— That summer is fuzzy. I was a feral adolescent nobody who clowned around with fireworks and puked in ditches. Between ODing on repeated viewings of the horror movies I read about as a milk-toothed vampire and nocturnal excursions with my dog where he’d devour abandoned McDonalds meals through decaying paper bags, I decided to bring the two joys together in a cute mutant creature. The horror dog was born: the diagram of a prank; goth knowledge applied to flesh and bone.

You can get hyperreal mutt anatomy drawings or creepy virtual hounds flayed to show off their liver and heart but I liked this one with the fangs best: an alien cover version of a dog. He’s a Lewis Carroll rabbit hole (trap door?) leading to witchy ballerinas, Ghostwatch and Freddy Krueger. I was really into Carroll’s world distortion trick of reciting knowledge which is wrong but wrong in a weirdly logical way. ‘Tony’ being the mouth was meant to echo the sepulchral croak of Danny’s imaginary friend in The Shining; ‘Coil’ being the dick summoned ghouls from Hellraiser. The dog’s tail is the Renfield, natürlich, freaking out at the master’s presence. R.I.P. Heather O’ Rourke.

But he’s also encrypted with sadness. I just deleted a big fade-out thing about this picture, Zero from A Nightmare Before Christmas, and the void between what is alive and what is tragically not. My childhood dog, the horror hound’s 3D brother, is dead. I dream about him a lot. His ghost still barks.

Charlie Fox was born in 1991, he lives in London. His work has appeared in many publications including frieze, Cabinet, Sight & Sound, ArtReview, The Wire and The White Review. His book of essays, THIS YOUNG MONSTER, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2017.