Designing True Detective’s Carcosa


“Artist Joshua Walsh crafted the altar, which was inspired by other elements in the series: ‘I connected it to the killer’s latticeworks and used driftwood for arms.’ “

I’ll have further thoughts on the True Detective finale in a little while, but first, take a look at the set design of “Carcosa” the underground catacomb of a sacrificial city where Rust and Marty stalk their final prey. Or rather, where he stalks them.

The environment was sufficiently chilling, and was one of the more unsettling locales I’ve seen on TV. A lot of work went into building Carcosa, and artist Joshua Walsh was responsible for much of it. Check out more photos of Carcosa below, along with his explanation of each element:


“To distort the figure with a beast quality, I incorporated the spine of a cow.”


“The yellow color is derived from turmeric, which I used to create the symbol on the main skull.”


“Oyster shells are everywhere in New Orleans. Their odor mixed with the turmeric crafted this spicy, death smell.”


“We included charms that the killer might find in a schoolyard.”


“The star that hangs over the sacrificial rock is made from burnt driftwood, a nod to the killer’s charcoal art.”


“I often built the latticeworks structures around wrappings or ‘spirit bundles,’ creating little shrines.”

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