Archive for the ‘Evil’ Category

Wonderful Parade of Xmas Demons in Graz

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Krampus, the Austrian Christmas boogieman (via NPR), beware all naughty kiddos.

Note to self: plan Graz vacation next Winter!

Upcoming Performance in Sweden

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

If you find yourself in Malmö, Sweden in late May, please plan to attend Undead in the Night, a performance with Lilith Performance Studio!

sweden forest

Undead in the Night dares you to enter the forest for a walk in the dark. Be very very quiet, you are not alone.

Zombies and Vampires are radically different yet universally recognizable archetypes of horror film monsters who rarely if ever appear together. They share the evil power to turn victims into monsters, and caught in the unknowable position between “alive” and “dead” they have the power to fascinate and terrorize. Placing them together in this performance, I violate the codes and boundaries of horror genre and create an impossible scenario.

Zombies moan as they stagger stiffly and unconsciously in packs towards their single goal – to catch and consume the flesh of the living. Gruesome and rotting, they are ordinary people reincarnated as characterless and soulless ghouls. Although they are brutish, vile, and almost unstoppable, they are neither resourceful nor clever, and are imminently expendable.

Vampires slink and pose with agility as they move towards the forest’s edge. Aristocratic, powerful, seductive, exotic, elegant, timeless, and mysterious, they have a rich immortal life and feed off human blood. Victims sometimes beg to be “turned” into these exotic and fascinating creatures.


…If you want to be in the performance, see details here.


Shivering in the Bronx

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

My solo show, Shivers, went up at The Bronx River Art Center last week – and runs through March 14. Visit if you dare! I’m showing video and photo work related, as usual, to horror films. There is a brochure essay by guest writer Erin Sickler, available at the gallery.

jillian mcdonald sparkling
The Sparkling is an interactive video installation from 2007. Special thanks to Josh Rose and Andy Mueller for programming and electronics assistance.

jillian mcdonald apparition
The Apparition is from 2009 but features footage shot in 1997 and forgotten until now.

If you’re like Billy Bob Thornton, famously phobic of antique furniture (not to mention in denial of your love for me which is another story entirely), you probably won’t like these haunted chandeliers.

There’s one in my studio right now and it’s freaking me out.

A Swedish Vampire Christmas

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Reversing the roles of Twilight, that other teenage romance disguised as a vampire film, comes the dark and creepy-sweet Swedish film, Let the Right One In. I saw it on Christmas Day. The new girl in town enchants the lonely boy next door with her powers – namely, she flies, does a mean Rubik’s Cube, and does not mind the cold – and he cannot resist her awkward ice-cold intimacy. They want so much to be friends that she feigns eating human food though it makes her sick and he overlooks her necessary evil.

Like Claudia in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles our vamp Eli is frozen in the body of a pre-teen girl, her monstrousness disguised in big-eyed innocence. For a vampire, Eli seems very rough around the edges and filthy fingernails, but this isn’t Hollywood. The film has it’s share of blood, but the most graphically violent moments are not classically vampiric and only some involve the fanged exploits of our darling monster. Be prepared for a failed suicide by acid, clumsy bloodletting by an aging yet loyal companion, and a massive revenge fantasy that you smell coming without remotely sensing the magnitude of its enactment.

This is a tale of revenge and friendship, yet that icing barely covers an immoral taste of immortal pedophila.

The ice-encrusted trees and wintry landscapes are gorgeous and recall another vampire film, without the relentless horror. It’s good, and will leave you chilled.


Saturday, May 24th, 2008

My Word Press blog was hacked last week, which explains the spate of spam comments pushing my inbox ever-wider. I found spam-a-lot inserted into my own header.
Beckleyworks saved the day.

Saving 30 Days of Night

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

30 days of night

This is the least haunting image I can find from the film I started watching last night: the male lead trapped in an attic while bloodthirsty savages (vampires like you haven’t seen them before, see below) claw and pry the windows. I started watching it but quickly realized this was not a film for Jillian to watch alone, at night. So I’ll save it for next week’s trip to Québec City, where no doubt I’ll watch it even more alone, at night.

The snowbound “Alaskan” landscape is stunning, though the darkened town was filmed on a sound stage in New Zealand. Note to self: more footage for Snow Stories. Another snow covered landscape signaling despair, doom, and entrapment. There is no explanation so far for why the townspeople can’t simply drive away.

These vampires are more closely related in demeanor and appearance to the furious and faster frame rate zombies of recent films like 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Land of the Dead etc, than to debonair and handsome Hollywood vampires played by Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas. That’s a relief.


They resemble the original Nosferatu, or even the blind post-human cave dwellers in The Descent – batlike, with razor teeth.

Gone is the slow courtship, the stealth, the dark beauty… these vampires are messy, blood covered, and undeniably inhuman deadly monsters.

pictured above: 30 Days of Night, and Nosferatu.

ThreeWalls show

Thursday, April 10th, 2008


Horror Stories, my new show at ThreeWalls in Chicago, opened on Friday. The Sparkling, an interactive video installation, is the highlight – shown above and below. The haunted chandelier gets eerier as visitors approach, a reference to chandeliers in films like The Amityville Horror, and also non-horror films like The War of the Roses. Thanks to the wonderful artists and administrators at ThreeWalls for all their support, especially Shannon, Lucy, Elizabeth, Andy, and Liz. Also to Josh Rose and Cesar Cornejo who helped me in New York with programming and putting together the chandelier.


Also on view are:

tv = evil

TV = Evil which juxtaposes little girls and TVs from Poltergeist and The Ring. Playing on a TV in a room all alone, it’s creepy.

vamp it up

Vamp it Up, a companion piece to Horror Make-up, filmed on the Chicago elevated train. More info about this work in my Performance section. Special thanks to Beckley Roberts and Liz Hood who secretly filmed these performances, and to Elizabeth for driving me half way around town in search of fangs, size XS.

everyone will suffer

Everyone Will Suffer, an animation featuring taglines recited from popular horror films and a low-fi animated country sunset.

Haunted chandelier

Thursday, March 13th, 2008


Break through! I’ve been working on an interactive video installation titled The Sparkling for months – very sporadically – and it’s finally coming together. Luckily, since it’s in a show opening April 4. I was frustrated for days with the program – written by programmer Josh Rose – which just would not talk to my videos. But sleepless in Chicago at 3am I had a brainstorm and figured out the missing link. The projected video chandelier will shiver and make eerie noises based on visitors’ proximity to the image, in reference to many films – horror and otherwise – in which the haunted chandelier signals a larger presence.

Bitmap: as Good as New

Monday, November 19th, 2007

bitmap image

Marcin Ramocki curated a show titled B I T M A P: as Good as New for vertexList gallery opening Saturday Nov 24. It sounds great, I am making a minimal animation for the show (yes still), image above. It’ll scare the pants off you!

“B I T M A P: as good as new” is proud to feature: Cory Arcangel, Chris Ashley, Mike Beradino, Mauro Ceolin, Petra Cortright, Paul Davis, DELAWARE, Notendo (Jeff Donaldson), Eteam, Dragan Espenschied, Christine Gedeon, Kimberley Hart, Daniel Iglesia, JODI, Olia Lialina, LoVid, Kristin Lucas, David Mauro, Jillian Mcdonald, Tom Moody, Aron Namenwirth, Mark Napier, Nullsleep, Marisa Olson, Will Papenheimer, Prize Budget for Boys, Jim Punk, Akiko Sakaizumi, Paul Slocum, Eddo Stern and CJ Yeh.

Hallowe’en Zombies

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

hallowe'en zombie

A couple of weeks ago there were zombies doing yoga at the East River State Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Meawhile, the art team Praxis (Delia Bajo and Brainard Carey) posted this
on Youtube, intervening in George Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead