Clapboard Jungle is a fantastic exploration into the process of independent film making and distribution by director Justin McConnell. Where Justin's documentary differs from others that claim to pull back the curtain on the industry is Justin's brutal honesty and vulnerability. With Interviews from rising stars as well as genre regulars and iconic legends (several of which are unfortunately no longer with us) Clapboard jungle is as much a love-letter to the horror genre as it is a personal journey.
I've been a hardcore collector of Arrow film since I picked up the first 'white box' packaging for The Beyond and continue to collect them today, so finally having an opportunity to create a cover for Arrow's growing collection comes with a heightened sense of pressure. As with any film packaging job I always watch the project several times before I begin to see what element most resinates and each time I was blown away by the number of faces I recognise from films I love. Just as the documentary works as a who's-who in the genre I felt the cover could present the same. A jungle of faces which Justin has to both navigate through and stand shoulder to shoulder with. Despite Justin being at the centre of his documentary he is overshadowed by larger recognisable icons from his industry. But Justin is unique amongst the jungle of heads. Each character is LOOKING off camera and TALKING to their interviewer but Justin, once you've found him, is the only one looking directly at us as a viewer and listening. It's subtle but makes Justin stand apart from the others but also builds a connection with him even if he may be lesser known than George Romero, Guillermo Del Toto and Barbara Crampton
Clapboard Jungle at the time of my artwork's creation was a hugely successful 'film festival favourite' still doing the circuit and Justin McConnell already had 2 posters in circulation a blue one and a yellow. I chose to acknowledge them both by keeping the colour scheme a combination of the two.
The clapboard was still a major inclusion but didn't dominate. instead the form of the clapboard was formed visually by the positioning of the participants, some in yellow and some in a dark blue. The final inclusion was the addition of monstrous hands keeping the clapboard from closing. they are the personification of Justin's struggles in making and distributing his movie but they also provide a nice reminder that this is for the horror genre.
I loved working on this project. It was a brilliant and emotional documentary, both by empathising with the filmmaker but also as a fan seeing much loved heroes who are no longer with us opening up about their experiences.
I feel I succeeded in making something that matches the scale and quality of the documentaries content but as a fan I feel I also wanted a who's who of horror. If I attend a horror con or film festival I could always take a copy of Clapboard Jungle with me and get a Tom Savini or Charles Band signature on there. Click here to pick up a copy of Clapboard Jungle. It is also available through multiple streaming platforms including Arrow Video but nothing beats holding the artwork in your hand.
As a bonus bit of content for you. Below is a 1st draft of the finished artwork that included some of the monsters and creatures that are synonymous with their creators and costars. Unfortunately we all agreed that it may cause legal issues so chose against it,