Archive for October, 2011

It’s hard to believe that Halloween day is here already. Although I wasn’t able to post as much as I would have liked this year, I had fun nonetheless, and as always with the Countdown to Halloween, half the fun is reading what other writers are posting. Stay tuned in November, as I will have some scary left-overs—posts I was planning to make, but was never able to get to.

I thought I would end with some trailers from the master of horror movie self-promotion, William Castle. Happy Halloween!

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What is it about Mary Shelley’s creation that continues to endure, to transform, to inspire an entire cottage industry of creativity since its publication in 1818? In many ways Frankenstein is a universal story, a story about the pitfalls of being human. Sufficed to say, whatever its allure, Shelley’s Modern Prometheus continues to amble on; the story updated, revised, expanded upon.

With all of that in mind, how could I not include my own versions of Frankenstein’s monster in this year’s Cavalcade of Creepiness? Below is my latest illustration, hot off the press. Is it me or does he look like he should be a professor at Havard?


This is one I did a couple of years ago, Frankenstein P.I. He’s a private dick to the undead, a defender of ghouls.


A version of the Bride I did a few months back.


And of course, what would a line-up of Dr. Frankenstein’s horrible monsters be without the actor to play the most famous film version of Shelley’s Prometheus? A caricature of a young Boris Karloff.


And any mention of the phenomenon of Frankenstein would not be complete without a nod to Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog, the most exhaustive, fascinating and illuminating place on the web for all things Frankenstein. Beautifully designed and written by Pierre Fournier, Frankensteinia is an intelligent, thoughtful and often funny look inside one of the greatest monster stories ever told. If you’ve yet to stumble upon this particular treasure trove, do so now.

Boris Karloff getting ready for his close-up.

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Perhaps it’s the great, mid-eighties, semi-punk soundtrack, or the broad, slapstick nature of many of the best moments in the film, or that weirdly comical scene in which the punk girl dances nude in the graveyard, but The Return of the Living Dead (1985)—Dan O’Bannon’s offshoot of the original Night of the Living Dead (1968)— is a high water mark in the crowded zombie genre. The film certainly paved the way for the slapstick of Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive (1992) and to a lesser degree Shaun of the Dead (2004). Eschewing the dark, matter-of factness of Romero’s series, O’Bannon executes a quirkiness rarely found in zombie films.

Above is my own take on the poster for the film.

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Over at the film blog groove-machine that is Cinebeats, Kimberly Lindbergs has been making horror-themed music compilations all month long (part of The Countdown to Halloween) and her latest, Giallo Note, might just be the most inspired installment. Gathering music from a wide spectrum of Giallo films, you’ll hear pieces from Morricone to Goblin and dive deep into all manner of lounge music, Italian style.

And in light of the inclusion of music from Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970), I thought I would re-post my illustration of Edwige Fenech based upon a scene from the latter film (seen above).

And be sure to check the other blogs participating in this year’s Countdown to Halloween! There’s plenty of thrills and chills to be had.

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Continued From Part One:

One of my earliest love affairs with a music genre was with punk, and The Misfits were among my favorites. Songs about horror B-movies, backed with fast, driving music enveloped by the melodic, Roy Orbison-tinged vocals of Glenn Danzig, the Misfits held sway over my listening choices for many years. So when it came time to decide upon a band and an album to merge with another early obsession—The Muppets—for the upcoming gallery show, Muppet Rawk 3, I settled upon the Misfits and their album, Walk Among Us. The choice of band and album also made sense for me because the show would be in October and a horror-themed album cover would fit in nicely with my already planned output of Halloween-related illustrations and writing on this blog. Plus it would be a blast. Taking some of my favorite Muppets and transforming them into members of the Misfits was hard to resist.

Kermit was a must for me. And who else would Kermit be than Glenn Danzig himself. Animal, another personal favorite Muppet, was an easy win as the stand-in for drummer Arthur Googy. Beeker seemed like he could have very well been Jerry Only in real life, and of course Doyle had to be Gonzo (maybe it’s because his devil-loc looks like Gonzo’s nose).

Walk Among Us (1982)  is often cited as one of the best punk albums in the history of the genre. Officially, the first full-length album the band had released, Walk Among Us delivered upon the Misfits creed: fast, melodic punk shot through horror movie themes: brain-eaters, vampires, astro-zombies, they all have a place within the vivid, luridly violent world of the Misfits. Shlock is abound in this world; it’s campy and completely over-the-top, akin to reading a pre-code horror comic book. Unlike many punk bands of their day, the Misfits did not have a political agenda, instead they were more interested in creating a persona with their unique offshoot of hardcore punk.

I chose to use the re-issue version of the album mostly because I liked the green and purple color-scheme, rather than the pink of the original.  Above all I wanted to try to keep the sense of photo-collage that the original album created. The three elements, the photo of the band, the distressed photo still of the a scene from the film The Angry Red Planet (1959), with the now famous Rat Bat creature and the UFOs from The Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956), together crafted its own strange B-movie in which the Misfits were the stars. B-movies, vintage, pulp-influenced photos, these are elements that often employ in my own work, and it made sense here as well.

I inked everything with a brush and pen and painted the rest digitally . I attempted to construct the various elements in the illustration as if they were a photo collage as well as bringing in halftone dots (something I often employ in my work) just to provide more of an old phot0, magazine feel. I was fairly happy with the resulting image, even though it diverges in parts, especially with how the band is placed.


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To say that the Muppets, especially the Muppet Show, had a giant impact on my life—particulary early on—would easily be an understatement, and the fact that everyone I know (and I mean, everyone I know) that is my age, have the same affection, the same utter reverence for Jim Henson’s amazing, hilarious, unmistakable , everlastingly wonderful creations, goes without saying. So when I was asked to take part in the third instalment of the continuing gallery show, Muppet Rawk, within which the animated, colorful lives of the Muppets collide with rock music, more specifically album covers, I was thrilled, and slightly nervous. Actually really nervous. The past couple of shows were amazing: bursting with creative, funny pieces created by artists who I admire and have worked with for years. This is also my first gallery show, so my expectations of the gallery “experience” were all over the board. Most of all, I was just happy to be participating (my thanks goes out to good friend and fellow Muppet-Rawker, Lawrence Ruelos, who put the show together and asked me to submit a piece).

When it came to choosing the album to “cover” that was somewhat straightforward for me. Because the show was in October, I wanted to create something Halloween/horror-themed, and what better band to fulfill this mandate than the Misfits (well, maybe the Cramps) and their groundbreaking album Walk Among Us.

This was indeed a surreal experience, seeing one of my prints hanging in a gallery.

Opening night was packed, with pieces selling in a matter of a couple of hours.

An honored guest overseeing the event.

Stay tuned for Part Two…

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