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Dread Central hit the carpet of the season finale wrap party of Syfy series “Monster Man” this past Monday, April 16th, in Hollywood and brought back a gallery’s worth of photos and highlights of our chat with “Monster Man” star/SOTA FX’s Roy Knyrim.
Held at the Rolling Stone Lounge at the Hollywood & Highland complex in the heart of Hollywood, California, those on hand for the festivities included the previously mentioned filmmaker/effects artist Knyrim along with fellow “Monster Man” cast members Cleve Hall, Constance Hall, Elora Hall and Sonja Maddox-Hall as well as Johnny Saiko and Cindy Miller. Other talent gracing the carpet included directors Brett and Drew Pierce (DeadHeads), Mike Mendez (Mega Spider), Jason Miller (Infected) and John Michael Elfers (Finale), as did effects artist Jerry Macaluso (“Face/Off”) and actors Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects), Reggie Bannister (Phantasm), R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III), Natalie Victoria (DeadHeads), Allison Kyler (Hallow Pointe), Ariel Teal Toombs (Hell’s Belles), Constance McCrory (“NCIS”), Devanny Pinn (VIVid), Brandon Slagle and Jessica Cameron (Camel Spiders), among others.
Chatting with Knyrim, who formed SOTA FX in 1990 with partner Macaluso, he said of wrapping Season One (the series’ final episode ‘Devoman vs. Clevezilla’ airs tonight, April 18th, at 10 pm on Syfy), “I think the show came off great. I mean, I don’t like anything, and I like the show. I think it’s really cool, and it gave us a lot of great opportunity. For the season finale I got to direct a music video for Devo, and we did all of the effects for it, and Devo wrote a song for us. For me, I saw Devo on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1977 when I was ten years old, and now I get to direct a music video for them? That’s a childhood dream come true.”
Filming the series wasn’t without its challenges, however, as witnessed in the episode ‘Between Arachnid and a Hard Place,’ which documented SOTA’s efforts to deliver a functioning practical spider for director Mike Mendez’s then-shooting feature Mega Spider (the filmmaker eventually went the CG route in the realization of his titular beast).
“Mike was really up against a horrible schedule, and I don’t think he had a lot of time to set practical stuff up on set,” reflected Knyrim of the choice. “He was a really big fan of me wanting to do it, and I think that he really wanted the practical effects to really work. I think, though, that in the long run he was behind schedule and under the gun, and it was easier for him to lock the camera up and shoot a plate. But we did come back later and we did a bunch of stuff with a melting head and all of the inserts, and those worked out great. (With the spider) the practical effects have to be done in a very controlled environment, though, and if you don’t have the time to set the stuff up properly, there’s just no way to make it work.”
Also challenging was delivering work while surrounded by the reality film crew.
“Yeah, it was freaky,” offered Knyrim of the dynamic which was introduced to SOTA during photography, “because you’d go do something, and then if they really liked it and they missed it, they would want you to do it again so that’s really hard when we are trying to make an effects deadline. And what are you going to do when you are trying to make people happy? I think the people that complain and hate online and say, ‘Well, I don’t think the effects look so good,’ it’s like, they aren’t there in the situation that we were in, and they don’t realize that we are trying to get things done in four days for absolutely no money. I mean, if you are doing a werewolf suit in four days and the hair shows up on the third day? We are talking micro-budget effects.”
We queried Knyrim, whose myriad credits include serving as the makeup effects supervisor on the 1998 Oscar winning film Gods and Monsters, of the amount of scripted ‘reality’ inherent to “Monster Man”.
“A lot of the conflict with the time drama and time crunches, that’s just real,” he replied. “I see a lot of people online posting, ‘You know, well Cleve would be able to get this stuff done if Roy wouldn’t take these jobs with these horrible deadlines,’ but the bottom line is, I can’t turn work down. If I turn a job down, someone else is going to take it, and SOTA and Cleve, we are all a bunch of working class people so we don’t have the luxury of turning down jobs. I mean, I’ve kept SOTA in business really by taking every job we can, and we have a great reputation for delivering the best work producers can possibly get on their time schedules.”
As for his thoughts on a potential second season of “Monster Man”, Knyrim said, “I hope it goes. We’d really like to get Insane Clown Posse on it. Those guys are good friends of mine and they gave me my directing career, and they are funny as hell. I think to showcase them on a Syfy channel show would be great for them and great for us. That’s what I’d really like to see!”
“Monster Man” airs on Wednesdays at 10:00 PM (ET/PT). For more info visit “Monster Man” on Syfy.
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