This post originally appeared on VICE Australia.
While we in Australia don't have a particularly extensive history of celebrating ghosts and candy, we all share some interest in horror. But when we got talking here at the VICE office about what we find captivating, most of us agreed that our notions of fear are tied in with our dreams. So, in honor of Halloween, an idea was hatched: We'd reach out to our illustrators and ask them to draw their nightmares.
Here are some of the responses we got, with a little description of what each dream was about.
I was about nine when I first had this dream. I'm running through an outdoor mall and watching people explode into masses of weird, wormy noodles. I think the horror wasn't just in the gore, but watching these people trying to fight back the transformation from their loved ones. I can still see a woman in my head, trying to force the writhing tentacles back from her face. I think it's more or less permanently imprinted in my brain.
Around the age of nine, I used to get these night terrors, which are basically nightmares when you're not completely asleep. They felt very real, and came on with an extreme sensation of fear and anxiety—and something about the decay of time.
I dreamed that there was an unstoppable magnetic force attracting metal, growing bigger until it consisted of all the metal from our planet. I remember I could feel the pressure of this metal orb, and that every bend and crushing fold was hurting me. And it was deafeningly loud, screaming as it gained mass.
I tried to calm myself down by thinking of a nice beach whenever I felt the fear take hold. Sometimes this would work; sometimes it wouldn't. In the times that a beach wasn't enough to distract me, there was a particular feeling of dread I'll never forget. The dread was this: It's already done, and it's already too late. We are no match for it.
My image is from a dream I had when I was living in a really weird student apartment—one time I found two neo-Nazis lighting ping pong balls on fire in my lounge at 3 AM. Anyway, I still remember my dream to this day because it was so surreal. I dreamed I was being dragged across my lounge by two little gray aliens. I remember panicking and trying to gouge one of their eyes out, and they responded by zapping me with something that knocked me out cold. At that moment, I woke up conscious in my bed, completely freaked out.
Sometimes I dream about accidentally unlocking secrets of the universe. Like if jumped of the bed while shouting out the word "bread" would I be able to fly? Probably.
Usually I dream about carnivores. It's pretty weird, but I have this dream I'm cracking the shells of buttery clams and drink the juice at the bottom of the bowl and this somehow unlocks a group of carnivorous beings beginning with the letter "V." So, for example, I'll get a whole lot of vultures being born out of Venus flytraps. Then for some reason, they're all singing Harry Nilsson's "Put the Lime in the Coconut" in perfect harmony.
I try to find the low part to the harmony to show them I've seen Reservoir Dogs as well, but I fuck it up. This angers them, and they start nipping at me with their buttery beaks.
A few months ago, a close friend asked me to look after some of her grandmother's prized possessions while she traveled through Europe. One of them was an extremely valuable clay vase that her grandmother had made 40 years earlier—a family heirloom.
That night I had a dream that I tripped over and broke the vase into a thousand pieces. I remember trying to glue the pot back together, but every time I touched one of the pieces, it just ran through my fingers like sand. It was a total nightmare, and I woke in panic and sweat.
I immediately went into my lounge room to check the vase was all right. I wrapped it in bubble wrap and put it in the back of my storage cupboard to get it away from me.
Since the age of six or seven, I've had this ongoing nightmare that begins with a faceless man spinning in an empty room wearing a paisley suit. As the man spins, scissors start to appear and shoot toward me. I try ducking them, but the spinning man can control and move the scissors.
I start to feel really anxious and claustrophobic, and the pressure in the room starts to build. The more I try to avoid the scissors, the more the room breaks up and fragments, to the point where everything is completely blurred and distorted and all that's left is this terror. That's usually when I wake up.