It’s funny how things work. I was such a fan of Matt Busch’s art, specifically his “zombified” movie posters, that I always wanted to hunt him down and ask him if I could send him a few questions to answer.
I enjoyed his Star Wars posters and his Indiana Jones posters and even mentioned him in a previous blog post without ever knowing who he is. Then, wouldn’t you know it; he contacts me personally and asks if I could mention him on my blog. I laughed and said, I’ll do something better… I’ll interview you about your work and mention all your pages after the interview is done. It’s funny how things all work out in the end.
Who is your biggest influence in either film or art?
There are so many, I really try to draw influence from every inspiring thing I see, hear, or feel. A simple answer could be Steven Spielberg for film and Drew Struzan for art, but I get inspired equally by musicians, comedians… Hell, I get inspired by trees and mountains.
What made you want to become an illustrator?
I think the “illustrator” thing came from necessity more than anything else. For a long time, I wanted to be a rock star, but I had a hard time finding a group of cats that were as driven as I was. In a band, you’re only as strong as the weakest member. The same thing is true of working on movies and comics. With being a sole illustrator, nothing could interfere with my passion and drive.
What makes hand-drawn posters so special, in your opinion?
I think there’s a humanistic quality that really makes it unique. A lot of current posters seem weak and churned out. They all look the same, and have no ‘life’ to them. That’s not to say that a photo or digital art can’t be breath-taking, it most certainly can. But current movie posters have totally lost quality in design and craftsmanship.
Do you think Hollywood has become dead in terms of the quality of their films?
I wouldn’t say it’s become “dead”, though a lot of it seems to be stale these days. Probably for much of the same reasons. It’s big business churning out product, as opposed to artists making cutting edge films.
Why do you think we are so drawn to zombies?
My opinion on the matter is that we as an audience like to be scared, yet we like to be in the safe zone. We enjoy seeing gore in movies when in the back of our heads, we know it’s all fake. It’s funny, because some people barely winch at someone being beheaded in a movie, yet if someone cuts their finger in real life, those same people will pass out at the sight of real blood. So I think zombies are the perfect mix of gore while still being in the safe zone.
Do you think there is a connection, be it symbolic or coincidental, between your zombified movie posters and how you saw L.A. after you moved?
Not really. I was shocked experiencing the real Hollywood after dreaming about it in my youth. But Hollywood has been good to me. And what I’m doing with the zombified posters is really more out of respect and for fun than for making a statement or purposely slaughtering these icons.
Again, zombies are the safe zone. Even kids love zombies.
Is there a deeper meaning to these zombified posters?
Generally not, though many times when putting together a montage, I’m trying to feature what’s going on story-wise with the HID poster. Most of these classic posters did such a good job of depicting the mood and story in the single image, so I try to continue that. For example, you can see the growth and decay of characters in through the ZOMBIE WARS saga of posters. In the RAIDERS of the Lost Ark parody that I did, I showed the way that the zombie infection began, which is carried out through the next two posters.
Aside from the Star Wars poster series, is there a reason why you picked the rest of the posters?
It’s a mixed bag, some because I love the original poster and wanted to study it, and some because I came up with a funny parody. And some because I felt like if I didn’t do it, someone else would.
What is the hardest part in creating these posters?
Probably just the time put into them. And since many of these classic posters have incredible detail and excessive content put into the montages, they can take quite a while. On the flip side, I just completed the poster parody for GHOSTBUSTERS and did the whole thing in like an hour flat.
Out of the ones you’ve done, which is your biggest accomplishment?
I think the parody for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK seems to get the most response. The original is such a beautiful, romantic poster, and I pretty much ruined it. Everyone seems to enjoy blood vomit, for some reason.
Have you ever imagined what each movie would be if it did have zombies?
Yes, a lot of that thought process goes into the posters in the initial idea phase. The “why” and “how” should be answered in the poster. I do have some short parody videos that will be released showing the original trilogy for ZOMBIE WARS… Stay tunes to Hollywood-is-Dead.com.
Do you think that some people might view these as disrespect to the original films?
Of course, but from the response I’ve seen, that fraction has been a sliver of a percentile. Even people that aren’t into zombies seem to chuckle and ‘get it.’
Who has been your audience so far?
It’s really been across the board. Older folks who grew up with these iconic posters as I did seem to enjoy them, yet the younger crowd is zombie-obsessed, so they really appreciate them, too. I think the vast range is helped by the fact that I’m doing posters from the 60’s up to current. Nothing is safe from my blood-soaked brush.
What do you do to relax?
Believe it or not, this is what I do to relax. This has been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on. I really enjoy studying the great cinematic masters, so to see that an audience really appreciates what I’m doing has been extremely gratifying.
Last Updated on December 16, 2022.