Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Saoirse Carey 

BA [Hons] Design for Stage + Screen Character MakeUp Design

Saoirse Carey is an artist and designer who primarily explores their work in digital mediums. In their art, they have a fondness for portrait work and take commissions for custom digital pieces. Their design work surrounds storytelling and personal experiences as a young person in Ireland. Their more recent work experiments with merging different digital media, such as digital model making and digital painting, to create immersive outputs. Their graduate project, The Wasp Woman, explores redesigning the B movie for a contemporary audience. This project also explores the female monster and their place in horror film.

The Wasp Woman

The final project in my Character Design degree involved redesigning a text of our choice. I chose The Wasp Woman (1959), directed by Roger Corman. The Wasp Woman explores themes of ageism, sexism and surviving in a world not built for you. Our main character, Janice, is a woman in her 40s in 1950s America. Being the owner of a makeup business, the men in her company blame her age for the decline of sales. With the promise of returning to her youth by a mysterious scientist, Janice takes part in a strange experiment involving queen wasp enzymes. It works and she returns to her young youthful self, however the wasp enzymes have devastating effects. This choice was due in part to my love of horror film, as well as my fascination for the female monster. This project involved exploring 3D and digital mediums to create and emulate a film, as well as exploring and designing the female monster for contemporary audiences.

The Good, The Bad, and The Other The Representation of Pregnancy and Childbirth in American Horror Film from 1968 to 1979

This study concerns itself with the representation of mothers, pregnancy and childbirth in American horror film from 1968 to 1979. I explored three of these films; Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968), David Cronenberg’s The Brood (1979) and Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979). The study queries the sudden increase in horror films which explore ideas of pregnancy and birth from this time. This study also sets out to evaluate the representations of the mother figures in these films to investigate the intent of these films. The research consisted of analysing the visual representations of mothers, pregnancy and childbirth from the 1960s. The vast majority of this information comes from the United States due to a transitional period in women’s rights. Further understanding came from the analysis and deconstruction of the three chosen films. The results from this study concluded that there was vast representations of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as the representations of the mother. Although all three films were greatly inspired by similar sources, each film expressed very different understandings and ideas. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) explores many themes surroundings women’s rights and idealises Rosemary, our protagonist as a good mother. The Brood (1979) explores the terrifying reproductive powers as women and portrays its protagonist as a horrifying maternal figure. Alien (1979) attempts to explore pregnancy and maternity as a more abstract idea and surpasses gender norms with its unfamiliar and lurking alien creature. The results show that social and historical context greatly influence film but it does not mean that each film influenced will be the same or sending the same message. However, it is clearly indicated that the horror genre uses childbirth and pregnancy as a device due to our continued lack of understanding surrounding women’s bodies.