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Artist Interview: Matthew Therrien

Meet Matthew Therrien, a toronto-based illustrator, designer, musician, etc.  We’ll just call him a multi-talented dude with a thing for horror art.  I met him at the 2013 Rue Morgue Festival of Fear, where he was signing prints of his MANBORG poster in addition to the MANBORG comic he designed.  
I just worked with Mr. Therrien on a fun poster for my documentary WHY HORROR?  The reference should be obvious to any horror fan and I think it turned out great.

Here’s Matthiew in his own words:
27”x41”: You are involved in several disciplines- what else do you get up to besides visual art?
MT: To be honest, my entire professional background is as a musician. I went to school training to be a pianist, and pretty much worked in music as either a teacher or performer until a year or so ago, when I decided to really give illustration a go. Aside from art and music, I’ve always enjoyed writing, and am currently working on finishing a collection of short horror stories. And filmmaking, of course. But that’s what I love about art and comics — it’s sort of like filmmaking but on a much lower and more practical budget.
How did the BEHIND THE MASK gig come about?
That was in collaboration with Atomic Cotton for a t-shirt design. The licensing is still being sorted out to my understanding, so I don’t have a firm release date on it. But BEHIND THE MASK has been a favourite of mine since I first saw it. When I heard that it was a film I could potentially create some new art for, it was pretty much a dream project. I haven’t released the finalized artwork yet, but I think people will dig it. It definitely has a retro vibe.
The first time I ever saw your work was the MANBORG screen print. Where did the idea to do a poster for the film come from?
When I moved to Toronto last year, that was officially when I decided to pursue a career as an illustrator. I knew I loved to draw two things: comics, and posters. My wife and I went to a screening of MANBORG here at The Royal, and I was absolutely hooked on the film from the first time I saw it. As an illustrator I didn’t have much of a portfolio, so I knew that in order to potentially get work, I had to tackle some passion projects first. MANBORG was a film that I just couldn’t stop thinking about, so I decided to illustrate an alternative poster for it. It was only ever intended to be a portfolio piece, but when Steve Kostanski reached out to say he liked it, and it started to put my name out there a little bit, it definitely exceeded my expectations. And it wound up giving me the opportunity to work on the MANBORG comic, which was a fantastic experience.
The MANBORG comic is amazing. Being a huge fan of the movie, I knew I had to have it because the character and the universe are so perfect for the world of trashy comic books. And you guys nailed the early-80s low-rent vibe. What were some references you worked off of when putting the MANBORG comic together?
When I first met with Steve and Peter (Kuplowsky) I brought a bag full of the comics I loved as a kid: early MARVEL STAR WARS, ROBOCOP… even comic adaptations like THE LAST STARFIGHTER. The artwork in these comics wasn’t the type of thing I would normally draw, but what was important about them was the nostalgia. The feel of the newsprint, the imperfect printing, and the oftentimes silly artwork. These early sci-fi and action comics were the biggest inspiration. Of course in the comic itself I tried to toss in other homages… the cover is based off an UNCANNY X-MEN comic, and there are several little nods to my favourite bits of pop-culture: a cylon, a recreation of the poster for ARMY OF DARKNESS… etc. But that’s the great thing about the MANBORG universe… you can toss in so many different things, and somehow it all fits together.
And the ads!
The ads were brilliant! I loved how the various companies that bought ad space took the time to create retro ads that completely fit the dated look and feel of the comic. And definitely a shoutout to Jeremy Gillespie for the “Letters to the Baron” at the end, which still makes me laugh every time I read it. The comic really came together, and it’s definitely a project I’m proud to have worked on. And glad to hear so many people enjoyed it.

What are some of your favourite movie posters?
That’s probably the toughest question ever. My favourite memories are being young and walking through the horror section and just taking in all the amazing 70s and 80s poster art on the VHS boxes. In my living room hang three full sized posters: HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH (with the axe in the pillowcase), and THE EVIL DEAD. But I also love the artwork for A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, MANIAC, EVIL DEAD 2, and so many others. And that’s not touching on any of the amazing poster artists working today and releasing brilliant alternative posters. Gary Pullin, Jason Edmiston, Jay Shaw, Graham Humphreys, Olly Moss, Ken Taylor… these guys continue to blow me away with every new piece of art they release.
What media do you illustrate with?
Whatever seems the most appropriate for the project. Everything typically begins on paper, which is how I feel the most comfortable drawing. From there, I’ll either scan it and ink/colour it digitally, or go through the process traditionally using ink and paint. Manborg, for example, was all inked traditionally, but coloured digitally. I recently acquired a new Wacom tablet, so I’ve been experimenting a lot with that, and trying to get as realistic results as possible. I love painting with oils, but it’s not always possible. If I can achieve a similar result in Photoshop I don’t mind working digitally. After all, it’s less of a mess to clean up at the end of the day.



Filed under movie poster horror manborg mondo behind the mask marvel comics

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My print inspired by the 80’s camp slasher movie, “The Burning”, is now available in a limited run of twenty prints. Get em’ before Cropsy gets YOU!

Reblogging for the evening crowd!

If you don’t know the art of Trevor Henderson, get to.  He’s got an amazing style and clearly, his heart is in the right place- HORROR!



My print inspired by the 80’s camp slasher movie, “The Burning”, is now available in a limited run of twenty prints. Get em’ before Cropsy gets YOU!

Reblogging for the evening crowd!

If you don’t know the art of Trevor Henderson, get to.  He’s got an amazing style and clearly, his heart is in the right place- HORROR!

(via zombivish)

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Brick and Mortar - Chisholm Larsson Gallery, New York City

Let’s face it.  Ebay, and the internet in general changed the way we collectors acquire movie posters, and for the better too.  One of the last pre-internet purchases I made was of the 1970’s  French re-release of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.  It cost me $250 plus tax and at the time, I couldn’t be happier.  I bought it at a now-defunct shop on Yonge street in Toronto.  Hollywood Renaissance was it’s name, and I never missed a chance to pop in when I had time to kill.  But shortly after making this purchase, I discovered ebay, where that same poster would sell for $35 plus shipping from France, bringing the total to maybe $60, give or take. 

You do the math.

The price has obviously risen in the last 15 or so years since, but hasn’t reached the amount I laid out.  I still get a vast majority of my pieces from the internet, but when I travel, I make sure to visit an actual brick and mortar store to dig for goodies.  And I do this because:

1) Real people.  Maybe I’m out of touch, but I like speaking with actual humans.  You can talk about movies, poster artists, or the damn weather if that suits you.  In this digital world, it’s nice to connect


2) Real posters.  It’s nice to physically behold and handle the pieces you’re about to buy.  The web can be a gamble, despite several buyer assurance measures (like ratings from other customers, etc), but seeing the thing for yourself is still the best way to go.  

So with that in mind, here’s the first in a series of posts I’m calling Brick and Mortar.  I’m paying tribute to actual, physical retail outlets that sell posters.

On a recent trip to New York to film my documentary on why people love horror, I visited the fantastic Chisholm Larsson Gallery, located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.  I circled the destination on my desired places to visit while there and thought about it every day.  I left it up to the film crew as to whether or not they would follow me in with cameras.  They did, so look for it in the movie.  I had been there once before, in 2003, and was thoroughly impressed with everything the store had to offer.  But this past trip was, well, a trip in itself.

Having given them a heads up, Robert Chisholm and his warm and knowledgeable staff were ready for us.  They put up some pieces of interest (some dazzling European posters for HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, THE TERROR, CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF).  

Fortunately, Robert was game to appear on camera, and with that, a lengthy discussion/ogling session was launched.  He pulled out a few vintage church posters from Spain circa 1920.  These pieces were from a series of about 100 prints, presumably distributed the Catholic churches in and around Madrid.  They depict various biblical scenes, but obviously, I was mostly interested in the ones showing hell and bodies emerging from graves and things of that nature.  

The charmingly unrefined style, coupled with the unflinching subject matter are enough to make a curious horror fan’s mouth water.  Just make sure not to do it near the posters themselves, as they were quite brittle and in need of some preservation.  At this point, it should be made clear that Chisholm Larsson deals with posters of all varieties- advertising, sports, travel, cultural events; not just movie posters.  But I was there for the movie stuff.  You know how it is.  

Up next, the staff presented an Italian 4 sheet for Antonio Margheriti’s THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH (1964).  A simple design, but exquisite in its simplicity and colour palette.  We found this randomly in their stock list, available for browsing on one of several PC’s inside the shop.  This arrangement makes poster shopping so much easier.  In fact, their website is one of the best I’ve ever seen.  Too often it’s an “ask and I’ll see if we have it” kind of deal in most shops.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  But a comprehensive stock list, complete with photos, and a variety of search fields makes the trip that much smoother.

After one the staff members voluntarily proclaimed her love for Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA (1977), I decided to dive into their site to see what materials they had for the title.  I found this oddball piece; a vinyl banner, complete with grommets for hanging.  Robert and I speculated on the banners initial use.  Was it for  hanging above the concession stand?  Was it used outdoors, for drive-ins?  Who knows.  Who cares?  It’s a thing of beauty, and I’d never seen one before.

As much fun as I was having, it was time to get down to business.  A particular poster I had been eyeballing for months was beckoning.  It’s for a charmingly terrible film called ZOMBIE LAKE (1981).  As far as I knew, it had only screened in France and Belgium, and both posters from those countries boasted the same Constantin Belinsky artwork, seen below.

The film had a relatively broad video release back in the day but used different artwork.  In fact it was one of those covers that I stared at as a kid every time I went to Jumbo Video.  A couple of years ago, I found a good condition slipcase of the Canadian release.

The art, along with several other Wizard Video releases (Wizard was the US distributor, and I suppose the release above was handled by a local partner) is credited to a C. or sometimes E. Casaro.  Is this the same artist as Renato Casaro, hiding under an utterly lazy pseudonym?  The style and technique certainly match up.  Who knows?

In any event, finding this piece at the Chisholm Larsson Gallery was like finding a needle in a haystack- by accident.  As a lover of all things zombie, I of course had to have it.  Did anyone know ZOMBIE LAKE ran in Venezuela? I didn’t.  Did anyone know that the US video art fronted a theatrical release?  I didn’t.  Here’s the poster:

They even wrote a very sweet note on the parcel, complete with bloody horror letters!

After the 4th hour of nerding out, it was time to go.  Like I said, a lot of the visit was captured on tape and parts of it will make it into WHY HORROR (the name of the documentary).

So thanks Robert and the Chisholm Larsson Gallery staff for a truly excellent and inspiring time. And when in New York, go give them a visit and tell them Tal sent you!

Filed under movie posters Horror Movies documentary new york

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Women In Horror Recognition Month!


For those who don’t know, Women in Horror Recognition Month is an organization that aims to have the horror community lead the way in destroying gender barriers in an industry that practices systematic bias against women.  How does it plan on doing this?  By highlighting the amazing work women have done and continue to do behind the scenes of Horror Entertainment in all it’s forms.  Authors, filmmakers,  FX artists, screenwriters, producers; women are doing some excellent work and we as a community have an amazing opportunity to shine a much needed light on their efforts.

But what about poster artists?  Surely in the long list of names that make up the great illustrators there must be some women?  Right?  Can you name them?  DIdn’t think so.

Well, after reading this, that will no longer be the case.  You’ll have not one, but TWO amazing women whose you’ve already admired- you just never knew who created them.

First up is New Jersey native Tricia Zimic.

These days, Tricia is wildlife painter, but genre fans will know her exceptional body of work creating posters and DVDs for lowbrow heroes Troma Entertainment.

Make sure to swing on over to her Facebook page and say hi!

Here are some samples of her work:


Next up is Joann Daley, an artist whose work I have a particular affinity for.  She created two of my favourite illustrations ever: CREEPSHOW (1982), and SCANNERS (1981).  But like practically every movie poster illustrator, her work reached far beyond film.  In the mid-90’s, she crafted a few series of trading cards for Fleer- in the Star Wars and Marvel universes.  

Joann doesn’t appear to be illustrating any more.  The avenues for such work have diminished over the years, but Joann if you’re reading this, THANKS FOR ALL THE NIGHTMARES!  

Below is a gallery of some of her astounding work.  A PLEASE make sure you get more info on Women in Horror Recognition Month every February!

Till next time!


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I’m back!

It’s been about 8 months since my last post. A LOT has happened during that time and I’ll tell you about it bit by bit in the next little while. But for now, here’s the condensed version:

I moved.  Twice.

My wife and I had a baby. His name is Zev.  In an upcoming post, I will take you through the tricky process of decorating a new home with a very impressionable fresh human, while maintaining a cool vibe.

My film WHY HORROR? launched and completed a successful Kickstarter campaign. (Additionally, we shot a buttload of awesome interviews for the film). - see below for some poster related videos from the campaign.

I, along with Steven Kostanski, took part in a 4-way debate wherein each team of 2 players defended the merits of the Stephen King film adaptation of their choice.  We picked MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE…and won!

I contributed 10 of my favourite gore poster picks for this year’s Rue Morgue Halloween issue.

I slowed down my poster buying but still managed to secure several holy grail pieces.  Look for a post on those, with pics, in the future.

—-And beyond my personal life, there are lots of great postery tidbits to share.  Again, keep your eyes peeled for future posts.

Today, I’m going to share a video from the WHY HORROR? Kickstarter campaign.  We go inside the film office where I’ve plastered the walls with some posters from my collection and talk a little about the

There’s also a PART 2 for your viewing pleasure!