There is an old belief, some would say, a superstition, that when someone dies mirrors should be covered. Otherwise, the dead person's soul can become trapped inside the mirror. Some older members of my family do this.
The connection between the soul and mirrors is an enduring one that, I believe, has influenced related associations.
Mirrors, and occasionally other reflective surfaces, are a popular tool in horror flicks and thrillers.
They are used to show worlds we can't usually see, or an image of ourselves we wouldn't normally detect. Sometimes the room as it was at a particular point in the past.
The Haunted Mirror, 1960
Somehow, seeing a killer or ghost suddenly appear in a mirror is more disturbing than simply seeing it face on. Perhaps having something appear behind us touches a vulnerable nerve?
They are also spooky in what they don't show, such as a vampire. Again the soul connection, as vampires are not supposed to have one.
The earliest mirrors in film and written story usually had powers, to see the truth, the future, or to answer questions.
Mirror, mirror on the wall..
Or were enchanted in some way.
Some are tools for sorcery.
In classic films mirrors are often ornate, sometimes feeling part of a fantastical reality. Whereas in modern films, it's usually the unassuming bathroom mirror. Something about that room. There we are vulnerable, being half-awake, partially dressed, unwell, or simply feeling secure in our most intimate domestic area.
While this seems to reflect the contemporary aesthetics, it also seems to work with how mirrors were perceived. Classic film mirrors are usually the haunted sort, or held a certain power. Whilst in modern film it's what we see that is of uppermost importance.
link Part of a horror anthology, only 20mins short.
What I enjoy, is when what is seen in the mirror disappears when the person turns. It's as if mirrors were portals, or psychic eyes. And, after turning, not seeing what you thought you just saw is a push into insanity. I love that psychological edginess. Such as when a character sees a different face, doesn't this 'reflect' our concept of the shadow self, or the dark half?
It's such a cliched yet effective scare tool that it's even used in reverse. Such as when a character stands in front of a mirror and adjusts it...... we hold our breath. And exhale when nothing shows up.
Do you remember? Did you dare to say Candyman three times? Or Bloody Mary?
More theme thursday participants.