13 clips from a horror movie filmed by the mannequins amid the ruins of Hollywood

1. His mouth opens and a red spider crawls out, followed by another one and another one and another one and another one and another one…

2. Her body is no longer her body. It looks exactly as it did before, but it is strange, wrong. She looks at herself in the mirror and weeps.

3. The sound of machinery wakes him. Iron grinding iron, shrill whistles. After a few seconds, it stops. When he sleeps it starts again.

4. The street is quiet. A few cars, people ambling along. A woman crosses the road, pushing a pram. Inside, there is a severed head.

5. Night. A luxury apartment on the 33rd floor. A bed, a man, a woman. The harder they fuck, the more horrible their deaths.

6. A man sits on a stool at a bar. He doesn’t know there is something in his whiskey. The barman knows. All the other customers know.

7. The suburb looks much as it did before, except there are no people and dogs roam free and windows are smashed and the flies are God.

8. They laugh. Life is easy. They’ve never had it so good. An ocean sunset. Meanwhile, in the cabin, a shadow twists and lengthens.

9. Their bodies are placentas, feeding something squalling, ravenous.

10. At school, the children sit quietly at their desks, devising a thousand parricides.

11. The camera was left running, by accident. He reviews the footage. Then he goes into the basement and shoots himself.

12. A spiral staircase leads to a corridor she doesn’t remember. She feels compelled to explore. Water drips from the ceiling.

13. The light is poor and there is smoke, but it looks like a large bird or a man dressed as one, tottering, lurching, shrieking, laughing.


13 enigmatic scenes from a TV murder mystery that everyone has seen but no one has made

1. The house, stamped white on slate sky. Behind the windows, all the rooms are filled with water. A drowned man in a dinner suit floats by.

2. The revolver lies on the pillow of an unmade bed. The revolver is not just an object. It is the man with the scar, his fear and impotence.

3. A hand on a door handle, hesitating, unmoving. The shot is a close-up; we can’t see if the door is open or closed.

4. An oblong mirror returns the gaze of an anxious woman. She hates the world. Her eyes are crystals.

5. A room on fire. A laughing man sits on a smouldering sofa.

6. A succession of corridors. We glide along them like ghosts.

7. Outside, there is a dark forest. The story will begin and end there. The beginning will mimic the end. The end has already happened.

8. “I’m sorry. Please leave me alone,” whispers a mouth tight with pain. Blue light reveals a knife in a drawer, a torn photograph.

9. The walls are bleeding. Blood collects at the feet of a naked woman. She’s standing up, eyes open, but she looks dead.

10. The curtains are closed, but this looks like a study. A shaft of light shows us a letter-opener. This is an invitation and a threat.

11. The corridors again. They link up, double back, double cross us, never end. Doors are closed or ajar. Music is playing. No one is there.

12. A bath fills with hot water. We expect to see blood. Someone has written the word MANNEQUIN on the steamed-up mirror.

13. A stone through a window. Flying glass, a cry of surprise or horror or delight. The moon is full. A blade of cloud slices it in two.

A love letter from the Bird King

The Bird King leaves a love letter for you on a bedside table in a house that has not yet been built.


The Bird King’s memories change every day. The past is a city forever under construction.


The Bird King’s coronation took place while I was stuck in a recurring nightmare about my parents’ new pet crocodile.


We are oneironauts, lost on the waters of the Bird Kings’ dreams. 


Sitting before her mirror, she paints herself. Her eye tracks the external workings of her mind, the ghost made flesh in wrinkles and a faint frown, her mind spiralling down a staircase of itself, vertiginous, into the pit of all the things she thinks she wants and thinks she needs, spiralling out of seashells into empty hells and the appalling peals of final bells, spiralling nowhere maybe just out of sight past the house at the end the pub on the right the tower block blocking the sky a place where land and water meet and mingle huge sea birds lost along the wastes scouting for familiar waves a place where matter is neither one thing nor another and never itself where people get lost and get wasted and lose themselves and try to work things out in their minds but they can’t their minds spiralling into dark tomorrows and smudged horizons sifting through caws and squawks for anything resembling a human voice and words that could be understood shifting in the creamy void artfully framed by two black slashes each a bird carrying death in its wings panicking towards the smudged horizon and in the foreground something that might be real or that takes as its starting point the representation of something that might be real a face her face framed by the black mass of her hair her frowning face sadder than hope looking out from the canvas into other eyes that flit from mirror to canvas to mirror flitting like birds tearing the horizon with razor wings flitting from canvas to mirror to canvas fleeing stillness flying from the stasis of the scene as it would appear to an observer she just sitting there sitting for hours her eyes moving but little else her arm her hand describing lines and curves guiding a paintbrush falling now and then into the murky palette rising again making little lines she just sitting there while a second she watches from the mirror and a third gathers on the canvas not one woman three women distinct but the same the same woman in three bodies and who could tell which came first which was authentic the woman in the painting the woman in the mirror the woman in the room looking at both looking like both.