The Dude Designs Halloween Concept Poster
“Video Nasty” by The Dude Designs
ON SALE NOW!!!
Edition of 150 (will never be printed again)
Fine art Giclée printed on thick 430gsm textured paper
18″ x 24″
$1.00 per print will be donated to Keep A Breast (if we sell out we will kick in an additional $50.00 donation)
$45.00 USD + S/H (Only $3.00 for US orders – Shipping in cardboard poster tube/ poster rolled in craft paper. International Shipping $15.00 – love you guys, but it ain’t cheap to ship to ya!)
US is $3 per poster (cannot combine shipping) International shipping can combined for multiple orders.
Poster Collective: Tell us about your concept for this poster. How did this idea come to be?
Tom: Well, when you approached me down that dark alley and first suggested a horror montage for Halloween, you instantly had me hooked… with the opportunity to create my first limited edition print which would celebrate Halloween and my love of classic horror!
I wanted to give the piece a visual concept to centre the design around, so I put my creative thinking/panic cap on and thought, “What did I love about horror films and Halloween.” I instantly hit on the idea of renting scary videos from the rental store for Halloween or any other night of the week and how much fun it was, something which I think every one of us Gen-Xers can relate to. So, I really wanted to celebrate that and have this piece as a love letter to the horror movie VHS (and Betamax!) down at your local video rental shop.
Growing up in a time without things like the internet, access was limited to film releases and information about classic films, you didn’t know what was what really, so it was a case to grab it and see, a journey of great discovery, with the fantastic cover art being your only guide. Roaming along the video shelves, uncovering films like Friday the 13th and Childs Play for the first time! I remember picking up an old copy of Return of the Living Dead for the first time in one store then later on finding part two in another thinking, “wow they made a sequel” I just didn’t know!!!
I approached the design as if it was a sort of Video Store-esque advert/poster but done in a way to celebrate the memory, hence the tag line which is a play on the original Halloween ‘The Night He Came Home.’ The night they all came home from your local video store…
Creating a horror montage ad to promote VHS (and Betamax!) rental I had to go with (maybe the) only opportunity I’m going to get combine the classic 80’s dream team on one poster. It was the perfect excuse (now there may be some things about the lack of Leather Face but coming from the UK Texas Chainsaw was banned so the series wasn’t widely available and consequently not on my personal radar as a young boy, until I saw it later on, fantastic flick!).
These are the big characters of the ’80s slasher genre which although started off serious all went sort of fun almost cheese ball in the later sequels. Michael, Freddy, Jason and Chucky. I’m a big Chucky fan!
I then wanted to wrap the design up in some true home video ’80s VHS advert styling and introduced the use of vector graphics, because NOTHING says the future of home entertainment technology than vector graphics!
The title ‘Video Nasty’ refers to a controversial UK phrase and I guess it’s the British equivalent of the American Grindhouse movement. So, it perfectly sums up the genre and year. Also, it means a lot to me as big VHS (and Betamax!) fan and collector.
PC: Your posters are consistently brilliant, as a huge fan of both original one sheets and horror I must say it’s often the little things you’ve added to your posters that really put them over the edge. Tell me about some of the things you like to add to your posters. And specifically this one?
Tom: Well, thank you! I do want to create imagery which people enjoy, it’s amazing how art can become quite a confrontational thing amongst people, but all my work is created out of a love of classic video and poster art and how great I remember it being, that touch of magic which used to capture and inspire me. So if I can re-ignite some of that magic flame for other people, it makes it my mission all worth while… it’s like I say, it’s not Retro it’s NOWTRO!!!
I try to focus on a concept for the layout giving the piece a visual narrative and then I work out a composition which I like to focus on the viewer, so playing with depth and perspective to draw your eye in, then try to throw some elements out at the viewer for impact.
Depending on the genre, I do feel a lot of my work has a cheeky subconscious sexual element with a consciously phallic twist!!!
Big guns or other items protruding at waist height being thrust outwards, it’s something I think I’ve picked up a lot from the Italian masochistic school of poster design in the ’70s. I have carried this through to the ‘Video Nasty’ poster as well, I mean what better way to promote horror rental than having Michael thrust a massive VHS tape out at the viewer! (I guess a sort of signature move for me and as this is my first limited edition print I wanted to give that classic a trademark twist).
For the narrative of the piece I wanted to set that tone of watching videos at home in the ’80s. To that end I have set the background scene as a classic American suburban setting (what terrors are being viewed behind the curtains in these houses at night??). Classic streets I grew up knowing from various ’80s films like Return of the Living Dead 2, Poltergeist and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but never actually seen in reality.
I also dropped in more subtle story hints, there is a hidden reference within this design if you can get it, it’s not that subtle to be honest, but I suppose you have to be a bit of a film geek to pick up on it.
A final thing I always include on my posters (which I don’t know if people have picked up on before) is the NSS name and number along the bottom of the design, as a tribute to the National Screen Service (who were responsible for all commissioning, printing and distribution of film poster art across America from 1940 – 1980s. Sadly, when they declined so did the classic poster art as we knew it). As I don’t have an NSS cat number for the designs I usually have it as the month and year the poster art was created, this time around, however, I have put it as the date for Halloween – to commemorate this special print.
PC: We talked about how video stores were essentially “art galleries” for the masses during their heydays. What was your favorite memory of that era? Did you have a local video joint you frequented?
Tom: Well, there where about 3 (I do remember all the owners being weird strange men though!).
Blaby Video (it was the name of the village) was my first experience and I remember going with my mum and cousin to rent my first film ever, I chose Tron! The video card was green plastic with gold embossed lettering and film real design… fancy hey!!!
We then used to have a Mobile Video Van which would come around, I got some random films from there. My cousin and I used to live on the same street and as we where his best customers, we got a massive collection of old video sample covers, which is where I guess my love of video art came from. He was VERY dodgy though and I’m sure the van was a front for something else, he probably ended up in the slammer. Dude used to carry a big knife in his van!
Then there was Hollywood Video. The owner had a greased down white hair with a centre part and thick glasses and he couldn’t understand my obsession with horror and always used to quip about it, but I loved going around picking out all the old horror films – buying the ex-rentals then!
When Blockbuster came out I felt that kind of took the soul out of the old indy (or mum and pop) video shops and all the quirky people who ran them, so I never really went to it. I went to college and then onto Uni, when I moved to London there where a couple I used to frequent but by then it was moving onto DVD and some of the magic had vanished.
I’d still love to get hold of any old video shop memorabilia, signs, store cards, shelving! That’s the dream at the moment, get a whole studio laid out as an old video shop (buy this print kids and make it happen…. please!!!)!
PC: A local theater here in LA is screening a “Video Nasty” every night in October, something I’m lucky enough to be attending regularly. Being from the UK, how did the media’s war on horror flicks impact you?
Tom: It was something which I saw as very much led by the papers. ‘Video Nasty’ was actually a journalist term coined by Peter Chippendale in 1981. (http://scarymotherfucker.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/video_nasty_3.png http://zombiehamster.com/wp-content/uploads/nasty3.jpg)
Britain actually led the Home Video revolution and had more videos recorders per person than any other country in the world, more movies were seen on video than in the cinema. So, video was changing the way people got access to film, beforehand people only got to see it all on the cinema screen or through TV, which had all been subjected to voluntary censorship.
The bulk of the videos coming out where from small indie labels (basically what America classed as ‘Grindhouse’), so they were of a more ‘extreme’ nature shall we say. Prior, the British public were only exposed to the more mild content of ‘Hammer’ esque horror films (which I love!)
In 1983 Evil Dead was the biggest VHS hit beating Annie and Arthur.
The problems arose because video format was seen as a publishing medium and not subject to the same censorship regulations that theatrical release were.
All these small distribution labels where popping up to meet this demand and every week new films from around the world where hitting the video shelves, which lead to one of the best parts (from my perspective). In lieu of big names or budgets, they had to be more creative to arouse the customer so they created these incredibly sensational pulp artwork for the covers to make the films stand out (which just goes to show you the power of good film art!!).
So cue the papers stating that the ‘Video Nasties’ where ‘raping our children’s minds’, whipping up mass panic, sensationalism and creating a total knee jerk reaction and it became a crusade for the ‘National Viewers and Listeners Association’ and its head Marry Whitehouse. This led to the police getting involved under the Obscene Publications Act and the seizure of videos as well as arrests of distributors and video shop owners, carrying fines of up to £20,000 and 2 years in prison. In the end they created the Video Recordings Act of 1984 and a list of 72 banned films.
I was too young to really be effected personally by this however I was more effected by the second wave in the ’90s.
Which came as part of the fall out from a horrific murder incident in Britain, so public sensitivity was at an all time high, and the papers called for an all out ban all ‘Video Nasties’, with Child’s play 3 being the main focus, other titles like Body Melt, Dead Alive, Demonic Toys, Dolls and Pet Sematary where also cited, with MP David Alton calling for an all out ban on pretty much anything which was over a PG rating.
So, I do remember feeling self-conscious about renting horror films. They became quite demonized by the press. I even remember the local video shop telling a family member, “I don’t know why he wants to rent all these horrific films” about me. Horror became a very dirty word!
Ironically, it was actually the British board of Film Classification and James Freeman (the head) who halted the all out ban, pointing out that it would ban films like Schindler’s List and the implications of this and that the UK had the most strictly regulated video industry, so it wasn’t necessary to go that far and it was sort of misdirected moral outrage.
PC: Any films you didn’t get to see until way later?
Tom: Lots really, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Burning, Uncut Version of The Evil Dead, Driller Killer, pretty much ALL the Cannibal films. I only saw those about 2-3 years ago. I’m still digging out all the old banned films which are legal now I might add, especially on VHS!!! PreCert banned VHS tapes really are the holy grail for tape collectors.
PC: Did you ever own any tapes that were “illegal” at the time? I won’t tell the cops if you did.
Tom: Ha, no my first experience of a ‘Video Nasty’ would have been through the Young Ones episode Nasty:
Vivian: Michael and I are going to indulge in an all night orgy of sex and violence.
Rick: What, in the drawing room?
Vivian: Yeah,first we’re gonna have Sex With the Headless Corpse and the Virgin Astronaut.
Rick: But wont the carpet get awfully sticky?
Mike It’s a Video Nasty!
Rick: IT’S A CARPET, FARTY!
Still laugh at that gag and of course the awesome damned song Nasty in the same episode:
My initiation into the world of VHS was watching bootleg copies of Rambo (1&2) at around 8, my cousin was a little bit older, and got bootleg copies. We loved them, I would draw all these crazy ass Rambo pictures:
It was all wrong I guess, but hell, we were all doing it. Rambo 2 is the ultimate kids film! And you know this is the case because how else could you end up with kids toys and cartoon based on it??
I doubt you would get that cross-over these days!
PC: I know you are an avid VHS collector now and even watched some VHS tapes while designing this poster. If you forced to pick just one VHS cover as your favorite, what would it be and why?
Tom: Ha, all the time I have a VHS TV combo next to my desk so I can stick films on as i work.
I’d have to go with Return of the Living Dead (I think I’ve said this a thousand times now!), but yeah Graham Humpherys who did it was a total VHS art hero, his work covered everything from The Evil Dead to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Night of the Creeps, The Stuff, Basket Case… the list goes on and on. Return of the Living Dead blew me away, I tried to recreate some of it for a school art exam and the dude failed me. I guess he wasnt a fan of horror!
I have two signed copies of it next to my desk, the original VHS cover (I bought the Hollywood Video’s ex-rental copy!) and a print Graham gave me for my birthday last year. I’m glad to say I have got to know him through work and he is a lovely guy. A lot younger than you would think too, he was creating these masterpieces at 20!
PC: Thanks for your time. Anything Dude Designs related coming up that you’d like to talk about?
Tom: Oh, a couple of European DVD artworks for two Troma films (Tromeo and Juliet and The Toxic Avenger), as well as another poster for the guys behind Cell Count and The Weather Outside, Wake Before I Die… which is a bit of a different design style change of gear. Also, I still have the main poster art for Would you Rather to get release, that’s quite a classical design!