Dread Visits Illusion Industries – Exclusive Photos, Video and More!
Recently Dread visited the Burbank, CA effects house Illusion Industries (formerly Drac Studios) for an extensive tour guided by company president and make-up artist Todd Tucker and while there got the lowdown on the future of the company as well as exclusive word on a handful of upcoming projects, including the Brooke Lewis-starring Vamp It Out and Tucker’s currently untitled Zack Ward vehicle, which he is set to direct later this year in New Orleans, LA.
While Tucker and Drac Studios’ previous credits include over a hundred films well regarded within the horror realm (his crew, made up of artists Joe Colwell, Martin Astles, Miles Teves and Adam Wells, have in the past delivered the innovative character creations for such respected fare as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Watchmen, The Passion of the Christ, Hannibal, The Mask and more), the re-branding of his company as Illusion Industries serves to not only communicate to the industry at large the full-service capabilities of the 11,600-square-foot shop - from character design to delivery - but also to announce its new independent production wing.
With his focus to remain on special effects make-up, animatronics and production services, Tucker has now joined forces with CPA & CEO Ronald Halvas and Executive VP Seth William Meier (the latter of whom brings to the company his experience as a line producer), and with the creation of three new company arms (in Moscow, Russia and Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana), Illusion Industries’ approach (according to Tucker) is, “To continue to offer superior quality creations,” as well as (given the company’s strategically placed trio of shops) multiple tax incentives to film productions tapping their resources.
Speaking with Tucker following our tour (which included an intensive look at the company’s many services, including ZBrush design, sculpture, mold-making, animatronics and foam latex/silicone prosthetic appliance and painting, with a living demonstration presented via the transformation of easy-on-the-eyes scream queen and producer Brooke Lewis as a rather hideous zombie), the FX artist and filmmaker (Tucker previously served as the director of this year’s family flick Monster Mutt) told us, “Currently right now we have three projects in development in-house. One of them is Christmas Tales, which is a family movie we are doing that focuses on Santa’s dog who must save Christmas and which incorporates animatronics and puppets in a digital environment, which hopefully we’ll be shooting this summer for a December release."
"We also are doing the film Mr. Zorb – My Substitute is an Alien, which is sort of like Galaxy Quest (in tone) and will feature a combination of puppets and makeup, and which is geared towards the ‘tween audience. Also we are working on the Halloween family special Vamp It Out, which I’m producing with Brooke (Lewis), who will also star. The other project is our first in-house horror film, which is not titled yet. (Actor) Zack Ward, who was our bad-guy in Monster Mutt and who was ‘Scut Farkus’ in A Christmas Story, will appear as the villain in that. So we are taking everything we have at our disposal here and using them (in the production of these properties). Most of them are budgeted under five million. The in-house production part of the company is a lot of fun for us, and for me as a producer and a director, and it’s also a great outlet for us to create our own product and to actually have a library of films which we own.”
Check out some exclusive imagery below, and click on for the next page and more eye candy including a video with Brooke Lewis!