08/18/2013 02:09 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

These Grotesque, Dreamlike Portraits Are Gonna Stick With You

Well, this is terrifying. Italian video artist Donato Sansone creates nightmarish video portraits, in which ghoulish faces deteriorate into constantly shifting smoke. Each portrait, approximately 4 seconds long, shows a glimpse of a "painting in motion," allowing time for the true horror of the image to sink in.

Part Francis Bacon, part David Lynch, Sansone's surreal video visions manage to access the darkest depths of the imagination while looking strangely realistic. Sansone creates a sense of ghostly motion by applying Photoshop and After Effects to still images, letting their existence fade into the background. We agree with The Creators Project when they compared Sansone's meling faces to "one of those beautiful car crash scenarios where you can't look away even though it kind of makes your stomach do somersaults."

Check out some stills from the video portraits below, best perused with a nightlight and blankie.