January 30, 2022 5 min read
Little Shop of Gore is a truly unique hub for horror fans that offers a little bit of everything. Amongst that everything, are vibrant, unforgettable designs you won't find anywhere else. That's why we were thrilled to work in collaboration with them for the creation of the Split Dog Boo Buddy Pillow. Everyone loves the Split Dog from Return ('85), and they brought it to life with this one of a kind prop pillow.
Behind the glory of Gore are co-owners, artists, designers, and horror aficionados Ryan Ward and Salina Kyle. Combining a passion for horror two lifetimes in the making, professional artistry, with career experience in Horror Special FX, they have the life every person who ever said "what if?" as a kid, mashing up their favorite movie characters would dream of having. We just had to get to know them a little better. So cuddle up with your Split Dog pillow, and visit with Ryan and Salina... in their own words.
What was the first horror movie you remember watching?
Ryan:The first one!? Fuck I don’t think I could ever remember that haha. The earliest thing I do remember is traveling a lot as a kid with my grandfather, he always watched HBO late at night and I remember Tales from the Crypt was on a lot. I think that was definitely a big influence later on my taste in horror, the comedy and over the top blood and gore. Even though not a movie, I think the show had a bigger impact on me than one single movie.
Salina: My aunt used to call me and my cousins “The Children of The Corn!” I never knew why until one day I got my hands on a copy of the VHS tape. I remember being terrified, yet intrigued by these wild orphans. Me and my cousins would watch it all the time, our eyes would be glued to the screen. We used to reenact scenes from the movie like lunatics. Good times.
When did you come across The Return of the Living Dead? What’s the first scene or image that jumps out at you when you think about it?
R:I was about 13/14 and I was just getting into the punk scene more, I loved horror already but there was still a lot I hadn’t seen yet. I remember being in a local store we used to have called Media Play which was awesome because they had tons of obscure movies, unrated cuts and sold used movies. The cover art is definitely what drew me in initially, I remember thinking “Whoa punk rock zombies! How could this not be awesome!?” It was an instant favorite for me, there’s so many classic scenes that jump out to me so its hard to narrow down but the first reveal of Tarman and the half-woman zombie are probably top 2.
S: I think Ryan showed me ROTLD for the first time when we first started dating. I loved it immediately. It was the perfect amount of cheesiness & horror. AND THE SOUNDTRACK!!! Perfection. The first scene that jumped out at me was the spilt dog scene. It was so cute and morbid! Frank & Freddy’s reactions to the reanimation was hilarious and so over the top.
The detail in your designs is insane. What/who are some of your influences to your style and Little Shop of Gore’s style?
R:Bernie Wrightson for sure, 80’s horror in general but especially the over the top, somewhat comedic tone of a lot of films that came out in the 80s have a huge influence on us and the shop as a whole (as if the name didn’t give it away). Also growing up I was hugely inspired by Tom Savini, and later on Rick Baker. I would also say that horror VHS artwork in general also played a huge role for me, like so many of us staring at these crazy box covers for hours just got your imagination running wild.
S: Thank you! Ryan and I both are both super passionate about the 80s & 90s, so a lot of influence & inspiration comes from our favorite films & tv shows during that time. From the color palettes to the fashion; We like to take our favorite things and add our own flair to them or mash them up with some of our other favorite things. Does that make sense? Haha.
What was your inspiration for doing the Split Dog Pillow? Any fun unexpected stories or challenges while bring the Split Dog to life (in a manner of saying)?
Both: We were brainstorming some new ideas, trying to think of something that no one had seen before. We always like to do things different and stand out where we can, but we also make it a point that anything we create would be something we ourselves as fans would buy. At the time there wasn’t much merch available from ROTLD, and since it was a favorite of ours it was a no brainer (so to speak). Well, one of the challenges was trying to make sure that after it was all sewn together they actually looked like the dog, we went back and forth a few times with the manufacturer, having them keep tweaking the final sew to make sure it was just what we had envisioned.
What do you hope people take away from your RTLD designs and other work.
Both:Honestly we just always just hope that it connects with other fans, we want people to enjoy the things that we design as much as we enjoy creating them. Not everyone gets to do what they’re passionate about or enjoy and we’re always grateful that we’re able to do that. We want to show people things they’ve never seen before and maybe inspire some others along the way.
What’s your favorite franchise, and what franchise/movie have you not covered yet in your work that you hope to do?
R:Favorite franchise that’s a tough one. If I had to choose just one it would probably be Nightmare on Elm Street or Evil Dead, it's a tough choice between the two. I’ve always loved Freddy as a character and as a kid he genuinely gave me nightmares but I was always hooked. Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 blew my mind the first time I saw them, and 2 is a constant rewatch for me even if its just on in the background. As for something I’d like to do that we haven’t yet done I would say Maniac Cop is up there on my list, and maybe Leprechaun
S: My favorite franchise is definitely Scream. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the 90s, it’s very nostalgic for me. I feel like Scream merch is overly saturated right now, so I’m not planning on anymore Scream designs at the moment. I’d like to design some stuff from more obscure films & franchises. Maybe something from Twin Peaks or The X-files.
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