Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If You're Into Make-up EFX ...

You gotta check out this new Starz documentary which just came out on DVD this past Tuesday ...

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It's a pretty awesome little love note to the world and art of special make-up EFX. It runs only 60 minutes so ya probably won't wanna shell out the cash to buy it, but you can actually already watch it instantly and free of charge on Netflix if you're a member at this spot right here! One of the many joys of having a Netflix account. Sign up, will ya!

It covers everything from horror films such as Grindhouse (awesome footage of how they did the big car crash), Cabin Fever, The Exorcist, The Thing, and American Werewolf to movies like Sin City, Transformers, Dances With Wolves and even The Chronicles of Narnia and features interviews with the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, Robert Rodriguez, John Carpenter, and George Romero. It goes into the history of make-up EFX and pretty much covers all the well known artists like Dick Smith (Exorcist), Tom Savini (Dawn/Day of the Dead), the boys of KNB (what haven't they done?!), Rick Baker (American Werewolf), Jack Pierce (Frankenstein), and Rob Bottin (The Thing). All in just under an hour! Jam packed fast paced gory fun full of interesting stories and tidbits.

It never ceases to amaze me how incredible these artists are and how much work they put into pulling off a single effect on film. These guys are truly magicians and i'm endlessly fascinated by behind the scenes stuff like this. This documentary even manages to provide a lot of never before seen footage and pictures, like the early make-up tests for Linda Blair's Exorcist look. A lot of times documentaries like these get repetitive and regurgitate the same information and footage that we've seen everywhere else a million times before, but this one manages to stay fresh and interesting the whole way through.

Speaking of The Exorcist, one of the most amazing make-up jobs in the history of cinema that Dick Smith pulled off is so rarely recognized because of how amazing it is and you really get to see that on here. And it's not the Regan makeup. Max Von Sydow, who played Father Merrin, was actually in his early 40's when the movie was filmed, despite the fact that he looks well into his 70's in the movie! I actually remember looking up Von Sydow years back and being amazed that he was still alive because I figured he must be in his hundreds by now! Turns out it's just an amazing make-up job on a relatively young actor. Interesting little bit of trivia on that note ; Stellan Skarsgard, who played a young Merrin in the Exorcist prequel, was actually a good 10 years older than Von Sydow when he played the role of the much older Merrin! If that's not a testament to the wonders of guys like Dick Smith, I just don't know what is!

If you're into this kinda stuff like I am, you'll highly enjoy it. If you're not, watch it anyway to see the magic these guys work and to see why CGI will just never be as good as the old school practical effects! In fact, i'm so fascinated by this stuff that i've long dreamed of being a make-up EFX artist. And I probably would've attempted to tackle it if I had any artistic skills whatsoever! I did do a little dabbling this past Summer with some cheapo gore effects, using things like pumpkin guts and latex appliances to simulate severed limbs and missing eyeballs, so i'll leave you with that!

I lose my leg

Jen loses her eyes

4 comments:

Gore-Gore Girl said...

Wow! This is right up my alley. I will definitely be buying this. I watched The Sci-Fi Boys, which was ok, but a bit of a disappointment, and then Going to Pieces was pretty good (not specifically about FX, but had a good deal of it in there). This looks like the real deal though - can't wait! Thanks for letting us know!

Johnny said...

Let me know what ya think once ya check it out! And if you do buy it, let me know if there are any special features on there if ya could =)

Gore-Gore Girl said...

Ok, I just got it in (two and a half weeks after I ordered it!!), and, it was FREAKING AWESOME!!! I just hated on the Friday 13th doc on your other post, which I'm sure you will hate on me for, so here is a little repayment. This movie was great. The only thing I complained about, and that I'm still a little sore over, is that it was only an hour. I really could have done with a three hour film. Ok, that's a little unreasonable, but at least an hour and a half (I know, I know, it's Starz...).

That said, this was a joy from start to finish - within about 2 minutes (just from the opening visuals) my boyfriend turned to me and declared his love of the movie. Rockin. Plus the fact that stuff I assumed was CGI in some movies turned out to be prosthetics. Awesomeness. Total fucking awesomeness.

Oh, and I totally forgot to check the special features...I will report back...

Johnny said...

Would never hate on you for bashing His Name Was Jason because I wasn't that big a fan of it anyway! Like I said, it's more for the newbies.

And I totally agree. Fantastic Flesh should've been waaaay longer!