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Horror Artist Oliver Tilley Speaks of Halloween Faves and the Origin of the Holiday Itself

Posted in Alexander S. Brown, artist interview, Halloween, holidays, Horror, horror art, horror artist, interviews, mississippi art, mississippi horror artists, october, oliver tilley, scary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2014 by Alexander S. Brown

As Halloween draws nearer, it is time to shine light on a horror artist from Celtic bloodlines.  Oliver Tilley is a horror visionary with talents for bringing to life nightmares in realism through pencil, ink, and paint.  I had met Oliver years ago at a Horror Convention in Jackson, MS where he had numerous pieces on display.  It was here that he and I befriended one another, and I began collecting his art for inspiration.


What does Halloween mean to you?

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday! Even as a child I really got into the season, but as an adult, it seems to have deepened with the understanding of the holiday from the Celtic traditions. My family has deep roots in Scotland, so the holiday holds meaning to me. Halloween is the final harvest before winter, and the celebration of bounty before the dark season!

What is your most memorable Halloween?

One year, my sister and I gathered some friends together, and created a spook house in an old rental home belonging to my grandparents. We decorated it out, and invited the kids from the neighborhood to visit. It was a wild success, and we all had so much fun! We scared even the adults that can through!

How do you celebrate Halloween today?

Usually it consists of bonfires, friends hanging out, and watching horror films.

What was your best Halloween costume?

My mom made me up as a werewolf one year, complete with prosthetic nose and teeth!

What was your worst Halloween costume?

I never really had a bad costume!!

Some people believe Halloween is a negative Holiday to celebrate.  Why do you feel Halloween has such a controversy to it?

What everyone needs to understand, is that all Christian holidays where ripped off from pagan holidays! The early church saw the necessity to overlay Christian themes to established pagan holidays to appease all – so Christmas, and Easter are all rooted in paganism. Just like Halloween! The early church tried to promote All Saints day as the overlay to the festival of Samhain, but it never quite caught on, due to the fact that it was not centered on an event in Christ’s life. I love to remind folks that Christmas, and Easter where pagan celebrations prior to being Christ centered holidays!

What do you do to keep the ghosts and ghouls away on Halloween night?

Bonfires and Jack-o- lanterns!

What frightens you and why?

Nothing short of another Texas Chainsaw remake! I am not frightened by much, and I think that is why I am such a horror addict. I am still chasing that thrill from childhood, where I was afraid of everything!

What’s your favorite scary movie and why?

I don’t know that I have one single favorite, but classic horror films are my favorites. Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. In recent years, I have lost interest in most of the big budget films from Hollywood, but the indie horror scene is thriving! I love a good cheesefest!! Troma films make me happy!!!!

What’s your favorite horror book and why?

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, Frostbite, and Overwinter by David Wellington, and anything by Lovecraft, and of course Traumatized by Alexander Brown!!!!

Do you prefer slow burners or fast paced thrillers?

Both! As long as the story holds my attention, I can hang with them.

Do you plan to contribute to the horror genre in the future?

Yes! I have some new stuff in the works, and I am working on a horror rock band! I am also working on getting some short stories published.

Where can we find your work?

Nightwatch Studio on Facebook: