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Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Vallejo, CA

So, I'm mulling around some ideas in my head for modeling stuff, and the key theme to them is that they need to be really creepy/scary/awesome. This has lead me to wonder, what makes something scary?

As best I can tell, scary things include:

- Human-like things you can't empathize with. Not being able to see someone's emotions on their face is deeply unsettling to the psyche. It's why bad guys wear masks.

- Abominations. Human brains like to have things set in their ways, so when they see something they consider unnatural, it's deeply disturbing. This includes good things twisted to being bad (like clowns), or regular, mundane things being different and horrifying (Oh, that's just a dog. No, wait! It's a werewolf!).

- Things unknown. This is sort of like the first one, where human beings like to know what's going on at all times. When they don't, it's scary. Have you ever swum deep out in the ocean? There's thousands of feet of inky blackness that you're floating on with billions of creatures swimming right below you. Terrifying.

What I need here is some advice from designers and psychologists. I want to make models that are scary, or at least unsettling and disturbing.

So what should I do?

(note: this would also be a good time to link to pictures of things you consider scary)

Your one-stop website for batreps, articles, and assorted goodies about the men of Folera: Foleran First Imperial Archives. Read Dakka's favorite narrative battle report series The Hand of the King. Also, check out my commission work, and my terrain.

Abstract Principles of 40k: Why game imbalance and list tailoring is good, and why tournaments are an absurd farce.

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Made in nl
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Make it female.
   
Made in gb
Monstrous Master Moulder





Essex,, England

Soladrin wrote:Make it female.


+1


Twist it, in no way in any reality could it exist, humans I believe are naturally repulsed by this, or a deformed warped human, like many horror games. Although making a 'scary' mini is tricky.


 
   
Made in gb
Angry Blood Angel Assault marine




Kettering, Northants, England, UK

What about these deamons from the films constantine.

http://gracelimsm.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/demons-3.jpg

They have the tops of their heads missing, below the eye, so they give off no emotion and shouldn't be able to live with out a brain.

Just because I don't care, Doesn't mean I don't understand!

Space Marines (Blood Angels) 1500pts
Chaos Space Marines 800pts

I am Blue/White
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<small>Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.</small>

I'm both orderly and rational. I value control, information, and order. I love structure and hierarchy, and will actively use whatever power or knowledge I have to maintain it. At best, I am lawful and insightful; at worst, I am bureaucratic and tyrannical.

 
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut





Scotland

The only miniature i find remotely frightening is the New hellpit abomination. This is mainly disgust, the folds of flesh are obscene espeicially with the piebald cow paint scheme. Your first point as well as discussing the 'Faceless' idea also seems to be trying to articulate the philosophical concept of the 'Uncanny valley' or 'Similacra' unfortunatley alot of this is conveyed through movement (why puppets/marrionettes are often 'horrified' in pop culture). Obviously movement is something you cant really convey in static unless you are one of the great masters. Something i personally find VERY frightening is 'the face in the bed sheet' floating veils hiding something sinister that wold otherwise be completely invisible.

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Crazed Spirit of the Defiler





Portland OR USA

This is the scariest miniature I could find


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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut





Edinburgh

Small changes. You've mentioned it already, but I always think it's pretty important not to overdo it (see: every mutant GW has ever made). Something like a human face with blank space where his eyes should be can be terrifying. Replace the whole head with something grotesque, and you lose the 'wrongness' - it just looks like a monster, rather than something that could be human. Plus it combines points 1 and 2 that you made, so bonus there!

Like Perkustin said though, a lot of the 'uncanny valley' problem is in movement and facial expression, which will be very hard to convey at 28mm

Hope that's helpful!

Dregs and strays - A post-apocalyptic character blog. Updated on occasion!  
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Vallejo, CA

Hmm, those constantine demons are pretty cool.

I should also note that I've been thinking about this through the eyes of the Chaos gods. They all try to be scary, but...

Khorne has angry dudes with spikes and glowey eyes and skulls. They pass on the unempathetic, and slightly do abomination (who collects skulls anyways?), but they're very known. They have big weapons, and they're trying to kill you. Got it.

Slaanesh is good for the riotous, perverse, abomination factor, as even the bright pink color scheme is offensive to the eyes. There's also a bit of unknown, but, in the end, they're just a bunch of crazy partiers. I've seen nearly as crazy at frat parties. Admittedly, that's part of the allure of slaanesh, which means the meme is very well done, but it's not exactly scary

Nurgle is also really good, with the rotting abomination factor. Once human, now putrid, and, let's be honest, disease is scary. The problem with nurgle stuff is that it doesnt' kill off empathy all the way. While I may be instinctively freightened of sick people, it also makes me feel bad for them. Done wrong, nurgle armies look to me like my troops should be rushing up to them with glasses of orange juice and pillows...

Tzeench is all about the unknown, which it obviously pulls off well, but the problem is that there isn't anything to anchor it to reality. It's not perverting anything, it's just making stuff up. As such, most tzeench stuff doesn't come across as any scarier to me than other made-up stuff like unicorns or hobbits.

Also, to prime the pump a little more, here are some pictures I found.















... and such. The problem is this is about as good as I can do with my limited google fu.


Your one-stop website for batreps, articles, and assorted goodies about the men of Folera: Foleran First Imperial Archives. Read Dakka's favorite narrative battle report series The Hand of the King. Also, check out my commission work, and my terrain.

Abstract Principles of 40k: Why game imbalance and list tailoring is good, and why tournaments are an absurd farce.

Read "The Geomides Affair", now on sale! No bolter porn. Not another inquisitor story. A book written by a dakkanought for dakkanoughts!
 
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut





Edinburgh

Oooh, and see anything by francis bacon for disturbing and distorted human forms:


Dregs and strays - A post-apocalyptic character blog. Updated on occasion!  
   
Made in gb
Angry Blood Angel Assault marine




Kettering, Northants, England, UK

Thats the problem with Google. Unless you know exactly what you want, you never really get anything.

It seems your into the twisted reality thing rather than something completely unknown, What about an escaped mental patient, gone on a rampage, but he floats of his own free will and attacks with mutated limbs that have burst from his straight jacket but his real limbs are still restrained. and have him completely emotion less, and his eyes have gone leaving just empty sockets.

I know I wouldn't hang around to chat with him...

Just because I don't care, Doesn't mean I don't understand!

Space Marines (Blood Angels) 1500pts
Chaos Space Marines 800pts

I am Blue/White
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
<small>Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.</small>

I'm both orderly and rational. I value control, information, and order. I love structure and hierarchy, and will actively use whatever power or knowledge I have to maintain it. At best, I am lawful and insightful; at worst, I am bureaucratic and tyrannical.

 
   
Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Aberystwyth, Wales, UK

That skulls is gorgeous.
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut





Edinburgh

Oooh, and the necromorphs from "dead space" - recognisably human, but horribly distorted. Though again, a lot of that was in the way they moved and the sounds they made :/




Dregs and strays - A post-apocalyptic character blog. Updated on occasion!  
   
Made in nl
Decrepit Dakkanaut






So when are the scary pictures coming?
   
Made in gb
Ghost of Greed and Contempt






Engaged in Villainy

Lack of eyes is always good.

"He was already dead when I killed him!"

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Made in nl
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Or to many eyes/oversized eyes.
   
Made in de
Shroomin Brain Boy





Berlin Germany

do a guy in a lawsuit with his briefcase and some pens in his blazer...and a cheery smile on his face...with just that bit more of a smile thats beyond the comfort line...would creep me out to no end...

same is with cheery dentists...

vik

   
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Stormin' Stompa





Rogers, CT

I like this guy from Jacob's Ladder

   
Made in ca
Yellin' Yoof





CrazyMez wrote:What about these deamons from the films constantine.

http://gracelimsm.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/demons-3.jpg

They have the tops of their heads missing, below the eye, so they give off no emotion and shouldn't be able to live with out a brain.


those things reminded me of Eddie on Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album cover
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Vallejo, CA

Yeah, that's some creepy stuff.

Head crabs are always scary:



But interestingly enough, their nearby cousins, the brain slugs, are not:



Because that's the difficult thing with this all. Both horror and comedy only work well when the play off the unexpected.

Also, I'd like to add in that uniformity eliminates individuality, and thus reduces empathy, which is why ranks of soldiers are scary:






This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2011/01/19 20:05:12


Your one-stop website for batreps, articles, and assorted goodies about the men of Folera: Foleran First Imperial Archives. Read Dakka's favorite narrative battle report series The Hand of the King. Also, check out my commission work, and my terrain.

Abstract Principles of 40k: Why game imbalance and list tailoring is good, and why tournaments are an absurd farce.

Read "The Geomides Affair", now on sale! No bolter porn. Not another inquisitor story. A book written by a dakkanought for dakkanoughts!
 
   
Made in gb
Freelance Soldier




Bristol, UK

I remember reading Danse Macabre by Stephen King a long, long time ago. He discussed the fact that what's in the imagination is scary, but when fully visualised in the flesh it's not as scary as was imagined in the first place. So when you watch a movie and something is making a noise in the attic you can be scared of what it is, but when you see what's making the noise it's never as scary as what you imagined.

A good example for me is the works of HP Lovecraft. The creatures he describes are disgusting because they are unnatural, but every depiction I've ever seen of them hasn't lived up to heavy sense of dread in the descriptions.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think I could ever find a miniature scary. Grotesque, definitely, but never scary. Still, I wish you luck, if you manage it I'll buy one!

Can I suggest skipping forward 10 years to the age where you don't really care about what people say on the internet. Studies show that it decreases your anger about life in general by 37%. - Flashman 
   
Made in de
Shroomin Brain Boy





Berlin Germany

Also, I'd like to add in that uniformity eliminates individuality, and thus reduces empathy, which is why ranks of soldiers are scary:


also it is deeply built in us that we know the outcome of such massed forces...we know that harm is coming our way...
therefore we fear such massed ranks...

vik

   
Made in gb
Massive Knarloc Rider





Exeter

Hrmmm. Well, in my opinion, I find something scarier all the more if you can see what it 'used to be'. In that sense, why not something along the lines of a homunculus? you know, a kind of hideous disfigured child or some such?

Or... hills have eyes muties were a bit scary, maybe some basis off them?

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Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Aberystwyth, Wales, UK

What lovecraft fails at is creating perspective, he attempts the "fear is in your mind" angle but just goes into "it is so damn scary you cannot even understand how scary it is" which fails to provoke fear in me.

Dead space has some clever uses of music to suggest an encounter when there really isn't one to build your paranoia but ultimately fails to make the encounters themselves scary enough partially due to you just dying and trying again and partially because you kill so many necromorphs by the end of the game.
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Vallejo, CA

Also, I've got to put a plug in for LoTR. They did a pretty good job






Your one-stop website for batreps, articles, and assorted goodies about the men of Folera: Foleran First Imperial Archives. Read Dakka's favorite narrative battle report series The Hand of the King. Also, check out my commission work, and my terrain.

Abstract Principles of 40k: Why game imbalance and list tailoring is good, and why tournaments are an absurd farce.

Read "The Geomides Affair", now on sale! No bolter porn. Not another inquisitor story. A book written by a dakkanought for dakkanoughts!
 
   
Made in nl
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Horror and comedy are interchangable IMO.
   
Made in gb
Eternally-Stimulated Slaanesh Dreadnought





rainbow dashing to your side

if in doubt, copy H.R Giger or silent hill

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Made in us
Preacher of the Emperor





Michigan

I think Natorum hit the nail on the head as far as the delineation between scary and grotesque. To get scary, the minis would have to look so realistic that you'd think they could come alive and you wouldn't be able to go to bed for fear that 3000 pts of wrongness could be waiting for you under the covers. So I suppose I'll mostly be addressing the grotesque.

Distorted proportions are definitely good for the scary effect though. The dead space pictures are certainly effective. One of the big problems here though is that it's hard to make a mini stand out as distorted when the proportions on everything else are so far out of whack.

As far as the hellpit abomination goes, there's something about the few patches that have rotten through and hang off the rest of the model that really squick me out. The thought of flesh sloughing off an otherwise living model puts it past the effectiveness of orange juice and pillows. But if you go too far you just have zombies, and they're hardly scary anymore.

Things working in ways they shouldn't are scary. A few things I considered in an aborted attempt at my own hellpit abomination were things like tearing muscles and bones out of their usual alignments and tying/pinning/sewing them back together in unnatural way beyond just combining different animals together. For instance, tearing ribs out of the chest and pinning muscles to them to turn them into primitive legs. That one always seemed to get some good reactions. Bandaged, bleeding eye sockets with eerie glows coming out of them. Things like that, and there are countless examples in gads of horror stories and movies and whatnot out there. Extra points for destroying empathy if the affected is responding in an entirely unnatural way to all this. Huge creepy cheshire cat smiles +50. Like with zombies though, keep it in moderation or you end up with OTT goresplosion that's laughable.

One of the problems with the huge ranks of faceless soldiers is that the tabletop is already saturated with them. Hell, GW even uses them as the main "protagonists," as that's really what the space marines are, as well as half of the guard armies. To pull off a creepy vibe, you'd have to make some, if not all, soldiers slightly "wrong," but as you said before you need to make it unexpected or else you're just another chaos army. You might could try to do this entirely with painting-a high-contrast, largely monochromatic color scheme might work well for this, maybe? Or maybe I'm just thinking that because of the black and white pictures.

Anyway, hope that my stream-of-consciousness thought-vomit at least gives you some stuff to think about. Does this mean you decided to start a chaos army afterall? Also- props for showing some of your own troops as an example

--I've taken a while writing this, and I don't feel like going back to try to shoehorn it in--

The ringwraiths are good because they manage to throw the unknown at you in a way that regular ol' face masks don't. The black abyss that is a nazgul's face could really be hiding anything.

   
Made in gb
Journeyman Inquisitor with Visions of the Warp





clowns and dolls....arhh and the news

   
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Wise Ethereal with Bodyguard







The beasties from The Thing are pretty scary, but that might just be from their initial unexpectedness (especially the damn chest mouth thing!).

Please excuse any spelling errors. I use a tablet frequently and software keyboards are a pain!

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Death-Dealing Dark Angels Devastator






Flinty wrote:The beasties from The Thing are pretty scary, but that might just be from their initial unexpectedness (especially the damn chest mouth thing!).


No kidding that scared the crap out of me the first time. The whole movie gives me goosebumps still whenever i watch it.

But i think some of the best scary "stuff" in general can be when things are noticeably off without being "hurr huge monster".
   
 
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