ARTISTS BEHIND THE IMAGE is intended to put a name (and sometimes face) to the talented men and women who created the most iconic images to adorn horror VHS boxes and posters from ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Their art is vital; it’s the reason I (and many of you, certainly) fell in love with horror movies in the first place. This is not only intended as a tribute, but also a minor compendium, meant to collect their works in one single spot. Corrections, additions, or other info? Email me.
Tracking down the artists for this recurring piece usually begins with some degree of difficulty, immediately followed by waves of ease and excited relief. It’s like a stopped up sink; I slowly remove bits of gunk from the drain and pretty soon the water is flowing at full force and I wonder how it was even stifled in the first place.
Years of conditioning my rapid-fire link clicking (mainly thanks to hours spent on Wikipedia with its endless rabbit-holes of useless information) is really what has saved me. I’m able to scour the furthest reaches of the Internet for information, where the juiciest morsels – buried under literal decades of clutter – are usually found.
But that’s only after I get flowing. Like I said, I usually start out stumped, and when it came to Media’s beautiful box for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, I was baffled. I noticed a signature on the cover but couldn’t make it out: to me it looked like Hescry or Hescay or Nescry. As a last resort – after nearly giving up and moving on – I decided to defer to the fine folks at All Poster Forum, and they solved the mystery immediately: the name was Hescox. Richard Hescox. Boy, was I off.
Richard Hescox got his start like all of the artists I’ve featured: he grew up with a love for drawing and kept at it, eventually attending art school and heading out to Hollywood to plant the seeds of his career. And, like the other artists I’ve featured, Richard has done it all: movie posters, book covers, video game design, and general fine art which keeps him busy today.
Hescox’s body of work is massive, and his output is almost inhuman. It’s not like he’s just scribbling on a piece of paper and moving onto the next project. His works are incredibly detailed and lifelike, which is what makes the volume of his work so mind-blowing.
While most of Hescox’s broad and stunning work is available to the masses, it’s his unseen work that I’m most interested in – as a horror fan. See, Richard Hescox got his start in Hollywood as a concept and production artist. What this boils down to is a lot of behind the scenes work, a lot of spec art, and generally a lot of stuff that never saw the light of day. He’s done work on Escape from New York, Halloween II, E.T., The Howling, The Philadelphia Experiment, The Fly, and Time Bandits (just to name a few) – and to those who haven’t had the privilege of working with Hescox, most of that work has gone unseen. (I was lucky enough to track down a couple pieces of spec art, which I’ve included below.)
Richard Hescox is still creating pieces to this day, dealing primarily in the world of fantasy art. He was chosen by author George R. R. Martin to create over 70 paintings and ink drawings for the Subterranean Press limited edition of his book “A Clash of Kings” from the bestselling “A Game of Thrones” series.