Image: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Asia, Japan, 19th century, Minamoto no Yorimitsu and the Earth Spider, from the series New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts, 1892, color woodblock print, 14 3/8 x 9 1/2 in. (36.53 x 24.13 cm), Purchase: Museum of Art Endowment.

Written by Tori Smith, Public Relations and Social Media Assistant

On October 27, DOMA will be hosting DOMA After Hours, a celebration for students and community members to come together to enjoy DOMA after its typical hours of operation. There will be art making activities food, a cash bar, and a live storytelling competition. Because the event is so close to Halloween, prepare yourself here and view five pieces of art here that depict horror.  

Laughing Grad Against Blue (1964) 

This acrylic on canvas by Hiram Draper Willams is sure to make the viewer uncomfortable. The two mouths with peaked teeth, the lack of eyes, and the smudge that resembles blood will send shivers down the viewer’s spine. According to Social Networks and Archival Cooperative, Williams attempted to chop his brother’s hand off with a hatchet.  

Night Scene (1938) 

Although there is nothing extremely horrifying about this watercolor, the viewer may feel more uncomfortable and eerie the more they notice details about the piece. Notice the slanted house on top of the hill, the wind blowing the dead tree in the opposite direction of the house, and the unidentifiable man walking through the dead street while a shadow appears beneath his body. Who is he? What is he holding? Where could he be going? 

Minamoto no Yorimitsu and the Earth Spider, from the series New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts (1892) 

For individuals who have megalophobia, a type of disorder where the individual experiences intense fear of large objects, this color woodblock print is guaranteed to make them shiver. A giant more-than-life-size spider with beady eyes holds its dress over a man who appears to be ready to open his weapon to fight it. According to the Enegolf Gallery of Fine Japanese Prints, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi is known for his work of extreme violence and bloody images.  

Poe (from the Mask of Red Death) 1969 

The king of horror: Edgar Allan Poe. In this lithograph on paper, Poe stews and appears to be quietly reflecting in front of a skeleton, or Death. The story “The Masque of Red Death” follows Poe’s journey in attempting to escape the Red Death. According to, the Red Death “plagues a fictional country…it causes victims to die quickly and gruesomely.” The full text can be read for free here. Artist Federico Castellón, (Spanish American 1914-1971) was a surrealist printmaker, illustrator, painter and sculptor. 

Deconstructing the Myth, but Scared of the One I Replaced it With (1996) 

Although this piece of art doesn’t include Godzilla-sized spiders or teeth like mountains, viewers may be horrified by the more they look and investigate this piece. Questions may arise like: Why is there a young boy in the background? What’s going on with the skull and the group of scientists? Why is there a sheep with a red “365” on its side? Artist William Scarbrough has shared his art “addresses our desensitization to violence through media images that sensationalize, sanitize, glamorize, and otherwise transform horrific acts into accepted ones.” 

Do you think another piece deserves a spot on this list? Let us know in the comments below! 

As always, thank you for reading the DOMA insider and make sure to visit the museum soon! DOMA is free and open to the public; we are open Tuesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Check out our website at