Growing up in the 1980s, I had some unusual best friends, I loved Freddy Krueger and Dracula. But I was also good friends with Jason Vorhees and Candyman. My passion started with the Universal Horror movie franchises and travelled onto the shelves of my local video store. If you’re not of a certain age was when instead of instantly downloading films onto your smart device. You had to take them home to watch on a video recorder, which was a big ugly box, that snarled at you and occasionally ate them. Never mind watching horror movies, you had to wait for them on a horror machine. As you might have guessed the films I loved as a boy very much defined the man I became.
I felt there was a real charm in those films, which we’ve lost. These were films from the days when if you wanted somebody to look horrific you had to cover them in latex prosthetics, and if you wished to blood, you need coloured corn syrup. Good films are messy and complicated in my view, and in those days they were messy.
I lived in France, in the ’70s and we only have three tv channels.You had three chances to watch something useful or you had to read a book or go out and play how terrible. But it meant TV was something to look forward especially the once a week, Sunday night treat the “midnight movie”, these midnight movies were usually horror and horror should be watching at midnight.
I turned my passion into a career.
I worked on movie production in France in the ’90s. I handled logistics and, organisation and locations. Sadly the French cinema industry wasn’t really in the glorious, glory world of US B-movie. They had Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween; we had couple argue an apartment and smoke moodily. Dull yes? But it made my job easy; logistics find a couple and some cigarettes, location an apartment.
But more than the films I loved the retro style of those times. Not just in the movie, but the look, the style, the iconography.
I also loved the sly wisdom of those movies George Romero’s “Dawn of the dead” was a film about zombies, that mocked us for being consuming zombies at the same time. It’s FX maybe cruder than those on The Walking Dead, but it’s the message I think is more sophisticated. They subverted society while horrifying the audience.
These for me were the golden years of horror from Universal and Hammer in the 1930s and 70s to the 80’s. Before CGI spoiled all the fun when fx were made by hand by artists with unbelievable talent and vision. Geniuses such as Stan Winston, Tom Savini, Rob Bottin, Rick Baker, the Leonardo Da Vinci’s of latex.
But I am proud it all started with a Frenchman George Melies is the man who invents almost every visual and practical effect we know.
I also very much love how in the 1970/80s visionaries like Terry Gilliam took the style and iconography of the horror film and mixed it with comedy, in for example Jabberwocky or Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I am a big fan of comedy, especially the dark humour of Monty Python. This includes such classics as some French comics you probably never heard of, and Jerry Lewis, well I am French after all?
These days I work as a graphic designer and travel the world from Guatemala to Cambodia and, Niger
At one time, I owned a beach bar, and I designed a T-shirt in Cambodia and worked in bamboo in Guatemala.
So being a French man who grows up passionate about the classic horror of the golden age, worked in cinema, travelled through the Heart of Darkness (and ran a bar there and sold Tshirts there). This has given me a unique, cockeyed perspective on life and I hope you find it’s a vision you appreciate.