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Posts tagged “Hellraiser

Hellraiser part two

 

CostumeI wanted to try something diffrent with Pinhead – in particular, It would be nice to reduce that three hour makeup with some shortcuts. There’s a scene in Hellbound where Pinhead and the Female are dressed as surgeons. My mother brought me home a hospital gown from one of her visits to the doctor and I took it from there.

My normal model magic pins had been broken and lost – something i didn’t discover in time and the few I put on my face were more of the Q tips I use on the head. They stayed well enough since there weren’t many of them, but the surgeon mask helped hold that bottom row in place.

Wasteland welcomed pinhead.

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Barbie Wilde

AutographsWhile I’ve focused mainly on my Hellraiser poster for autographs, over the years, I’ve acquired a few individual items over the years.

Wilde was giving these out as she signed my poster – trying to promote her book.

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Surgeon Pinhead

There’s this deleted scene in Hellraiser 2 where Pinhead and Deep Throat dress as doctors, but while it’s not in the movie it was on a TON of the posters. I thought it’d be an interesting variation and more importantly an easier makeup since I didn’t have to mount as many pins….

 

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Nicholas Vance

Autographs

While I’ve focused mainly on my Hellraiser poster for autographs, over the years, I’ve acquired a few individual items over the years.

Vance slipped me one of these after signing my poster, to give me a heads up on his new film project.

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Doug Bradley

Autographs

While I’ve focused mainly on my Hellraiser poster for autographs, over the years, I’ve acquired a few individual items over the years.

This VHS was on sale at the thrift store for about three dollars. The shopkeep assumed the name on the box belonged to the owner of the tape, not the star.

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Hellraiser

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I’ve done both Pinhead and skinless Frank, and loved compositing the two together. I’m my own hellraiser movie all by myself….

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A god vs a devil….

13138823_1180015598709528_6872298931395192395_nThe Ghostbusters neverknew what hit them!


Days of the Dead Chicago 2018

ConmanIMG_3750Last year I said it might be a while before I tried this one again. The crowds had become to much and honestly, that round trip to and from Chicago just about killed me. Still, It had been a chance to really cross a couple names off my bucket list and finally meet Simon Bamford (The last Cenobite from Hellraiser to elude me) as well as the unprecedented opportunity to chat with Andy Robinson (From both Hellraiser AND Deep Space 9). So what got me back to this show a second year in a row? First, one of my best friends had recently set up house in Chi-town, so I had a place to stay the weekend instead of doing the trip in a single day.

But more importantly, Clive Barker was coming.

46501641_2204586802919064_7038099252244905984_n_2204586799585731Barker hasn’t done an appearance near me since I’ve been n the convention scene. He was scheduled at Horrorfind back around 2009, but both he and Ashley Lawrence cancelled for undisclosed reasons (So did Angus Scrimm for that matter, and the show shout down the next year. I’ve heard some shady things about it in the aftermath). A few years ago he was scheduled I believe for a Horrorhound (Or was it Flashback? I don’t think it was DOTD….), but that was when the heath issues took over and he cancelled a number of shows. For him to finally make a public appearance like this was definitely enough to make me brave the six and a half hour drive.

46898080_2219397134771364_765618482183143424_nWe pulled up to the convention center as the snow gently fell around us. It wasn’t a blizzard, but that white garbage sure did pile up around us fast. I know it’s November, but I don’t remember previous outings being this wintry. It’s not that big a deal, after all, DOTD has provided that wonderful overflow parking in the covered garage next door, but panels are held outside in a heated tent and you do have to walk from the hotel into the tent to get to them. It’s kind of a punch in the face, exiting the warm pool area only to be sucker punched by Jack Frost just outside the door.

Once we arrived, my friend Mike and I grabbed our prepaid wristbands and had about 46460911_2204583072919437_9207845700014964736_n_2204583069586104fifteen minuets before the doors opened. I always forget how long the admission line at this show gets and pre-registering was the best move I had made. We had enough time to nip off back to the car and grab a camera I had forgotten, then walk past the ticket line, right into the convention and straight over to Barker’s line. Even at open it was already begining to streatch out, but I looked over at Mike and told him “It will NEVER be this short again.”. I was correct. For most of the day, the queue ran around the corner and past the ticket tables.

Barker was late. The handler explained he’d just had breakfast and was making sure that his sugar was correct (Also mentioning that he was diabetic). About twenty minuets later the line began to move. Inside we were instructed “No personalizations. No photos at the table. Do not shake hands. He’ll give you a fist bump if you like.” It’s a little more than I’m used to at these things, but we rolled with it. Getting to say I fist bumped Clive Barker sounds 46443408_2204591232918621_6135816280797609984_n_2204591229585288way more fun than I shook his hand anyhow. He’s quiet. At times he almost looked bored, but mostly I was struck with how frail he looked. Far different than the interviews I had seen and more than a man in his fifties should. Inside his room, he had filled tables and walls with original artwork, books, apparel and photos. I saw a couple volumes I didn’t have and made note to look them up later when I had more money. I pointed out the hardcover of the Scarlet Gospels, noting I had been listening to the audiobook of this on the way up. Barker greeted me and my friend, signed my poster and I told him we’d see him later for a photo. He grinned with finger guns at me.

Our next task was to search out Ashley Lawrence. This was the first time I’d seen her make her way out to the midwest ina long time and she was another one I’d never met. Getting her on my Hellraiser posters would finish them (I don’t see Claire Higgens ever making it stateside). She was set up in a bad spot in one of the halls, creating a choke 46381723_2204583139586097_6231078608178249728_n_2204583136252764point in foot traffic, while at the same time somewhat concealing her (Particularly with the brighter Teriffier booth almost across from her).

Ashley is effervescent and charming, and the woman dosen’t age. She kept telling me my hat reminded her of a friend who always wears the same kind. Our photo came out bad and she teased me with a grin “Well don’t tilt you head so weird silly!”

I was pleased. We’d managed to grab both Clive and Ash before the Hellraiser panel that we now rushed off to. I was a little shocked then, when the moderator introduced Barbie Wilde, Nicholas Vance, Simon Bamford…and no one else. While it’s always fun to visit with them, we had this last year, with the addition of Dough Bradley and Andy Robinson. Perhaps it was presumptuous, but I had anticipated hearing from Clive and Ashley at this panel as well and found myself disappointed. We probably heard a couple new stories 46328537_2204586569585754_8042201712003383296_n_2204586566252421here, but at large, it felt like much of what we had seen the year previous.

Not so however, with the “Men behind the Mask” panel featuring Jason(s), Michael, and Art the Clown. Kane Hodder was in rare form at this one, wresting control from the moderator who just stared on in amused silence. We got fascinating stories in particular from Jim Winburn who has a long history as a stuntman and did falls in the original Halloween. David Thorton, a newcomer to the genre (fresh off his role as Art the Clown in “Terrifier”) was visibly delighted to be on stage with the others, laughing and sharing his experiences as a new movie monster. I’d actually waited to see this panel to kind of get to know David. I enjoyed Terrifier (and the 2013 anthology “All Hallows Eve” which 46501495_2204587009585710_1980861336644485120_n_2204587006252377no one seems to realize proceeded it) and think Art could be ne of the next horror icons, but it was the panel that made me want to meet Thorton. David is chipper and was fun to chat with. I’ve got experience and actual clown training, and it was interesting to compare our approaches to that kind of performance. As for the panel itself, “I was just so thrilled to be up there,” he told me.

We popped around the con, shopping, talking with people and playing with the monsters. Michael Myers in a Captain Kirk uniform was a BRILLIANT gag and he was delighted we got the joke.

“Guys like you are exactly who I do this for,” he exclaimed in satisfaction.

Moving on we grabbed a few more autographs and photos…but it’s not the same. I mentioned a few years ago the disturbing inflation creep I saw infiltrating Days of the 46445830_2204591249585286_4631184714684694528_n_2204591246251953Dead. It’s in full swing now. The handlers have become gatekeepers. They are in your face and you aren’t getting near the table without flashing some cash. $30 is the minimum for autographs (Many are more – and quite frankly, a lot of you B-listers don’t have any business charging that). Every table now charges extra to get a photo with a guest.That’s on top of the already high admission prices…

Guys, you’ve priced me out of the game.

I spent twice what I have in previous years, and it’s a drag. It’s almost stopped being fun. Between that and the overcrowding, unless there’s a bucket list guest (and that list is now pretty short), I think I’m done with Days of the Dead. It’s simply highly unlikely that I’ll be back.

A shame. It was fun while it lasted.

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(Keep an eye on this blog. I think we’ll be doing a State of the Con pretty soon. Next years going to be different.)


Barbie Wilde

Autographs

Barbie was the female cenobite in the first two Hellraiser movies and I made a special trip to Chicago to meet her. Nicely enough, she not only signed my Hellraiser poster, but also these two pieces, promoting her own projects!

barbie Wilde


In Defense of Event Horizon

defense

imagesCAZXQPERWould you believe that I’ve only recently become aware that this is regarded as a bad movie?

Seriously I don’t get it. You have gore, you have terror, you have a haunted house in space along with Sam Neil, Lawrence Fishbourne and the son of the Third Doctor Who. I love this movie!

I’ve actually heard people lament the lack of gore in this film. I find it gory enough (and that’s saying something!), but apparently some of these folks didn’t. http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/69459/take-look-event-horizon-you-didnt-see#axzz2nre8zYrf

The photos reference here actually do by and large make it into the movie but only as flashes.  We get the impressions, and I always assumed that was how it was imagesCAX9J54Dmeant to be. These photos didn’t “Just surface” either as the article suggests, they were always around. I remember seeing them in fangoria back when the film was in production.

Another complaint I’ve always heard was that the ship looks weird. My friend Johnny Em actually has complained to my face “Who would design a ship like that?” Some of his point is the massive amounts of space. He’s kind of right about that, at least as far as modern space travel goes. Every inch of available space is used as efficiently as possible. Some of this could also be referring to the “Meat grinder” tunnel which is actually imagesCAMKV9LSexplained away as keeping the magnetic fields in check.

I kind of get this criticism, but from my perspective it falls flat. I look at a car engine and I don’t recognize a thing. I don’t understand how it works and I assume it looks like that because it has to. I apply that same philosophy to this film and the sets don’t bother me. In fact I really love the look of the ship from the outside, I find it really well realized. This is a horror movie first and a space movie second (as opposed to say, Aliens, which I’d consider Sci-Fi action first and horror second) so I’m sometimes surprised at how good some of the ship untitle2ddesign looks, both on the Event Horizon itself and on the smaller rescue ship, the Lewis and Clarke.

Still, the horror is what really works for me. It’s actually one of the better sequels….

Well, let’s just wait on that. We’ll come back to the idea of it as a sequel.

I’ve occasionally heard that his has far to complicated of a back story. I’m completely baffled by this. I thought we wanted intelligent horror, something with a imagesCAX617GBwell thought out narrative. adding Wier’s backstory as well as references to the Event Horizon vanishing and coming back…it all gives the feeling of depth. It makes the world feel real to me. This isn’t just another slasher, thought there’s plenty here for slasher fans as well. Horror and evisceration. Gore almost on the level of…Hellraiser.

This film gets compared to Hellraiser a whole lot. I frequently hear complaints about it being derivative of Hellraiser actually, and occasionally I hear the word “Homage”. I’d like to take that one step farther. I don’t think it’s derivative, and I event1_budon’t think that it’s a homage. I think it’s a sequel. In fact, I think it’s one of the best sequels.

Sure there’s no box, and no pinhead. But Hell isn’t just about boxes….there’s more than one box, and there’s more than one puzzle that can send you into Leviathan’s Hell. We know that from the comics, and we know it from early drafts of the Hellraiser 4 script. We also know there are more cenobites than just Pinhead, and don’t you tell me that there are no cenobites in this film. Just look at Wier. in his transformed state he’s more a cenobite than anything you can imagine. Look. You can see occult glyphs and runes carved into his skin. I’ve seen at least one fan fic over at the Hellbound web go as far as to connect the two directly, showing the events immediately after the end of this film and I whole heartedly agree.

Take a look at his one with fresh eyes, and perhaps a Hellraiser frame of mind (I told you we’d be talking a LOT about Hellraiser this year). I love this film and hope you’ll begin to see what I do.

By the way, that fanfic I mentioned is posted after the trailer.

“A Much Worse Reality”

A Hellraiser/Event Horizon Short Story.

By Max Shrek.

Dedicated to Scarecrow. Thanks, bud.

The woman stood on the ledge and looked up. They should be here any minute. Below her was the great labyrinth. A giant maze, filled with dark and damp corridors, rooms inbetween each. In those rooms were unspeakable horrors. People’s most exciting dreams becoming their worst nightmares. Behind her, the Great God, Leviathan; his diamond shape twirling at the center of Hell, bright black light blasting out of four sides.

She felt her long black dress begin to flow, as if a wind was blowing through here. She smiled. In the sky, it appeared as if reality is self was bending backwards, seemingly sucking through nothing was going into it. No. Something was coming out. Within seconds, half of the ship “The Event Horizon” came though the portal. It’s massive form flew over the woman’s head, her hair blowing.

The ship landed soon, its engines shutting down and finally stopping. She walked up to the ship, amazed by its size. Leviathan was right. This was the perfect puzzle. She stood in front of the door and it opened for her. The ship was the Great God’s masterpiece and she was its liasion. The ship did whatever she commanded it to. And she had to see some results.

“Impressive,” she said, looking upward at what the ship had done. She was in the infirmy. Above a bed was a man, his stomach completely open, being held together by hooks and chains. Below him the remains of his organs. This is what Leviathan was waiting for. He had plenty of different puzzles and plenty of different contraptions that does this and much, much more, but never in the same device. The device already a means to break the surface of the real and go to both dimensions, all Leviathan had to do was make it ordered.

The woman sent the man’s soul back into the labyrinth and continued foreward. She had to get to the core.

She stood before the large circular door. A large, three sided curved crack appeared in it and three sides curved back into the walls. The door was open and she was in the heart of the Event Horizon, a large round room with something very big in the center.

It was different than she imagined. The way to bend realities. It was a giant, rotating, black ball, on it vertical and horizontal lines, and at ever intersection, a large light bulb. Not only was it rotating, but also three large metal rings around it, like a small planet. Below it, a small pool of water. In the water, there were small fires here and there but more importantly, two bodies, both alive.

Captain Miller woke up in the pool of water by the palm of a human female grabbing his chin. With her force, he groggily lifted his head and groaned. He looked at the woman, seeing her blurrily. “Hmph. Another soul,” she said, stone cold without emotion. The next thing Captain Miller felt was a cold long hook tear into his right cheek. He screamed as another tour into his shoulder, then his chest, then his arm, then his left eyelid. He cried for help as the hooks and chains dragged him across the floor and out of the ship and into the corridor’s of Leviathan.

She approached the other body. It was of a man, naked, his skin tinted gold. All over his body were cuts sliced into the ruins and symbols of Leviathan. “Could this be a…” She knew the ship was indeed powerful and possessed many strengths and devices, but Cenobite transformation equipment? Incredible!

Of course, this was not a full blown Cenobite. This being was only partly, a Pseudo-Cenobite. This had happened before, in 1992. The Pillar of Souls was opened and Xipe Totec escaped. He created many different Cenobites and unleashed them upon civilians, massacring them without Order or style. It was extremely chaotic, but eventually ordered was returned, all the Pseudos went to Hell and became full Cenobites, and Xipe Totec was reunited with Elliot Spencer, thus putting the Order back into the demon.

But that was the past and this was now. And now she had a new Pseudo-Cenobite in front of her. And as she squinted her eyes, she reconized him.

“Welcome to Hell, Dr. Weir,” Julia said as she smiled and helped the creature up. His eyes slowly started to open and he saw the form in front of him, the beautiful face, the cunning smile, and long red hair.

“Wh-who are you?”

“I’m Julia.”

The Weird Cenobite exited the ship, still being carried by Julia, who had one arm slung around him. Weir clenched tightly to Julia’s black dress and the flesh underneath.

He eventually stopped and stood straight up, still very tired though. “Th-this is where the Event Horizon went? The dimension of pure evil, of pure chaos?” Julia starting laughing. She shook her head while still chuckiling, “Ah, no, Doctor. This is Hell, yes, but it is not a place of chaos I assure you.” He closed his eyes and shook his head. He could still see her. He didn’t need his eyes to see the radiant beauty standing in front of him. Or the power of the God behind her and the dark light it shown upon him.

“But the things I saw–” “The things you saw were affected by human perception. What is seemed like Chaos to you is Order to us. We are staging a War on Flesh, on the very nature of your human boundaires. You said that the ship could take you beyond the limits of the universe, that is true, yes. But we here are to give you an experience beyond the limits.” “Limitations of what?” “Your senses… and imaganation.”

Weir was confused. The ship had shown him only glimpes into Hell, not explaining its true nature or reality. “I must congradulate you on behalf of Leviathan,” she said. Weir remembered the diamond from his visions. Within seconds, he understood Leviathan and his nature as if the Great God was spekaing to him. But then he stopped, and Julia continued, “Not sense Philip LeMerchand has someone found the perfect door to Hell. Your ship was brilliantlly designed, but an even greater artist, our God, modified it. Made it a puzzle. Quite impressive don’t you think?” “Yes…” he said, nodding.

A loud noise was heard behind him. He quickly turnt his head and saw a large human sized box open up. There was no door and it was hollow except for many sharp objects on either side. “What is this?” he asked Julia. “A transformation chamber,” Julia told him, “It’s for you.” “For me?” “Yes. You see the ship didn’t have its full equipment, therefore it wasn’t able to make you into a full Cenobite.” Cenobite. Weird reconized the word. “Now, you shall be modified as the ship was, and become one of Hell’s forces.” Weird smiled and stepped into the machine. He felt two tubes go into his neck. One taking blood out, one putting blood in. It was starting and Weir felt more pleasure than he had ever known…

As Julia watched the transformation, she wondered what Order Weir would join. Maybe he could be apart of Scarecrow’s. Or Face needed a new partner. He was one of Hell’s favorite sons and would be good with Weir. It was up to Leviathan and his wisdom and intellict was infinite so whatever he decided would be the right choice. Regardless, they would be put back on the ship and go back into space.

An investigation team would most likely be sent back to Neptune to check out the events that happened on the Event Horizon. The two survivors will be adamant against this but the goverment will send them anyway. And they’ll find Leviathan’s new favorite toy and an expanded Order and Hell will have a couple more souls.

The End.


In Defense of Hellraiser Inferno

defense

untitledI’ve saved Inferno for last because it’s far more unusual for a Hellraiser film than it appears. It’s easier to defend from an objective point of view than it is as a Hellraiser fan actually.

In many ways this was breath of fresh air when I stumbled across it in 2000 or 2001. I had no idea it was even coming out when I saw it on the used video tape shelf at Blockbuster and I immediately bought it. Four had been a big let down for me (I even saw it in the theatre, and I had no inkling that the workprint existed yet) and this was actually arefreshing return to form.

I think this film is jarring to a lot of people because it’s SO different from the other Hellraiser movies. We’re back to a small personal story after the world and star spanning scope of Hellraiser Bloodlines, and man is this a head trip with a twist ending. Still, I dug the twist and the trippyness. I got imagesCAEUHIJJit. I will admit that I was disappointed by how little Pinhead was in it (then again that would prepare me for his limited appearances in all of the DTV movies) but on the other hand we also got some very cool new cenobites with no real eyes and Lament glyphs carved into their flesh, moreover, the main bad guy the Engineer had a VERY Hellraiser look to him

Another thing that made it feel a little Hellraiser was the inclusion of Craig Schiffer. He’s definitely Barker alumni having played the main character in Clive Barker’s Night Breed. He’s even more of an anti-hero in this and it suits him. I think I believe him in this role more than I ever did as Cabal. Perhaps it’s just his age. He’s grown into his look and he plays the imagesCA0FCIR4world weary cop type perfectly. Nicholas Tourtino is a brilliant piece of casting as his partner by the way, being as familiar with him as I already was from stuff like NYPD Blue.

There”s just enough gore hereto satisfy, probably a more satisfying type of gore in fact than what we’d seen in recent years. That was actually one of my main complaints with Bloodline, it seemed like the most inventive use of gore was during the dissection scene and even that was fairly tame. Then again, Bloodline was a fairly straightforward movie (muddled mess that it was, it didn’t aspire to anythingimagesCAAC8NLL more than by-the-numbers slasher fare. Inferno wants to get under your skin (no pun intended). It wants to unease you, to disturb you. They throw images at you that are meant to make you do a double take – “did I just see that” and it fits since at the end (Spoilers) we learn that most of the film in in Craig Schiffer’s head. He’s in his own personal hell. Those little cells we see in Helbound? He’s in one, and is experiencing this mentally. It makes sense, different tortures for different people. For Craig, the slicing and punishing of flesh isn’t torture enough, his bad choices have to be paraded in front of him. Regret is far more painful than razors through skin.

But….that’s also where the Hellraiser fan in me begins to have an issue.

imagesCA5TL30HYou see, the Hell of Leviathan isn’t the Judeo-Christian Hell. That’s made clear…(at least back in the 80’s and 90’s it was, Clive seems to have changed his position on that in the last ten years or so) it’s a different dimension filled with extradimensional beings who crave order. We call it Hell because that’s the name we use for the worst thing we can  think of and they have accepted the name, but it’s not the Hell the Bible speaks of. They don’t care if you’re good or evil, they just care about desire…and flesh. imagesCASZE4DMInferno seems a little too judgemental…not that I have an issue with that in of itself, it’s just a little out of place in Hellraiser. Again, my best rationalize it is that this was determined to be the best way to torment Craig Schiffer’s character and we simply haven’t seen it before. It’s a good explanation and I’m fine with it, but I shouldn’t have to figure out how it fits in the mythology myself.

Still, that’s a small complaint, and one aimed more at appeasing Hellraiser fans who are driven nuts by this element. All in all, this is a really good supernatural detective story. It feels like something you wouldn’t be surprised to se Harry D’Amore in. If imagesCAP8XPGKyou go in not expecting to see too much Pinhead (despite his rather prominent appearance on the cover) and knowing it’s going to be a head trip, I think you will quite enjoy this one. This is back when Hellraiser still had a budget and a great cast. Definitely give this one a try on demand or borrow it from a friend.


In Defense of Hellraiser Revelations

defense

imagesCA7N6QEIIf Rick Bota and Peter Atkins wer the custodians of Hellraiser in each of their eras, I wonder if that makes Gary Tunicliffe the custodian today.

Really, he’s been around since the early days.  doing makeup as far back as 3. He also worked second unit under Rick Bota who pretty much had complete faith in him – any shot of a hand or a back…anything without the actors face in Deader or Hellworld was Gary. He loves the series and you’ll never find a bigger cheerleader for it.

Revelations was made basically to keep the rights to Hellraiser in house. It is the most slapped together of any of the films. Remember that half a million that they had to spend in Romania  (to stretch the dollar even further) for Deader and Hellworld? Revelations got $350,000 AND had to shoot in L.A. They also had to be done in two weeks. As you can see, no one at dimension was taking this film seriously.

No one but Gary. He wrote the script, created some untitledspectacular makeup effects (better actually than we’ve seen in over a decade) and worked countless unpaid hours creating new cenobites and new costumes (we haven’t seen new costumes in ten years) and brilliant new designs so this film would have a chance at being more than just a throwaway.  Seriously, look at those. This could be straight out of any of the “respectable” Hellraiser films. All of this and the truth is, they weren’t even sure it would ever be released. It just had to be made to keep the rights.

Besides all of this (as if this weren’t all enough), it immediately had two strikes against it.

First, Dough Bradley wasn’t invited back to be Pinhead. This is a shame, butimages understandable. Doug is getting older and that collar of his gets bigger with every sequel. But also, there’s no money. He’s not going to play the character just for the love of the game, and dimension wasn’t going to shell out his fee this time. Shortsighted on their part, but then again, on the corporate level, this entire project was.

Second, Clive Barker came out and trashed the movie before it ever hit the shelves. Now THIS pisses me off. In my previous articles, you’ll notice that Barker’s name NEVER comes up as a custodian of Hellraiser. I acknowledge that he created something remarkable in the Hellbound heart, and something just as remarkable in the first Hellraiser movie., But that’s where his involvement stops. He created the premise, but really, Peter Atkins created the mythology when he wrote the second third and fourth films. Most of what we truly love about Hellraiser comes from Atkins, not Barker and I consider him the true father of Hellraiser.  I don’t know images2why Barker was so vocal abut this film. His entire involvement in all of  the sequels has been to sit at an advance screening, turn in notes (which may or may not be considered) and cash a check. I wonder if he wasn’t paid off this time.

I truly believe all of this contributes to this film being judged to harshly, certainly by the wrong measure. The film tries hard. It’s not a found footage file as is occasionally reported, though there are some found footage elements. Gary tries to recreate as many elements from the original as he can. One family destroyed by what’s in the box. We get the skinned body coming out of the mattress, we get the darkened torture room again image1s(something they tried to do in Hellseeker by the way, and failed – Bota remarks about how the room disappointed him. This one is a hundred times better), we get candles surrounding the supplicant trying to open the box. We have complicated adulterous relationships and forbidden sex. We have a puzzle guardian. All of the elements are there. The big problem is I’m sure this is a first draft, with no time or money for revisions. Two weeks means no time for rehearsals, not time even while you’re acting to find the characters…and it’s a shame because I can see what this could imag2eshave been. What it should have been if they’d been given even the meager resources they had on Deader and Hellworld. Over on the Hellbound web, one person remarked “If this were a fan film, I’d be raving about it.” This is a good point, because I know fan films with bigger budgets or at least, more resources and most have far more time.

It’s a shame my biggest defenses are “They ment well” and “there’s worse out there” but that’s really at the heart of it. This is better than any film the Asylum puts out any day of  the week. It’s better than the majority of stuff on Sci-Fi, and it has the distinctive flavor of Hellraiser to it.


In Defense of Rick Bota

defenserickWe’re continuing with the Hellraiser theme this week, but I’m lumping a bunch of films into one. You see, this is a defense of Rick Bota.

In the past I’ve called Bota the custodian of Hellraiser for the early 2000’s. He’s listed as the director on Deader, Hellseeker and Hellworld, though that doesn’t really even begin to encapsulate what he does.

These films are always maligned, in large part because “they aren’t as good as the first four” or three. After all they were Direct To Video and that automatically means crap. Of course the same criticism was leveled at both Hellraiser Three and Four – not as good as the first two.

Can I just take this argument off the table? Seriously, if you expect a sequel (especially one of the later ones) to be nearly as good as the source material, you’re in trouble. Hellraiser (and Hellbound for that matter, which I actually like hw1better) is nothing short of a masterpiece. They also had a budget. The  DTV sequels were made for pennies. Half a million in 2005 as opposed to one million in 1987. Huge difference. We still get two or three cenobites besides Pinhead in every one of these movies. I don’t know how they manage it. With that kind of difference you can forgive that the cenobites pants are now just leather biker pants and that the armor comes from the same mold.

It’s interesting especially in the case of Hellworld and Deader, that the films tone is criticized. Three and four are huge sprawling films where Pinhead has almost hw2become a slasher. With the first of the DTV movies, Inferno, the series went back to smaller more personal stories. The head trip aspect was amped up. It was a different direction in service of the budget, but not an entirely new one. We still have disjointed imagery and some trippy scenes in both one and two – Kirsty standing over a bloody bed surrounded by feathers, The little girls abduction in Hellbound and the funhouse scene…the emphasis is new, but it’s not out of place. In fact, it’s truer to the theme and tone of Hellraiser than three or four were. Hellseeker actually features the return of Kirsty, and we have Bota to thank for that. The script wasn’t written with that character in mind…although she had the same name. Bota brought back Ashely Lawrence to help tie this back into the series as a whole (something by the way, that the previous film Inferno, doesn’t even attempt to do).

I’m a particular fan of Deader. We once again have mysterious places much like the opening scenes of Hellraiser – I imagine this Romania is just the sort of place one would find the box, and perhaps one of the places Frank would have looked. Bota goes out of his way to link the villain Winter, with LeMerchant.

Hellworld draws the biggest criticisms, and rightly so. It’s  the weakest of the three Bota films. While Deader and Hellseeker were bother created from completed scripts (stand alone scripts from the slush pile at Dimension by the way, that were imagesCANRSRQVre-written into Hellraiser movies) Hellworld was basically a nebulous idea that was floating around when the crew headed into Romania to shoot Deader. Pages were still being written while shooting was going on…something that smells very much like a studio decision to me. The crew was handed a set and told to make a Hellraiser movie out of it. What’s fascinating is that this is where Bota really shows his love for the material. For the first time since the second movie Hellbound, we have references to Leviathan. The movie is drenched in the mythology, references to the cenobites and Lemerchant. They even brought Lance Henrickson in to chew scenery and be generally malevelont.  Unfortunately we’re also stuck with a group of lackluster teens (including future Superman Henry imagesCA8RI4X1Cavill) straight out of any 90’s horror movie. It’s a shame because there is some potential here but obviously not enough time or budget to realize it. In one scene, a victim is hooked and lifted in the air and bled out. Actually only lifted up a couple of feet, where as Bota pictured him a couple yards in the air….but no time or budget.

There’s also complaints about how Pinhead is treated in this movie, but of course (spoiler) it’s not actually pinhead so acting out of character is exactly what he should be doing. For all of it’s wallowing in the mythology, it fails to achieve the edginess of the other films, and that’s a shame because the passion behind it is obvious. Still, on it’s own, on a Saturday night with friends before heading out to the club or at a hw3party, this is a fun film. As an entry into the series, I still enjoy it the same as I enjoy the lesser episodes of Star Trek or Doctor Who.

I have heard more than once that Rick Bota tried to destroy Hellraiser. That he is to blame for substandard Hellraiser. The truth is, Dimension was going to make these films and if it hadn’t been Bota it would have been someone else…possibly someone who didn’t care about the series legacy. Or it could have just as easily been, no more films at all. I was super excited fore each and every one of these. I’m glad we have them and I’m glad someone took the time to try and link every one of these into the series proper instead of just slapping together another slasher with pinhead makeup. Nothing will ever be as good as the original, but I’ll watch these with the same vigor as I read the comics!


In Defense of Hellraiser Bloodline

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untitledIt’s a guilty pleasure, one of the weakest of any of the theatrical Hellraiser films, but I feel I have to step up and defend this one. In fact, Hellraiser in general will be getting a lot of my attention in this column over the next year.

First and foremost, please don’t tell me that this one sucks because it’s the one in space. I’ll likely slap you in the face. Yes, a part of it does take place in space, but it’s less than a third of the film and was planned as even less.

Ah plans.

This is possibly the single most meddled with of all the Hellraiser films. I’ve read no less than four scripts for it and own not only the theatrical, but also an strange workprint that surfaced over at The Hellbound Web. You can see a great deal more emphasis placed on modern day and the past sequences, making it a great deal better in fact. There’s more terror, more threat. Less….dog.

imagesCAFH5H33Of course by this time, Dimension wanted more slasher material, less of the haunting villain. In the late 80’s and 90’s Peter Atkins was really the custodian of Hellraiser. He was the scriptwriter and one of the guiding forces of the story. You can see where the studio tinkered to get more kills, or came up with bizarre ideas like making the chatterer in this film a chatterbeast…. The litany of how much Dimeinsion interfered with this is legend but let’s hit a few key points

Adding the space wraparound to get to Pinhead sooner,  despite every version of the script up until then having him appear around the 40-minute mark.

imagesCAZ9Z6EQMore kills, less plot. Huge chunks of the script were excised. Scenes that were filmed were left of the cutting room floor – in general you edit seconds, minuets out, not scenes…certainly not ones that explain dialogue and plot points.

We know Kevin Yagher quit. I’ve read in more than one place that his replacement did as well, and in other places I’ve heard of as many as four different directors for this film.

For all of this, there are great moments. LeMerchant is portrayed a little more heroically than he was in the comics, but ochildne could chalk that up to it being told from a family history point of view which makes him more heroic, less of a sadistic serial killer. We really do get an interesting history of the box and the scene of  the Merchant building (which pretty much picks up straight off from the end of Hellraiser three) is perfect. It’s a lot of what I wanted from the end of that film. There’s a scene with Pinhead and John Merchant’s child that still disturbs me. It’s not like a jump scare, it’s not terror…it’s horror. He has the kid and you just don’t know what he’s going to do with him. He’s invaded your very ordinary domestic world and you’re just human. Powerless. The design of the cenobite Angelique is nothing short of stunning. Extremely Hellraiser.

I’ve actually got no complaints about the “in space”. The ship is gloomy, dirty, camped. There’s dust and chains and cold metal all around.  They play it straight, and really, it heightens the feeling of isolation. It’s like a haunted house with monsters romancing the halls…only there’s no hope of escape. shipYou either defeat the monsters or they YOU WILL DIE. It’s pretty horrifying in of itself. of course the idea of Cenobites roaming the station looking for people to kill is not exactly Hellraiser, instead it’s what the studio thought would be an easier sell.

If you haven’t seen it in a while, this movie is worth a second look. This is a film that improves on subsequent watching, perhaps because you know what to expect. I’ve always viewed Hellraiser as episodic and this movie is really three different episodes of that series, adding just a slight bit more to the mythos. If you can find the original workprint, it’s worth watching (avoid the “reconstruction” one floating around Youtube. It’s got some of the missing scenes, but then adds some weird CG ones of it’s own as well).


HorrorHound Cinicy 2014

Conman

The thing is, this trip had a dark cloud hanging over it from the word go. Ted Raimi cancelled at the last minuet and I personally think the Walking Dead people are charging WAY  too much…especially for autographs without photo ops. HorrorHound is one of the biggest cons I’ve ever done and we’ve covered before how I don’t like big cons, but it was still an opportunity to complete my Evil Dead poster, and also a nice opportunity to do a ED2 poster….so off I go.

Except…I can’t find my keys.

First thing in the morning, I’m pulling stuff together, but my keys are missing. It takes forty five minuets of searching before my wife wakes up and sheepishly remembers she grabbed my keys last night by mistake and forgot to take them out of her coat pocket.

I’m now an hour late and instead of arriving early and getting a spot near the front of the line, I find myself waiting for over an hour to get in. Tickets for autographs with Bruce Campbell are sold out.

Crap.

New_IMG_0418Seriously, my mood is gone and that’s a shame, because there was still a lot here that can be fun, but it’s a lousy way to start convention season.

It was my first time at Horrorhound Cincinatti. Even though the Horrorhound Indy con was mediocre, I really wanted to hit this one because of the Horror Host Hall of Fame induction.  This was goign to be my one big trip this year.

Another great bit here was the heavy Ghostbuster influence. The Ohio Ghostbusters were there in full force and I got to do the unthinkable…I got to sit in the Ecto-1!!! One of the great costumes floating around as well was a guy dressed as Slimer. New_IMG_0405It’s a costume I now want to make myself….there was also a Stay Puft Marshmellow man and a bunch of Ghostbusters – men and women.  A great display was set up as well, showing off props and memorabilia. So much fun for a Ghostbuster fan like myself.

I was a littel shocked that the line to meet Clint Howard wasn’t longer. This guy is a legend, and easily one of the most recognizable character actors on the con circuit and it was a lot of fun to meet him. He had the head prop from Ice Cream Man there as well, and the detail on that thing was shocking. I was a little put off by his handler who good naturedly insisted on referring to me as a  New_IMG_0417“Geek” because I wanted a Star Trek photo signed, but otherwise really cool to meet Clint.

Another high point was finally getting to meet Charlse Band. I’ve been a Full Moon fan since college (and really before that – if  I were to really examine my UHF viewing as a child). I’ve meet Lloyd Kauffman before, and I appreciate how important Troma is to the genre, but Full Moon is really the other side of that coin, and the full moon astetic appeals to me far more than Troma’s gross out humor ever did. I got him to sign a Terrorvision poster (also signed by Richard Band – the composer for the film.) and was delighted to get a photo with him. That IMG_0422Terrorvision poster is goign to Cinema Wasteland with me in a couple of weeks  for Garret Grahame and Maybe I’ll find something else for Band to sign there!

There were a bunch of composers at this show – a really great idea, thoguh I’m not sure how well it worked out…their tables seemed to be perpetually empty. Still, I was able to get my Evil Dead poster signed as well as my Terrorvision – I wish I had remembered to bring my Conjuring and Wishmaster posters with me, and I could have gotten thier composers as well. One of the coolest however was Christopher Young. My Hellraiser poster has been a little bit of an issue. I originally bought it for a Gettysburg con  where New_IMG_0403Dough Bradley, Ashly Lawrence and Clive Barker were supposed to appear. Ashley and Clive both cancelled and it only got signed by Dough. His dedication was “See you in Hell!” Which always bothered my wife. I suppose I can see why.  At HorrorHound I got to meet Christopher Yong who created the music for Hellraiser.  His inscription was “See you in Heaven” instead and was one of the coolest encounters at the con.

Another appallingly short line was for the Crypt Keeper! He was inducted into the Horror Host Hall of Fame earlier and truely deserves it. I wasn’t aware that he had also done the voice for Buster Bunny on Tiny Toons – very cool. Another for my voice actor collection. he wasn’t just signing, he was doing answering machineNew_IMG_0439 messages…how cool is that?

All in all, not a BAD con, but poorly orginized and it’s gotten far too big. It’s also gotten a little greed with it’s VIP passes, higher than average prices on admission and autographs and the way they handle their “Professional Photo Ops”. More and more the big cons are leaving a bad taste in my mouth and I wonder if I’m done with the big ones…

We’ll see. Wasteland in Two weeks!

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New_IMG_0395 New_IMG_0396 New_IMG_0401 New_IMG_0408 New_IMG_0411 New_IMG_0409 New_IMG_0415 New_IMG_0416 New_IMG_0412 New_IMG_0419 New_IMG_0421 New_IMG_0425 New_IMG_0436 New_IMG_0423 New_IMG_0438 New_IMG_0446 New_IMG_0445 New_IMG_0393 1920213_10202773041504576_1503250723_n 1939724_10202589073780364_2087617144_n 10006496_10202589074100372_1570140699_n 1958528_3984514468992_64857450_n 10015168_10203122019148068_901240664_n 10147209_292500937572906_661411785_o hh strangers hh zombie hh zombie 210003628_767402719938592_782153867_o 14554_789932397702518_130873365_n 1897695_609613219123612_825733748_n 1907972_10202402447437120_1597687767_n


Levithan?

hellraiser

I just saw this license plate on a car while I was driving to a worksite. Just what I needed to get me back in the mood to work on that Pinhead costume!

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Pinhead makeup application, first attempt

hellraiser

100_3339This is really the moment we’ve been waiting for. We’ve done parts of the makeup here and there, gotten all the prep work done but haven’t done an actual application.  There’s not time to do a test run. Already I can tell this is going to be a crazy long makeup, and I’m not about to waste a couple of hours and a bunch of makeup on a test run like I usually do. This is it.

We begin with some white makeup on the face, right around where the bald cap is going to meet the skin. I wan makeup under some of the cap so if it begins to ride up on my forehead we wont have a flesh toned line where the latex is escaping the skin.

100_3343Next we put the cap on. Time for more makeup. We need to do the whole face, but special attention is paid to that seam. The white greasepaint is what we are using to make it disappear. Adding latex to it would cause a bump, not the smooth surface we need and I can’t run a horizontal grid line across it because the shape would be wrong.

Once my face is white, we begin to draw the grid lightly with black makeup. This is entirely for guidance on where to put the pins, these black lines will be completely covered by the time we are done. The grid is lined up with the bald cap and we follow the vertical lines down, and begin the adding the pins at the 100_3344intersections. This is slow as each has to be applied individually and dried. They don’t feel quite stable but that’s part of what the cotton is for, to add some support. Time to begin cotton process again, bit by bit. Applying all these small pieces was what made the Zombie Spider-man we talked about last Halloween makeup so difficult. It’s dragging this application on as well, really glad the bald cap is already done. Still, between the pins and the cotton grid, we’re still pushing three hours.

100_3360After cleaning up the grid we add some light gray to the corners to add shading and get dressed. The next step is going to be  to create a proper costume, but for now, black cloths a puzzle box and a long coat should give the right impression. Adding a sinister belt and some knives just in time to meet up with Batman.

PINHEAD MAKEUP : COMPLETE

But that’s not really the end of the story. Like I said, I still have to create a proper costume. I can probably get away with a cheap black skirt for the lower part and a long black sleeved shirt for part of the top, but I need to create a vest for the center of the Pinhead costume…and that will also serve as a central part of any other Cenobite costume I make. We’ll be back to the Hellraiser project after I create some more Violent Blue.

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100_3355


Pinhead Skullcap phase two

hellraiser

In our last post on the Hellraiser Project we had finally found success in creating nails for the Pinhead Baldcap. That  process was actually a great deal more difficult than I had anticipated, but I’m glad it’s done.

The next step is to create the grid of cut flesh on the top of the head. The idea is that with a bald cap complete with pins and a grid, the rest of the makeup on application day will be half as difficult.

100_3330Back when we were trying out the facial pins, I settled on the cotton ball method of creating the cuts. A little latex, with pieces torn from a cotton ball sticking to it. This is a long process, and it’s giving me an idea of how long this makeup will take to apply. Just creating the cotton grid takes between an hour and a half and two hours. Each bit between the pins has to be added individually, then heated to dry faster. Instead of the long lines that it appears to be, what you are actually looking at is dozens of tiny little 100_3333cotton pieces, four little pieces making up each square.

The next step is to mat it down with fake blood. This is where a creative choice comes in. I’ve seen people do the grid just drawn in with black, I’ve also seen it done in red. I don’t want to do any of that. I’m using blue food coloring to mat the cotton down. Pinhead is frequently shown in a blue light and the color gives an eerie look to him. It also serves to mark out the grid and highlight it, without looking unnecessarily bloody. That’s a principle of 100_3332Pinhead’s look…he cause all this horrific bodily damage, but none of the blood ever gets on him – he always looks crisp, clean. The blue color adds to that stark, clean look. When I apply the makeup, we’ll use the same method, and follow the lines set down for us on the bald cap.  Finally we add white makeup to the squares and clean up some of the edges of the cotton with white greasepaint and a brush. The idea is to create trauma, to look like the skin is puckering where the cuts are, rather than it look like there’s a bunch of makeup in rows on my head.

That’s it. Time to celebrate with some Violent Blue, because the next step is the full application of the makeup.

PINHEAD BALD CAP : PHASE TWO COMPLETE

100_3337

 


Pinhead Skullcap Pass Three

hellraiser

100_3273I think I’ve got it.

The previous two attempts to create a bald cap with pins that matched my facial makeup failed because I was trying my usual methods of creating makeups.

Time for something new.

It came to me when I was looking at the tools I use to apply makeup. Q-Tips. Lots of100_3274 ’em. The shaft is white and soft looking, very similar to the nails I made already. The big difference is that my facial nails aren’t quite as straight as these, but I think there will be enough confusion on my face with all the pins sticking out that you probably won’t notice unless you REALLY study it.

100_3276I started by snipping off the ends of the Q-tips and trimming them down to the right size, using one of my homemade nails for reference. Next I drew a grid on the cap lightly with a bit of black makeup and started to glue the nails in at each intersection. This grid will be pained over with white makeup eventually.100_3277

Trying it on again, the nails still spread nicely, but feel sturdier coming off. No snapping and popping…..

almost none.

A few nails began to fall off. The glue holds, but not enough, because the latex bald cap stretches under it. I went through and reinforced each pin with a bit of liquid latex around the base. Cap comes on and off! Next step will be to create a permanent grid…but first I got to do some Violent Blue cartoons.

PINHEAD SKULLCAP : STAGE ONE COMPLETE!100_3280


Pinhead Skullcap Pass Two

hellraiser

100_3265    Today it’s try two for the skullcap part of the Hellraiser makeup. It turns out that the sculpty pins that we made for the bald cap constantly broke when taking it on and off. We need something sturdier.

Since we need something stiff and sturdy I want to revisit the molding process. I’m hoping that using hot glue and a mold, I can create pins that are sturdy enough to withstand the bald cap being taken on and off, but light enough not to fall off or drag the makeup down. The most important thin here however, is that they look like the model magic pins I will be using on my face.

100_3264We start off with some sculpty and a nail. I like using sculpt for hot glue molds because unlike clay, it doesn’t melt. It’s designed for high temperatures and can withstand the heat of the glue. The glue isn’t hot enough however to bake the sculpt into a hardened mess so it can still be reused. I pressed a nail into the sculpt and carefully pulled it out. The impression looks good, but now we have to see how the glue holds up.100_3266 I coat the inside of the mold with a little vegetable oil. It’ll help the glue release from the mold after it cools. When I pull it out I can immediately see a problem. there’s WAY too much flash. To many ridges and bumps. even painted, this won’t pass for the same kind of nails I have in my face, and I can make nails for facial makeup out of this stuff…it’ll be too heavy. back to the drawing board.

PINHEAD SKULL CAP : FAILED100_3268


Pinhead pins, take two.

hellraiser

100_3235

So when we last tried to make pins for the pinhead makeup, it was using liquid latex. That experiment failed miserably. This time we’re going straight to the modeling compuound, something I’m reasonably sure will work.

I use a product by Crayola (like the crayons) called model magic. It’s extremely lightweight and the consistency of clay. It dries hard, but still remarkably light, lighter than foam rubber even. The reason I had wanted to avoid using this was because I was going to have to roll each of those nails by hand…and yep. That’s exactly what I ended up doing.

100_3234I had counted the pins on Pinheads skull and kept coming up with different numbers. I finally settled on 120. I expected I would end up making a slightly larger grid and not needing all of those, but better to have extras than not enough.

Finally, once enough pins were done, it was time to do a test run to see if they 100_3253would be light enough to stick on my face. First we draw the grid on my face so we know where to put the pins. this will also serve as a guide for the cotton scars I’ll add later. A dab of liquid latex at the bottom each, then some heat and time  waiting for them to connect with my face. In addition, I am planning on using shredded cotton to create the grid on my face. That will have t he added effect of helping to support the pins and hide the wide bottom that is holding it on to my skin.

The grid is going to be achieved by adding shredded cotton to my face. First you draw a line of liquid latex, then you slowly add bits 100_3255of cotton on top of it. Next you color it to blend in with the skin. When I actually do the pin head makeup, I won’t actually have to color the cotton since my skin will be white anyhow. To get it to look like a slice however, you need blood. The blood mats down the center and makes the edges look torn. For Pinhead, I plan to use blue food coloring instead of red blood.

Since I’m not in full makeup yet, I still did some of the cotton cuts, but colored them flesh tone and added a line of red blood in them so it gives kind of the effect of a pre-pinhead….it is just a test run after all.

The cotton cuts are going to take forever…I can see that just from the preliminary testing I’m doing right now. This is going to be a long makeup application.

100_3261Since it’s just a test appliance, I decided not to do the whole face, just half…it’ll save time, and still be proof of concept. I like how it looks, and the pins are working out just fine. The next step is goign to be the bald cap. There’s plenty of Model Magic pins left that I can glue them on to it….

but not tonight. I’ve already spent two hours rolling pins and another hour and a half just trying tout this makeup application. I’m loving the look, you can really see the beautiful symmetry of the pins, but I’m also getting a little tiered and need to do some Violent Blue for tomorrow. We’ll tackle the bald cap on anther night.

Pins :COMPLETE

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Hellraiser pins

hellraiser100_3226Today We are starting on creating the nails for the pinhead makeup. This time around I want something more on my face than just a painted grid, I actually want the nails to come out of the skin, but first I have to create some nail shaped appliances. I figured100_3227 we would try to make it out of solid latex. I have an alternate method in mind, but it would involve rolling each nail one at a time and I’d rather have something that I could just create a mold for and squeeze them out a bunch at a time.  I’ve had so good luck lately creating latex prosthetics so I grabbed a nail that looked about the right size, then pressed an impression into clay. Then I poured latex into the impressions, dripping it in using the brush in the jar. It dosen’t matter if there’s some overlap, I can always trim the flash off later with a razor.

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I could just wait all night for it to dry, but I keep a small hair dryer around just for this purpose. I use it frequently when I apply makeup, and this is pretty much the same thing. I’m also eager to see what the results would be and the heat could actually make it dry harder than simple air drying.

Once 100_3230things have gotten hard and dry, I tried prying them out of the clay. It didn’t work, the latex is too flexible and would stretch when I tried to flex it out. I ended up trashing that first batch and startign from scratch again….but aroudn this time I was getting a bad feeling about using this method. Once I got the second set up and dried I grabbed a razor to try and cut the nails out. It worked better, but not as well as I had hoped.

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Things were still too floppy, and I could see it as I cut them out. Those fears I had earlier were realized. Latex is just too flexible, it isn’t drying hard enough and I don’t have the resources to compress it. This isn’t going to work. I’m going have to go with plan B.

But not tonight. Tonight I’m going to go read some Violent Blue to cheer up.

Nail Appliance status:FAILED

100_3232


The Hellraiser Project

Starting a new feature here at Argo City. The Hellraiser project is a way for me to document the process of creating makeups and creature effects for at least two hellraiser characters. Right now I’m focusing on Pinhead and Chatterer. If all goes well, I’ll add a completely new Cenobite of my own creation later.

Posts will go from makeups to costumes as things get created.

In the past I’ve had a pinhead costume, but it wasn’t as good as I would like. It consisted of a white bald cap with nails driven through it and attached. Add white makeup and draw the hint of a grid on a face and top off with a long coat  buttoned to the top collar like a robe. It worked, and both I and others used it on occasion, but I was never really happy with it. This is a chance to do something different, get the makeup RIGHT (or as right as I can) and create a better costume to go with it.  We’re going to show the successes AND the failures (and trust me, there are going to be plenty of failures. When creating a new makeup, there always is). You’ll get to see every bump in the road as I try to figure out how to make this stuff.

I think this will be an interesting ride, and I hope your up for it with me. If it’s not your thing, go check out today’s Violent Blue, and hopefully that will make you smile.

See you in the Labyrinth.


Days of the Dead


What a drive. I find myself wishing this con was closer to home because that drive was pretty brutal.
The length was comparable to the drive to Indianapolis, but the trip to  Days of the Dead Chicago  is harder and spends more time on toll roads and urban environments.

What first struck me was how many people were there. I had to wait in a surprisingly long line for tickets. I say surprisingly long, because I got there at noon, and the doors had opened an hour earlier. I could have bypassed the line and saved five dollars by pre-registering, but honestly, the only con I pre-register for is Cinema Wasteland because I save about 15-20 dollars and I usually spend the whole weekend there. This was a day trip.  Oh well.

I got in and immediately searched out Keith David. He was one of the main reasons I was at this con, I wanted to get my Thing poster signed.

His handler was AWFUL. The guy interrupted with prices for different things, and answered questions for Keith and was generally intrusive, like a self-important pimp. A good handler takes money and snaps photos and is generally invisible. They are there to make sure no one takes advantage of the celebrity and more importantly to take care of the mundane business  so the celeb can focus entirely on the fan (and vice versa). A pity, because I suspect that Mr. David is a far nicer person without the yo-yo hovering around his booth.  This and hitting my pet peeve of charging for photo ops set a decidedly negative tone for this con immediately.

I sipped out of the vendor hall to hit the Collection panel. I had misunderstood about this though and thought it was a screening of the film. It wasn’t, although they did show both the first seven(?) minuets of the film, then talked at length about bot hit and the film that preceded it.

Let me just have a quick aside on this by the way. The guys making this movie did a remarkably smart thing as far as promotion goes. It should be so blindingly obvious that I can’t believe more people don’t do this, but whatever.They came to the con, the director and writer, brought a couple of the actors with them, showed bits of the film, then set up a table and signed posters for free. At a con where every one charges to autograph stuff, and some people even charge for photo ops, these guys not only gave away posters of their new movie, but all signed them and took photos with people for free.  Let me tell you something, their strategy worked.  This movie wasn’t even on my radar. Now, not only do I know about it, I can’t wait to see it. They only had their table set up for about three hours, and that was enough.

I had brought a small poster with me, because space is becoming an issue at my house. Besides, I didn’t want to be greedy, they could save those beautiful 11x17s for someone else. They were signing posters in an assembly line style and my smaller one got moved right along into the assembly line. At the end of the table, the director handed me my smaller poster and told me “Take one of the big ones too!” I was about to protest, but he kept on “Go on! If you can’t think of anything else to do with it, tape it to the roof of your car!” You know what? I love these guys. If you wanted to pinpoint a moment when my day turned around, this was it.

I dove back into the guest hall and as I passed by his table I realized I had completely forgotten that William Katt was going to be there. How did I forget this? Seeing him added to the line up after Keith David was what tipped the scales on me deciding to go! Maybe it was ll the planning or the glut of cons in the last couple of months. I don’t know.

I’ve heard things about William Katt. None of it good. I’ve heard that he charges more than other people, he tacks on fees for photo ops, I heard that he’s unfriendly or distant. I’ve probably heard more negative comments about him than I have about Tom Savini. I’m going to tell you right here and now, NONE of that was true.

He charged about average. Less than what a lot of people were. No extra fee for a photo. He was friendly and engaging. He really seemed to WANT to be there and connect with fans. He leaned across the table and grabbed my jacket, spreading it out to get a better look at my Punisher shirt then told me how much he loved it. He was shocked to discover I made it myself. We discussed the Star Wars auditions, something he seemed surprised I was aware of. I’m not sure I agree with his statement that it would have changed his life…Mark Hamil’s career didn’t fare too much better than Katts, but I would have loved to have seen him in the role. He mentioned that the Star Wars auditions were what got him his role in Carrie. He also asked what  i did for a living and when I told him I was in IT he told me how much he wished I lived out near him, he’d be calling me every day! Meeting him was absolutely the high point of my day.

Off in a small room to the side of the check in counter was a darling display called “Evil Puppets”. It was tucked away so neatly I walked right past it twice before noticing it. I tentatively creeped in and wondered if they would be mad at me talking a photo. There were no signs saying I couldn’t so I snapped a few photos. I really love getting my picture taken with celebrities and this presented a unique opportunity of getting a photo op with some famous monsters without having to put up with a rude handler like the guy that was hovering over Keith David. So I grabbed a random passerby and asked if he would mind taking a couple of shots of me. I knelt down to get into a better lever in front of the Gremlins. The guy tried to focus, then stepped back a moment. I felt something brush across my shoulder. I figured, I just had leaned back too far. Probably brushed against a puppet. Then it happened again. Then something was in my hair. I turned around to find the girl who was hosting the exhibit laughing and holding the gremlin’s hand in hers. She had been poking me with it and messng with me She continued to do so as the picture was taken> You can see me trying very hard not to burst in to laughter myself.

I grabbed one more autograph on my already crowded Dawn of the Dead poster from Paul Musser who asked me “When are you guys going to get a real football team up there in Cleveland?” I explained to him that was why I followed horror and not sports.

Had to hit up the Fright Night line as well. I love reunions like this where you can get five signatures on a poster in one shot like this. Chris Sarandon’s table never had a line the entire time I was there. I totally don’t get that. He actually IS someone. He’s done tons of stuff, The Princess Bride alone makes him a real star. I was also really stoked to see William Ragsdale. I spent every Sunday for three or four years watching him on Herman’s Head. His hair is shorter now, and that’s kind of a shame, but I understand and I forgive him for it. Amanda Berse was there as well and ALWAYS had a long line. Not quite sure I get that.  I realize there are a loot of people who remember her from Married with Children and if you pay attention to her career you’ll know she’s actually a talented director as well, but none of that justifies her having a bigger line than people like Keith David and Chris Sarandon. Go figure. She was hyper. Super nice but very energetic. She saw the camer and exclaimed in an almost excited voice “Come on! Let’s take a picture!” and then grabbed me and pulled me back. I don’t think I’ve ever been held that tightly by a lesbian before.

There were a couple of big surprises at this con. I saw the tail end of the “They Live” panel because I needed a break from standing in lines. It’s not one of my favorite Carpenter films but I figured there would be some “Thing” talk as well. Roddy Piper was hilarious. I had no idea he was so funny and clever. Not at all what I expected. The screening of “The Collective” was a lot of fun as well, 10 short films by 10 different directors. I have to give Days of the Dead props for decent programming. Not as much as Cinema Wasteland, but good for them for doing any at all, and quality stuff as well. The other big surprise was all the cosplay. Not just the quantity (although that WAS impressive.  Tons of people in costume) but the quality. Really great costumes and fun ideas. My favorite was the dead Tinkerbelle, but there were a lot of monsters there whose makeups just took my breath away, the snake girl and the creeper especially.

This was a good con. It was really a good one. Again, I wish it were closer to home, because that’s it’s one big downfall. Chicago is an awfully long drive for one day, but horror cons for me tend to be one day events. IF this were in Ohio, PA or Indiana, somewhere in a three hour radius, I’d probably go every year. Chicago, I’m not sure it’s worth the drive to go back. Certainly not for a while, but maybe in a few years. I had a great time this year, and I hope it continues to grow even better. In the meantime, it’s back to Violent Blue for me.