Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Paradise Profiles: Mental Kavity

This is The Paradise of Horror’s first profile post or Paradise Profiles. Essentially I find interesting people online that are horror fanatics or contribute to the horror culture, send them some questions and then post their answers as a post. I can’t afford an actual interview so everything is dealt through emails. So, let’s get started. 

A couple days ago I got an interesting follower on my Twitter account by the name of thementalkavity, which was managed by Michael Kasaboski. I check out his website and noticed that he was one of those people that has some amazing artwork and who is also a horror fan, but just hasn’t been exposed as much. So, I decided to come up with some questions to ask him so that I can help him gain more recognition.  

What got you into horror?

I blame my parents. Some of the first things I remember reading were comic books. One of the first TV shows I was obsessed with was the Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno incarnation of The Incredible Hulk. And the movie that scared me so much it gave me a nosebleed was JAWS. I say that I blame my parents because I distinctly recall them buying me stacks of comic books and even sitting me down in between them on the couch to watch The Incredible Hulk when I was fully intent on running to my room to hide. And then it was on a family trip to Toronto where I sat on the edge of the hotel bed with my nose bleeding and my eyes glued to JAWS on the television. Of course, I was born in the 70 and grew up in the 80s, which was just the all out heyday for teen horror and the advent of the slasher genre. I've also been a very visually oriented person so just the visual appeal of a lot of these characters was a huge inspiration to me; Jason with his hockey mask, Freddy with his fedora and claws. I got into hard rock and metal music at a pretty early age too and was even further inundated with horror imagery; Dokken, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osboure, Alice Cooper, Metallica. You name it. I was surrounded, young and impressionable. I didn't stand a chance.

Where were your inspirations for your illustrations?

I really seem to like the juxtaposition of either a beautiful girl with some horrific creature or something cute or childlike next to something gruesome. And obviously, those were things very common to 80s horror. There was always some alluring damsel in distress or a child and his teddy bear being haunted by the beasts under his bed or in his closet. When I was young, I was that frightened kid in the movie. I could relate to him. When I got older, I wanted to be the boyfriend in the horror movies who's always trying to save his way hot girlfriend.

Has your work ever won any awards?

Awards? Not that I know of. I almost got got asked to remove some artwork I posted on a certain Canadian sci-fi fan forum one time. Some complained about some of the women I had drawn being too risqué. 

What would you say is your favorite horror movie?

I think I'd have to go with something like The Shining for my favorite horror film. It has so much more depth and it scares you on a whole other level. It’s also based on Stephen King's book. I mean, how much better does it get than Stephen King? Oh, and I can never forget the movie Alien. It's space horror, but it's horror nonetheless and it's just one of my all time favorite movies ever. Similar in nature and also a favorite would be John Carpenter's The Thing. We're still feeling the ripples and influences of those movies today in things like the video game, Dead Space.

I have noticed that you have a lot of zombie related artwork, would you say you are a huge zombie fan?

I would definitely say I'm a huge zombie fan. Other people might raz me for being picky though. I have to admit; I like the fast moving zombies better than the slow and lethargic ones. And I also like the pandemic, viral sort of infection origin story when it comes to zombies. So, more recent movies like 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later and the remake of Dawn of the Dead are huge on my favorites list. I just think the rabid, fast zombies are a million times more scary and threatening than the slow, lumbering ones. Of course, Romero's Night of the Living Dead recorded off of PBS or some channel like that was what got me started down the zombie road in the first place so there is a place in my heart for the classics. One thing I've never been big on was the campy, funny zombie flicks. I'd say the only ones of that sort that I've like have been the more recent ones; Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. Do you want to talk about zombie literature? Max Brooks is the man and “World War Z” is the book. If you've not read it, go get it, quick!

Finally, what is the history behind the name ‘Mental Kavity?’

Wow, GREAT question. Few have ever asked. I'm a massive comic book fan and the history of comic books, particularly in North America fascinates me. As you may know, comic books in North America got a really bad rap from one Fredric Wertham who nearly single handedly destroyed the comic book industry in 1954 with the publication of his book, “Seduction of the Innocent.” it was publications like “Tales From the Crypt” from EC Comics that really inflamed Wertham with their depictions of horror and depravity. Basically he says in his book that comics are highly negative and warp the minds of young children, causing juvenile delinquency. This lead to a ton of censorship in the North American comic book industry and has given comic books a bad name ever since. Now, I don't know if Wertham says it in his book or not, because I haven't been able to find a copy to read but somewhere in my childhood I heard or read the phrase, "Comics rot your brain." This is a phrase that, in one form or another, was seemingly always applied to the nefarious things I was interested in while growing up: movies, television, heavy metal, music videos, video games, etc. So, it just came as a very natural extrapolation to me that if this was true, if all these things I love really do rot one's brain, than surely I must have a huge mental cavity. And thus was born The Mental Kavity - I changed the spelling to match my initials - which I apply to anything and everything I create - artwork, illustrations, my blog, some films I've done. Other artists have their companies or names that they affiliate with their product so I just thought it would be fun to brand myself and my product in a similar fashion, hence The Mental Kavity.

Below is a profile of some of Michael’s work that I personally found appealing.

I want to thank Michael for taking time out of his schedule and doing this little email interview for me and I look forward to seeing much more of his work. And remember, if your horror artwork gets banned for being so ‘risqué,’ than that just means it’s good. 


Massacremike said...

Hey man - just wanted to say thanks for the opportunity to get some of my artwork out to a larger audience. It was really fun doing the interview and I'm positive we'll be in touch for a long time to come.

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