Landscapes are usually associated with rolling hills and lush meadows, the tranquil quiet broken only by occasional birdsong. Not these landscapes. Full of fiends and strange faces, some of them might make you think a wizard muttered incantations to invoke nature’s sinister spirits. Others appear as gateways to other worlds best left unexplored, while still others seem like sets straight out of a horror flick director’s sick dream. Muhahahahahahaha! Oh, and if you like being scared, go to Iceland.
Image: Soffia Gisladottir
Icelandic Stone Trolls
This snap is riddled with trolls, which according to Icelandic legend turn to stone in daylight. There’s an obvious one, bottom right, but look closely and you’ll see others. The ridge itself is like a sleeping giant.
Another Icelandic landscape, this one showing Hvítserkur, an old volcanic injection of magma whose surrounding rock the ocean wore away. Looks like some monstrous, literally stone age rhino to us.
Taken at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky, this skull-like face is apparently one of many in the cliff face caused by naturally occurring decay and erosion. One’s enough, thank you very much.
Looking Out to Sea
Looking like an old man watching the sea, perhaps for signs of impending doom, this photo was taken in Kilve Beach in Somerset, England, famous for its fossils – of giants?
Image: Joe Shlabotnik
Face in Profile
This next profile of a rock face in a rock face is in Yosemite’s famous Taft Point. A stone giant grimly surveying his kingdom from 3500 feet up while facing off with the big nose of El Capitan, opposite.
Image: David Paul
OK, not so much a landscape as a seascape, but check out the water spirit, moving out of the water and standing tall as the surf hits the lighthouse pier at Frankfort, Michigan.
Gateway to Hell
The jets of hot steam and sulphurous gases known as fumaroles plus its sterile, acidic ground give Iceland’s Námaskarð pass the look of an opening into the devil’s own domain.
Image: elfis gallery
Straight out of Hell
What is it about Iceland that makes its landscape so creepy? Well those solfatares emitting hot steam – in this photo near Myvatn – definitely have something to answer for.
Image: Völundur Jónsson
Yes, Iceland seems determined to haunt us with its infernal terrain, here at Hverir. It’s no wonder the country’s folklore is replete with monsters, goblins and other phantoms of the netherworld.
Leaving Hell’s Gates
One final shot of Iceland’s infernos before we leave its shores in search of other weird and wonderful landscapes. Taken near a geothermal power station, the bubbling mud only added to the sense of menace.
Strange Eggs Appear
These strange, egg-like mounds look as if they form part of some alien landscape. In fact, though, this colourful expanse of unusually eroded rocks is the Bisti Badlands, located in New Mexico.
Image: Jessie Reeder
No, we’re not in Iceland again, but staring at another otherworldly landscape. This one is in the desert surrounding Bolivia’s Laguna Colorada, a shallow salt lake with red-coloured water and white islands.
Image: Wiechert Visser
This beautifully frost-bitten avenue of trees, snapped in the Netherlands, looks like some gateway into the kingdom of the Ice Queen. Enough to send shivers down your spine. Brrr.
Who would have thought a view with gloves hanging from barbed wire in the foreground could be so sinister? Come to think of it… and crumbs are those marigolds creepy. Shot in the Netherlands, arthouse style.
Image: J.T. Noriega
Long Road Home
This shot brings back memories of road movies gone awry; we’re thinking The Hitcher or Duel. Actually, though, the photo was taken not in the California desert but the wilderness of the Philippines.
Image: Dirk Delbaere
This next picture has all the hallmarks of a scene from a classic horror, a Hammer perhaps: unknown location; isolated house framed by creepy trees; fog lacing the ground. You can make the rest up yourself.
This creepy pic could be a screenshot from a high quality chiller. Lit by moonlight, bathed in swirling mist, the tree might easily be concealing some horror in its shadows. This could be anywhere. Atmospheric.
Desolate indeed. Creepy too. The fog shrouding this rural scene makes it seem as though that lonely lane could be leading anywhere. Who knows what lies beyond the ghostly horizon? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps oblivion.