Hung, Drawn and Executed: The Horror Art of Graham Humphreys – review

 
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Hung, Drawn and Executed: The Horror Art of Graham Humphreys is a 176-page full-colour hardback book published by British-based Korero Press in November 2019. It contains forewords by Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker and Victoria Price, plus afterwords by Sara Karloff, actor Jeffrey Combs and filmmaker Larry Fessenden.

Press blurb:

For over forty years Graham Humphreys has been a fixture on the UK horror scene as an artist and designer. From his original iconic designs for Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead and Dan O’Bannon’s The Return of the Living Dead, Humphreys’ designs have graced hundreds of poster, advertisements, and home video releases.

With the resurgence boutique home video and poster art in the last decade, Humphreys’ work has been rediscovered with a vengeance, leading to even more eye-catching pieces for fans to salivate over.

Hung, Drawn and Executed: The Horror Art of Graham Humphreys collects some of the artist’s finest work in the realms of advertisement, home video, film posters, and convention art.

 

Graham Humphreys’ career as a poster artist looms large over horror cinema. From designing the iconic Evil Dead poster to Nightmare on Elm Street and House of a Thousand Corpses, his work is familiar to film audiences around the world.

It’s easy to see why his work grabs the attention of horror fans and filmmakers alike, as he continually and systematically sets the bar ever higher in his quest for sheer terror and pure entertainment. With over forty years of experience, he is one of the few contemporary illustrators using the traditional medium of gouache to paint his images.

Review:

Hung, Drawn and Executed is a fantastic book that’s filled with stunning artwork from every period of Graham Humphrey‘s career. Thus, there are film release, event and festival posters, DVD and Blu-ray covers, private commissions and record covers. Each image is accompanied by a brief yet revealing explanation in which Graham candidly explains how the artwork came about, including tidbits of information as to whether the client asked him to alter anything after the first draft. He sometimes self-mockingly admits that in his enthusiasm he tries to cram too much into each piece.

Meanwhile, an eight-page guide as to how Graham creates a particular artwork, from the brief and its accompanying photos, via sketches and Photoshop layout to the finished painting (in this case, the Karloff Compendium book), is included.

This gorgeous collection of horror imagery is festooned with collages of faces and characters we all know and often love, yet the way their visages are combined and the colour schemes used to bring them to life is a testament to Graham’s unique and idiosyncratic talent.

Personal favourites are a Return of the Living Dead/Re-Animator combo for a theatrical event in which both classics were screened, a private commission for Poltergeist (1982) and a special poster for a gig by punk/goth/psychedelic band The Damned at the London Palladium in 2019. It’s oft-said that ‘this book is a must-have’ but in this case, it really is.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA

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