Toilets are inherently scary. This holds true across cultures, even though different cultures (and even genders) experience public toilets differently. Below I take a look at a short horror story by Stephen King with a few examples of toilet horror by other authors, in which the public bathroom is utilised for storytelling purposes as a horror venue.
TOILETS AND JAPAN
In the final year of the last millennium I was a university exchange student, sent to a rural part of Kyushu, one of the four main island of Japan. (Kyushu is the big one at the bottom.) I was in Japan to study Japanese language. One of my Japanese language lecturers was a sociologist and, I shit you not, his area of interest (at least, that year) was bathroom culture, and how bathroom behaviour differs between Asia and the West
I can see how he happened upon that interest. He worked with us exchange students and he must have noticed how Japanese bathroom culture is quite different from the bathroom culture of my own home countries (New Zealand and Australia).
In Japan, you won’t find toilet doors which stop about a foot off the floor. Japanese people, in general, absolutely hate using toilets in which passers-by can hypothetically see your feet. This isn’t only to do with the fact that many Japanese toilets are squat toilets (and your entire naked butt would therefore be visible), but also to do with the fact that, once inside a toilet, you’re meant to NOT EXIST.
One of my fellow exchange students had noticed this four years earlier when I was on a different, high school exchange program in Yokohama. She called goodbye to her host mother one morning before trotting out the door to school but the host mother was nowhere to be found. Had she slipped and fallen? Worried, my New Zealand friend went looking for her host mother.
The host-mother was in the toilet (with the door closed, of course). Why hadn’t she hollered back? Later, after returning home from school that same day, my New Zealand friend caught a tongue-lashing from the Japanese woman, who believed it the height of rudeness to chase someone down to say something to them when they’re in the toilet. In Japan, if someone’s in the toilet, they are dead to you.Continue reading “Bathroom As Horror: Here There Be Tygers by Stephen King”
This short story is a great example of:
- An unnamed semi-reliable narrator
- A contemporary short story which makes heavy use of fairy tale and mythological tropes
- The colour green as motif
- A story which operates according to kairos (a non-linear way of thinking about time)
- An allegory for society’s addiction to more and better
Continue reading “Miracle Polish by Steven Millhauser Short Story Analysis”
We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.Anaïs Nin
DENDROPHOBIA: fear of trees
HYLOPHOBIA: fear of forests
NYCTOHYLOPHOBIA: fear of forests at nightContinue reading “Illustrations Of The Forest At Night”
Table scenes are notoriously difficult to film in TV and movies. Live action presents its own challenges, but static images of characters around tables aren’t exactly easy, either. They’re significantly easier when one side of the table has no one seated at it.
But tables are symbolically useful, too. A long table, with one person at each end, clearly conveys psychological distance. The ‘camera’ angle also says a lot about the relationship between characters.
Below is a collection of table scenes in art and illustration, showcasing various compositional choices.Continue reading “Table Scenes in Illustration and Composition”
Continue reading “Cooking Over Campfire In Art And Illustration”
My life has been told to me through campfire tales — stories that spill over when the fire has burned low and silence must be filled. They’re like old coats hauled from the back of the cupboard. Dusted off, aired out, good as new. My mother, Vivienne, doled them out as reward or consolation, depending on her mood. And so I came to know myself — through the telling and retelling.Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield, Australian author
FISHING IN FINE ARTContinue reading “Catching Fish In Art And Illustration”
The unmarked choice of colour for underwater scenes is, of course, blue.Continue reading “Illustrating Underwater Scenes”