One thing that’s barely given away in all the Doomsday clips and trailer I’ve seen is the effect the Reaper virus has on its victims. We’ve been told it’s horrific, melting your insides and causing its victims to basically dissolve inside out, but to really find out what it does and how, we went to the source: makeup effects artist Paul Hyett.
Hyett first started working with Marshall on The Descent and has lent his talents to a ton of other recent horror offerings like The Sick House, Cold and Dark and Waz. We picked his brain to find out more about Doomsday and what fans can expect when it’s out on Friday, March 14th.
Johnny Butane: How did you get your start in makeup effects?
Paul Hyett: I pretty much was influenced by Rob Bottin, Rick Baker and Tom Savini. I was so blown away by their work. I got my first start just working for free on very low budget movies and kind of taught myself as at that time back in 1993, there wasn’t much makeup FX work (definitely not as much as now) and nobody really wanted to take any young guys in and teach them, so I took the long way round.
JB: How did you and Neil Marshall first hook up?
PH: Neil’s friend and Production Designer Simon Bowles (“>interview) introduced me to Neil at the pre prep time of The Descent. And we got on and I think he liked my ideas and we shot Descent.
JB: What kind of challenges did you have on Doomsday that you didn’t expect to be faced with?
PH: Well I kind of know what Neil wants so I try to be as prepared as possible, but Neil’s great like that; he has a great understanding of how makeup effects works and understands that everything needs to be made in advance and never asked the impossible. He’s also great at seeing what we have and shooting it in a way that makes it look great, some directors don’t quite know what to do but Neil always knew what to do with everything we made.
JB: Was there a big difference in the atmosphere of the shoot between Doomsday, a studio picture, and The Descent?
PH: Not really, it was pretty much the same team as The Descent; the only difference was the weather. Where The Descent was in cold Pinewood Studios in winter, Doomsday was lovely and warm in Cape Town!
JB: What kind of diseases did you study to come up with the makeup for the infected in Doomsday?
PH: I looked at everything and it ended up being a mix of sexual diseases, chicken pox and skin fungus. I really wanted to make it look as infectious as possible. I showed Neil a few different tests on someone and said to Neil to pick one. Neil said, “Use them all; it is the ultra virus!” So we ended up using a mix, looked a bit gross.
JB: Just how much blood and guts can we expect from Doomsday?
PH: I remember saying to Neil, “You know there’s more gore in this then The Descent,” and he thought about it and agreed. After all, we have decapitations, cannibalism, people being squashed by tanks, stabbings, arrows goings through necks, cut throats, infected people bleeding and vomiting, peoples hands being blown apart, dead corpses everywhere…
JB: The Reaper virus at the heart of the story does some pretty nasty things to its victims; did you look forward to figuring out how to pull off some of the gags when you first read the script?
PH: Yeah, it was great fun, Neil loves this stuff and knows what he wants and how to use it for maximum impact!
JB: I see you worked on Gallowwalker, another film we’ve been covering on the site; what kind of effects did you handle for it?
PH: We did Skinless cowboys, a half lizard man, skinned bodies, dead nuns and various gore gags…
JB: Any idea what stage it’s in?
PH: I think Gallowwalker is still in post, I saw a bit of it and it looks great, very Sergio Leone.
JB: How was working on Mutant Chronicles?
PH: It was fun, it was my first green screen movie and we done so many mutants and gore gags including a lot of world war II-style gore injuries.
JB: What else do you have coming up that will make horror fans happy?
PH: Well coming up, we have Waz, a Tom Shankland movie with some nice torture effects, Eden Lake, a teenage gang terrorizing a couple on the forest, The Cottage, a horror comedy with tons of gore gags, Donkey Punch where a few kids trip on a boat trip goes horribly wrong … All fun stuff!
Thanks to Paul for taking the time to answer our gore-related inquires! Doomsday is in theaters everywhere come Friday, March 14th; check out the official Doomsday site to learn more!