Monday, April 14, 2008

The Army of Gas-Masked Children

I've been saving this photo for a day when I didn't have anything else to say.

Today is that day.

I suggest you click on it in order to enjoy its amazing creepiness full-size. Nothing less will do. Go ahead. I'll wait.

There's something about a gas mask -- particularly this model and vintage -- that is just so completely dehumanizing. Without the gas masks, all you have is a large group of school-age children arranged for a portrait on a fairly cloudy day. With it, you have an army of insect-like creatures massed and ready for plunder beneath a glowering sky.

I think the man in the uniform just right of center is especially horrific. The man to the right of him, the one in the baggy jumpsuit, is also nightmare-worthy.

And check out those two little scamps hiding behind the tiny cannon in the lower-left corner!

I love this photo. I wish the covers of horror novels could look more like this.

Instead of like this.
(With all apologies to L.L. Smith, and every other author who's been saddled with a similar cover by their publisher.)


John Hornor Jacobs said...

Great photo. And horror novels could look like that, if the authors had any clue (or say) in their choice or design. Some authors do, most don't, or so I hear. I know I'll fight to design my own but maybe that's like representing yourself as a lawyer. A fool for a client.

Anyway, I've lost your email. I might've deleted it. Wait. Hold up. Nevermind. I'm sending a crit your way. Don't worry, it's very pleasant. A spoonful of sugar with just the hint of mediciny after-taste.

Anonymous said...

That picture says a thousand words. I've actually been toting with the idea of scavenging through some old photos I found in my dead grandparents belongings and using my imagination to write some sort of story about the cooler/weirder ones.
Cool find!

Fran Friel said...

Michael - I'm glad I tuned into your blog. I LOVE that photo. And you're absolutely right about the creep factor. A season or so ago, the Dr. Who writers used the theme for an excellent episode with the children of war torn England as the zombie-like mask wearing subjects of despair. Brilliant really. I hope the new season is as good (starts tomorrow, btw).

Hugs from CT,