Callum is the one who did most of the research on the disorder in the early stages of the project, whereas I looked at other media that portrayed anxiety.
Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece is about an agoraphobic man named Scottie who also suffers from vertigo following a traumatic event in his past. Scottie’s dissociation and descent into madness is symbolised by a recurring spiral shape that often appears in the character’s eye. There is also the recurring motif of twin pillars. In fact, the entire film is full of psychedelic imagery (which I suppose was commonplace at the time, but not in a horror/thriller) which lends itself to a very surreal and unsettling film.
BoJack Horseman (2014 -)
Netflix’s most depressing cartoon was a big inspiration for this project. The show is also the subject of my upcoming thesis so I felt that it was only right to revisit it as a potential inspiration for the major project. BoJack Horseman is a show about a depressed horse who was a big-show television star in the 90s but has since lost all meaning in his life. A recurring motif in the show is water: this could be in the form of a lake, a swimming pool or an ocean. The water is always brought up whenever our titular character is feeling overwhelmed by life or by his own questionable choices.
One of the darkest moments of the show involves water, when BoJack admits exactly how he would like to die:
One of the most memorable episodes of the show (Episode 3×04) takes place entirely underwater, and features absolutely no dialogue.
In this episode, BoJack is thrust into a surreal and unfamiliar world, and is caught of guard not only by the culture-shock, but by the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a lost baby seahorse, as well as juggling the dozens of promotional appearances in various clubs and theatres to advertise his new movie. During the entirety of this episode, BoJack appears lost and unsure of what to do. He is trapped by the water. All of the native sea life can communicate no bother, but BoJack is stuck in silence, unable to even hear what the sea creatures are saying. Life is muffled and stifling. He is also confined to the ocean floor, where he walks along the seabed while several species of fish are able to swim above him. The climax of the episode reveals that BoJack embraces the opportunities that water can provide, and swims out of a second storey window completely unharmed, and doesn’t fall to his death as he predicted. He conquers the overwhelming weight of the ocean and instead sees it as a medium of opportunity.
There is also an episode which takes place almost entirely in BoJack’s mind, and gives his depression a voice. During the entire episode BoJack’s inner monologue can be heard, and is given it’s own chaotic art style. It is a brutal portrayal of depression.
BoJack Horseman would serve as one of the biggest inspirations for our short film, as we admired its use of water to symbolise being overwhelmed, but also its surrealism and its effectiveness in making the world seem all the more unfamiliar and terrifying.
There are also dozens of other films and television shows that touch on the topic of mental illness but few decide to express the disorders in a very visual manner.