I have been a fan of horror films for pretty much as long as I can remember. However, it wasn’t until I was 11 or 12 years old way back in ’81 or ’82 when I saw Friday the 13th for the first time on ON TV that I became fascinated with not only the genre but with Special Makeup Effects. The effects I saw in Friday the 13th blew my mind. I had never seen anything like it. The effects in that movie rival anything I’ve seen since.
I saved up and I bought a copy of his book Grande Illusions when it came out a year later. I tore through that book, it was the most fascinating book I had every read. Of course was just 12 but I’m 45 now and it’s still the most fascinating non-fiction book I’ve read. Sadly the book had suffered server water damage and was completely ruined. I got choked up when I lost that book, it was like a part of me died. Like I lost a friend.
I spent most of my youth watching horror movies, some of them I watched not only forward but in reverse. Why? Well, I was a young teen and being able to fast-forward and rewind movies was a new thing. Normal people couldn’t do that prior to the invention of a VCR’s. Because of this I watched Friday the 13th and Halloween both in reverse because I felt, that’s commitment. That makes me a true fan. Crazy I know but I was 13. Some kids went to concerts and screamed at the bands, I watched horror movies and wanted to know they did that.
I spent a few years torturing my parents with makeup effects. I was constantly killing myself. Trying out new effects. I didn’t have money to by liquid latex so I would take my mom’s liquid skin colored makeup and mix it with flower to thicken it up and I would apply it to my skin, cut it up and poor some fake blood on it and it looked pretty damn good! It was Tom Savini that taught me to be creative and problem solve.
I turned 15 and there was a convention in the Los Angeles area somewhere. Tom Savini was going to be there. I begged my parents to take me and they did! It was one of the best times of my life. Sitting in the audience I was amazed at everything he said. He was passing out makeup props he had used in his movies to the audience. I got to hold the very hand that gets sliced down the middle in Friday the 13th Part IV! I didn’t want to let that thing go.
After the show he sat on little bench outside the auditorium and signed things for people and answered questions. When it was my turn to talk to him, I tried hard not to scream like little girl at a One Direction concert. I told him how much I loved his book and then I asked him an effects question and he told me a simple trick to get it done.
I had been wanting to do a full head cast. I never got to do that but I had planned to. My question to Mr. Savini was how could I get the eyes to blink? He explained how to use some paper clips to get the eyes to open and close. At least that’s how I remember it? But as I write this now I wonder if that wasn’t something in his book? But, it doesn’t matter, we did talk about that effect in some context and I couldn’t have been more enthralled by the things he was telling me.
I didn’t want to leave. He was and is the greatest in my eyes. When it comes to flat out reality in gore, there’s just no one better. He makes it look real. I have seen a lot of great make up and a lot of great of artists but too many times when doing gore artists go for the blood and guts. That’s fun but it’s not real. It’s about the flesh. You have to sell that it’s real skin and that it’s being cut, slashed, ripped apart and so on. If you don’t sell that, then it’s just gore, isn’t art and lacks a sense of realism that scares, that creeps us out and makes us believe at least for that brief moment that it’s real.
Well, after our all too brief conversation about severed heads and blinking eyes I asked him to sign my copy of his book Grande Illusions. He did and I cherished that book even more. I can’t watch a horror movie to this day and not think about the loss of that book that was signed by the man himself. I still kick myself for the loss of it but times were difficult and I couldn’t keep it as safe as I wanted. But, at least I got to talk to him. I got to hold a prop he made for the Friday the 13th series. I still think that is one of the coolest things ever.
I’ve often been asked what I mean when I say there’s difference between the art of special effects in horror movies and just a gory movie. Here’s a couple of screen captures I took from Friday the 13th that show exactly what I mean. As you look at the top photo you notice the actresses neck (Robbi Morgan). It’s just been sliced by our killer in the very first Friday the 13th. You actually see the skin start to split open then in the second photo the blood slowly pours out. That’s what I am talking about! When you see the scene in real time, you’re sold. You forget you’re watching a movie.
When I first saw that I was simply flabbergasted. Prior to that I had only seen before and after shots of wounds. For example, had this scene been done the usual way we would have seen a slash at her neck. She would have fallen to the ground and then we’d cut to her laying on the ground with her throat now slit and bloody. Mr. Savini took it to the next level, we see that flesh split open. That movie changed special effects in horror films forever.
Because of him and his book I learned to respect the art. I watch Face Off and daydream about how I could and should still be doing effects makeup. I learned who Dick Smith was because of him. I appreciate the art of practical effects over CGI. His story of being a photographer during Vietnam War taught me how to deal with the horrible things I later had to see while I was in Law Enforcement. His work has never failed to impress me. There are many greats in the industry of special makeup effects. But, when it comes to practical special effects in horror movies, he is the best.
Upcoming Horror Movies for 2015…
Well, it’s 2015 and with the new is hope that there’s more horror worth watching. But, who am I kidding, it’s all worth watching, even the bad stuff even though bad horror movies pisses me off sometimes. So here’s a look at the upcoming year in horror movies. (Side note, these aren’t in order of release date. I am just posting them in the order I researched)
Amityville: The Awakening aka The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes (2015)
Belle, her little sister, and her comatose twin brother move into a new house with their single mother Joan in order to save money to help pay for her brother’s expensive healthcare. But when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house including the miraculous recovery of her brother, Belle begins to suspect her Mother isn’t telling her everything and soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house. – Written by The Weinstein Company
Even though the famous house isn’t really haunted and the story everyone thinks really happened, was debunked years ago I still love Amityville stories! So, I look forward to this one with great anticipation. And, considering it’s a Dimension Films, I have high hopes.
Poltergeist (July 24th, 2015)
Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi and director Gil Kenan reimagine and contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is invaded by angry spirits. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and take the youngest daughter, the family must come together to rescue her. – Written by 20th Century Fox
I’ve got nothing on this movie other than what IMDb has to say about it. You can see their page here. I am looking forward to it as Sam Raimi is attached to it.
Friday the 13th (Nov 13th, 2015)
I want to be excited about this movie but rumors have been flying since 2010 about it. The facts are that Paramount got the rights to the franchise back from New Line. They know the series the best however, rumors of it being a found footage film is going to kill this movie. And, as I understand it, the film has been pushed back so many times, most recently from April to November as Paramount has chosen to release films like Scouts Vs. Zombies and the next Paranormal Activity installment first.
This can’t be a good sign. When you have something great, you promote it and you get it out there. If it’s shit, you keep it on the back burner until someone comes up with a good idea on how to fix it. Granted that just my experience, I could be completely wrong. However, considering that I have been a fan of the series ever since I saw the very first one back in the 80’s.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
“…is an upcoming American supernatural horror film directed by Gregory Plotkin and written by Jason Pagan and Andrew Stark. It is the sixth installment in the Paranormal Activity series. The film is scheduled to be released on March 13, 2015, by Paramount Pictures.” -Wikipedia
I don’t know what to think about these. The less Katie Featherston, the less I like these movies. I don’t even know if she’s in the one or not. But, I have a crush on her so I used her photo. I haven’t even seen the last one, “The Marked One’s”. It looked so ghetto and stupid I just haven’t had any interest at all in seeing it. There was the one before it with those weird Quaker looking fucks at the end that was just so stupid that it took me out of the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I find find religious people terrifying but to go from demon possessions to creepy looking old Quaker looking people was just so far off track it ruined the movie for me.
There is so little factual information on this film but as usual, I have high hopes. I hope they lose the found footage angle. It’s just not scary anymore. Found footage movies today basically just tell the audience, “Sorry, we were too fucking lazy to actually make a real movie so here’s some shitty footage to make you nauseous, enjoy your popcorn bitches!”
To save the franchise we need more Katie. We need to lose the found footage angle and just tell a good, creepy ghost story.
The Lazarus Effect (Feb. 27th)
“…is an upcoming American horror film directed by David Gelb and written by Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater. The film stars Evan Peters, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Mark Duplass and Donald Glover. The film is scheduled to be released on February 27, 2015.” by Relativity Media.
It’s got Olivia Wild in it. I’m sold. Not to mention the whole bringing people back to life sounds interesting. It’s written by Luke Dawson (Shutter) and Jeremy Slater (Fantastic Four). Nice titles but that’s pretty much their only history. But, it’s enough to make me hopeful.
The downside is it’s rumored to be another found footage film. And, the movie comes out next month and I can’t find a movie poster or even a screen capture that I can say for sure is from the movie. Also it sounds like their could be problems. It was originally a Lions Gate film, then it was sold to Relativity Media. It’s release date has been changed a few times. This info is from Wikipedia, so who knows. But, that’s what I got so far.
As for the post image, I couldn’t find a photo from the film so here’s someones signed photo of Olivia Wild pokies, you’re welcome.
The Vatican Tapes (Feb 27th, 2015)
“…is an upcoming American horror thriller film directed by Mark Neveldine and written by Christopher Borrelli & Neveldine, based on a story by Chris Morgan and Christopher Borrelli. The film stars Kathleen Robertson, Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott and John Patrick Amedori. The film is scheduled to be released on February 27, 2015.” by Lionsgate
“A leaked video tape reveals a Vatican exorcism gone very, very awry.” -IMDb
Can’t find too much information on this one. Once again, the release is just over a month away and not a single trailer? Really? A lot of quality actors in this one but the lack information out there scares me. But, I do love a good exorcism, devil kinda movie so here’s hoping for the best.
Other notable releases this year in the name of horror:
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (Jan. 2)
When a group of orphaned children are forced to move from their home in London, caretakers Eve (Phoebe Fox) and Jean (Helen McCrory) bring everyone to the desolate and eerie British countryside. 40 years after Arthur Kipps (played by Daniel Radcliffe in the first film, The Woman in Black) left, this supernatural horror film introduces this new group to the now abandoned Eel Marsh House; an odd but seemingly safe location. It isn’t long before Eve starts to sense that this house is not what it appears to be as the children in her care begin to disappear. As their house of safety becomes a house of horrors, Eve enlists the help of a handsome pilot (Jeremy Irvine) to help investigate what is happening. Eve soon discovers that it may not be a coincidence that she has come to reside in the house inhabited by the Woman in Black.
What We Do In The Shadows (Feb. 13)
Follow the lives of Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) – three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life’s obstacles-like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. Hundreds of years old, the vampires are finding that beyond sunlight catastrophes, hitting the main artery, and not being able to get a sense of their wardrobe without a reflection-modern society has them struggling with the mundane like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.
– Written by Production
Insidious: Chapter 3 (June 5)
…is an upcoming American supernatural horror film written and directed by Leigh Whannell in his directorial debut. The third installment in the Insidious franchise, the film stars Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Lin Shaye, Steve Coulter, Whannell, Angus Sampson, Hayley Kiyoko, Ashton Moio, and Ele Keats. The film is scheduled to be released on June 5, 2015 by Focus Features.
The Gallows (July 10)
Twenty years after an accident during a small town high school play results in death, students at the school resurrect the failed stage production in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but ultimately find out that some things are better left alone. Starring Cassidy Gifford and Pfeifer Brown.
Sinister 2 (Aug. 21)
A young mother and her twin sons move into a rural house that’s marked for death. Starring Shannyn Sossamon and James Ransone.
Kitchen Sink (Sept. 4)
Vampires, humans and zombies used to get along in Dillford, but then something unexpected arrived and now it’s humans vs. vampires vs. zombies in all-out mortal combat. It’s up to three teenagers to try to get things back to “normal.” Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Denis Leary and Joan Cusack.
Crimson Peak (Oct. 16)
Young author Edith Cushing discovers that her charming new husband is not who he appears to be.
Scouts vs. Zombies (Oct. 30)
Three scouts learn the real meaning of friendship as they work to save their town from zombies.
Krampus (Dec. 4)
A demon seeks out naughty people to punish them at Christmas time. Directed by Michael Dougherty and stars Allison Tolman and Emjay Anthony.
Phantasm V: Ravager (Unknown 2015)
…is an upcoming horror film, the fifth and final film in the Phantasm film series. It marks the first and only film in the series not directed by Don Coscarelli. Wikipedia
Initial release: 2015
Director: David Hartman
The Final Girls (Unknown 2015)
A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom’s most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film’s maniacal killer. Starring Nina Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Preservation (Unknown 2015)
When a beloved but socially awkward childhood friend – now a mild-mannered taxidermist – turns vigilante after his mother’s murder, Sarah – a feisty reporter with her own agenda – and her young son are involved against their will and she must not only fight for their survival but reassess her definitions of friendship, motherhood, and the parameters of right and wrong.
– Written by Rachael S. Morgan