In J-horror (and to a certain extent in horror from Asian countries other than Japan) thereâ€™s a well known archetype: the scary girl with long hair. She is traditionally a ghost or spirit, often with a horrifying face and inhuman skin, and she is most definitely scary. She is almost always bent on vengeance for wrongs done to her in life. Think of the central supernatural figures in â€œRinguâ€ (â€œThe Ringâ€), â€œJu-Onâ€ (â€œThe Grudgeâ€), and â€œJanghwa, Hongryeonâ€ (â€œA Tale of Two Sistersâ€, actually an example of K-horror )â€”youâ€™ll know just what I mean.
This Halloween season I found myself wondering, and not for the first time, Why is it never a scary boy? Although male onryo (returned spirits) can sometimes be found, typically in kabuki theater, the great majority, particularly in recent popular culture, are female. The roots for this may lie in tradition: the spirit is typically that of one who has been wronged in life, often unto death, often by a lover, and is now returned for vengeance. Weak in life, but made somehow strong in death, love replaced by anger and hate, the spirit wreaks havoc upon those it encounters, and not only its betrayer. Horror at its best is always transgressive, and this reversal of traditional, firmly established gender roles is unsettling, perhaps especially so in formal Japanese society.
And yetâ€¦why not a boy? Boys can be scary, too. I decided to prove it.
Back in August, I had a lot of fun exploring Horror Night 2011. (Sadly, this engrossing and really quite frightening limited-time build was not left up through Halloween. This shot down my plans to return there for the photo shoot for this post. Fortunately, I was able to find another great location.) There, while making my way through one of the not-quite-vacant rooms in the haunted schoolhouse, half-hidden beneath one of the desks, I found for sale this very creepy “Onryou” skin by dorothy Darkfold.Â At the time I had no idea when I would actually wear it, but it was reasonably priced and too cool not to take home. Also, in the back of my head there was a small voice reminding me, â€œHalloween is comingâ€¦Halloween is coming.â€
The skin is deeply disturbing, withÂ a grin that drifts askew, fish-belly white and horridly cracked skin, and fingernails gone dark and necrotic. The teeth are prominent in the mouth, which works great with expressions of dismay or anger. Body detailing is slight rather than muscular, and the skin works well on slimmer shapesâ€”believe it or not, this is my regular â€œRyanâ€ shape (which I know you havenâ€™t seen here in some time), with only very minor modifications. The deep, cracking wounds arenâ€™t exactly what Iâ€™d call sexy, but that probably isnâ€™t why most of us would wear a skin like this one anyway.
And now I must offer a mea culpa. Unfortunately, unless I’ve somehow missed it at the shop, this skin is…um…apparently not actually available for purchase. Although the vendor artwork included in the folder doesn’t say so, I’m thinking now that it must have been an exclusive for Horror Night 2011. This is what I get for not doing all of my homework in advance; feel free to lambaste me in the comments. Hopefully this ensemble and look will still give you ideas for something you can put together for yourself. If it’s any consolation, other male skins by this designer are available, including a demon skin and the exclusive-for-Halloween “Knyam” vampire skin (just L$186), available only through October 31. Visit dorothy’s shopÂ Dimbula Rose (petit pas 140, 191, 312) and see for yourself. And if you do spot the “Onryo” skin, please let me know!
Inspired by the schoolhouse setting of the Horror Night 2011 build, I chose aÂ classic schoolboy-style outfit for my ghost boy. Like the ensembles featured in my last two posts, â€œKeigoâ€ is (surprise!) from Bare Rose. (In case youâ€™re wondering, yes, I have nearly worked my way through the entire accumulation in my â€œBare Roseâ€ folder.) This outfit includes anÂ open hooded jacket, argyle-pattern sweater and checked shirt, each in few different colors, and coordinating trousers. The shirt, vest and trousers are fairly simple clothing items, but sculpted and flexi prim components makeÂ the jacket quite fine in its own right. Even a vengeful onryo boy deserves to dress well. L$165 at Bare Rose (Bare Rose 217, 57, 29).
Photos taken on location at Bakumatsu Obakeyashiki (Kyoto BAKUMATSU 241, 57, 21). You can tour through several darkly dreamlike areas. In case you find yourself stumped and unable to make your way back, thereâ€™s an Omamori “lucky charm” attachment you can wear that will allow you to â€œgive upâ€. MyÂ Chouchin hand lamp (handy for exploring!) is another fun freebie you can pick up while you’re there.