Haunted Happenings

All Things Babadook

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Happy Halloween, everyone! I thought I would bring you behind the curtain on all of the Babadook related things I’ve been doing lately. If you haven’t heard of new horror film The Babadook, you will soon enough. It’s the big buzz horror film this year, winning Best Horror feature at Fantasia Fest and it truly is worthy of the hype. The concept is simple but the scares are anything but conventional. Here’s the trailer to get you started. It’s available now on DirectTV and opens in theaters on November 28.

The film is a beautifully shot, sinister, psychological horror film with incredible performances by Essie Davis, child star Daniel Henshaw and a terrifying new cinematic boogeyman. After viewing the screener IFC sent back in August, I was drunk on inspiration.

And so we begin the process of creating the U.S. one sheets for IFC Midnight. Along the way, I had the opportunity to create a poster for Mondo and an unused concept which now graces the latest issue of Rue Morgue for their cover story on the film but more on that a little later.

We’ll start with some initial concept sketches. These are only a few examples culled from a pile of doodles. Just me drawing in the dark, brainstorming while the film flickers in front of me.

I then move onto the computer and start to bring the concepts to a more visually digestible state. I spent a little extra time on these “roughs” as I normally do. I wanted to show IFC and director Jennifer Kent some solid directions. Below are a few more explorations, keeping in mind some of IFC’s initial notes.

After some feedback from IFC and director Jennifer Kent, it was decided that we should use specific photography of the actors and fonts from the film’s past posters. I was happy to oblige. After a few rounds of tweaks, here is the official U.S. one-sheet for The Babadook. There’s a second poster, yet to be revealed.


The concept below was used for its premiere on Direct TV.


When the opportunity reared its head to create a design for Mondo, I threw my top hat into the ring and showed them some unused concepts. Mondo art director Rob Jones suggested we go with the striking and simple image of the knife. For me, the image of a knife really speaks to the psychological terror in the film. A knife doesn’t always have to say “slasher movie”. It’s also a visual devise to convey the psychological horror of a person frayed at their wits end. Pushed to grab a knife in defence of the Babadook, we watch the character of Amelia come unhinged as he, or “it”, drives her to insanity. Always in shadow, always present, the Babadook lurks from behind the blade of the knife. This poster was released at MondoCon and recently sold out on Mondo’s site, but I’ll have more copies available in my store shortly.

Rue Morgue Magazine heard I was developing key art for The Babadook and asked IFC and I if they could publish an unused concept for the film. This particular concept was one of my favourites of the bunch, so I was very excited it found a home on the cover of my favourite horror magazine. The slick cover design is courtesy of RM art director Andrew Wright. The issue hits stands and digital on November 1st.

I hope this sheds a little insight behind the artwork for the film and I hope you all catch it in theaters or VOD when it comes out. All bias aside, it’s my must see horror film of the year. And keep a night light on after viewing, you’re going to need it.

Have a safe and very happy Halloween!



Housecore Horror Film Festival 2014

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I’m pleased to announce I’ll be a guest at Philip Aneselmo’s Housecore Horror Film Festival happening October 23 – 26th. The festival brings the best in metal music with Danzig, Samhain, Superjoint, Voivod and Gwar headlining, with rare screenings of horror flicks and special film guests from Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1 and 2. My table will be located in the Midway area, so if you’re going drop by and say hi!

MondoCon 2014

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I’m beyond thrilled to announce I’ll be attending MondoCon in Austin Texas, September 20 -21. Mondo‘s first ever convention is truly unique in that it celebrates poster screenprints, toys, vinyl records and the creators and artists behind them. I’m really looking forward to meeting the many artists I admire and some friends and filmmaker’s I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  I’ll be exhibiting with a full booth and have a few new things in store, so if you’re there please make it a point to drop by and say hi! The convention just so happens to coincide with Fantastic Fest and we’re excited to catch a few flicks while there. Oh, and speaking of  Fantastic Fest, I’ll have a very special treat in store for a certain screening, so keep your eyes open for that by following me on Twitter and FaceBook. To snag your MondoCon weekend or day passes, click here!

Interview in Virus Magazine

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I was recently featured in Virus, Germany’s leading horror magazine. The article was published in issue #60 and features a poster centrefold of the Birth of the Living Dead artwork. Check out the English translation below.

Virus: You said the last time you interviewed with Virus, it was for their Slither (2006) issue. You’ve done a score of work since then. Is there anything you’re particularly proud of?

There’s certainly been some big changes since then! To catch up, I left Rue Morgue as art director in 2010 to start my own company and pursue other projects. It was a difficult decision because I felt my artwork has had a big hand in the success of the magazine and it was my identity for over a decade. I was worried that I may lose my following, friends that I have made or even contacts within our little industry, but luckily, the exact opposite happened. I couldn’t be busier and I’m doing all kinds of things that I never had the time for in the past. I’m doing more conventions now and getting my work in front of as many people as I can. The good news is, I’m still very much a part of the magazine. I write a monthly art column for them called The Fright Gallery and I occasionally still contribute artwork and ideas. I often feel as though I haven’t left. Working on my own has been nothing short of incredible though and at times, it can be a lot to handle by myself, especially now that I’m printing and shipping my own posters. But, thankfully I have an amazing wife who helps me with the business. I’ve been able to work with many different companies, make new friends and work with old ones. Ultimately though, I’m mostly proud that I’m able to work every day and contribute creatively to the genre that got us all here in the first place – HORROR.

V: I’m curious to learn the history of one of your more recent works: The ‘Survive’ poster you did for Fright Rags in the fight against domestic abuse. Could we discuss what inspired that, and how you chose the look?

Ben Scrivens from Fright Rags knew I was a big Friday the 13th fan and felt I would be a good fit for it. It was for a great cause, so I was even happier to contribute. I knew I had to feature the first four “final” girls from the film, and wanted to them to look a bit classical, so I have them lots of wavy hair and added the boarder. I sometimes try and sneak in some hidden details or a “hook” to the concept, such as the Camp Crystal Lake sign or Jason’s mask in the reflection of the water. I always love it when I see things like that in other people’s work, and as a fan of most of the films I get to work on, I get a lot of pleasure out of watching people react to it.

V: Could you tell us a little more about your experiences with Tales from Beyond the Pale? Aside from the logo design, did you handle all the cover art? What was your favorite episode/piece to design for?

Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid approached me with their concept for audio horror. I love those old radio shows like Inner Sanctum and War of the Worlds, it’s a different medium so the nature of the project sounded fresh and really interested me. They are innovative guys and have contributed some amazing things to horror so when they asked if I would create the art for the show, it was a pretty easy decision. I created all of the posters for season one and and half of the posters for season two.

I really liked doing the poster for Trawler. I liked the episode a lot but I’m a lot but I’m also a sucker for underwater creature features.

V: On your website: Is the demon priest logo on your website a nod to the family priest that gave when you your first set of pencils and felt-tip pens?

Yes, the priest is a nod to that, but I’m rebranding this year.

V: When you began to create darker art, how was it received by your family and friends? Were your gifts encouraged?

My parents and family were very supportive of my interest in horror and are to this day. They get it. Both of them enjoy the films and as long as I wasn’t watching something too extreme, they pretty much let me rent anything I could get my hands on. My mother was always reading Stephen King novels so at an early age I would read them when she was done.
In school, most of my teachers encouraged it – I can remember one of my teachers let me skip a class or two to draw in the library posters of Freddy and Jason so she could hang them around the class room at Halloween. I had to use an overhead projector to do it.

V: You previously mentioned you had done your first silk-screen with Mondo. What was that like for you? Did silk-screening alter the way you approach your creative process at all?

It was a challenge and a little tricky but thankfully, I have a lot of artist friends to ask advice when I need it. You never stop learning new ways to do things with silk screening.

V: Is there any ground (i.e. a particular film or medium you’re still curious about.) you haven’t covered yet?

It’s really inspiring to see so many of my friends becoming filmmakers so I do want to direct a film one day, perhaps an animation. I got a taste of it when I created the illustrations for the animated sequences in the George Romero documentary, Birth of the Living Dead. I worked closely with the director Rob Kuhns and Larry Fessenden and I had a lot of input into how to tell the story. I really enjoyed it. I’m lucky to be in an industry where when the time comes, I can hopefully call on people and work with them on something.

I’d also love to do a coffee table art book, I have a proposal a good friend wrote up for me, so a I just need to get motivated again to pitch some publishing houses.

In the Land of Ghouls and Monsters – Feratum Film Fest art show

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I am thrilled to announce I am an official guest at this year’s Feratum Film Fest, Mexico’s biggest and baddest horror and sci-fi film festival.

I am also pleased to say I will be exhibiting a career retrospective of art work for the first time in Mexico, which spans my fifteen year career creating horror inspired imagery.

The exhibit will feature many original drawings published on the covers of RUE MORGUE, silk-screened posters of some horror film favourites and art print that have gained international recognition.

In addition, Feratum will be screening the George A. Romero doc I illustrated, Birth of the Living Dead and I’ll be on hand for the screening and the Q & A.

I’ll be in attendance for the whole festival with guest Rodrigo Gudiño, founder of Rue Morgue Magazine. My wife and I are very much looking forward to meeting horror fans south of the boarder and taking in all of the madness the festival has to offer. My art exhibit, In the Land of Ghouls and Monsters, opens on October 3, 2013 at 5:30 pm at the Raymon Museum in Tlalpujahua, Mexico.