It seems like so long ago, but there was a time when video stores were abundant and horror had its own isle in the store. Remember browsing through the boxes, scoping out the monsters and slasher pictures and renting the movie with the most terrifying image? Well, we certainly do, and LAHorror.com’s featured writer and artist, C.J. Duke, does as well.
“The earliest I was really exposed to horror was just seeing the art in videos. Back when it was actual art, not Photoshop,” Duke told LAHorror.com. Yes, actual drawings and paintings. And it shows in his work. Duke uses his skill to create images and cover art for horror projects and films. He illustrates with care, using colored pencils and grabbing his inspiration from a variety of horror genres. “I just think back to the old video store really, looking back at the images that inspired me as a kid, seeing how they’d lay things out and how they were presented.”
One of his commissioned works draws on the 70s and early 80s exploitation flicks. “That was actually for an independent magazine called ‘Dirty Boogie.’ You are looking at the cover for the last issue…[The publisher] mentioned ‘Last House on the Left’ and ‘Hills Have Eyes,’” Duke explained.
However, doing commissioned work is only part of the process. Duke often creates pieces to promote his own projects as well as the projects of others. A friend of his made an independent horror film entitled “Winter Lights,” and as a gift Duke created the VHS artwork (and the media box itself)- it certainly looks like something you’d see at a Blockbuster.
But Duke isn’t just an artist. As an active horror writer himself, Duke already has poster art up for scripts he’s shopping around and developing. “The Cauldron,” Duke’s “someday script…” film, is in the vein of fantasy horror and the images themselves have a certain amount of intrigue.
Duke’s current feature project, “Pop N’ Crisp,” is an 80s style horror comedy written by Duke. He shot a teaser scene from the film and is currently seeking the means to film the entire project. “It’s basically an amalgamation of every single 80s ad campaign come back to kill us,” Duke said. Check out some of the promo art here.
Gotta love that 80s vibe – I have the sneaking suspicion that things don’t work out well for these two guys. And when it comes to future projects from C.J. Duke? “Horror. Absolutely horror. I jump between horror comedy or serious horror fantasy or straight slasher, but it’s always horror,” he said. Our kinda guy.
You can check out more of C.J. Dukes work at his art page here.