This is the animated short film I made for my final project on my design course.
"Pavor Nocturnus" means "Night Terror" in latin.
The key thing I wanted to express with this piece is the pure chaos of having a Night Terror, the contrast between the peaceful dreams of sleep and the violent, screaming and thrashing of utter terror. It’s difficult to describe what it feels like. There is no feeling or awareness other than that of pure inconsolable fear. Imagine,
if you can, being caught in a seemingly infinite abyss of blackness that is somehow simultaneously claustrophobic. I thought about claustrophobic places and the factors that united them. That is to say feelings of entrapment, thin rays of light disappearing under an irreversibly sealing door. These are the kinds of potent feelings I remember the morning after a Night Terror. My earliest ideas revolved around distilling these feelings into their simplest symbolic forms such as a black hole, a prison or cage. I soon came to the conclusion that what was difficult to describe may also be difficult to convey in any kind of literal way.
I reasoned that matters of the dreaming world are perhaps best dealt with metaphorically.
When the night comes, it is shown in the form of a benign moth. This moth deposits dusty sand that forms the stuff of dreams. In remarkably short periods of time, we dream up infinitely varying stories and scenarios. Like the dream architecture in this piece, dreams are fantastical yet fragile. Any kind of disturbance can shatter our dreams and bring us to a confused awakening. When I am in the throes of a Night Terror, it destroys both my dreams and those of the people around me. The once tranquil moth now tramples and eats away at the dreams it had made, until there is nothing left but primal, abyssal terror. Like a sand castle toppling under its own weight, my screams of terror rouse me into a fitful, confused awakening. Gathering my thoughts, I look
around only to see that what seemed like an eternity of nothingness was, in fact, mere seconds.
Select quotations from Dante’s Inferno highlight the resemblance between the chaos of a Night Terror and a descent into the funnel of Hell.