short film

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Face Off Season 10 Episode 13: The Big Finale Part 1: “Sinister Showdown”

Published April 7, 2016 by vfdpixie

Season 10 would end with my kind of challenge!!  The 3 finalists found themselves in an oil field with a creepy looking house in the background.  It set the scene for the final challenge of the season.  McKenzie had special guest Jason Blum, creator of the production company Blumhouse that brought us all the latest horrors like The Purge and Insidious with her to bring them the challenge details.  They would have to create 2 characters to star in their own film. The film would be an adaptation of a short story taken from The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City, a collection of short stories by writers, actors and directors like Eli Roth and Scott Derrickson.  The story, entitled “Hellhole” by Chris Denham, tells of a family that buys a house only to find that it’s a portal to Hell and that they have unleashed a demon.  The artists had to create a demon and a possessed family member according to a script from one of 3 new up-and-coming directors hand-picked for this challenge.  The artists would get a lighting and screen test, 2 helpers in the way of their former contestants, and  Jason Blum would also be a judge for the final looks in the film.  Another surprise was that Oscar-winning makeup artist Lois Burwell, one of the judges from season 7, would be there for the walk-through.

Rob picked Anna and Kaleb.  His script described a demon that came up from the oil fields.  The director, Bryce McGuire, wanted a molten, cracked and crusted skin on the demon.  Rob came up with a sun-baked demon and a possessed woman who would ooze oil.  He wanted to create a larger than life chest piece, face and cowl.  Anna would do the possession makeup and Rob would do the demon face. Lois warned him to avoid a leonine look to the nose and cheeks.  Rob was floundering a bit with the design of the face, but came up with a mole/rhino look that he was happy with.  He also wanted a unique horn shape that would add height.  Kaleb fabricated a back piece that looked like roots, and even though the mold stuck creating a huge split in the demon face, and the heavy cowl was making the demon face push forward, they came up with a great makeup.  During the screen test, Rob soon learned that his vision didn’t match the director’s.  Bryce wanted a paler, more powdery look, the horns placed further back on the head, and shovel-like hands.  He also wanted imbedded natural elements.  The possessed makeup was too extreme for him, and he wanted the possession to not manifest physically.  Um….sure.  Poor Rob had a tall order ahead of him and would have to do a whole new makeup.

Rob and his first demon draft,

Rob and his first demon draft.

 

 

Melissa had Yvonne and Johnny on her team.  Her script involved a cyclops-type demon so she wanted to make sure she didn’t recreate her last makeup and came up with a fleshy eye membrane instead of an actual eye.  She would be doing the face of the demon, Yvonne the demon cowl, and Johnny the possessed family member.  During the walk-through, they thought the possessed makeup was too subtle, and she had to shift his eye shape.  The demon needed a stronger jaw line, and they had to watch their time.  She let Johnny do the molds since that was his strength, and she created a diseased look emanating from the heart area for the possessed character.  She was stressed because they were running out of time. At the screen test, director John Wynn didn’t like the demon chest piece because it might look like he was lactating once the oil started to ooze.  He wanted oil oozing from the demon’s mouth and more redness in the eye area.  The possessed makeup needed more makeup on the shoulder and branches growing from his fingertips.  Melissa intended to step it up for a win.

Melissa and her demonic duo.

Melissa and her demonic duo.

 

 

Walter, Mel and Robert would avoid the typical demon look and create a simple possessed makeup.  Lois and Mr. Westmore suggested sculpting skin around the vines that would protrude from the possessed character’s face.  They loved the demon, but Lois advised him to pay attention to where the lighting would hit the makeup.  Walter went for an asymmetrical feel with vines on one side and a pumpkin like look on the other shoulder.  He created a set of teeth for his model and Robert used moss to cover edges and gave a great look to the demon.  Mel worked on the possessed makeup and although the edges were lifting on the face piece, they got the makeups to the soundstage.  Ryan Spindell seemed happy with the look but wanted the vines finished and Mr. Westmore suggested fixing spots on the nose and brow bone that reflected too much light.  Ryan also wanted to see more of the actor in the possessed makeup.  Walter was pleased that he didn’t have to redo the whole makeup.

Walter and his vined demons.

Walter and his vined demons.

 

 

All the artists had a lot of work to do before the final filming, and once again, Face Off left us hanging until the second part of the finale.  This is killing me!!

Christmas Horror Fun with the Little Terrors Short Film Festival

Published December 20, 2015 by vfdpixie

 

littleterrors40

Artwork by Daryl Shaw

 

For the 2015 Christmas season, I finally got the chance to see my first Little Terrors Short Film Festival.  Programmed by Justin McConnell, an indie producer/director/writer dynamo and CEO of Unstable Ground based in Toronto, and co-presented with Rue Morgue Magazine, these are monthly screenings of the best international and domestic short horror films you can find.  I’d heard about the festival and was never able to go due to a terrible work schedule, or the fact that I was just tired of going to horror events on my own.  This time around, I had the company of  the best horror boyfriend a gal could ask for and delicious snicker doodles, made by said horror boyfriend.  During this special Santa Claws Xmas Edition, we saw a fun selection of holiday-themed horror shorts ranging from a horrific kidney stone to a Santa kidnapping gone wrong.

 

Mineral:  When a man thinks he passes a painful kidney stone, what he expels turns out to be monstrous.  Director Michael J. Marino threw in all the leg crossing footage of real births you could, or maybe would never, ask for, and a grimy, gritty production value.

http://www.michaeljmarino.com/portfolio/item/mineral/

 

Hungry:  A Christmas shopping creep checks out a thrift shop.  When he finds an expensive jacket for a too-good-to-be-true price, he realizes he’s found a thrift shop from Hell.  Unfortunately, there is no trailer available right now, but go see it if you can find it at local festivals.  Director John Montana gets you in the end with something that’s weirdly cute.

 

Then there was the Astron-6 insanity.  The production company that brought us such greats as The Editor, Father’s Day, and Manborg, also had some Christmas contributions as well.  From Breaking Santa, where, in an insanely funny ride, Santa gets seduced and kidnapped, to Kris Miss, an infomercial for your everyday mail order Christmas bride, their brand of humour, horror and weirdness just can’t be matched.

 

 

The crowning glory of the night was the 2008 award-winning masterpiece, Treevenge.  Directed by Hobo with a Shotgun‘s Jason Eisener, this short is a cautionary tale for all of those real tree purists.  Part environmental message and part horror, it’s a zany, over the top film that will definitely keep you shrieking with laughter and cheering for Christmas trees everywhere.  For all you Trailer Park Boys fans, Jonathan Torrens a.k.a J-Roc and Sarah Dunsworth get trounced by their tree in this clip.

 

Little Terrors has their own YouTube playlist, and check them out for the next night of horror shorts if you live in Toronto or the G.T.A.

http://www.littleterrorsfestival.com/

 

We had a great time, and it complimented the holiday horror movie fun that we look forward to every year.  For those of us who are having a great holiday, or those folks who have a hard time during the Christmas season, I wish you all the best, along with a little, actually, a lot of peace, love and happiness for the new year!  Thanks for reading!

Carolyn

Foxed! A Crafty Tale

Published October 23, 2014 by vfdpixie

foxed

Foxed! (2013)

I love stop-motion animation.  It takes me back to all those holiday specials that I watched as a kid.  It is a refined, time-consuming art pioneered by Ray Harryhausen, and one that seems to endure despite all the computer generated animation out these days.  Take, for example, Foxed!, a 3 minute short screened at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival directed by James Stewart and written by Nev Bezaire.  It tells the tale of Emily, voiced by Athena Karkanis from the Saw series, a wide-eyed little girl who has been kidnapped by sneaky and shifty looking foxes to work in their Blue Goo mines.  Sounds kooky, but when you see the film, you are drawn in by Emily’s despair and literally shout for more of the story when it ends.  It has a creepy fairytale feel that makes you want to watch at bedtime with the covers pulled up over your nose.  Stewart, whose inspiration came from films like Coraline, has stated that there are many themes in the main story, ones of parent-child relationships, finding your individuality and facing personal demons, adding some real depth to Emily’s plight.

The film has made the festival circuit, winning several awards and charming audiences everywhere.  Not only is it created with the painstaking stop-motion technique, but it is also the first to use stereoscopic 3-D, which adds depth and cinematic scope to the tiny sets.  For really great behind the scenes video, commentary and more, go to the official film site:

http://www.foxedmovie.com/

and download the film at ITunes :  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/movie/foxed!/id922682834

So what happens to Emily? How did these foxes kidnap her?  Who are these snaggle-toothed burrowers and what do they want?  If you check out the clips on the Foxed! site, Stewart has confirmed a feature-length film coming from this intriguing short, so I think the growing number of fans will get what they want:  More!!

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