Episode 4: “Special Effects”

The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast
The How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast
Episode 4: “Special Effects”

In a horror movie, makeup special effects are everything. Get them wrong and your audience will hate you. It’s just how the horror business is: no guts, no glory.

If Freddy Krueger had looked like 1953’s “Robot Monster” (with a gorilla body and a deep sea diver helmet head – with antennas), the whole “Nightmare On Elm Street” series would have flopped. Freddy’s backstory is interesting and the “dream logic rules” are truly terrifying, but if Freddy looks dopey rather than terrifying? Nothing else will matter. The audience will hate him (in the wrong way) and hate the movie in every other way.

Nothing is more important to a horror movie than its makeup special effects.

When Special Makeup Effects Aren’t “Special” Enough

We live and die (ironically) by the quality, the craftsmanship, the authenticity and the sheer OMG-ness of how well we create the illusion of gore. Some of my fondest memories from “Tales From The Crypt” involve me, “Tales’” make up guru Todd Masters and a stack of pathology textbooks. Oh, how we would cackle, the two of us, as we leafed through those pathology textbooks, looking for examples of extreme physical mayhem to put on screen. Unfortunately, agreeing to pay Dennis Miller a million bucks (half a million more than was in our budget for the lead) forced us to leave Todd back in Los Angeles.

In place of Todd, we took a leap of faith and entrusted our horror movie’s makeup special effects – our bread and butter – to an untried local team up in Vancouver.

That’s where this episode begins: we’ve realized that our local makeup special effects team – talented and willing as they are – needs help.

We call in Todd Masters. But there’s only so much he can do with a bus that’s already careening toward a cliff. Meanwhile, Dennis wants to be anywhere but the set. Erika doesn’t want to play the role she’s playing. And Sly finally cuts it off with Angie – leaving her an emotional wreck.

And then Joel comes for another visit!

We had turned into one of those horror movies. the kind where there’s way more horror in making the movie than ever makes it onto the screen.

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