No, it is not Halloween yet but it is never too early to enjoy a bit of horror or sci-fi fantasy. On June 3 through 5, Saturday Nightmares: Horror and Sci-Fi Expo will open for the second year at the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel in East Rutherford, New Jersey (a fitting place for the macabre).
Included on the Zombie Walk of Fame are some well known talents: After a screening of “Family Plot,” stars Bruce Dern and Karen Black will answer questions. And follow a screening of “Ed Wood,” Martin Landau (below top), who played Bela Lugosi playing Dracula, will be on hand. Also, Tippi Hendren, “The Birds,” Barbara Steele (below bottom), “Black Sunday” and “Castle of Blood,” Doug Bradley, “Hellraiser” and more. See more of the eerily scheduled events here.
One of the organizers, Joanna Kuczek, a horror maven by night, is a graphic designer by day. I caught up with her in the sunlight to find out why HORROR!
How and why did you get involved with HORROR and sc-fi?
My husband Mike has been a huge fan of classic horror movies since he was a little boy, so naturally when I met him 8 years ago, I was introduced into this world.
I have always analyzed, and appreciated all Alfred Hitchcock movies, I loved the craftsmanship, the attention to detail and the suspense. I also grew up on Roman Polanski movies, so Mike and I had some common language to begin with. He introduced me to Vincent Price, George A. Romero and many others who I have learned to appreciate greatly. For instance George A. Romero was a commercial artist out in Pittsburgh who got together with his friends to make their first movie, that changed the world, and it showed me that you could just do anything you put your mind to. Last year I met George Romero, and he is one of the coolest most humble people I have ever met, his movies are rich in political and cultural messaging, and are not just gore for gore sake. Mike and I decided to start our own Expo back in March of 2010, and I have to say I loved every minute of it.
What kind of fiendish audience attends this kind of Expo?
The Expo has a wide range of audiences, some even as young as 10 years old. Our mission is to promote, educate and entertain those who appreciate thrills of horror. It is geared towards anyone who cares and anyone who dares! We would like to attract aspiring film makers, independent artist who are looking for a place to sell their work, those who dream of meeting their favorite starts, as well as those who just like Halloween!
You are a designer with an acute nuance. This genre is about heavy-handed graphic conceits – blood lettering, etc. – how do you reconcile the aesthetics of design?
Interesting you ask, I see this as an opportunity to finally contribute to an area that is, in my opinion, so poorly designed, splashes and gore are not my thing and will never be. However I do believe that my design skills can be utilized and maybe lead the way of better designed posters, tickets, brochures and any promotional materials including the website. I will never change my design aesthetic in order to fulfill what is expected within this genre, but instead use my clean aesthetic to build a strong brand, that is consisted and maybe even a bit sophisticated among the others. I think what helps me stay focus, and stay different is that I am not the typical horror fan, so I can easily detach myself to get the job done right.
Be honest, are you scared or terrified by anything at Saturday Nightmares?
I am probably the most fearful person you know! I cannot stand gore, and will not watch most of the typical horror movies of today and if it is for research or if Mike really wants me to, I usually watch them with fingers over my eyes, well I peek through them at times. So in terms of Saturday NIghtmares 2011, I am petrified of Sid Haig from “the devlis rejects” and Doug Brandley as The Pin Head, those movies give me the creeps! But I also remember last year getting completely freaked out by a Zombie costume contest contestant so you never know what is around the corner waiting for me. This year we are having a Zombie walk, so I will probably be hiding somewhere.