Interview: Graham Humphreys Part 1

Graham-Humphrey-interviewEven if you are only remotely interested in the horror genre, chances are somewhere in your collection of belongings, in a book or on a DVD case will be a piece of artwork by Graham Humphreys.  From his work with Palace, Arrow, Tartan and The Creative Partnership, he has amassed an incredible portfolio of work. For over 30 years he has created countless pieces of art adorning cinema awnings and home media packaging.  Working in brushes and oils he has become one of the foremost artists creating illustrated film posters in the UK.

I was lucky enough to grab an interview with him, even though this was intended to be for 10 minutes, we ended up talking for half an hour, so we have decided to split the interview into two parts.

living-dead-

You started your design work in posters at palace in the 1980s with probably one of the more iconic posters which was the Evil Dead, which was one of the first ones you did as far as I understand. 

The Monster Club 1981

The Monster Club 1981

It’s the one that I identify as being the beginning of the horror career its true, I did do a couple of other posters before that, but I’m deeply embarrassed about them because they are not very good pieces of work. One of them was the Monster Club, so that was officially the first horror film poster I did. I was commissioned on the basis of some portfolio pieces that I had which were horror related. They decided they were going to market it more bizarrely at children, after having commissioned me to do this piece.  I think it was to do with the colours being a very blue cast and had a very gothic look to it, they deemed it too frightening. So they then said we can either pay you a rejection fee, or you can do another one with some ‘happy colours’. I had about 2 days to do it in,  I worked 2 days & 2 nights as at the time I was perfecting my technique, or trying to shall we say?   I ended up doing a very bad piece of work that I’m still deeply embarrassed about.

Unfortunately people do know it and…I was actually watching the League Of Gentlemen Christmas Special a few years back and they did a little piece within it talking about Portmanteau Horror films and annoyingly the background to the interview was the bloody Monster Club poster!! (laughs).
I was mortified.

I think everyone has pieces of work that they design that secretly they are not that pleased with.  Alot of your influences in the posters from the 1980s seem to come from B movies, with some influence from early Hammer artwork in there as well. Are there any of those posters that you cherish or hold dear as being heavily influential on your career or style? 

Thats a tough one because there have been various poster books that I would have had access to in the early 80s. Collections of older posters, those really would have been the sources of my inspiration at that point. Those books now are so rare that they go for thousands of pounds, but you could pick them so cheaply at the time. They were a tremendous source mostly. But now they are so valuable. The Hammer stuff is interesting, I saw a lot of the Hammer posters obviously in my childhood stuck up at the local cinema. When I was at art college there was a guy who collected those posters, he obviously had access to his local cinema projection booth, and knew someone. There was a poster for a double bill interestingly it wasn’t for two hammer films, it was The Vampire Lovers and The Devils Reign. American/British films, whoever came up with the combination? it obviously appeals in a double bill. I seem to remember the portraiture of Ernest Borgnine turning into the devil is something that interested me. Actually the styles were quite different as well, as you had the Vampire Lovers poster, I think that must have been a Tom Chantrell image, yeah I was quite fascinated by that whole difference. For me I want to evoke both of those styles and still struggle to do that now.

The one thing I find interesting with the artwork for the Evil Dead and Nightmare on Elm Street you did for Palace is that they are extremely different posters, not just stylistically but in the way the film was being portrayed, Evil Dead is much more loud and very much keeping with the film, whereas Elm Street is more of a dream state/nighttime, for obvious reasons. 

Of Course

The Evil Dead 1981

The Evil Dead 1981

I’m guessing you saw the films before doing the posters? 

You kind of watch the film and you have your response to it. If I’m doing a piece of artwork it has to be sympathetic to the film but your also trying to evoke the film in a poster form. Because they are completely different films they needed a different response. With with Evil Dead I was asked to go to a screening with the idea of me being commissioned, so I already knew I was going to see the film and then be pulling stuff from that and mentally making notes.  Whereas with Nightmare on Elm Street I did go to an early public screening at the old Scala Cinema. Obviously because of their connection with Palace Pictures and they always would try to show the films first for the loyal Scala Cinema Audience. I saw Nightmare on Elm Street not knowing at that point that I would actually asked to do a poster for it. I think it was about a month later that I was actually commissioned. Of course having already watched it I knew already what the approach should be. So as was the case in those days, you would be given a VHS copy which was your reference to pull from that. Yes, really the technique is different, the finish is different and the colour palate is very different as well.

Much bluer and keeping with an evening them rather than… 

Yes more in keeping with the original Monster Club Poster! Scary and Blue

One thing I’ve always wondered about,  in those days the posters were never really intended for use for a long period of time. They were glued outside the cinema on a piece of wood, for maybe a week or two and then discarded or covered over. Was there any limitations with the colour palette that you had deal with from the printing?

Nightmare on Elm Street 1984

Nightmare on Elm Street 1984

No, not that I ever recall at all.  I do remember when I was at art college, printing was something we were encouraged to learn about, we went on regular trips down to…  because I was at college in Salisbury, we went to Southampton which had a very big and important print faculty. So we were able to watch a lot being printed and actually understand the machinery and the mechanisms. How ink was delivered to the paper. What the limitations were with colour and such like.

There was one very famous instance that I recall with big advertising holdings they used to screen print. That way you would get a much denser quantity of ink so you would get richer blacks, deeper colours. There was a very famous campaign for silk cut which you may or may not remember, depends how old you are. It was a piece of white silk with some cuts in it which then showed the purple silk underneath which was the colours of the packaging.  They did a reverse of that, with a purple piece of silk with a white silk underneath. Because the colour was so dense and dark, when they were pasting up the posters they would quite often fall down again  due to the weight of the ink on the paper. That’s the only instance I’ve ever heard where their was an issue with the printing process and the colours used.

Of course and on the same note, with the Nightmare on Elm Street Poster, one of the things that I wanted to do was in order to make the blues even more intense, was to add that fluorescent orange in the title, because that would be complete opposite to the blue the title would stick out in almost a three-dimensional fashion. That was a 5th ink, most posters are litho printed, you print your four basic colours – yellow, blue, magenta and black.  Anything extra like a fluorescent colour, that’s a 5th colour and it adds a bit to the printing costs. But with fluorescent colours you have to print it twice, it always prints thinly so to get that fluorescent you have to double hit the ink. Of course the problem with the fluorescent colours it does fade rapidly in light, but as you pointed out the posters had a shelf life for the duration of the publicity of the films. so it didn’t matter that the fluorescent was going to fade for me, because I thought they would only be up for a month at most and would have done their job anyway.

From Dusk Till Dawn 1996

 

I want to ask you a little bit about digital work as well, as in the early 90s you did From Dusk Till Dawn. This was one of the first ones you did. 

In terms of complete photoshopping yes, I think so. Its interesting, the person who commissioned that was someone who had worked at Palace Pictures previously.  Buena Vista was the distributor of the film here and Daniel Battsek was the Managing Director at the time. He had been responsible for commissioning some of the later Nightmare on Elm Street Posters from me. So we had that relationship and rapport. But it was clear in their minds that the illustrated poster was dead, the Photoshop route was taking a precedence. It was interesting bringing the illustrated sensibility to something that is actually quite smooth and glossy. If I was doing it again now it would look quite different, because I now understand the processes that can be brought to the image to give it something a bit more organic. I look at it now and its one of those posters where I can see what I was trying to do but didn’t have the tools or knowledge to make it really what it should have been.

If you look at the American version of the poster, it’s almost being billed as a western bandit film. 

Thats right.

The English Quad still isn’t leaning into the vampire-esque nature of the film. Was there much of a brief on how it should be selling the film? 

The brief was to not actually reveal the vampire part of it, but we could hint at it. I remember watching the film for the first time, not knowing anything about it and being quite surprised at the sudden change of genre halfway through. Thats probably the only reason, so we had to avoid any vampire motifs, probably the only hits are obviously Dusk till Dawn and the sunrise or sunset. I think the character with cross is the only real hint.

The gun cross that Harvey Keitel is holding. 

Thats right yes.

To Be Continued… 

john2

312 thoughts on “Interview: Graham Humphreys Part 1

  1. Pingback: http://www.laguqq1.site/

  2. Pingback: KIU

  3. Pingback: Maya

  4. Pingback: https://www.nzozrevita.pl/badanie/holter-ekg

  5. Pingback: https://7days24hours.pl/dom-i-ogrod-f18/cleverlink-pl-opinie-t1097.html#p4832

  6. Pingback: https://modauroda.com.pl/forum/bizuteria-f16/sklepjubilerski-com-opinie-t1662.html#p9671

  7. Pingback: https://bizhub24.pl/forum/firma-f5/www-ajp-cw-pl-opinie-t1468.html#p8595

  8. Pingback: https://enterthenews.pl/forum/porady-f10/pomoc-agd-krakow-pl-opinie-t1319.html#p8273

  9. Pingback: https://serwispodrozniczy.pl/forum/podrozowanie-w-polsce-f3/willapodzegarem-com-opinie-t787.html#p4203

  10. Pingback: https://motofaktor.com.pl/forum/porady-f29/rejestrowanieaut-pl-opinie-t1157.html#p6613

  11. Pingback: https://ruszajwpodroz.pl/forum/polska-f3/villahoff-pl-opinie-t790.html#p4940

  12. Pingback: https://4women.net.pl/forum/moda-trendy-stylizacje-projektanci-sklepy-odziezow-f9/fratex-com-pl-opinie-t2001.html#p12945

  13. Pingback: https://7days24hours.pl/biznes-f6/panex-com-pl-opinie-t1100.html#p4845

  14. Pingback: https://goodmeds.store/

  15. Pingback: 안전카지노

  16. Pingback: San Diego Domestic Violence Lawyer

  17. Pingback: Dank memes

  18. Pingback: maryland cornhole

  19. Pingback: 토토사이트

  20. Pingback: 안전카지노

  21. Pingback: 카지노 사이트

  22. Pingback: codecademy.com profile

  23. Pingback: SEO操作

  24. Pingback: 12bet link

  25. Pingback: gay porn

  26. Pingback: fmovies-online.com

  27. Pingback: new-solarmovie.com

  28. Pingback: vn88.com.vn

  29. Pingback: bongs for sale

  30. Pingback: Generic viagra canadian

  31. Pingback: warnetqq

  32. Pingback: rajaqq

  33. Pingback: link moi vao m88

  34. Pingback: Web Cá Cược Thể Thao Trực Tuyến

  35. Pingback: 188bet 512

  36. Pingback: dewaqq pro

  37. Pingback: buy cannabis online

  38. Pingback: cialis india

  39. Pingback: What Is The Best Kayak For Fishing? yourfishguide.com

  40. Pingback: Free Porn

  41. Pingback: http://wirtschaftspressedienst.at/old/paxil.html

  42. Pingback: click

  43. Pingback: 먹튀검증사이트

  44. Pingback: cbd juul pods

  45. Pingback: Geigenunterricht in Wien

  46. Pingback: vape cartridges

  47. Pingback: buy vape oil

  48. Pingback: cialis price costco

  49. Pingback: United healthcare viagra

  50. Pingback: buy real cialis online

  51. Pingback: cialis canadian pharmacy

  52. Pingback: cialis canada

  53. Pingback: viagra 100mg

  54. Pingback: best otc ed pills

  55. Pingback: erection pills online

  56. Pingback: erection pills online

  57. Pingback: rx pharmacy

  58. Pingback: Get cialis

  59. Pingback: order levitra

  60. Pingback: vardenafil generic

  61. Pingback: cheap generic viagra

  62. Pingback: slots online

  63. Pingback: loan online

  64. Pingback: payday loans

  65. Pingback: viagra prescription

  66. Pingback: 20 cialis

  67. Pingback: best real money online casinos

  68. Pingback: best real money online casinos

  69. Pingback: naomi

  70. Pingback: Bovada

  71. Pingback: buy cialis

  72. Pingback: best on line casinos

  73. Pingback: what is sildenafil

  74. Pingback: best real casino online

  75. Pingback: real casino online

  76. Pingback: viagra pill

  77. Pingback: buy viagra online cheap

  78. Pingback: online pharmacy viagra

  79. Pingback: buy real viagra online

  80. Pingback: buying generic viagra online

  81. Pingback: cialis prices

  82. Pingback: when to take viagra

  83. Pingback: viagra connect

  84. Pingback: cheapest viagra

  85. Pingback: ed generic for sale

  86. Hi, Neat post. There is an issue along with your website in web explorer, may test this? IE still is the market chief and a big portion of other folks will omit your fantastic writing because of this problem.

  87. Pingback: buy viagra from online

  88. Its like you learn my mind! You appear to know so much about this, such as you wrote the e-book in it or something. I feel that you could do with some percent to power the message home a little bit, however other than that, that is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  89. Pingback: best reliable sites to buy generic viagra

  90. Pingback: www.jueriy.com

  91. Pingback: viagra without a doctor prescription

  92. Pingback: buy viagra 100mg online

  93. Pingback: buy viagra online

  94. Someone necessarily help to make severely articles I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this particular post incredible. Great activity!

  95. Pingback: cheap viagra

  96. Pingback: buy tadalafil online no prescription

  97. Pingback: Viagra 100mg pharmacy

  98. Pingback: cheap sildenafil

  99. Pingback: Viagra 100mg cheap

  100. Pingback: Viagra 50 mg online

  101. Pingback: order Viagra 200 mg

  102. Pingback: cheap sildenafil

  103. Pingback: cheap viagra

  104. Pingback: cialis online

  105. Pingback: Cialis 80 mg without a doctor prescription

  106. Pingback: Cialis 40mg pharmacy

  107. Pingback: buy cialis

  108. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between usability and visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a fantastic job with this. Also, the blog loads very quick for me on Opera. Exceptional Blog!

  109. Pingback: non prescription viagra

  110. Pingback: Cialis 10 mg online

  111. Pingback: buy viagra online

  112. Pingback: buy viagra generic

  113. Pingback: Cialis 80 mg coupon

  114. Pingback: Cialis 60mg no prescription

  115. Pingback: Cialis 80 mg uk

  116. Pingback: Cialis 20mg without a doctor prescription

  117. Pingback: buy cialis online

  118. Pingback: sildenafil 200 mg cheap

  119. Pingback: canadian pharmacy

  120. Pingback: tadalafil 40mg australia

  121. Pingback: how to buy levitra 10 mg

  122. Hello there, I found your website via Google at the same time as searching for a comparable subject, your web site came up, it seems good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, just become aware of your weblog thru Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m going to be careful for brussels. I will be grateful if you proceed this in future. A lot of folks can be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

  123. Pingback: lasix 40mg over the counter

  124. Pingback: furosemide 40mg uk

  125. Pingback: propecia 5mg usa

  126. Pingback: canadian online pharmacy no prescription

  127. Pingback: lexapro 10mg cost

  128. Pingback: order viagra online

  129. Pingback: cost of finasteride 5 mg

  130. Pingback: viagra substitute

  131. Pingback: abilify 10mg generic

  132. Pingback: actos 15mg australia

  133. Pingback: aldactone 100 mg coupon

  134. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, superb site!

  135. Pingback: allegra 180 mg prices

  136. Pingback: cheap allopurinol 300mg

  137. Pingback: order amaryl 1 mg

  138. Pingback: amoxicillin 500 mg tablets

  139. Pingback: viagra sale

  140. Pingback: how to purchase ampicillin 250 mg

  141. Pingback: antabuse 500 mg tablet

  142. Pingback: cheapest antivert 25 mg

  143. Pingback: arava 10 mg cheap

  144. Pingback: strattera 18 mg tablet

  145. Pingback: how to purchase aricept 10mg

  146. Pingback: cuenco

  147. I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today.

  148. Pingback: arimidex 1mg prices

  149. Pingback: forascie

  150. Pingback: tamoxifen 20mg without prescription

  151. Pingback: buy cialis

  152. Pingback: leomedicus

  153. Pingback: ashwagandha 60caps coupon

  154. Pingback: atarax 10mg australia

  155. Pingback: augmentin 500/125mg price

  156. Pingback: samisuka

  157. Pingback: avapro 150mg pharmacy

  158. Pingback: buy cheap prescription drugs online

  159. Pingback: avodart 0,5 mg no prescription

  160. Pingback: hurlabs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *