The Each-Uisge (WIP)
Pixologic Zbrush, Autodesk Maya, Adobe Substance Painter, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects
Concept developed in collaboration with Eldritch Forest and Monique Adams.
For this concept, we were inspired by the Celtic mythological sea horse, Each Uisge. The Each Uisge is a Scottish folklore beast , similar to the kelpie but arguably more sinister. There have been many cultural interpretations of the water horse over the years, the one illustrated here being a 1978 illustration by Brian Froud. This was one of the first visual references that we looked at. We loved the similarities made between the kelpie and a crocodile, lurking in wait of prey, but we decided to take a more gruesome approach since we were going for the element of surprise. We ended up taking from the mutant part skeletal bear from the 2018 film Annihilation. We all found this image to be gruesome and horrific so chose to imagine the Each Uisge as a skeletal, mottled creature with sharp canine teeth and glowing red eyes.
Mythologically, the Each-Uisge is depicted as a shapeshifter, often represented in horse form, which uses these abilities to lure in its prey. In popular versions of the mythology, the Each Uisge transforms into its true form once mounted, with its skin becoming adhesive and effectively gluing its victim to its back. This was a difficult reference to visualise so we used the mane to capture the victim rather than the skin. It is said that the Each-Uisge will eat its victim in entirely, except for the liver which will float to the surface of the water, this is the influence behind our final scene.
The narrative can be taken as a cautionary tale, perhaps warning children to stay away from dangerous rivers, or that just because something is beautiful, it does not mean that it is safe. The horse acts as the tempting force that may lure unsuspecting people into hazardous situations. The narrative tactics that we have employed have been that of shock, creating a false sense of security with the peaceful introduction juxtaposed with a sudden turn of events, effectively a jump scare.