With a heading like that, I knew it would get you in here! Back in November of 2018, author Heather Wixson published her book Monster Squad: Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinema’s Most Memorable Creatures, which featured interviews with 20 different makeup and special effects people in the industry. You can read our review of it HERE, but now she is back with a new book, covering more artists, creators, and technicians that have help entertain us over the years.
The new book is called Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Conversations with Cinema’s Greatest Artists – Vol. 1 is a “celebration of the creative spirit and artistic endeavors of those who have worked tirelessly for decades to create the memorable monsters, creatures and onscreen personas that have terrified us, made us laugh and filled us with a sense of wonder.” Published by Dark Ink, this 500 page book runs only $25.99 on Amazon, but they will be having a special book signing and Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA, that you can either attend, or order your copy to be shipped to you. They have both hardcovers ($30) and softcover ($19.99) versions available. They haven’t listed any other guests besides Wixson to be there, but I have a feeling they will be adding a few more names that were covered in the book. I got my copy of Monster Squad this way, so it is well worth the extra month. Plus it supports a great independent book store at the same time!
Monster Squad: Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinema’s Most memorable Creatures
Published by BearManor Media, 2017. 430 pages.
By Heather A. Wixson
In the early ’80s, makeup artists that worked on horror movies were becoming real celebrities, just as if they were the main stars of the films they worked on. Seeing names like Savini, Baker, or Bottin in the credits would get fans to go see a film on their participation alone. So many young fans out there were so inspired by these names, that they dabbled on their own with latex, spirit gum, and greasepaint, some more successful than others. Like a lot of us fans during that time, the movies affected us more than most people watching them. Some wanted to be part of the world that were creating this magic. That passion is what drove them to never stop trying, never stop learning, and just never stopping. That era when rubber monsters and outrageous creatures ruled the genre is over three decades ago, with quite a bit being replaced with CGI. But that hasn’t stopped some of these guys from continuing with their craft, still fueled by that same passion to create magic on the screen.
Brain Damage (1988)
Directed by Frank Henenlotter
Starring Rick Hearst, Gordon MacDonald, Jennifer Lowry, Theo Barnes, Lucille Saint-Peter, Vicki Darnell
I’m sure everyone reading this is familiar with this strange and twisted Faustian tale, that could only come from the mind of the man who gave us Basket Case (1982), writer/director Frank Henenlotter. If you haven’t, then I’m not sure what cave you’ve been living in for the last 30 years, but you need to pick it up now and watch it. It will change your life. Okay..maybe not change it, but definitely put a lot more entertainment in it. And there is even a message in there too! I mean, how can you have a tale about a parasitic creature, that looks like a cross between a turd and a deformed penis, that gets you hooked on a hallucinogenic drug that it emits, if only to keep you in control. Sure, there is a huge drug/addiction parable here, as well as the old fable of selling soul to a devil, but as crazy as it sounds, Henenlotter actually created a very well thought out story and it works quite well. The characters feel like real people, giving the dark and funny story more of an edge than most would probably take it as, about a much too common plague that still exists today. Sure, maybe not played out like it is here, but then it wouldn’t be as fun to watch, would it?