Barry Anderson has the coolest job on the planet or one of them anyway. He is the Director of the Art Department for Ripley's Entertainment and Believe It Or Not! And that is his day job! He also has done a great deal of work on horror film FX as well he'll be heading the effects of the new Sid Haig directed horror flick 'Bubba The Redneck Werewolf' which is still in pre-production. His additional horror credits include 'Jeepers Creepers' Parts 1 & 2, 'The Unholy' , George Romero's 'Day of the Dead' , 'Scared Stiff' , 'The Disturbance' , 'The Girl With the Hungry Eyes' , 'Oliver Twisted' , etc. Recently I had a chance to catch up with Barry for this exclusive review and by the second or third question I had some pretty severe career envy.


Hi Barry, hope you are doing well. Let's start this 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!

First off, 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?

Thanks, 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?

Shocked 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)

And quite 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?

What 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.

You've worked 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?

Working 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!"

I was 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?

There are 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 effects?

There is 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 Gordon etc

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?

The old 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 night Horror-thon.

I know, that is so sad.

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 Dead.

What makes you do psycho in real life?

Politics makes my blood boil but for good fun psycho I love some good live psychobilly music!! Howl

What scares you in real life?

Watching 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. Thanks Barry.