Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Greg Nicotero, Dick Smith, Howard Berger, Rob Bottin, Rick Baker
Directed by Kevin VanHook
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Me? I am a sucker for documentaries. I like knowing how things work, and I like hearing about the people who know how to create said things. Fantastic Flesh traces the art of make-up effects from their monster filled roots with Lon Chaney all the way to the reality questioning ways of Greg Nicotero, and you know what? Every single second of it was awesome.
The really cool thing about this documentary is that not only do you get to hear from just about all of the artists discussed, but you also get to hear from quite the pedigree of who’s who working within the genre today. It’s a parade of talent!
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez show up to dole out the dirt on everything from From Dusk Till Dawn to Grindhouse and Sin City. Each are as animated as ever, and you can just feel the affection that they have for this stuff, and really that’s what Fantastic Flesh is all about. Our love for this stuff!
Romero shows up to talk Dead along with Joe Pilato, Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini, and Simon Pegg, and you know what listening to these cats made me realize? We need a full-on zombie documentary. With all the various make-ups and effects gags that have been invented within the last forty years, there are dozens and dozens of tales to tell. As a zombie aficionado, and also someone who has been lucky enough to be a zombie in George’s latest movie, I can honestly say that the experience and the on-set shenanigans are something every fan should be privy to. I know my memories will last me a lifetime.
From there the great Dick Smith flexes some muscle along with Eileen Deitz to talk The Exorcist, Rick Baker shows some teeth with An American Werewolf in London, and even a couple of non-horror projects like Dances with Wolves and The Chronicles of Narnia are covered. Don’t worry, bloodhounds; the conversation doesn’t stray from our genre for long at all.
There was one highlight on this disc for sure — the spotlighting of Bottin’s stellar work on The Thing. These effects are bar none the Mona Lisa of splatter works. They stand up every bit as well today as they did decades ago, and honestly? I still don’t know how he pulled off some of the stuff that he did. It’s good to see Bottin get his due from his peers, and as always, my hat remains off to him.
The only negative thing I can really say about this package and feature is that at just fifty-eight minutes things seemed very abbreviated. With access to all of this talent, surely they could have squeezed at least ninety minutes out of the proceedings, no? Maybe not for TV, but hey! This is DVD! There are always extended versions and cuts! If you’re not going to add anything new to the feature, how about some supplemental material? There are absolutely no extras to be found here. Better to leave them wanting more I guess?
Fantastic Flesh is a fantastic documentary that is informative, fun, and thoroughly gory. Being that the surface has just been scratched here, let’s hope for a Volume 2.
4 out of 5
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