10 Terrifying Artworks We Dare You to Look At


See, the nice part about Halloween is that those of us with aesthetic sensibilities that lean toward morbid and disgusting can pass unnoticed among the celebrating Internet and IRL masses. We can enjoy Judith Beheading Holofernes in all its neck-gushing glory, and it’s not weird! Bring on the Bosch! Lemme at some Lynch! Where’s that guy that paints in his own blood? Alright. Here’s a little party sampler of highbrow and lowbrow art for you to enjoy. Don’t by shy, and let us know if we missed something even more gruesome or gory.

Hieronymus Bosch will always be the King of Horror. What’s the best part of the Last Judgement, Hell panels? It’s not really about the sodomizing musical instruments, humanoid demons, and the inexplicable rain of severed legs in the left bottom corner right there. It’s the mutant buildings, with their gaping orifices swallowing up the sinners — back or front — truly terrifying. Argh!!! Kill it. With fire.

If Francisco Goya’s Disasters of War series wasn’t horrifying enough, enter the Chapman brothers, Jake and Dinos. They’ve purchased a few of these etchings and updated them with clown faces. Evil!

Because David Lynch can’t be weird in one genre alone, here’s an example of his photography. It’s a giant head mysteriously flopped onto a dinner table. Why? Because David Lynch.

Can we talk for a second just how creepy Francis Bacon’s art is? The teeth glaring out of a seemingly splattered skull, the globby body parts we can almost picture writhing around this sofa seat, the crouching, scared positioning of this pile of flesh muse? This is one of the Three Studies for a Crucifixion.

And this is Clown Torture by Bruce Nauman, 1987. Do I really need to preface this with anything?

Here’s the aforementioned Judith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio. Of all the versions of this fable, Caravaggio’s take is the best. Look at those sprouting lines of blood pumping with an orange tint, its thick texture, the unnatural angle of the beheading… It’s like a Dario Argento movie.

Oh, what’s this? More creepy clown art? By John Wayne Gacy, the creepiest clown of them all? This is too much. Moving on.

Ah, there we go. Behold the work of Austrian-born, Canada-based artist Otto Rapp. Gore. Rot. Death. Symbolism. It’s like Dali having a very, very, very, very bad acid trip.

New York local artist Vincent Castiglia paintings are all like this. Eh, not that scary. Have you ever seen a Krokodil addict? Yeah. Yeah. Don’t Google that, whatever you do. But wait… He paints in his own blood. Oh, Vincent. Thou’s the gothiest of all! Champ.

Oh, wait, never mind. Here’s The Climax by Aubrey Beardsley circa 1893. He’s the champ. Clearly.