Last week we began our new weekly interview series “Dissecting Fear” where we discuss childhood experiences and memories with horror films as well as what we want out of today’s horror films. Today we continue exploring those same questions with artist Travis Falligant. Travis is a gifted illustrator who is well known for his “Lost Mysteries” series of drawings where he blended classic Scooby Doo gang images with classic horror villains, it is these along with his penchant for stylized charicature work that captures a characters essence perfectly that really makes his work stand out and be something special.
Travis contributed an awesome Patrick Bateman from American Psycho portrait for our Art Show last Halloween and has always been a supporter of our site.We are really appreciative to have him participate in this series of interviews while being able to showcase some more of his art.
As a child what horror film and/or character scared you the most and why do you feel they had this effect on you.
I remember sneaking downstairs when I was younger and saw my dad watching Body Double on cable. It was the part where the Indian Driller Killer was killing the woman. It scared the shit outta me! Freddy Krueger also scared me when I was younger (I had a thing for being scared of melty faced, hook nosed monsters I guess). I think both of those characters freaked me out because they were stalking their prey and their facial features and evil grimaces were terrifying!
Do you have an example telling of an instance or two where this fear really manifested itself and had an impact on you and your behavior?
I had night terrors when I was younger for a number of years. I could hear my parents watching scary movies in the bedroom and having nightmares based on the screams and sounds from the tv they were watching. I have a very wild imagination. When I say night terrors, I mean bolting up in my bed, screaming my little lungs out night terrors.
What VHS covers or horror movie posters scared you as a kid and why do you feel the poster or cover had that effect on you?
Ummm…there were SO MANY great horror movie VHS covers and posters. I remember asking my dad when we were going to see Indiana Jones and I first saw the Nightmare on Elm Street poster where the claw was over the girls head. He told me it was a bear claw to make it seem more innocent (yeah right). That poster left an impression. Going to the video store, the poster for “Fright Night”, the 1972 Sally Field slasher “Home for the Holidays” and “Mother’s Day (original) stick out in my head as ones that frightened me as well as intrigued me.
Do you have a specific example of a time you may remember that you have come across one of these and it had that effect on you when you were younger?
I remember when i went to the local Circuit City where they were renting VHS tapes (yeah go figure) and saw the Mother’s Day box. The Front Graphic was so insane to me and I looked at the sparse photos on the back and was even more intrigued and frightened because I didn’t know what the movie inside the box would show. How depraved the contents of the film would be.
What is your definition of “scary” when it comes to modern horror films these days? So many people are quick to say a film isn’t scary but each person ha sa different definition of what scary means.
So many films rely on violence or loud jump scares to be “scary”. For a movie to be scary these days, it’s all about the story. Is it a compelling one? Are the situations relatable? Does the film use tension to build the scares?
What is a modern horror film you would say actually scared you?
The last modern horror film I can remember that truly frightened me was Session 9. I am talking goosebumps and hairs raising on my arm scary.
What do you NOT consider scary or not like in your horror films?
Exorcism films, ghost/supernatural films (for the most part) zombie films. I’m over all of those. NOT scary and too played out these days.
What do you look for/to get out of horror films these days?
I tell ya, these days, I look for an 80’s aesthetic in horror films. Stuff like “It Follows”. I think it’s because of my age and the fact that I attribute a lot of my fear from movies of my generation. It’s a total nostalgia thing I guess.
What is your favorite recent horror film and why?
It Follows. For it’s creativity on a small budget. For it’s ability to pull thrills and scares from it’s premise (call it a hokey one or a simple one). The mood, settings, music, EVERYTHING worked in that film for me. Everything.
Lastly, do you feel there is a certain way or mindset to have to watch a horror film as far as it being effectively frightening?
I think it’s subjective. What we fear is very specific to one’s life experiences, phobias, etc. For something to be effectively frightening, it has to tap into the individual’s fears. My fears may be different than yours. The most successful horror films tap into a universal fear of something.
We would like to thank Travis again for his participation in this interview and have posted some more of his artwork as well as links where you can see more below.
Be sure to check out more of Travis’ work for sale at the following link: webstore
And see much more on his Instagram and twitter accounts: @ibtrav