within the Genre. My favourite component is the idea of the uncanny and the threshold moments, from lightness to dark (or back again). These are a few of my reference notes and resources.

The Narrative

I wanted to create an original story that drew from movies like Pleasantville and transitioned to something resembling The Haunting of Hill House. I decided on a traditional transformation creature the Vampire rather than a witch. To turn on the convention somewhat I wanted the victim to be male (read into that as you will) and the powerful vampire character a woman. This was to create a greater sense of transformation from the normal to the horrific. Hopefully, the leap of transformation becomes more powerful.

The confident male is reduced to a crawling weak animal, wounded and fearful of his life. Not only cut short but was a moment ago an innocent, sweet and “weak” woman. Not saying that the male character is a feminist

I also wanted the house to transform. I have known of an abanded farmhouse nearby for some time. The challenge was to create the version that made it look it was cared for, everything in place. A run around the local neighbourhood and gardens to collect enough elements to compose the “before” image (see below).


I have recently started using Notion. Which is an amazing colloboration and knowledge base tool. So easy to use. Was very hand when I was on location to use the app to track my references and shot list. I took many more photos than I needed but narrowed it down in putting the final piece togther.


This is not something I do with my normal photography. My drawing skills are very rusty. But I did go through half a forest to narrow down the concept.

Use of Colour

I am so over the Teal/Orange cinemagraphic colour treatments. I took the time to look at as many references as possible.

Pinterest Board

I wanted to go from the bright creams/browns to create a dream like state, the normal as we would define it. It should not raise alarm and provide contrast beyond the threashold moment. 

Little did I know how hard it is to colour grade when you are not a genius at Premiere Pro. Thanks to Youtube tutorials I was able to attempt to apply some colour treatment.

Post Production

I had the models pose in prep for a lot post photoshop work. Using morph, textures, colour and customer brushes to turn the girls into Vampires. I also wanted to transform the house from what we would expected to something unkepts, no is watching.

From 50’s House wife to vampire
From looked after to abandoned