Tag Archives: Book Review

[Interview] Dark Artist and Poet Andy Sciazko Talks New Book

Absolutely! In addition to drawing inspiration from the films I’m dissecting, imagery from a few other favorites definitely trickled in. There are vibes of “Don’t Look Now” (1973) and “The Changeling” (1980) in some of my illustrations.

Without trying to sound too cliché, every so often an artist comes around that defines a generation with his/her deep, and meaningful contributions to society in the artistic form. Dark artist Andy Sciazko seems to be that “dark” horse in the running with his compelling illustrations that have graced numerous publications that scream both nostalgia and speak to your soul on a deeper level than feel-good fuzzies. Personally speaking, he first made waves with me when I discovered his art through a new book release in conjunction with author Jake Tri entitled Nightmare Soup back in 2016; and this Scary Stories-esque collection of tales with art rivaling that of Stephen Gammell, sent my nostalgic heart into a whirlwind. The stories were on par. The art, incredible. So yeah, I was hooked and have been following ever since.

Sciazko’s new art book, “The Calibration of Old Wounds”, is a fifty page ode to letting go and the impact felt by the very powerful force of nostalgia. In combination with his love for the morbid and horror, the pages are filled with the kind of art that makes you really reflect on how humanity perceives these feelings. The poetry entailed within, grabs you by the balls; unearthing your full-attention with a craving to decipher every word strung along in the sentence.

It’s a really wild, and humbling ride throughout the artist’s perspective that I think a lot of us in the horror genre, can really relate to. This collection, along with his other art book, “We’ve Always Been Here/This Was Never Yours” ode to Witchcraft, are two pieces that I will forever cherish in my gothic reserves.

Image via: Patti Pauley

In promoting the new book, Reflectingonacoda.com was released last month, filled with hidden content for those who signed up early and fans of Sciazco’s work. The ciphers you’ll find on each page that need to be decoded will lead you down a rabbit hole. A select few have solved it to the very end (I’m not one of them).

Like with many things that fascinate us, I had to ask a few questions about this artistic process to the creator himself.

NN: What or who inspired you to put this collection together?

AS: Years ago I decided to compile a bunch of old writing/poetry to coincide with illustrations into a book, which I titled
“A Lyric Booklet.” I loved the little extras (additional album art, hidden tracks, lyric inspiration) you would find in most vinyls or CD inserts booklets. While compiling, I noticed that most of my writing dissected films, books, and the stories they were portraying thematically. Deciding to run with that idea, it eventually became the foundation for my subsequent releases “We’ve Always Been Here//This Was Never Yours,” “I Have Seen the Dark and I Long For its Ache,” and my latest “The Calibration of Old Wounds.”
Each book breaks down a collection of films with similar themes and imagery. For instance, if you look closely at WABH//TWNY you’ll find that all the films I picked have a strong female lead character.

NN: What message or conversation are you trying to tell/ start with your audience?

AS: While at the end of the day everyone will have their own interpretation of the book, I’m hoping the illustrations and entries create an immersive experience for the reader. Like with my previous releases, I never flat out state which films I’m referencing, but I’m sure to include Director/Writer’s names on the “Thank You” page of each book as hints. Narrowing down on the films will give new light to the artwork titles and entries for anyone that is interested.

NN: This collection strikes me as a deep and thought provoking battle with several mental illnesses. Maybe I’m looking into it too deep, and this is what my subconscious sees, but is there any truth to that?

AS: There is definitely some truth to that! With “The Calibration of Old Wounds,” I wanted to explore the idea of time as both an over abundant and fleeting resource. Why are certain events in our lives nostalgic to us? Did we somehow know living in the moment of the event that it would have such a nostalgic impact? And because all memory becomes muddled and worn, are we even recalling the events correctly? One of the films i dissect is Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York which is riddled with references and allusions to mental illness and delusion.

NN: Some of the art seems to be on par with throwing back to a few classic nostalgic horror films- care to share any Easter eggs in there?

AS: Absolutely! In addition to drawing inspiration from the films I’m dissecting, imagery from a few other favorites definitely trickled in. There are vibes of “Don’t Look Now” (1973) and “The Changeling” (1980) in some of my illustrations.

“The Calibration of Old Wounds” drops in Andy Sciazko’s dark art shop at AndySciazko.com on June 21st, 2021.

Book Review: “AD NAUSEAM” Is The Holy Grail of 80’s Horror Newsprints

Once upon a time before the wild world of the interwebs, you had to turn to that black and white rolled up bunch of papers that magically appears in your driveway every morning to observe the latest movie premieres and listing showtimes. Plainly speaking, living in an advanced age of technology has spoiled us from giving in that extra effort as any and (almost) all information is literally at our fingertips. And with the entrance of Google, the exit of what is now considered a lost art occurred.

As with horror-based VHS art, newsprint graphics for film announcements became an entity in its own with not only promoting said picture but influencing audiences into seeing the movie with the alluring black and grey art attached to the information. Former Fangoria Editor-in-Chief and presently, one of Rue Morgue’s head-honchos’ Michael Gingold has taken this long-lost pastime and breathed new life into the forgotten advertisements with his new book, “AD NAUSEAM: NEWSPRINT NIGHTMARES FROM THE 1980s”.

I recently had the opportunity to gleefully gawk at the 245-page book and holy Nicolas National Treasure Cage- it is as glorious as the retro sunbeams beaming off a neon synthwave.

Book Review: "AD NAUSEAM" Is The Holy Grail of 80's Horror Newsprints

With all retro advertisements seen within, some extremely rare or never-before-seen all from Gingold’s personal collection, compiled into yearly chapters that range from 1980-1989, this truly is a must-have for not only lovers of 80’s horror, but ALL genre enthusiasts. From a historical standpoint, this nostalgic book certainly serves as an opened time capsule from a time where horror was both beloved and misunderstood by the general public- (If you’re questioning that last bit, check out this little diddy from 20/20). So whether you’re reliving that era or discovering it for the first time, the feeling you get as you flip the pages through these newsprint nightmares can easily be compared to watching your very first horror film. And that my friends, is such a rare experience to come across in the modern days of the interwebs.

Book Review: "AD NAUSEAM" Is The Holy Grail of 80's Horror Newsprints

In addition to the glorious spread of page after page of retro goodness, snippets of reviews are matched alongside select films. It goes without saying this was a time where Rotten Tomatoes and online reviews were years ahead in the future. That being said, in a time where horror didn’t harbor the respect it has accumulated from critics over the years, you’ll find a few of these snippets might just trigger your horror senses into a flight or fight reaction. As explained in the book, these reviews were posted at the time of release, and I’m just taking a shot in the dark here, from a few snooty film advisers.

However, I can overlook those very real reviews with an extensive introduction from Gingold explaining what had compelled him to save all these clippings to begin with. If you hadn’t already taken the hint or looked around at my website here, I kind of really love reminiscing about my journey in and around the horror genre and the influences it had on me as a child; but hearing it from the mouth of someone who is hugely respected here, and around the horror writing community is pure gold. And I highly urge everyone in this business that picks up this gem to resist the temptation and read what Gingold has to say before going balls deep into the ads. VERY IMPORTANT HERE.

Towards the end of the retro 80’s horror ad road, you’ll find an intriguing closing entitled “The Art of the Sell”- which includes conversations with Terry Levine (President of Aquarius Releasing), and longtime partner and artist Wayne S. Weil who dive into the drive of these ads and putting “asses in theater seats” via these said newsprints.

As you may have gathered already, this book is a definite must-have centerpiece for your house of macabre’s coffee table for any collector of physical horror media. It is both highly stimulating for your retro horror senses, and a wonderful journey of film history through the decade where horror shined like no other era. The book drops tomorrow on Amazon Prime and you can pre-order it here at a discounted price, or directly from 1984 Publishing to obtain a signed copy.

Upcoming Book "Ad Nauseam" Highlights Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s