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All posts for the month October, 2015

Mad Monster Party: The Best Halloween Ticket in Town

Published October 31, 2015 by vfdpixie

Mad Monster Party

Mad Monster Party (1967, 1 hr., 35 mins.)

 

After searching for a party to attend this Halloween, I finally found the ultimate shin-dig, but I’m going back, way back, to a classic movie that some of you may remember.

When I was a kid, for several years in a row, Mad Monster Party aired on Halloween night, and I would always watch it as I got ready for trick or treating. Putting on my costume, I would giggle as Baron Von Frankenstein held court with his monster dinner guests, ready to reveal his crazy plans.  Directed by the king of animated specials Jules Bass, this “Animagic” feat is a heap of silly but I still marveled at the skill needed to create this wacky stop-motion film.

Baron Boris von Frankenstein (Boris Karloff) has completed his ultimate goal and is retiring. After mastering the secret to creation with his monster and his mate, he has now created a deadly elixir and would like to share the news with his monster colleagues and announce his successor.  He decides to throw a dinner party at his Isle of Evil where he’ll reveal his destructive formula and his human nephew, the allergy-ridden pharmacist Felix Flankin, as the new head of the World Wide Organization of Monsters.  Francesca (Gale Garnett) his secretary is not pleased with his choice, and when his ghoulish guests arrive, they are also upset a human will be taking over.  After a night of eating, dancing and rough-housing, everyone plots to get rid of Felix, and devilish double crossings throw all plans into chaos.

This is some silly fun that fills the nostalgia void. The characterizations of classic monsters such as Dracula, the Hunchback, and the Werewolf are beyond cute, and the relentless one-liners they spew are ridiculous.  Silly gag after silly gag, my favourite being the Baron’s assistant Yetch and his detachable head, make you chuckle, and the musical numbers are really clever, not to mention all the little horror details like the zombie bellhops and a skeleton band that pepper this old-school gem.

A cast of four was all it took to bring the monsters to life. Along with Boris Karloff, the always hilarious Phyllis Diller played the monster’s mate, Gale Garnett husky tones voiced the sultry Francesca, and veteran voice actor and impersonator Allen Swift mastered the rest of the characters, adding unique personalities such as Peter Lorre (Yetch), and Jimmy Stewart (Felix) to each horror icon.  Pay attention to the film’s theme sung by Ethel Ennis as well.  It’s a jazzy treat sung in a James Bond style.  This is entertainment through and through, and a must-have for any horror collector.

Mad Monster Party is a creature caper that will have you laughing in spite of yourself. It’s campy, sometimes sophisticated, but most importantly, a joy to watch every Halloween.

Have a safe and happy Halloween my creepy peeps!!

 

My favourite number in the movie.  The monsters are so cute!!

Face Off Season 9 Finale Part 2: Short Film Frenzy!

Published October 29, 2015 by vfdpixie

After waiting a whole, long week, we finally got to see the second part of the finale.  A third character was added to the three short film scripts the artists chose from last week.  Along with the added character came extra help from former contestants Libby, Jason and Ricky.  The finalists were stressed but they were pumped to work on a film set and rose to the occasion.

Evan added Libby to his team, and Patrick added a mutated infected character to the film Quarantine Zone.  That meant Evan had to rework his infected captive so he wouldn’t look so far gone, and bump up the mutant so he looked grotesque.  Patrick liked the concept for the mutated infected, and they made giant mutant arms for the makeup.  Working on a film set was Evan’s dream, and this challenge was fulfilling it for him.

On set, Evan and his team worked well together to get the mutant painted and finish all the makeups.  When Patrick saw the wanderer, he wanted to remove the coat she was wearing, so Evan had to go in and cover her exposed skin with makeup to make her look dirty and camera-ready.  The judges said they loved the captive’s veins, the mutant arms and how on the ball they were as a team.  Glenn liked how well Evan worked with Patrick.  Ve loved the paint jobs and cohesive characters, and Neville liked that he rethought the characters and managed to pull off the looks.

The cast of Quarantine Zone

The cast of Quarantine Zone

 

Ben added Jason on his team and they had to create a sacrifice victim that seduces the creature.  She needed to be beautiful and more human-like.  They had lots of pieces to apply, but there was some trouble with the victim.  The edges around her mouth lifted, so they added blood to make the flaw look like a wound.  Ben pre-painted most of the pieces, and although Jason was freaking out about the female character, Ben was happy.  This night shoot was really dramatic by the light of a fire, and the priest and creature got a lot of praise for their cohesiveness and forms, but the judges did notice the issues with the female victim (no victim picture available).

A shot from Ben's short Resurrection

A shot from Ben’s short Resurrection

 

Nora added Ricky to her team.  She had to create a giant ally for the prey in order for them to trick the hunter.  Nora was really psyched to get her makeups done.  She did a great job controlling every detail, and drew the best out of her team. On set, she had to water proof the makeups due to a last-minute directing decision, but she took it in stride.  Neville loved the giant and thought he was badass, and Glenn loved how the mud and water worked well with the makeup.  It was a great shoot, and Nora got emotional over the whole experience.

The cast of The Prey

The cast of The Prey

The winner was Nora!!  They loved how she worked well on set and how cohesive the giant and prey were.  She wins a Fiat 500, $100,000, and a VIP trip to one of Kryolan’s international locations.

Hats off to all the finalists, and congratulations to Nora, winner of Face Off Season 9!  I’m sure she’ll blaze a trail in the movie makeup world.

I’ll see you here in January when Face Off comes back for a 10th season!

Dark Moon Issue #3 Scares up Sci-fi Horror for Halloween!

Published October 28, 2015 by vfdpixie

darkmoon3

Dark Moon Issue #3

Art by Benedick Bana

It’s almost Halloween and Dark Moon Comic is all about the treats.  To Freematik, creator of the innovative motion comic, this holiday is about sharing creativity, and to celebrate the launch of the first comic last Halloween, the third and last part of their introductory sci-fi horror trilogy will be released for free on October 29th.

The first two issues brought us a team of survivors beamed to a mysterious moon as the Earth is hit by a deadly meteor.  They are led by Dante, the scientist responsible for saving them, who finds the moon has perils of its own in the way of hostile and hungry creatures.  Surrounded by these beasts, they discover an alien outpost and take cover while trying to figure out their next move.  As they explore the base, they find out what the beasts are and how they got to the moon.

The third installment finds the group’s numbers dwindling and Dante reflecting on the remaining survivors fate.  His inner process comes to the forefront as he feels the guilt of placing them all between a rock and a hard place, and he is desperate to get them off of a planet teeming with bloodthirsty creatures.  And if some of you were wondering, we also learn what has happened on Earth after the meteor hit.

Once again, Dark Moon transports you to a brutal place.  We see aliens run amok and a conflicted leader who wills himself to save this random group of characters.  It was nice to see more back story for both the Earth’s fate and Dante’s relationship to each of the fallen.  Of course, the artwork is absolutely stunning with all the near 3-D detailing accented by bursts of vibrant colours, and the sensory experience is completed with the trippy soundtrack.

I think the average comic reader could get used to this, spoiling them with HD visuals, an engaging story and the added hip-hop fusion scoring.  These mini movies will keep you wanting more story and more creatures, so here’s hoping Freematik and artist Benedick Bana will surprise us with something in the near future (but not like, death by meteor near future…)

Check them out on Twitter : @DarkMoonComic

and their deviant art site: http://freematik.deviantart.com/ to check out issues 1 and 2 so you’ll be ready for the alien chaos in issue 3…all for free!

Face Off Season 9 Episode 13-The Finale Part 1

Published October 25, 2015 by vfdpixie

The finale finally arrived, and after some encouraging words from their loved ones, the three remaining artists got ready to do their best work yet in order to win the competition.

When they got to the lab, they were met by McKenzie and the Face Off TV crew.  It was a clue for their next challenge, which would have them work with a director and crew to create three short films on location. This was the challenge I was waiting for! the three finalists were excited, and even more so when they found out who the director would be-none other than Face Off royalty, director and special effects makeup artist Patrick Tatopoulos, my other TV crush.  The artists would pick from three scripts:  The Prey, Resurrection, and Quarantine Zone, and would have to create two drastically different characters.  Patrick would have cast, storyboards, and instructions for the different colours and textures of each film.  The artists would also get a film test before shooting, so Patrick could see what needed to be tweaked with the makeups, giving the contestants a chance to have a camera-ready look.  Like every finale challenge, they would have the help of former contestants.

Evan picked Stevie and Kevon.  They would work on the Quarantine Zone script.  His characters were infected with a virus.  The female wanderer character was to have a subtle makeup revealed slowly, and the male was to have a more advanced stage of infection.  Evan wanted to create an exoskeleton for the male character, but he realized the looks weren’t cohesive, so his team started over.  After worrying about a deep crack in his cowl which ended up being fine, he didn’t like what he had to offer.  When they went for the screen test, Patrick pointed out the colour of the female was too dark and she looked too healthy.  The male character needed some flesh toned paint and a more human appearance.  He also disliked a snuggle tooth and wanted some hair on the male infected.  Evan had some work to do but was glad he had a second chance.

Ben picked Resurrection.  He had Jordan and Scott on his team.  The story for his film was an alien priest who resurrects an ancient creature.  The contrast between the characters would be a sleek priest and Neanderthal version of him as the creature.  A fire would be the light source, so Ben wanted the priest to have a glowing look.  Scott would sculpt the creature and Ben took on the priest.  Jordan created a scarab that would tie the two characters together.  Ben was exhausted and ran out of time so they had to do a full paint job in last looks.  Patrick wanted the creature’s eyes lightened, and his back painted properly.  He also wanted something more for the priest’s mouth.

Nora worked on The Prey script, with Meg and Jasmine on her team.  She created a human prey and a big, organic tree-like hunter.  She had moments of doubt once again, but Meg supported her and they carried on.  The prey character was a full body paint job, and the hunter ended up being too red, so they had to fix the paint job.  On screen, she was told to bump up the hunter’s moss and green tones, and Patrick liked the prey.  She only had minor adjustments to make.

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After the screen tests, McKenzie revealed yet another twist for the finale challenge.  During a major production, there is always a chance for the script to change.  In their case, there would be a third character added, so once again, we are left with a cliff hanger as the last part of the finale gets under way next week!

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