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Exclusive Film Blog – Week 5 with Spirit World Films’ Creature Feature

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Creature Feature

cf w5 s - Exclusive Film Blog - Week 5 with Spirit World Films' Creature FeatureWith regard to Spirit World Films’ Creature Feature, welcome to Dread Central fifth and final week of exclusive on-the-set coverage from Atlanta. This is SWF’s fifth feature in less than three years, their last two films, Realm of Souls and Buried Cain, having both been picked up for global distribution.

Spirit World is the brainchild of three talented indie trendsetters: Chase Smith, Lance Paul and Edward Boss. These Southerners are turning the game upside down on what the true meaning of indie global films is.

With films budgeted at less than $20k, their combined multi “hat-wearing” skills are proving that you don’t need a giant budget nor a Hollywood soundstage to create cult classics.

Creature Feature is comprised of four short vignettes and one overall story that connects them all, similar to classics such as Creepshow and Trick ‘r Treat.

Do clowns scare you? Have you ever looked at a scarecrow and wondered, “What if?” Are zombies or naked witches your thing? Or what about a good ole classic such as a werewolf? Have you ever heard of Gentleman “Springed Heel” Jack? If not, you will come October 2015!

Time the Friend and Enemy of every Filmmaker!

Like everything in life you are judged off of time. Be it rushing to a job or contemplating where your life has gone. Doesn’t it always seem like time flies in a blink of an eye? Film is no different, with the rush of call times or waning months of pre-production you may always feel like you’re behind the hammer just trying to keep up. As an indie filmmaker the pains are even more real. Every minute counts, especially when you can only shoot in a location for a set amount of time or can only afford a certain prosthetic for one shot. Speaking to creators Chase Smith and Lance Paul this week it seemed like the perfect subject to cover for our final coverage on Creature Feature. Time… we can always use more of it.

Unlike most films they have done, Creature Feature was originally written a while back and not first in line to be shot. It was only after contract negotiations took the better part of a life span with a cult classic actors agent that the boys from the South pulled Creature Feature out of the pile and put it into production. Due to the time spent negotiating on the last film they were strapped. With only two months before production would start, they began the process of raising a budget and beginning the dreaded pre-production.

Thankfully through both Lance and Chase efforts with investors, plus Realm of Souls being picked up in China, their budget came quicker than they expected. But a budget isn’t everything — I mean these boys are shooting one epic Monster movie! That takes time. You need to have the right SFX/MUA, you need to have time to make your molds, and you need to have time to order in all the prosthetics you need. All of which are not things you can just go down to your local Halloween store and purchase. With just a few days out and prosthetics from Europe mailed in, plus them being fortunate to have such an experienced head MUA from “Walking Dead” with Alex Revel, the monsters were set. Or were they?

It’s great to have your “i’s” doted and “t’s” crossed, but come the day of filming anything can happen. You need to always be one step in front of your game and have a back up plan. Nothing was more apparent than with Creature Feature. CF may of been our hardest and most taxing film to shoot. Between prosthetic delays due to shipping or having to recast a good majority of your talent (some even the same day), having a back up or even a plan D is something I highly recommend every film maker to have,” Lance Paul (Creator, Producer, Artist).

With principle filming now wrapped on CF, it felt like the perfect time to ask Chase and Lance what was the most hectic and most taxing of all the days of filming? What scene had most wiped them out the most. According to Chase Smith (Creator, Writer, Director) and Lance the scene that hit them the most was the final scene in the movie, but filmed only half way through production.

The final scene entails not only the final revel of the lead monster orchestrating everything but also every monster in the production, plus three deaths. So if you’ve been reading all the articles and keeping track, that’s five creatures, three deaths and three nude witches who assisted in the mayhem. All filmed in one night. Because, keep in mind this is the wild west of indie film making. You only have one day for the location and one take to get the kills right and hours of makeup to have all your monsters ready at once.

Could they do it? Thankfully due to these three southern filmmakers time management they were able to land the scene. But not without its share of headaches. Each creature had a sliding scale of how long he had to sit in the makeup chair and how long he could wear the prosthetic before it melted in the Georgia heat. With the Werewolf taking the longest, which meant he had the shortest life span out of all the prosthetics.

Another issue with this scene was the amount of talent and crew needed to pull something like this off. Though they had shot bigger scenes with more talent, such as the giant rave scene, this scene was special because it included reveals for all the monsters and them all joining up and attacking the main cast. As any filmmaker can vouch, add more piece to the puzzle and the harder it gets.

In the end, though the hardships were intensive this scene and all of Creature Feature turned out amazing. From all the stills I have seen and the behind the scene shots and videos, these southern filmmakers know how to make a movie and have fun doing it. As should you, I look forward to what will come out of Creature Feature and Spirit World Films in the future. Maybe even a squeal, as production was wrapping and I was getting all the information for this article both Chase and Lance were excited with news from their investors and distribution about the possibility of a spin off. So I guess only time will tell.

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The Gentleman “Spring-Heeled” Jack and his Lovely Witches

When initial plans were drawn to make a conglomerate film involving so many different creatures Chase knew from the get go that he would have to have some kind of big daddy monster that was pulling all the strings. While researching obscure monsters from folklore, to bring into the project, he landed on the legend of Spring-Heeled Jack.

Spring-Heeled Jack is originally an English folklore started around the 1830’s. In its time Spring was a very popular folklore, due to the tales of his bizarre appearance and his ability to leap incredibly fast and far away from trouble. He was described as a gentleman with a black clock and top hat, with fingertips that were molded into metallic claws. Many stories also mentioned his demonic look and eyes that “resembled red balls of fire.

Once Chase brought the character of Jack up to Lance and Ed everything fell into place. Using Jack seemed to make the most sense. He was obscure and hardly had graced the silver screen. Something all the boys were hoping to find. Next came character designs.

Lance from the get go decided to play more on his English gentleman attributes and mix them with a steam punk kind of vibe while designing him. As you can tell from the original sketches he didn’t fall to far from the concept. The biggest hurdle with him was really playing up the clawed hands but not to fall into the Nightmare on Elm Street kind of vibe. With sketches in hand this fell to Alex to design.

Using resign and skin prosthetics molded to the actor Jason Veil’s fingers he was able to design bladed claws that came out of his white gentleman gloves. Alex also designed an aged prosthetic that gave the appearance to Jack that he was centuries old.

This is a character that hasn’t been done much at all in film or television so we wanted to stay as true to Lance’s vision as possible — an elderly gentleman type with razor sharp fingers and teeth. We only altered his fingers a bit by making the razors a little smaller for Jason to be able to perform in, so we sewed finger extensions into a glove that we simply slid on and off. Which was great because his process ended up being the longest due to the fact he had to have old age stipple and some hair laid for his chops. I believe it was a four-hour process we eventually got down to two. At the end of the day he’s a very striking figure onscreen and I hope he makes his mark on the film.” Alex (Head MUA/SFX)

Though makeup made the look, the real talent showcasing Jack was the actor, Jason Veil, under all of the prosthetics. If you read week two’s article a couple weeks back you may be familiar with the talents name. Jason helped out in a pinch with SW and took the reins of one of the lead roles in the Zombie story. Mr. Veil is a classically trained actor that fully embraced the role of Jack.

Chase, Lance and Ed greatly appreciate you following their journey over the last month and hope this whet your appetite to what they have coming out soon. Realm of Souls will be on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD in the next couple months and Creature Feature will be in theaters by fall of next year. Stay tuned for more from Sprit World Films and enjoy all the behind the scenes pictures and art.

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For behind-the-scenes pictures by Producer and Creator Lance Paul, visit Lance Paul on Instagram, also “like” Creature Feature on Facebook, and follow Spirit World Films on Twitter.

Chase Smith directs. Libby Blanton, Tenille Houston, Lance Paul, Stephanie Davis, Michael Maponga and Jason Vail star.

Synopsis:
Creature Feature is comprised of five interwoven tales of terror that occur one foggy Halloween night in Georgia. A babysitter learns a new appreciation for fine art and a hard lesson about the consequences of being irresponsible… and naughty! A group of college kids stumble on the mother of all scarecrows. Two teenagers are forced to steal from the wrong cantankerous old hermit who has been known to occasionally howl at the moon. A murdered father comes back for vengeance against his gold-digging wife and traitorous children. All of this Halloween fun is made possible by a London gentleman known only as… “Jack.”

creature feature - Exclusive Film Blog - Week 5 with Spirit World Films' Creature Feature

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