A Cadaver Christmas ~ The Dude Designs


A Cadaver Christmas

Just released today via killerfilm.com is the artwork i did for a back comedy grindhouse zombie horror festive flick called A Cadaver Christmas (you can already buy it on Amazon now!).

this was to be a DVD cover so to match the grainy visual grindhouse film effect i decided to approach the cover like a weathered old video cover (a popular misconception - ahem... dont look back at my previous vhs designs - when weathering a video cover is that all the edges get frayed, because of the video case only the top and bottom would wear over time while the sides would be protected, how anal am i!)

For the design itself i wanted to give it a more humorous twist, i instantly connected the title with that classic cadaver feet/toe tag image so thought it would be a great way to frame the logo in the montage, it then also enabled me to tell the story of the film from top to bottom... so the Cadaver feet and the blanket blend into the snow which leads to the college* where the janitor works and the zombies (cadavers!) scenario plays out.

Although iv'e only shown The 3 main protagonists in the film there are actually 6/7 characters all in all but visually trying to squeeze everyone in would have been an explosion of chaos, (as Jack Burt... sorry! i always say "just because its in the film, doesn't  mean it has to be on the cover) when doing montage designs (which i often get hired to do) i try and put elements in which will tell a story and give visual hooks in the most compact way possible (but not minimal buy a long shot!),

This is a perfect example of what i mean though as the 3 characters we went with had the most visual connection and recognizable, so the main character he Janitor with BLOODY mop, slightly manic twitchy eyed cop and festive alcoholic (he does drink from a hip flask but again the hip flask wasn't instantly recognisable so i gave him the more obvious Whiskey bottle (which he's spilling in HORROR!!! and it looked more funny).

The other characters (while not to detract from them, of the bartender, Campus security girl and pervert perp) didn't have that obvious visual (which i know iv'e mentioned about 500 times now, but bear with me) connection. The guys at Level 33 distribution (who where great to work with very enthusiastic, they pushed out the budget on this one but where not overly protective and open to any suggestions, so 4 star clients!) agreed and we streamlined the characters. 

Although the College* building i have depicted isn't an exact representation of the one from the film (i don't think you actually see it in full) i wanted a classic school/university building, as i felt it was the most integral part of the design which would links all the elements together. Its great when you have a destination for these designs as i feel it helps anchor all the elements (and story line) around a destination. I sort of read a criticism on a site about there initial photoshop design being one of confusion about the characters, zombies Janitor and Christmas so i wanted to avoid that and portray the college, where cadavers reanimate and a janitor with a rag tag bunch of people battle them at Christmas... Simple as that!

For the festive touches we did look at several approaches, i didn't want to make it too cheesy or tacky so i sort of went for a festive twist on the old VHS frame style which just clicked then with the snow etc. it really boosted that Christmas connection.

On a technical side iv'e been experimenting more with airbrushing effect (as i mentioned on my new logo) for the background glows and washes so here with the snow it really worked out well i felt it softens up the edges more, hats off the Enzo Sciotti for the inspiration behind that technique... check out his work he was the Italian Master, forget the renaissance!!


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