HALLOWEEN (1978) Poster Artist Bob Gleason On HALLOWEEN ENDS Poster

Gleason discusses restoring the original artwork after it was painted over (what!?) and inspiration for the new art.

By Jason Kauzlarich · @jasonkauz · October 6, 2022, 3:42 PM EDT

Original Halloween poster artist Bob Gleason is back on board for Halloween Ends, (now that's what we call a nice bookend!) With the release of the new exclusive poster, FANGORIA caught up with Gleason to discuss his work on the original 1978 poster and his inspiration for Ends 44 years later.

Before jumping into your new poster we wanted to ask about your original art for the iconic Halloween (1978) painting. How did you arrive at the concept for that piece?

It was my original idea. I was working with B.D. Fox and Friends, a design firm specializing in movie posters, showed them a rough sketch and explained what I wanted to do. I want to have the knife, and I want to show the echoing pattern and have it be a jack-o'-lantern at the same time.

And they said, "No, get that outta here. It's gotta be the mask" and basically dismissed it. It went about three days, and they called me back up and said, "You know, Bob, I think I like that idea." So I brought it back to them and started working on painting it. I'm really fast with my paintings. I think it took me about three or four days. That's it. I think because the movie is so iconic, and the image is simple but powerful. It really worked. I thought it was a really good idea, and it turned out that way.

I sold the original artwork early on, and the last I heard, the Heritage Auction House in Dallas, Texas called me up and said, "Is this your artwork?" And I said, "Yes." Someone had painted over the hand, and I said, 'listen, for three grand, I'll restore it.' And I did, and it looked like a million bucks when I was through with it. It sold at auction for $84,000.

NYCC Artwork

Looking at your new piece for Halloween Ends, you've dropped the pumpkin and are focusing on The Shape (Michael Myers) while still nodding to the original hand and knife. Was the nod intentional, and what was your thought process while working on this poster?

I actually painted multiple versions of it. It was fascinating to me how the character has changed, and I realized that it needed to be darker and more evil. Even within simple objects, the lighting and shading vary so much in the character.

I do a lot of early work on Photoshop. It really helps me crank down or pump up the contrast, and then I work off the image.

The most iconic thing I've ever been associated with is the Halloween poster. I've done album covers for Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight, and my association with Halloween has been the pinnacle of my career. It's the most iconic thing I've ever been associated with.

Check out some more of Gleason's past work below, and if you're at NYCC, click here for details on how you can score an exclusive Gleason Halloween Ends poster. One question, how good are you at hide and seek?