Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Saoirse O'hUadhaigh 

Design for Stage + Screen

Saoirse O'hUadhaigh, an Irish/Kiwi character designer, discovered her passion for makeup and prosthetics through horror films. Specialising in prosthetics, she aims to astonish audiences, with gnarly wounds to monsterous beings. With a knack for Film, TV, and Theatre applications, including beauty, facial hair, etc, she adds depth to her characters. Proficient in photography, digital work, model-making and puppetry, Saoirse's repertoire extends to collaborations with the Irish National Opera and various film and photography projects. Driven by passion and creativity, she aims to elevate her career alongside fellow visionaries, continuously pushing boundaries in her craft.

A Jorōgumo's Entanglement

For my final college project, I wrote a silent film script centred on the Japanese Yokaī, the Jorōgumo. This supernatural entity, a shapeshifting woman who morphs into a monstrous spider, preys on a solitary wedded Samurai Warrior. The narrative unfolds as the Samurai encounters a captivating woman at the forest's edge, drawn into a mesmerising but perilous journey where reality blurs with myth. The pivotal moment reveals the woman's horrific transformation into the Jorōgumo, leading to a chilling confrontation. Through eerie imagery and suspenseful storytelling, the film depicts the Samurai's gruesome demise at the hands of the spider-like creature. Ultimately, the project delves into the unsettling intersection of myth and morality, leaving viewers with haunting reflections on the complexities of human nature and the allure of the unknown.
Through this storytelling, I designed and created my version of my Jorōgumo and the decapitated head of the Samurai Warrior, emphasising the climax of my script.

The Evolution of Historical Mask Symbolism in the 21st Century Western Masked Horror Cinema

This thesis explores the evolution of historical mask symbolism in Western masked horror cinema through an in-depth analysis of key films. My study delves into the historical, animal, grouped and shame masks, examining their symbolic significance and their contributions to the evolution and endurance of masked horror cinema.
Films such as Creep, Saw II, The Purge, Haunt, The Boy and The Black Phone serve as case studies, revealing how masks are utilised to portray various themes ranging from existentialism and psychological trauma to anthropomorphism and shame. My studies combine cultural, philosophical and psychological perspectives to aid the understanding of the meanings behind these cinematic masks, displaying their transformations in the 21st-century horror iconography.