Vince Locke is indisputably a master of his craft, and his craft is mastering the macabre. His visions dare to explore areas that harbor on the immoral and the outright criminal. And you know what? We love him for that!
Vince Locke does something very difficult and he does it very well – he takes motionless images and conjures unrelenting nightmares from the stillness. My first introduction to this man’s blistering work was back in my teenage years living overseas in Russia and standing – quite transfixed – frozen in an aisle of a music shop. I was holding a metal album by a group with one Hell of a name – Cannibal Corpse – that would not be ignored. But it was the art spilling across the cover that I couldn’t get over. It was a mutilated woman giving ‘birth’ to a wormy abomination. I had never seen anything like this and I was hooked.
Recently I had the chance to sit down with Vince and learn where these grizzly (and beautiful) images come from.
To start, I’ll say that Vince Locke is one cool cat. To look at his artwork you’d think you were looking into the mind of a serial killer, and that’s something I can appreciate. However, this is the kind of guy who couldn’t harm a fly.
Upon meeting him he gave me an original sketch and personalized autograph. Nice way to start an interview!
Vince Lock, Concerning Cannibal Corpse
Manic Exorcism: Did Cannibal Corpse reach out to you or did you contact them?
Vince Locke: Chris Barnes got a hold of my number and called me up one day out of the blue. Said he had a job I might be interested in.
ME: Did he introduce the group’s name?
VL: Yeah! (laughs)
ME: So you knew what you were in for. I gotta know: where do those images come from? Did they give you an idea for each album or did you base it on the title?
VL: Usually it comes from conversations. Chris Barnes really knew what he wanted. Although I remember this time he decided what he wanted, but I had another idea. Like of a zombie woman with her ribcage showing and a crucified baby up in there.
ME: Did you have free license to come up with stuff?
VL: They have specific things they want usually. But I’m free to do my own ideas and sketches as well. I would make 2 or 3 options to choose from.
ME: Which album cover is your favorite?
VL: My favorite is still Kill.
ME: Any particular reason? What’s the history there?
VL: Really happy with the artistry. What I picture, what I want to get out, doesn’t always happen. A lot of times you look at it and think I should have done this or that, or a little bit more – but with that one it didn’t happen.
Vince Locke opened up about his love for classic horror films
ME: I heard you were a Hammer fan too. Do you have a favorite Hammer movie?
VL: I really need to go back and watch them again but I love all the Dracula movies and anything with Vincent Price in it.
ME: What would be your favorite Vincent Price movie?
VL: Masque of the Red Death.
ME: Your art can be very violent and grotesque. So, what kind of horror are you personally drawn to?
VL: Not necessarily exploitation films. Something with a vision and a certain mood to it. Recently saw The Babadook and liked it.
ME: Do you have an overall favorite movie?
VL: Bride of Frankenstein (for horror). Favorite of all-time although is Apocalypse Now. And basically all the Universal and Hammer films.
ME: What conventions do you usually go to?
VL: Usually just around Michigan, but I’ll go anywhere when they pay my way, hence why I’m here in California. Mostly comic conventions. Haven’t done horror conventions. My wife usually writes people to see if they would like me there.
ME: What’s the weirdest thing a fan has brought you to sign?
VL: Not weird to sign but things they offered to pay with: like drugs – ‘Can you sign this for me and then we go smoke one?’ I’d be like no that’s ok. Wait! One time there was a toilet seat! Someone brought me a toilet seat to sign.
ME: How involved were you in the History of Violence movie?
VL: Not at all. The screenwriter obviously knew enough about the comics. I was happy with what they did though. Thought it was a great movie and that it stuck really close to the first half of the comic. Even if they changed it, still a good movie.
Concerning future projects
ME: What are some things fans can look forward to?
VL: More issues of House by the Cemetery.
ME: I heard a rumor that Deadworld was actually slated to be a show before Walking Dead was a thing.
ME: Given the current zombie craze today, do you think Deadworld has the possibility of being picked up and given a faithful adaptation?
VL: I’m hopeful (chuckles).
ME: Speaking for the fans, we love all your work. Thanks for all the nightmares and smiles!
VL: Definitely. Thanks for all your support. I’d be nothing without the fans.
Fans will recognize Vince Locke’s talent from such works like History of Violence, The Sandman, Deadworld, Cannibal Corpse and Eibon Press’s current House by the Cemetery.