Making LADY BATHORY

Hey kiddies! This is my new photograph, called LADY BATHORY.

ladybathory

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Lady Elizabeth Bathory was an actual person. She was a Hungarian countess in the 16th century, and one of the most prolific serial killers in history. Apocryphally, she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth and beauty.

The story of Lady Bathory serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of vanity, and comments on the current preoccupation with youth and beauty in our contemporary society – from the mainstreaming of plastic surgery and botox injections, to body waxing and even piercing and tattoos.

I wanted to create a contemporary version of the Lady Bathory legend. In my photograph, the bloodletting is depicted as a kind of spa treatment, with Lady Bathory wearing a green mud mask and cucumbers on her eyes.

This photograph was staged at The Foundation, an architectural salvage business in the West Bottoms of Kansas City. Patrick, the owner, donated an antique bathtub to use, and made this image possible by allowing us to build our large set in his space.

My beautiful girlfriend Strychnine Jen played the part of Lady Bathory. She was also an active member of my production crew, and spearheaded the enormous task of painting and scraping the dried blood grout lines on 2,420 pieces of white tile.

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My friends and regular crew members Matt Tady and Demian Vela helped erect the walls of my set.

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Here you can see Jen relaxing in the bathtub as I position the overhead light.

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The more difficult role of Lady Bathory’s virginal victim was played by my friend Andee Hindery. She is an aerial fabric acrobat, and the only friend I have that could physically handle being hogtied and suspended from the ceiling. Andee’s roommate Rachel, also an acrobat (and a dominatrix), came in to teach us the complicated knots necessary to suspend Andee.

Here you can see Matt and Demian trying to figure out how to hoist Andee into position.

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Once Andee was in position, we quickly brought in Jen and began shooting.

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Although we had made a rig out of surgical tubing and an air compressor to pump blood through Andee’s slashed throat (a latex appliance), it failed to deliver the geyser of blood I wanted, so I decided to shoot the blood separately.

Here you can see Jen hard at work mixing gallons and gallons of fake blood. We got the recipe from a special feature on the movie SLITHER: dark Karo syrup, Hershey’s chocolate, and red food coloring.

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I taped a mark on the tile wall to show where Andee’s neck had been, and then had Demian and Matt pour blood in countless different ways, trying to get the perfect blood pour.

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Because the blood was photographed on my actual set, the lighting and the focus were a perfect match, so it was relatively easy to combine the frames in Photoshop. Although I admit, cutting it out took me a long, long time.

See you next time!

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75 Responses to “Making LADY BATHORY”

  1. Patti Says:

    Sweet. I’ve done some reading on her along with some other serial killers in history. She was a rare breed. The movie Stay Alive was based on her also. Always look forward to your work and this is awesome as usual. Kudos to Andee!

  2. aitana Says:

    :O
    in love

  3. Diana Says:

    I love love LOVE this photo! Great job!

    Looking forward to seeing you (and Strychnine Jen) at Scarefest in Lexington next weekend!!! :-)

  4. Heath Mensher Says:

    Flawless execution. Yes, that’s a terrible pun, but I do believe this is your finest work to date. Bravo!

  5. Gini Says:

    Delicious!

  6. Katie Says:

    LOVE THIS!!! And as someone who enjoys being strung up with ropes from time to time (albeit much less bloodily) I love it even more. I also love baths, cucumbers, and the Lady Bathory legend, so methinks this will be hanging in my house soon. ;)

  7. Joshua Hoffine’s Modern Day Lady Bathory… | Cherrybombed Says:

    [...] Hoffine includes a blow-by-blow of his creative process with his new photographs and Lady Bathory is no exception. Thanks to Hoffine’s horrifying attention to detail, I am now coveting a claw foot tub with [...]

  8. Davedav Says:

    I absolutely fell in love with this image when I saw it at Fanexpo last weekend. Your work never fails to impress.

  9. Pat Ze Blue Says:

    as usual, it kicks asses ! Awesome.

  10. Jason Says:

    Fantastic work. Very inspirational and always enjoy your behind the scenes.

  11. Andréas Says:

    Very nice photo, one of my favourites from you. It was very interesting to see all the work behind such a photo. Can’t wait to see your next one, Babysitter sounds like it will be something disturbing :)

  12. Jessica Says:

    Hello Josh. Sorry I haven’t commented in a while, school can really kick the shit out of you. I absolutely adore this piece!!!!!! Elizabeth Bathory was one hell of an evil bitch and I love this

  13. Delmarie Says:

    Love it, ABSOLUTELY… IS SO WONDERFUL, LOVE YOUR ART, LOVE YOUR VISION OF ART AND HORROR COMBINED, IS JUST MAGNIFICENT…KEEP UP, I REALLY WANT TO SEE BABYSITTER…

  14. Randolph FishMan Says:

    This is the ultimate story using Elizabeth Bathory as a character. This one was originally banned from print almost ten years ago.

    http://www.fishmansqueenofdarkness.info

    This is the story that brought her escapades to light… so to speak
    Enjoy!

  15. Dawn Says:

    Completely amazing and gruesomely beautiful — fantastic work! I absolutely LOVE this image!

  16. DawninDenver Says:

    wow that is stunning and totally disturbing. I’ll bet Andee was totally sore the next day that is some modeling comittment.

  17. tyson leslie Says:

    astounding as always.

  18. Cassandra Says:

    omg stunning, plan on buying it this week. Its gonna be my 4th picture of yours I’ve gotten :)

  19. The Curious Cat Says:

    WOW -what wicked art!

  20. Blackwing Rose Says:

    The facial mask and cucumbers give this the perfect modern touch and makes it perfect black comedy.

  21. Lauren Peralta Says:

    I NEED a print of this.

  22. k lea Says:

    i’ve loved every bit of gratuitous gore that you have indulged us with over the years, but this is something different. this is horror with a purpose. this is depravity with bones. this might be the meat of an entire feature. (stay alive leaves lots of room for further exposure of this admonishing tale.)
    bravo, friend.

  23. Michael Rivers Says:

    This is incredible!

  24. slithybrilig Says:

    What great work. I used to work in theater. The snaps of the dude pouring blood in a tub induced a synaesthetic response in my mouth and nose. I am experiencing the slightly sweet taste/smell of the chocolaty Karo mix with a tinge of dishwashing soap (helps with the flow and cleanup.) We did a production of the Oresteia. In our Libation Bearers, Clymestra was killed in a claw footed tub perched on top of a stage wide gigantic staircase. The tub was rigged to overflow with blood and have it flow down the stairs. That shit and smell lingered in our theater for months and months now matter how much we cleaned!

  25. Crashgrab Says:

    Wow, this one is really disturbing.

  26. Dan B Says:

    Love your work. Especially this shot. I love The Foundation too!

  27. Joshua Hoffine Says:

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  28. Selia Says:

    Hostel 2.

  29. Calivhere Says:

    Great !

  30. Respectable Reviews Says:

    That looks awesome! I can’t wait to check it out

  31. wim Says:

    Sick mind!!

  32. Adele Says:

    This looks great, really simple and powerful and pretty shocking. I did a short animated film based on the Countess back in 2005 calle Vial of Youth, had alot of fun researching and reading about her and even met her distant relative who lives in America.
    If you would like to watch my animated short, its at http://www.vialofyouth.blogspot.com just scroll through the artwork to get to the video.

  33. espaco4.com.br» Blog Archive » você tem medo de que? Says:

    [...] Outro tema preferido dele são os filmes antigos e serial killers históricos como a assassina Lady Bathory, uma condessa húngara, no século 16 que se banhava no sangue de virgens para reter sua juventude [...]

  34. Vespers Says:

    That bloodspray is very nice. The whole thing is amazing. But I certainly wouldn’t want to be the guy who had to chop that spray of blood together with the other photo, heh.

  35. 7rano – portal dla ludzi ceniących dobre projektowanie » Lady Bathory Says:

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  36. d Says:

    I can’t remember how I came across your blog, but your images are fascinating. I really seeing the breakdowns and your lighting techniques.

  37. cassie Says:

    i loved reading about each step.. this is one of my favorite photos in your portfolio. its so hard to choose an actual favorite.
    i really like how simple it looks at first glance.. how both girls look calm. but gosh its so gross i love it.

  38. Mike & Seth Doe Says:

    Why her head up?

    • Joshua Hoffine Says:

      Having the victim’s head tipped up like that is unrealistic. But it’s important. There is a very deliberate sexual subtext to the image. Her head is tipped up like that because she is, in a sense, in the midst of a kind of orgasm. By this analogy, the blood spray is a cum-shot, splattering Lady Bathory. That streak of eroticism is lessened considerably if the victim is hanging limp,head down, like a lifeless carcass.

  39. Art Jerk » Lady Bathory | JOSHUA HOFFINE Says:

    [...] For more about Lady Bathory, visit Hoffine’s blog post. [...]

  40. Marie Says:

    That looks way too scary! ;-p.

  41. Helena Says:

    Just found your blog, and i just love ypur pictures.
    I like horrormovies also.
    So cool.
    Have a nice day.
    /Helena

  42. Aniko Says:

    I love your pictures, especially this one!

  43. dinisohbet Says:

    wonderful pictures superr

  44. bridget Says:

    absolutely and totally amazing! the photo is incredible, but the story behind it brings it to life even more!

  45. Judy Says:

    I love your work one sick pup….Childhood fears….

  46. islam sohbet Says:

    I love your pictures, especially this one!

  47. islami forum Says:

    superr

  48. Mavis Connelly Says:

    Dominatrix are so amazing , you need to post more about this topic

  49. Love dommes Says:

    Being myself a mistress lover I loved every single word of this fantastic post !

  50. cosmo Says:

    gran trabajo y todavia mejor el que compartas el making off con todos habla de tu humildad como persona, en realidad estoy facinado es lo primero que veo de tu trabajo y me encanto ,me he vuelto fan de tus fotos.

  51. amanda Says:

    soo cool i love your concepts!!

    all the pics turn out sooo good!!!

  52. Whitney Saurer Says:

    I am so intrigued with the villainy of the Countess Bathory! Is there a place where I can purchase a print? I could only find a place to by jewelery. This is such a great piece, I would love to have a print of it!

  53. :: Joshua Hoffine ((Horror Phoography)) :: - supernova-magazine.com Says:

    [...] Posted in $25 Print, At Work | 53 Comments » [...]

  54. mistress rules Says:

    Dominant girls like this one are just the best stress relief ever! More to come?

  55. no mistress no fun Says:

    Mistress makes me mindblowed!

  56. Loan Swamy Says:

    I truly liked the mistress thing , can you post more?

  57. vanislebounty Says:

    Amazing job, I loved it, very creative, loved it so much I had to pass it on to my mom!!

  58. Abbie Darrisaw Says:

    Dominant girls like this one are just the best stress relief ever! More to come?

  59. ReelyBored Says:

    fantastic! can i be your assistant?! love ur work!

  60. nicko Says:

    Pretty awesome, very realistic looking. Thanx for sharing.

  61. NEKROTIKO Says:

    Muy Buen Blog!!!!!Te Agrego a mi lista. http://necroarte-huesospintados.blogspot.com SaLuDoS!!!!!

  62. Gabriel Gadfly Says:

    This is an amazing shot.

  63. Michael Corey Says:

    I must say that I am once again blown away with your work Sir. I am more then amazed that I got to shake hands and talk wit hyou during Cinema Wasteland. I thank you for not only providing the visuals, but for also inspiring others to use their own imaginations to create a vision of the fears that dwell in their minds. (I am one of them.)
    Keep up the amazing work, and I look forward to seeing so much more!
    I will hang the print of this with pride.

  64. Eating Disorder Treatment : Says:

    we always use air compressors in spray painting and also in blowing off those hardened dust on our home”~,

  65. carrie Says:

    Really love the photos. thank you for posting the behind the scenes solution to the blood spray.

  66. anggaverdadero Says:

    uuuu its awsome. now i know the story lol great man i love it. thanks 4 sharing :)

  67. Fajrur Pattinson Says:

    wow….wonderfull..
    i like it….

  68. MJ Preston Says:

    Very cool photography and artwork.

  69. Kira G. Says:

    you are fantastic. n.n

  70. Bradford Beebout Says:

    Great – I really enjoyed it, thanks.

  71. William Roberts Says:

    Flipping Inspiring sir!! If you ever need volunteers for your shots let me know!!

  72. JakobDK Says:

    Amazing!

  73. Monster Digest | DanaRehn Says:

    [...] Making Lady Bathory – A contemporary spin on the Countess Elizabeth Bathory legend by artist, Joshua Hoffine. [...]

  74. ReginaO. Says:

    not long I met his work and I’m surprised, all the effort put in the pieces is awesome… Equally amazing is see the support of his family!!! Big fan!!

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