Orlando Arocena’s Horror Vectors

Have you noticed a few weird horror movie covers on iTunes? For example: a version of Child’s Play where Chucky looks like a melted face altar to killing children? Or a 28 Days Later rendition where the monkeys and city mesh in a virus of pain? Or Black Swan where Natalie Portman’s character is a goth decomposing in florals?

Well, they are the work of Mexican-Cuban-Americna artist and illustrator Orlando Arocena who was hired to recreate classic Fox and MGM horror titles in the hopes of enlivening them beyond their original artwork. The result are truly colorful, fun, “scary” takes on classic late twentieth century horror. They’re beautiful.

The works work because they’re so fucking pretty. I saw the Child’s Play cover when seeking out the latest Chucky movie and was distracted – Entranced! – by Arocena’s recreation because it takes the movie so seriously, applying an artistic love for the subject that suggests an earnestness often lost on the genre. I was very touched by the effort. Moreover, iTunes very much has been pushing this artwork and suggesting that these movies are new classics, which many of them are in their own right. Whether the campy and gay Jennifer’s Body or the early aughts super creeper Joy Ride, they are trying to appeal to very diverse horror lovers and Arocena articulates this in such a fantastic, new-old way.

There are of course duds, at least as it relates to source material: Fox/MGM horrors like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Victor Frankenstein and From Hell suggest a film marketer reaching for a new audience of cash via cool remaking. It works though: if I didn’t know any better, if I didn’t remember them getting bad reviews at the time and knowing I could Google their bad reviews now, I would watch. Again, this is all Arocena’s doing: he makes the bad look great – and takes horror seriously as artistic inspiration in a way that many modern artists dare not.

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