Most Halloween features suggest readers costumes and ideas for partying on the scariest night of the year. But horror can provide us with sound inspirations not just for costumes and for one night only.
A great idea is for example turning to scary and disturbing films, read between the lines and find cool inspirations in one image, screen or colour. A suggestion for a film? X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes by Roger Corman (1963).
This science fiction/horror film revolves around Dr. James Xavier (Ray Milland), a famous scientist who, understanding that the human eye only perceives a tenth of the entire visual spectrum, develops eye drops that should increase the range of human vision.
The person using them should therefore be able to see into the ultraviolet and x-ray wavelengths and beyond.
Curious to see what happens to humans, Dr Xavier stops his experiments on animals and starts using the drops on himself.
While at the beginning the results are extremely useful or simply hilarious, with Dr Xavier saving a misdiagnosed girl during an operation or finding himself surrounded by naked people at a party, soon the enhanced vision gives him creepy nightmares.
Rather than seeing the world as it is, or "merely" being able to see behind the first layers of skin and into the human body, Dr Xavier starts indeed seeing confused lights and textures, and he is even able to see through his eyelids.
His eyes also change colour, going from black and gold to entirely black and he opts to wear dark wrap-around sunglasses at all times.
Dr Xavier's vision eventually drives him to a near-insanity state towards the end of the film when he sees the heart of the universe and "the Eye that sees us all". The man reaches a final and tragic decision - in a nutshell, the dark journey that brought him to see the Light, ends up in the deepest darkness.
In many ways this is more a science than a horror film and, in 1963, it also won the "Silver Spaceship" award at the first International Festival of Science Fiction Film (Festival internazionale del film di fantascienza) in Trieste, Italy.
The visual effects may be a bit primitive for today's standards as Corman used an optical process called Spectorama.
The film's pressbook explains the process: "Through a patented arrangement of prisms, light images are bent and colour changes with the resulting distortions appearing to be impressionistic paintings in motion."
Though not always convincing and at times ridiculous, the X-ray effects can still be inspiring, especially Dr Xavier's multi-coloured hallucinating visions.
At the begining Xavier's point of view is presented as textures under other textures (organs under the skin), but then everything starts turning into a fuzzy version of the reality, and the best images are produced when he turns his gaze around the cityscape or on the lights of Las Vegas and penetrates the urban features and the neon lights of the strip.
There are many inspirations for an entire fashion collection in these points - from the layered textures that could be replicated via sheer/opaque/matte textiles to the colourful effects (holographic fabrics and digital prints may help...) - so get working now on them. As an alternative, start tomorrow and enjoy for the time being your Halloween celebrations!
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