Count Orlock from Nosferatu by Sara Deck

Stuff We Love: the art of Sara Deck is exquisite horror

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Mar 4, 2018, 4:41 PM EST (Updated)

Can there be beauty in a creature as warped and hideous and as Count Orlok? Somewhere in the dark recesses of Sara Deck’s imagination, it exists.

The artist, whose pop culture and surrealist art has been picked up by Marvel, Disney, 20th Century Fox, IFC, NBC Universal, Fright Rags, and Rue Morgue magazine, among others, works a certain dark magic to make even the most grotesque horror scenes into beautiful dream (or nightmare) visions. Whether it’s little Carol Anne from Poltergeist or femme fatale Vampira, she surrounds everything she touches with an eerie glow. Orlok even glows in the dark.

Count Orlock from Nosferatu by Sara Deck

Credit: Sara Deck

Deck’s Nosferatu poster, one of her newer pieces, appears preternatural even when the UV-reactive ink isn’t activated, though you can imagine how that looks when you shut the light off and meet the luminous eyes of a swarm of rats. The Count is almost vulnerable as he opens his undead eyes to the world for the first time in centuries. There is something—could you call it wonder?—in his face that puts him on the edge of human until you remember he has some serious talons.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula by Sara Deck

Credit: Sara Deck

Somehow, Deck makes you feel for even the most monstrous characters. The Bride of Frankenstein seems contemplative as she stares out into the shadows. So does Bela Lugosi’s Dracula. The tortured soul of Edgar Allan Poe gazes through the centuries. There is a tragic element to Lucy Westenra, surrounded by death and Art Nouveau-esque flowers. Wait, is that sadness in the eye holes of Michael's mask?

Michael Myers from Halloween by Sara Deck

Credit: Sara Deck

It gets even more unnerving when you realize Deck also brings one-of-a kind creepy dolls to life. She sculpts and dresses various undead things like bloody fairies, deranged clowns, pumpkinheads, Victorian vampires, sugar skull girls in the style of La Calavera Catrina, and mermaids that only want to drown you. She even made a ghoul of indeterminate species that could be distantly related to Batboy.

By the way, remember the moon-eyed Cheshire cat that was the face of the live-action Alice in Wonderland movies? It was Deck whose poster art captured his mystical gaze.

Get your claws on one of her prints here or summon a doll (if you dare).