People don’t often visit Slade House, but when they do it never ends very well. Set behind a huge wall in a small alleyway and with its only entrance a small iron gate with no handle or a keyhole, from the outside many might think it impossible to enter from the alley, however once every 9 years someone always finds themselves outside that small iron door in that long dark alley and with a gentle push the impossible gate opens.
Once inside they can see the huge house that was previously blocked by the tall wall of the alley, as well as the surrounding gardens that sometimes, are beautifully kept with an array of colourful flowers but other times are hugely overgrown with just a memory of a kept garden. Now while you might think that which garden you saw was to do with how early you visited the house (before or after the garden had fallen into chaos) you would be wrong. What you saw when you walked through that door, was dictated by what the owners of that house wanted you to see.
Everyone who walked into Slade House did so thinking they were doing it on their own accord when in fact, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
The book explores many different stories of the people that visit Slade House but I’m going to focus on one, the story of Sally Timms.
Sally Timms isn’t a confident 20-year-old; she is shy and feels she is overweight. She has lived under the shadow of her older sister her entire life and when Sally moves away from home she believes her insecurities won’t follow her but they do. When she finds herself at a party at a place called Slade House with people she could only dream of being as confident as all those insecurities become even more apparent. But with the boy, she likes also at the party and starting to pay her attention she decides to stay despite wanting to leave.
But once at the party things start to take a weird turn. Sally starts to feel like she’s losing control, she can’t see straight and she has no real control on what is happening, she starts to feel like she’s seeing things…. Has she been drugged? She’s walking up the stairs in the big house, she doesn’t really know why but she keeps walking up until she reaches the door to the attic, once there she senses something’s wrong but when she try’s to turn round and leave she can’t. She’s stuck, she doesn’t know where she stuck, but she’s stuck.
Sally finds herself in a black space with just the light of a single candle to help her see, standing in front of her are two figures. They look familiar but it takes a few moments for her to realise who they are. A girl and a boy who she had spoken to at the party but they look older. She also realises something she hadn’t noticed before; they look really similar to one another, brother and sister, twins?
With Sally in a state of panic she hasn’t even realised she’s not breathing, but somehow it doesn’t matter. She also can’t move, not even a twitch in the end of her fingers. Sally doesn’t understand what is happening, but she senses that this might be her end.
To understand what happens in Slade House you have to understand the people that live there and to do that you have to go back to when they were born. In 1899 two twins were born on the grounds of Swaffham Manor. Not in the main house, however, but instead the gamekeeper’s cottage. But when both of their parents very sadly pass away they move into the main house and are bought up by the Chetwynd-Pitts, the lord and lady of the house.
As the twins grew up they realised that they weren’t like other children, and they weren’t the only ones that had noticed.
The two twins had a connection; they could sense each other, even when they weren’t in the same room. And the older they got the stronger the connection got until they could communicate with one another without a single word, even when miles apart.
This wasn’t something that they could keep a secret for long, and with the Chetwyn-Pitts wanting to test and hone the twins skills, they soon met Dr Leon Cantillon.
Dr Cantillion was a soldier/doctor and a very intelligent man, he had lived a very rich life up to this point and new and had mingled with many different types of people from many different country’s and backgrounds. Well when Dr Cantillion found himself at Swaffham Manor, he was blown away by what he saw. The twins end up leaving England with the doctor to head for Algiers where he knows of Muslim Shamans (in my version they will go to Japan, to meet a Shinto shaman) that he believes will be able to push and grown the skills that the twins already have.
And this is exactly what happens, the twins’ skills grow stronger and stronger until they can do things that they never could even imagine themselves being able to do.
They travel the world and make a fortune through séances when in fact they were just reading the minds of their clients rather than communicating with the dead. Soon they could do more than just read people’s minds, they could control them too.
But eventually, they decided it was time to return the England, which is when they bought Slade House. It takes them a few years but eventually they create the perfect ‘modus oparandi’ powered by pyschovoltage, it a sort of reality bubble called an ‘orsion’ and as long as they feed it with someone that has the right ‘ora’ once every 9 years, the twins can stay alive.
I want to take inspiration from the ‘still space’ that the twins are suspended in. it’s a place where they are both dead and alive simultaneously. I want to play on the idea of distorted reality as well as comparing the state that the twins are in, to pressed flowers. I want to compare the fact that the flowers are being preserved in what resembles their alive state while actually being dead. I think this relates to what the twins have created perfectly.
In the book, the author hints that colour is the hardest thing for the twins to maintain when projecting the world into the minds of their pray, so I’m going to use that idea of drained colour as my colour pallet. I want to only have accent hints of colour in the costumes; this will play on the idea that things maybe aren’t quite what they seem. And that by adding small amounts of accent colour you brain would maybe fill in the blanks.
-Dr. Leon Cantillon
-The Shaman (female)
These costumes will be inspired by a mix of traditional dress and Japan’s amazing take on contemporary fashion, with the twins costumes leaning more towards the contemporary side of things and the doctor and the shaman more towards the traditional side.
I also want to play with the gender rolls between the two twins as Norah is much more dominant than Jonah is.
For the party I want the to be a real 1930’s feel as that is when the twins settled in the house, as well as subtle reminders of the twins time in Japan. I also want the partygoers to be very sexually liberal, to help exaggerate for the viewers Sally’s insecurities. I want the to be a real difference between Sally (who would be more covered) and Norah (who would be wearing much more sheer fabrics)
The real twins
This will be what the victims see the twins as when they stop projecting into their mind. They see the Grayer’s as what they really look like. I have been looking at the idea that in the 1930’s a lot of their loungewear has Japanese inspiration.
I want the clothes to look rich and expensive but dirtied and old when closer inspected. I also do what the to be a ghostly feel to their clothes.