Hollywood Is Dead to see for yourself. While you're there, make note of your top three favorite images and email them, in order to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name and address. Matt has graciously given us several prints to offer our readers! Full contest details will be revealed after our interview with Matt:
Zombies & Toys: For those who are just being introduced to your work and, more specifically, the Hollywood is Dead series - Tell us a bit about your artistic background and development of this line.
Matt Busch: I got my start in Hollywood, designing A-list movie posters, actually. Most of what I designed was sadly handed to a lackey who recreated my comps in PhotoShop with stills. But it was work, and I've always had a passion for cinema one-sheets.
Of course, most people know me for the licensed projects I've worked on, like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Lord of the Rings. I've even created art for bands like Foo Fighters, Ozzy, and Motley Crue.
Before coming up with the idea to do a line of zombified movie posters, I had already done a lot of undead material, mostly for comic books and Graphic novels. I've done a slew of covers for George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (Avatar Press) and Dead or Alive (Red 5), and zombie-related covers and interiors for Gene Simmons' House of Horrors.
So the notion of combining decrepit zombies with box office movie posters we all know and love is kind of a shoe-in for me.
ZT: Do you have a favorite image from the line? Why?
MB: It seems like each new poster I do is my new favorite. But if I had to pick, it's probably one like Hooked or The Living Dead Strike Back where I really felt I captured the original artists' style. A lot of people don't realize how much time goes into each one of these posters. It's not just a quick PhotoShopped gag- these are all hand-painted with extreme detail. Each poster painting can take days, if not weeks, to complete.
ZT: What can we expect in the future from Hollywood Is Dead? Any hints as to movies currently in the pipeline?
MB: I've been enjoying working on them for a while and then releasing them in series. Last February I did a theme with romantic or date movies like Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Feast) and Twilight: Eclipse (Twitch: Eek! Lips.) This summer its the big budget blockbusters like Lord of the Rings (Lord of the Rank: The Festering of the Rotten) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Lara Crypt: Tomb Riser).
So I'll be continuing with themes. Next I'm planning on a slew of 80's cheesy flicks, then an all animated series. Eventually I hope to have them all collected into a big coffee table book.
ZT: It's not uncommon to spot you wearing a Star Wars shirt. Would you consider yourself an all-around geek or just a fan of the Star Wars franchise?
MB: Oh I'm definitely Nerd Prom king. Star Wars is great, but also geek out on stuff like Lost, Dexter, anything with robots, and of course, anything with zombies.
ZT: What were your favorite toys to collect and play with growing up?
MB: You didn't have as many choices when I was a kid, so it was mostly Star Wars. I loved LEGOs, too, but even LEGOs weren't as cool as they are now. If I built a castle, it wasn't with specific LEGO castle set pieces, I had to build everything from scratch with all the crazy bright colored bricks. But it forced me to use my imagination, so I have no complaints.
ZT: What are your favorite toys to collect and play with now?
MB: I still get LEGOs and collect action figures of all kinds. The big thing (no pun intended) for me now is collecting life-size Star Wars statues. I have over a dozen random Star Wars characters just hanging out throughout the house. People freak out a little when they go into the bathroom and a seven foot tall Darth Vader is lurking in the corner.
ZT: Have you always been a fan of zombies or is this something relatively new for you? What and when was your first exposure to the genre?
MB: I've always dug zombies. The first time I was reeled in was when I saw Evil Dead as a kid. I know most people don't consider that a zombie movie, but I do. So that's what sparked it all and got me watching all of the Living Dead movies.
ZT: What are some of your favorite zombie movies, books, games, characters, and personalities?
MB: I dig some of the parodies, like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead, but my favorite serious take on zombies is The Walking Dead, both the graphic novels and the TV show. I think telling a good zombie survival story is hard to do in a two-hour movie and get invested in the characters. Zombie stories were meant to be episodic or serialized.
ZT: We're going to make a toy of you. Would you want to be a zombie or a survivor? What accessories would you come with?
MB: Oh man! Well if I was to star in a zombie movie I'd want to be a survivor, but a toy or an action figure? I'd definitely take being a zombie! My accessories would be random art tools, like pencils, brushes, and protractors you could stick into me.
ZT: You were just bitten by a zombie while we were searching for supplies. Do you want me to shoot you or leave you to change?
MB: I've always up for a new look and life (or lack thereof) is a series of stages that you evolve with. I say leave me to change. Haha.
ZT: What is the easiest way for readers to view or purchase your work?
MB: I have 2 places you'll want to check out. MattBusch.com is kind of the mothership of all things I'm involved with. But if you have a taste for the undead combined with classic movie posters, then you'd want to head on over to Hollywood-is-Dead.com.
ZT: Are there any upcoming appearances?
MB: Yes! August 27th I'll be a guest at ComiCONN in Stamford, Connecticut. October 8th and 9th I'll be a guest at Star Wars Fan Days 4 in Dallas, Texas. And zombie fanatics, on October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd I will be infesting Zom B Con in Seattle, Washington! I hope to see you all there!
First, a giant "thank you" to Matt for taking the time to speak with us. Matt even went a step further and sent us several prints to give away! Entering is easy. Email your name and address along with your top 3 favorite Matt Busch images. We have several to give away and I want to make sure they are awarded to the readers who would appreciate them most. Contest extended through September!