Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Assorted Bits & Pieces: Hudson Horror Show XI in Poughkeepsie, NY!

Hudson Horror Show XI in Poughkeepsie, New York sold out within an hour of its tickets going on sale on the 28th of March. A bit late posting about it, I figured it still might be of interest for those who may be able to snag a ticket from someone with extras to sell. If you're looking to buy or sell a ticket(s), the folks at HHS ask to do so at their FB page HERE. However, you don't need tickets to shop at their vendors. Below is the official press release of the five films (including mystery movie) they'll be showing on Saturday, June 13th, 2015. For those attending, click HERE for the Hudson Horror Show rules... you'll be glad you did!

Fresh off a sold out show at the Alamo Drafthouse, Hudson Horror Show returns to the hallowed grounds of the Empire South Hills 8 in Poughkeepsie, NY!  In our sixth year and presented by Vinegar Syndrome and the B Movie Film Vault, Hudson Horror #11 is a 12 hour retro film festival, with all movies being presented from vintage 35mm films.

Show #11 features five full length movies plus dozens of retro trailers and ads, plus vendors selling horror related toys, t-shirts and more!  B Movie Film Vault will open the show with A MYSTERY MOVIE!  We don’t know what it is, but we know it will be good.  OK, maybe it will be bad.  But we guarantee it will be fun, and it will off 35mm.

Vinegar Syndrome presents a very special screening of MADMAN!  While they have digitally restored this cult slasher for their beautiful new DVD/Blu Ray special edition (which they will have for sale at the show) they will be presenting an original release 35mm print of this long lost shocker! To make it even more special, MADMAN producer Gary Sales and Madman Marz himself, actor Paul Ehlers, will be in attendance to introduce the movie and do a live Q &A! 

We love a good revenge story and one of the truly best is Ms. 45!  Abel Ferrara’s rape/revenge flick is just as powerful as ever and we are pleased to get this gritty grindhouse meets arthouse classic back up on the big screen at Hudson Horror Show #11.

It’s time to get weird with the awesome awkwardness of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE!  The first of the many Elm Street sequels is celebrating its 30th anniversary and that makes it high time to bask in its insanity.

We’ll close the show with a whopper of a tale and arguably one of the greatest movies of all time, a special 40th anniversary screening of JAWS!  No clean, digital restoration here as in true Hudson Horror style we are presenting a beautifully weathered vintage 35mm film print!

Our last show was a record setting advance sell out and tickets for this show will go on sale Saturday, March 28th, 2015 at 12pm E.S. T.  Advance tickets are just $31.00 for 12 hours of movie madness! Click here on March 28th to purchase tickets.

As always we’ll have vendors selling toys, DVD’s, t-shirts and other merchandise.  Vinegar Syndrome will be set up selling copies of MADMAN and all of their other DVD’s and Blu Rays.  If you are interested in being a vendor, or if you have a question about the show, shoot us an email at info@hudsonhorror.com.  Keep watching our website and Facebook page for more info and we’ll see you on Saturday, June 13th, 2015 for Hudson Horror Show#11!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

An Interview with Makeup Effects Artist and Author, William Munns

Special Makeup Effects Artist William Munns has had a lifelong passion for movies, makeup, monsters, and the creatures that populate our world; and even those mysterious beings that may not. Following in the footsteps of his peers and colleagues, Munns made super 8 films before embarking on his profession of both teaching the art of makeup to budding FX artists (from 1973-1979, and again in 1987-1994), to creating cinematic creatures great and small. Having worked in the television medium, and on films of varying sizes and budgets, Munns was able to pull off impressive work when he often had little time and money to do so. His passion for nature and wildlife led to his association with, and studying under Ralph Helfer, founder of the renowned Gentle Jungle, Inc, an animal training facility that has dozens of films and TV credits to its name. Tiring of making monsters, by the late 1980s Munns concentrated on creating wildlife exhibits and prehistoric hominids and dinosaurs for museums and theme park; these included robotic attractions during his time working at Creative Presentations, Inc. Sasquatch fans will no doubt find interest in Munns' enthusiasm for Cryptozoology. His Bigfoot studies led to the epic, 500+ page book, 'When Roger Met Patty'; published in 2014, it's a meticulously compiled, serious look into the Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967. Munns embraced CGI technology in 1997--a technique which was an indispensable tool with research for the aforementioned, legendary Bigfoot film. In the field of special makeup effects, William Munns is a rare artist who has vast experience in not only making fantasy creatures, but working with real ones as well.

Recently Mr. Munns answered a number of questions about his career, primarily in film makeup effects. Below is the result of that interview, followed by links to his website with anecdotes about his work and where to purchase his book on the PG Bigfoot film. Munns likewise answered a number of questions solely about his time working on the 'killer lion' movie, SAVAGE HARVEST; and those questions and answers can be found HERE at the bottom of the review for the film.

VENOMS5: Where did your interest in makeup effects originate from? Was it a film, or your interest in wildlife and Cryptozoology? 

WILLIAM MUNNS: My interest in makeup and special effects originated with Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, and the wonderful creature things in it. The single makeup I think inspired me most was the Morlocks from THE TIME MACHINE (1960). I can't think of a time when I wasn't loving wildlife and nature. Cryptozoology began to fascinate me when the Abominable Snowman was first described, before Bigfoot caught on.

V5: How did you working on BLACKENSTEIN (1973) come about?

WM: BLACKENSTEIN was one of my first pro jobs, definitely my first doing makeup prosthetics. A fellow makeup artist, Gordon Fried, got the job of doing the regular makeup and he came to me to do the monster prosthetics. 

V5: What's the story behind your involvement on QUEST FOR FIRE (1981)? I've read it was originally cancelled and restarted elsewhere.

WM: Ralph Helfer and I did bid on a concept to take live animals and make them into prehistoric ones (Indian Elephant to Wooly Mammoth, Black Rhino to Wooly Rhino, big Lioness to Sabretooth Cat, big horse [like a Shire] into a Megaloceros [giant Irish Elk]), but our bid wasn't accepted. So the film started with other people and other animal trainers in Europe. They filmed the movie and came to Canada to do post production and then felt some scenes were needed, and so they came to Ralph to put together some animals (like a pack of wolves) and trainers to fight with the animals; and I was brought in to make dental impressions of the trainers (so the Canadian makeup team could make dental prosthetics for the trainers) and Rae Dawn Chong needed a full belly mold so they could fit her for a pregnancy prosthetic. So I did some dental casts and the body mold of Rae's stomach. I wasn't paid for it, and I was in the middle of multiple projects (including SWAMP THING and SUPERSTITION) so my effort was minimal to the overall production.

V5: On THE BOOGENS (1981) you've stated the filmmakers weren't quite sure what a "Boogen" should look like. What was your experience on this picture?

WM: The Boogens people were very nice, but they just couldn't make up their minds on what they wanted the Boogens to look like. So we ended up with a body like a sheep's brain, tentacles, claw pinchers, and a turtle-like retractable head. I wasn't on set every day, so I missed the day when they accidentally set fire to their cave set (inside an abandoned supermarket) and the foam used to make the rockwork was highly flammable then, and the whole building went up in flames in two minutes. Thankfully, nobody died in that fire. 

V5: Which effects did you handle on DEAD AND BURIED (1981) and how was the experience working on that cult favorite?

WM: Mainly the guy with tubes put into his nose and acid pumped into his sinuses so his face dissolves and collapses. There were two animatronic heads of him for two takes of the scene. I think I did something with a slit throat, too, but my memory is vague about that one (it was a harpoon slashing;see insert). That experience was great for me, all the time, money, and crew to do it perfectly. It was funny that when Fangoria first ran an article about the film coming out with an article about Stan Winston's great work on the cover, it was my head they show with his cover line. Stan wasn't happy.

V5: You replaced a previous makeup artist on THE BEASTMASTER (1982) with an enormous amount of work to be done in a short amount of time. Was there anything you wanted to do on this picture but were unable to because of time?

WM: I replaced Michael McCracken, Jr. three weeks before shooting started. It was all I could do to simply finish the effects they needed. So I didn't go into it with any visions of what I wanted to do, but rather just took their list of things they needed finished and worked from that.

V5: What involvement did you have on SUPERSTITION (1982), and how did that job come about?

WM: I was originally the effects supervisor on SUPERSTITION while SWAMP THING (1982) was stalled because of complications in the production deal; so when SWAMP THING went active, I couldn't prep it and be on set for SUPERSTITION, so I turned that movie over to David Miller and Steve LaPorte, who were on my crew prepping. I can't remember how I got involved with that one. 

V5: SWAMP THING was another troubled production. What was it like being a suit actor when you had to step in for Ben Bates? Would you want to do it again?

WM: I understood the physical stress of working in a suit, and I grew up with a stuntman for my next door neighbor, so I knew the basics of stunt fights. I wouldn't do it now because I'm old and out of shape. But my philosophy was always to lend a hand and try to help get the movie done, even if something they need isn't in my original idea. 

V5: Would you say money and time is the biggest problem facing makeup effects artists on low budget movies?

WM: Always.

Munns' makeup for Doc the chimp on Brainstorm
V5: BRAINSTORM (1983) had its share of problems. How was your experience on this big budget movie versus smaller budget pictures?

WM: The people were wonderful. Doug Trumbull and his production designer John Vallone. We worked out a concept and they just trusted me to deliver, which I did. Natalie Wood's tragic death is what really damaged the production.

V5: I take it WHAT WAITS BELOW (1984) was a disappointment for you as per the alteration to your original creature designs (see insert below). Did you have a hand in the giant snake monster also?

Munns' less vicious, humanoid makeup
WM: Yes, I was disappointed they changed my original concept, but everything kept changing on that show. Tony Gardner did the snake/eel thing.

V5: It went through a few title changes. How was it working with director Don Sharp?

WM: I actually developed the story with Sandy Howard when it was called 'The Primitives'. We set up the basic story while in Brazil when we were doing SAVAGE HARVEST (1981). It took three years to get it made, and they were constantly changing the story, the creatures, the budget, everything. Don Sharp had his own ideas about the creatures, and he wanted things my makeup budget would not allow. That's when the project became a challenge.

Munns' Creature and Little Big Man FX recreations
V5: I've a fondness for monster suits, so I was curious how long it took you to build your CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON replica. Was this during your time as a teacher at Elegance Academy of Professional Makeup in Los Angeles?

WM: Yes, in my makeup school years, around 1975-1976. I guess I put about 300 hours into it.

V5: With your lifelong interest in Cryptozoology, did you ever build a Bigfoot suit?

WM: I built a 8' tall Bigfoot figure when I was director of the Makeup school, but I don't have photos of the full scale one. Just photos of my 1/6th scale design maquette which you can see in my book, 'When Roger Met Patty'

V5: Outside of the PG film, do you have a favorite movie about Bigfoot?

WM: No favorite.

V5: Is their anything on your resume you'd like to change if you could go back and do so?

WM: I never think about if I could change the past. I just like to learn from the problem jobs so the aggravation as a constructive result. 

V5: I notice a lot of the films you worked on, you were frequently given little time and money to pull off your makeup effects. Do you feel like you'd made a name for yourself by being able to work efficiently under such pressure, or was this a normal occurrence in the FX field?

WM: It's normal to some extent. One does not succeed at all if you can't handle the pressure and be inventive on short order.

V5: Is their a film or memory on or off a film set that you're particularly proud of?

WM: I did a commercial for AST Computers in 1987, a parody of the 2001 'Dawn of Man' segment with five ape suits, and the hero mask was a 12 function RC head. That was probably my happiest, most successful (and most financially profitable) project. One of these days I need to transfer the VHS tape of it to digital video so it can be shown.

V5: What are you up to these days?

WM: Still working on PGF (Patterson-Gimlin Film) things, and trying to get a lip sync software invention funded for development. 

V5: Last question. With CGI having taken over the FX realm, do you think practical effects will ever become the dominant form again? Such as in prosthetics, blood squibs, creatures, etc. I see some films going back to it, and others claiming they were going to utilize practical effects, but did not (THE THING prequel/remake for example).

WM: No, I don't see any filmmakers going back to practical effects, because CGI just keeps getting better and better, and easier, and more spectacular compared to what physical effects can do. There will always be injury makeups and facial prosthetics for character effects, but that's about it.

For even more background information (particularly about Munns' involvement on films like SWAMP THING and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) and behind the scenes photos of his body of work both in and outside movies, check out his website at the link HERE.

To purchase his book on the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film at amazon, 'When Roger Met Patty', click HERE

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