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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

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Alien: Covenant’s Carmen Ejogo Joins True Detective Season 3

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“From the dusty mesa her looming shadow grows…”

The first season of HBO’s “True Detective” was one of the best seasons ever put on a TV screen. Hands down. The second season was another story altogether. While not a complete waste of time (Colin Farrell owed) the season was basically merely ‘meh’.

But what about “True Detective” season 3?

Well, a few months back it was announced that the third season had been greenlit by HBO, with creator Nic Pizzolatto returning to pen the series and director Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) taking the helm of the episodes.

Today we have news that Carmen Ejogo – who you may recognize Ejogo from such recent fright flicks as It Comes at Night, Alien: Covenant, and The Purge: Anarchy – will be joining the previously announced Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Season 3.

Ejogo will play the female lead, Amelia Reardon, who THR describes as “an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980.”

Nice Pizzolatto will serve as showrunner and direct alongside Jeremy Saulnier. Executive producers include Pizzolatto, Saulnier, Scott Stephens and season one stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as well as original director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown are also credited as exec producers.

Synopsis:

A macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.

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Danielle Harris Tried to Get Jamie Lloyd into New Halloween Movie

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One of the top films all of us are looking forward to the most here at Dread Central is Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel/reboot thing to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The new Halloween (2018) film is written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green and is all set to be directed by Green this year. Recently we learned that original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis was going to be returning to the new film.

Not only that, but Curtis’ classic character Laurie Strode would have a daughter… played by Judy Greer. But what about Danielle Harris?

After all, Harris was the star of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Curse of Michael Myers. Let alone, she had a starring role in both Rob Zombie’s remake and it’s sequel. So how about the new film?

Turns out Harris tried to get her character Jamie Llyod (aka the daughter of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode) from Halloween 4 and 5 into the new film… but she was turned down by Blumhouse and the new creative team. That sucks.

Harris was pretty bummed about the whole deal and took to Facebook recently to clear the air. You can check out quotes from her video, along with the video itself, below.

After that make sure to hit us up and let us know how much you would have liked to see Harris return to Halloween in the comments below or on social media!

“What I am bummed about is… [Laurie] has a daughter,” Harris says. “I was okay with it when she had a son… but they’re saying it’s the last one and… she has a daughter. And it’s not Jamie. It’s just kind of a bummer, I guess. I think somebody had said, it wouldn’t have hurt the movie to have Jamie reunited with [Laurie]. But that didn’t happen.”

“We did put in a call, thought it’d be kinda cool even just to have a little flashback…” She continues. “They were not interested. So. I tried.”

Blumhouse’s Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

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Posted by Danielle Harris on Monday, November 6, 2017

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Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review

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Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

Directed by Charles Martin Smith


I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

Now let’s get to it.

First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

Rockstar lighting for days.

Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

  • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5
3.5

Summary

Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

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User Rating 3.25 (12 votes)
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