Hi Barry, hope you are doing well. Let's start
this www.racksandrazors.com readers off with a
graphic and describe the room where you're
answering these questions.
Hello Owen and
Racks and Razors readers. I am at work at
Ripley's Entertainment's Art dept, I am the
Director of the Art dept. the room is filled with
freaks and sideshow oddities as well as other
creepy and strange wax figures. I have been with
Riley's Entertainment for almost twelve years
designing and making museum figures and other
interesting things to send around the world. I
truly love it! Believe it or not!
congrats on being named head of Special FX for
Sid Haig's horror directorial debut 'Bubba
The Redneck Werewolf'. What exactly does
the job entail?
Bubba is an exciting project and I'm fortunate to
be involved. I loved Mitch Hyman's comic long
before I heard anything about a movie. The
project is in pre-production. At this time I am
designing the look of some of the makeup effects.
I will be overseeing all of the makeup and
special effects props with a crew of talented
Florida artists. The effects will be old school
using foam and Goo. We will use prosthetics and
puppetry instead of computers.
So what is
something about Sid that his fans would be
shocked to discover?
to discover? I can't tell you that Sid sits
around in clown makeup at home or anything, but I
can say that he's a really great guy. I am
fascinated with his long career pre Rob Zombie.
He has done a ton of stuff. Some people may not
know that Sid is a musician as well. I have a
great love for music especially the 50's roots of
Rock and Roll. Sid was there and has some
fascinating stories to tell. I could talk to him
for hours just on that subject alone. I first met
Sid at the Florida Scream Festival two years ago
where we were both guests. It's a great show!!! I
also think that Sid is going to be a guest at
Ripley's Haunted Attraction in Gatlinburg TN. (I
just thru in several plugs)
seamlessly I might add. I know you do a lot of
various sorts of FX work - sculpture, figure
making, make-up, reconstruction, etc. What do you
consider to be your strongest talent within the
area of effects?
really gets me excited is the designing of
something. The rest is going through the motions
to make it happen. I really enjoy working with a
wide variety of materials and have been a
professional artist for over 23 years. I am an
illustrator, sculptor and painter as well as
doing makeup work. Having mastered many of these
techniques has enabled me to survive as an
artist. You really should be proficient at many
skills to do makeup effects.
with the FX in so many horror movies - 'Jeepers
Creepers' 1 & 2, 'Oliver
Twisted, 'Day of the Dead',
'Scared Stiff', 'The
Unholy', 'The Disturbance'
etc. What effect that you've done stands out in
your mind as your finest film work?
exclusively in Florida has been a challenge. Most
of the projects have been B films with little
budgets and me in my garage sweating bullets. I
am proud of my achievements and work hard on all
my projects whatever the budget is. I think one
of the more shocking things was on 'The Unholy'
when I disemboweled actor William Russ hanging
upside down on a cross in a church. It was
creepy! Fangoria printed the picture with the
comment "is this the grossest thing we have
ever printed?" that was quite a compliment.
And is there any
effect you can say hands down was the most
difficult or challenging to pull off?
I got the
chance to make actor and kick box champion
Michele Quissi into a Mongolian fighter. Besides
transforming him into this character makeup it
had to be repeated numerous times which is also
difficult on the actor.
I want to hear
about your career path. So what took you from
Point A to Point B --- from what I imagine to be
a child with a love of horror and things to
making this your livelihood?
I grew up
in Jamestown N. Y. one block from a tool factory
perhaps that's how I got my blue-collar attitude.
I had a strange fascination with monsters and
weird stuff from a very early age. I honed my
skills on making creepy crawlers and aurora
monster model kits and drew monsters constantly.
In high school I was headed for trouble a true
rebel, fortunately my art teacher began talking
to me about art school. After graduation, which
did not come easy for me -- summer school three
years in a row, I headed off to art school. I
studied advertisement and design at the Art
Institute of Pittsburgh. From there I came down
to Fort Lauderdale during spring break. It was
ten degrees in Buffalo NY to eighty degrees in
Fl. I never went back. I found out about a film
makeup school in Miami and that was it, I had to
go. I saw that films were being made and I wanted
to get my foot in the door. I found my way in
after I got an agent and took a few acting
workshops and began as an extra in several
things. At the time I was a punk rocker and it
made me standout from the crowd. This was not my
big goal but it did lead to a great opportunity
when I got a call to try out for a new television
program I changed my look to rockabilly and
landed a regular part as an extra undercover cop
on the first season of Miami Vice. It was an
amazing experience but I choose not to go back
for the second season and wanted to pursue makeup
and art. Right after Vice I got a chance to work
with Tom Savini on George Romero's Day of the
Dead in Sanibel Island helping to make an army of
gut munching zombies. This was my dream come
true, the guys that made zombies roam the
Monroeville mall in Pittsburgh were coming to Fl
and I got to work with them. It was a great
experience that put me in the direction I wanted
to be in.
Going along with
that was there any one film when you watched as a
kid that made you sit up and think, "That is
what I want to do!"
fortunate during my childhood days that they
would have Fright Night on the weekends. It was
like an event every weekend as kids. Dr.
Frankenstein was my childhood hero -- a man who
could make monsters. I guess I wanted to be a mad
scientist at that time. I later realized that
Jack Pierce was the hero that made the monster.
Any advice to the
folks out there interested in horror movie
effects as an occupation?
some schools cranking out students. It is
competitive out there so you need to really work
on your art skills and original designs. You want
a portfolio that stands out from the crowd. In my
case living in Florida and definitely not LA. I
would have starved to death had it not been for
my art skills. Another thing I should mention is
that I try to be the good guy, which comes easy
for me. People skills are just as important as
talent. There are a lot of egomaniacs out there
in the business I always stay well grounded and
my family always comes first.
I am also curious
how you see the future of FX in films. Do you see
an increase due to the resurgence of horror or do
you see a decrease with the popularity of CG
now doubt that computers are here and they are
not going away. Some amazing things are being
done with CGI but like most new things it is
being over done. Many times I have seen
computer-generated effects ruin a film. Often
traditional makeup effects could have and should
have been used. Some people probably love it but
to me it's like watching a cartoon. It takes away
the believability of the film. I hope filmmakers
will learn to balance the two. I personally love
some of the 80s makeup laden films of Stuart
So we're pulling
the car into the Barry Anderson Drive In. What
three horror flicks are you going to be showing
on the triple bill and what goodies will you be
serving up at the concession stand?
Drive Inn, I am sad to see that part of Americana
gone by the wayside. Many young people will never
experience the thrill of driving up to an all
I know, that is
I think I
would start off with a Roger Corman flick staring
Vincent Price based on an Edgar Allen Poe story
then go to early 70s sleaze probably Texas
Chainsaw then top it off with Romero's Day of the
What makes you do
psycho in real life?
makes my blood boil but for good fun psycho I
love some good live psychobilly music!! Howl
What scares you
in real life?
the news scares me. Something else that has
scarred me since childhood is that I do sometimes
see dead people. My grandmother Mildred Anderson
was a gifted psychic in NY State. She would
appear on television and radio and take me with
her at times. She had an amazing gift and I guess
I inherited some of that. I have lived in two
homes that were haunted, I sold one five years
ago. It is very disturbing to wake up and see
someone starring at you alive or dead.
I would imagine.