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Any magazine-cover hack can splash paint around wildly and call it a nightmare or a Witches' Sabbath or a portrait of the devil, but only a great painter can make such a thing really scare or ring true. That's because only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear—the exact sort of lines and proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness. I don't have to tell you why a Fuseli really brings a shiver while a cheap ghost-story frontispiece merely makes us laugh. There's something those fellows catch—beyond life—that they're able to make us catch for a second. Doré had it. Sime has it. Angarola of Chicago has it. And Pickman had it as no man ever had it before or—I hope to heaven—ever will again.
"Werewolves" (illus. for Legendes Rustiques, 1858), Baron Dudevant Jean Francois Maurice Sand
A variety of Stephen Gammell's illustrations from the classic Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (c. 1980s). Can't imagine why these were banned from middle-schools.
Stormtroopers Advancing Under Gas (1924), Otto Dix