Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Confessions of a sfx maniac

Every once in a while I get reminded just what a daft enterprise this whole making-a-film thing is.

And like so many other things in my life right now, this story starts with the gore.

I grew up in the 80s. The first VHS machines, an explosion in freely available splatterific videos, and with a government kind enough to compile a list of the very nastiest so that we didn’t have to. These were my formative years, and also the heyday of the in-camera special effect. Long before CG came along and made everybody’s lives safer, this is where my filmic sensibilities lie. If you can point me towards anything that looks half as awesome as Rob Bottin’s creatures in The Thing, or that elicits the same astonishment as the first time I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street, or is just plain cooler than watching David getting his wolf on in An American Werewolf in London, I’d be mighty surprised.

I got spoilt.

Safe to say that just chucking a load of ketchup around the Resurrection set and then trying to digitally polish it in post isn’t going to cut it. We need to get a man in. While there are plenty of SFX experts advertising their wares on the internet, it’s pretty easy to tell the really good ones apart. And when I say that Robbie-the-gore’s work looks old school, you’ll know that there is no finer compliment that I can pay him.

We got in touch; we sent him the screenplay, and he seemed genuinely excited. But he did flag up the number of “quite big set pieces” as areas of concern; it would help if Jake and I did our own breakdown of what we wanted to see in the specials, so that we can have a sensible chat about it next Tuesday night in London.

So, today Jake and I have been breaking down our specials.

And in doing so I found myself typing one of those sentences that can look disturbing if taken out of context. And it was originally meant to be reassuring.

It read: “Don’t worry - this is going to be replaced with a simple make-shift indoor crucifixion.”

We pause. We reflect. We move on.

In other news, the GhoulFool went and dropped a surprise bombshell into our FTP folder. Not his real name, thankfully – think more a baroque version of the Stig, raised on a diet of Stella and Timotei.

It now seems that the GhoulFool is no longer satisfied just providing art inspired by the film, as he is also drawing inspiration from the blog of the film. And so I present to you “Cold Dead Hands”; actually a fairly good likeness of Charlton Heston circa 2011.

A daft enterprise all round, but I can’t think of a better way to do it. Tickled.

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