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Q&A With Camera Obscura’s FX Maestro Jeff Farley

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Part of what makes the horror genre so much fun is all the creatures lurking in the shadows. One man who knows that in particular is special effects creator Jeff Farley, whose work has recently been featured in “Camera Obscura”, a new web series by Drew Daywalt that is currently being featured on Daily Motion as well as right here on Dread Central.

Farley, who grew up in Southern California, has made a name for himself over the last 25 years in the industry, working on such classics like The Serpent & The Rainbow, Shocker and Freddy’s Dead as well as modern cult faves like Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys, Evil Bong, and Parasomnia. We recently had a chance to catch up with Farley to chat about how he got his start working in special effects and his collaboration with Daywalt on “Camera Obscura”.

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Dread Central: Can you talk about how you got interested in FX work and your start in the industry? Did you have industry heroes when you were starting out?

Jeff: Being born and growing up in Glendale during the 60’s and ’70’s, I happened to be in the hub of the effects industry. By the time I was a teenager, I was hanging out every weekend at Forrest J. Ackerman’s and meeting all of these incredible people like Ray Harryhausen and John Landis. It was through Forry that I met Douglas Barrett Jones, who had worked for the Burmans, and he brought me onto my first film, Kingdom of the Spiders. It was a lowly job of making background spiders, but my two friends, Skip Torvinen and Mike Schulte, and I dove in and helped for a couple of weeks.

One of my neighbors was a guy named Richard Chew, and it turned out the he was one of the editors of Star Wars and Wolfen, and I’ll never forget holding his Oscar.

I also spent a lot of time bugging guys like David Allen, Jim Danforth, Dennis Muren and Mark McGee because of their involvement in Equinox. It turns out that they had shot that film around the area where I lived, and I realized then that it was possible for me to work in this field as a career. They were incredibly generous and helped me develop my interest into a skill. I’ll never be able to thank them enough.

It seems strange to me now that I realize I had a very privileged childhood. Looking back to the time that I was given the opportunity to play with an original Mighty Joe Young armature is a very surrealistic yet satisfying experience considering what I ended up doing. I try now to pass on to others what was passed on to me from those before by way of encouragement.

DC: How did you get involved with Drew Daywalt originally?

Jeff: I had answered an ad he put out looking for a monster for one of his films. It turns out it was for these guys called Fewdio. I had no idea who they were, but I knew when I saw the samples they brought that this was something special so I agreed to do a puppet for what ended up as Breach. Over the next few months he would contact me for projects that I wasn’t available for, but he would continue to call. Working with Drew has wound up being the best move I’ve made in my career as he has not only been absolutely the best person I’ve worked with, he, his family and friends have become good friends also. I can never thank him enough for including me.

DC: When you’re coming up with new creature designs, where does the inspiration come from?

Jeff: That’s a real tough answer as I seem to get inspired from different sources. Sometimes Drew will throw something at me in the way of a description or rough sketch which then I refine. Or it’s from an outside source like John U. Abrahamson and the Mama’s Baby creature. Or I’ll throw on a movie and dig through reference materials to get some ideas. I’ll also do a few pencil and Photoshop sketches and maybe a maquette or two. The weirdest thing is that I don’t really have nightmares and I spend most of my time watching Spaghetti Westerns these days.

DC: Let’s talk about the monsters in “Camera Obscura” – can you walk me through your process in coming up with the concept designs for the monsters to fabricating them (and working with the actors inside of them) up until they make it on screen?

Jeff: With the exception of Corpulence, Drew had made some cut and paste designs which had a very unnerving effect in that though all of these images were taken from different sources, when they were combined, they made a new image of a demonic vision. My job then became how to translate these images into three dimensions while still retaining a distorted effect. That was accomplished by sculpting the characters in a different way than was expected by Drew.

For example, Drew thought Magoria would just be accomplished with white contact lenses, a bald cap and white makeup. My concept included a prosthetic covering the top half of Azure Parson’s face, which I sculpted using Michaelangelo’s “Dawn” as a reference because I thought that the eyes should reflect a cold, impassionate feeling in the character and let Azure’s expressions and body language do the rest. As a matter of fact, all of the creature performers were incredibly professional and a joy to work with.

While most of the characters were sculpted, molded and run in foam latex, Splinter was constructed out of various different foam appliances to give a “patchwork” effect. His mask was then turned into a hand-puppet for the scenes with the tongue. Corpulence had no preliminary deign phase, just a vague concept. I went right into the sculpt on him and nailed down the look almost immediately. “Corp” was the most elaborate character in the show as he not only had a full-body suit, I also included some mechanics in the face for the bird-beak-eyes and other points of movement.

Even though I wasn’t “re-inventing the wheel” on this one, I had to use just about every technique I knew. I also had a great crew headed up by Dirk von Besser. Without all of them, I never could have done the project and I thank them all.

DC: I know you work a lot with Drew; can you talk a bit about your collaboration with him on “Camera Obscura”?

Jeff: When Drew first told me about “Camera Obscura”, he wasn’t offering me the show, but when he showed me the designs that he had worked up, I instantly knew I had to be involved. He turned out to be the most meticulous and detail-oriented director I had worked with for a long time, and I have a lot of respect for him for that. He knows exactly what he wants to shoot and cuts right “to-the-bone” when on set. It saves us so much time. It doesn’t hurt that he is also the nicest guy you would ever want to know. Since “Camera Obscura” we have been working together as co-producers on his films.

DC: With “Camera Obscura” out for the fans to enjoy now, what’s next for you guys?

Jeff: We have so many films in various stages of pre-production, production and post-production. We are always busy doing what we love. Upcoming films include Mama’s Baby, The Kindred, Polydeus, Bad Cookie, The Old Chair, My Name Is Chris Kringle, Room 19, Naked and I think a few more. This is all through January so this is going to be a very busy holiday season for us!

Big thanks to Jeff for hanging with us. Check out some cool behind-the-scenes stills below and make sure to dig on Daily Motion’s “Camera Obscura” page to watch this bone-chilling new web series!

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Q&A With Camera Obscura's FX Maestro Jeff Farley

Heather Wixson

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Michael Bay Adapting Duke Nukem with John Cena in Talks For Lead Role

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I think we can all agree that this may very well be one of those times when we see an announcement and go, “Huh… That actually makes 100% sense and I’m completely behind it!”

It’s been announced that the classic FPS shooter series Duke Nukem is getting a film adaptation out of Paramount with Platinum Dunes, the company owned by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller, producing the movie. As of now, there is no script but the plan is to have WWE superstar John Cena taking on the lead role. As of now, it’s still in early stages but this is actually very exciting news as this combination seems like a match made in heaven.

Just think about some of Bay’s films, like Transformers, Bad Boys, The Rock, The Island, etc… Now imagine that kind of gleeful explosive action as the backdrop for Cena to kick untold amounts of alien ass. For those who worry that Bay won’t go hard enough in terms of violence or offensive language, don’t forget that both Bad Boys films as well as Pain & Gain were rated R for very good reasons.

Duke Nukem was originally released back in 1991 in the self-titled game made by Apogee Software. The character has since been in multiple sequels, although there are only four titles to the main storyline, and spin-offs as well as appearing in cameos in other games such as Death Rally, Blood, Serious Sam 2, Balls of Steel and can be seen in the trailer for Ready Player One. Nukem’s last video game appearance was 2011’s Duke Nuke Forever, a game that went through countless delays only to be met with critical panning upon release.

Horror fans who have played Duke Nukem will recognize many of the character’s iconic one-liners as being lifted from several horror films. Quotes from They Live, Army of Darkness, Aliens, Predator, Jaws, Full Metal Jacket, Evil Dead 2, and many more. The references were littered throughout and many delighted in their homages. However, Bruce Campbell wasn’t a fan when asked about the game back in 1999. He told IGN, “…they’re rip-off artists. Let them get their own damn material. It’s called hiring a writer.” [Source].

That being said, how cool would it be if Campbell made an appearance in the film to put Cena’s Duke Nukem in his place should he use one of those quotes? Apart from being a treat for fans of the games, it’d be a great moment in a film that’s meant to be chock full of bravado, machismo, and strong chins!

Coming back to Platinum Dunes’ adaptation, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this project! In the meanwhile, why not tell us your favorite Duke Nukem moment in the comments!

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Ellen Page and The Cured Come Home to VOD

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We’ve been talking about the new zombie flick starring Ellen Page entitled The Cured for quite some time now, and we’ll soon be able to sink our teeth into it courtesy of IFC Films.

The flick stars Page (Juno, Hard Candy), Sam Keeley (Anthropoid, In the Heart of the Sea), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Avengers: Infinity War, The Infiltrator), and Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games trilogy, “Ray Donovan”) and is directed and written by David Freyne in his first feature film. Look for it in theaters and On Demand on February 23, 2018​.

Synopsis:
What happens when the undead return to life? In a world ravaged for years by a virus that turns the infected into zombie-like cannibals, a cure is at last found and the wrenching process of reintegrating the survivors back into society begins. Among the formerly afflicted is Senan (Sam Keeley), a young man haunted by the horrific acts he committed while infected. Welcomed back into the family of his widowed sister-in-law (Ellen Page), Senan attempts to restart his life—but is society ready to forgive him and those like him? Or will fear and prejudice once again tear the world apart? 

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#Brainwaves Episode 74 Guest Announcement: Creature Designer Mike Hill – The Shape of Water and More!

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We’re getting monstrous on Episode 74 of Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio as joining us will be award-winning artist, filmmaker, and creature designer Mike Hill, whose work you can see right now in a little film called The Shape of Water.

Join us this coming Wednesday, January 24th, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

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Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC using the hashtag #BrainWaves. You can also check us out on our Brainwaves Discord channel!

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at UncleCreepy@dreadcentral.com with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

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