Nightmare on elm street

You may not know his name, but if you are a horror fan, you’ve seen his work. Bart Mixon is best known for creating the now iconic makeup for Tim Curry’s dancing clown Pennywise. Among the other movies to his credit are RoboCop, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Rings, and the Netflix film Bright. Bart, along with Heather A. Wixson, Steve Johnson, Michele Burke, Gabe Bartalos, Tom Woodruff, Jr., Jennifer Aspinall, John Goodwin, and Rick Lazzarini, will be doing a book signing at Dark Delicacies this Saturday, and I was granted an exclusive interview with Bart Mixon about his epic career.
House of Tortured Souls: I read in an interview that the hardest part of the job is just getting it. With your amazing resume, does the work ever just come to you now?
Bart Mixon: When I did that interview, I owned my own shop so I was trying to bid on shows, and I think that was more in reference to that. Lately (in the past twenty years), I have been doing mainly set with application work for other guys, such as Rick Baker on The Grinch, Planet of the Apes (2001), and Men In Black 2 and 3, so I’m not key in the show as much anymore. But yeah, I get work from a lot of my friends these days. Like I was just doing Bright a year ago, but it just came out, and I got that job from a friend Chris Nelson whom I’ve known for twenty years. When he got that show, he was like, “Hey, wanna help me apply it?” So it does seem like a lot of it these days is more either contacts I’ve made or I guess I have enough of a reputation that the work comes to me. It’s not to say if something cool is going on that I won’t make a few phone calls or make a few suggestions, but yeah, it doesn’t seem like I have to beat the doors down like in the 80s or 90s.
HoTS: How much interaction with the directors do you have? For example, you just did Guardians of the Galaxy II by former Troma alumni James Gunn. I could see him being a fan of your past work.
BM: Actually I didn’t have much contact with him. Depending on the show I’m working on, for example on Men in Black 3, I was doing the main villain Boris for Rick Baker, so I was with Rick and Barry Sonnenfeld and others. But a show like Guardians, I was on it for about 12 weeks or so but pretty much I was just doing midground and background characters, so I really didn’t have a chance to interact with Gunn that much. I mean, Legacy was in charge of the prosthetics for part two, and they put the teams together for who was doing the Nebula or Drax. By the time I got on set, I was just doing mid ground characters. But no, I didn’t have much contact with Gunn. However, in that same vein, when the new IT came out, Chris Nelson (who I did Bright with) was doing a virtual reality promotional film for the film (IT), and he (Nelson) asked me to apply the Pennywise makeup. Then, when the director heard that one of us had done the original Pennywise, he was very interested in talking with me. He was a fan of the original and was like, ‘Oh cool you worked on the first one’, so I showed him my notebook with all my Pennywise photos – that sort of thing. So in that instant, he was a fan and that was flattering.
HoTS: Your first big project was A Nightmare on Elm Street 2. Where you did the Freddy coming out of Jesse’s body? Do you recall how long that sequence took to pull off?
BM: I think we had about 11 weeks from start to finish – when we did our first meetings and storyboards and what not to when we shot. Most of our effects were shot were on the last two days of filming the movie because it was all the Freddy bursting out of Jesse, and we had so much to build that we basically told him that it had to be the last stuff they shot because we needed every day that we could get. I recall staying up 40 hours straight getting everything ready for the first day of that two-day shoot.

HoTS: Did you work on anything else or just that scene?
BM: We also did the mechanical tongue that Jesse has when he’s making out with his girlfriend, so things like that we did earlier in the shoot, and there might have been one or two other little things that worked prior to that transformation, but 99% of what we built was that sequence.
HoTS: You’ve worked on bigger budget films and lower ones. Would you say having a bigger budget is easier or do you have more freedom in the small production?
BM: Defiantly on a small shows either time or money can certainly be more of an issue, but I guess you have to be a little more creative, like when I was doing stuff in Texas before I moved to LA, I might have known the right way to do something, but I maybe couldn’t either find the material or have the money to do it that way, so I would have to come up with an alternatives. I guess it forces you to be more inventive and resourceful, but sometimes too if they don’t have the time or money to do it, then it doesn’t get done at all and that can be frustrating. I think I’ve become a little spoiled working on the number of Rick Baker shows that I did because he always saw to getting things scheduled and having the time and budget to get do the project right. And, of course, after you get used to doing things the correct way and you get thrown into other situations where you don’t have that luxury, it can be frustrating. For example, the prosthetics that came out of Rick’s shop or other shops, like Vincent Van Dyke, they make beautiful prosthetics, and when you are on set applying their stuff, 99% of the time it’s going to be a nice piece, whereas, and I can’t name any names (laugh), but some other shows things might not be good such as the edges might not be what they should be or whatever and your kind of like, ‘Why is this made this way?’ And that can be frustrating – like being handed a pile of ‘whatever’ and trying to make it work. Like I said, I don’t want to name any names because a lot of these guys I’ve worked with are my friends and whatnot. But sometimes that’s due to budget and sometimes it’s just how things are designed, and you don’t always have input on how things go together. That was one of the nice things on Bright. You’ve seen Bright?

Bright (2017)

HoTS: Yeah. I really liked it.
BM: Oh good, I did too. Well, the initial test that they did on that, everybody wants to do everything in silicone these days. That’s just like the go-to material. But it would have been very impractical to do that movie with silicone, and when Chris did the first test, he made the prosthetics out of silicone and quickly realized that this was going to be more of a headache. Then whatever advantage you might have been getting from silicone, which I don’t know if there really was any. So after that first test, they decided that foam latex would be the better way to go, so thankfully the shop listened and that’s what we did. So when you get into a show early enough and where you can have input on the ways things should be executed, that’s always preferable. Again, some shows will afford you that luxury and other shows don’t, quite frankly. So, like on Bright, there was enough time to retool their thinking to go to foam latex and, again, when we did a couple of tests, for example, the way we were doing ears on Joel [Edgerton], we changed those after the second test just to make them more user friendly. They were very concerned about not getting the makeup applied in a certain amount of time, so we came up with suggests which would expedite it whereas the makeup might not have been originally designed that way. So some shows you know you have the schedule and budget to try things and rethink things and other shows you don’t.
But in general, yeah, it’s great to have a budget. Another example: I had the job of (the character) Vision on the new Avengers movie, and we had the time and the budget to rework the cowl that Paul Bettany wears because there were some comfort issues on Civil War that we were able to address in this new Avengers movie. But, then again, some of the most fun I’ve had, like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, were smaller budgets – especially compared to things I’ve worked since then (laughs). Or the Rob Zombie movies with Wayne Toth. I had a pretty good time because I was working with friends.
HoTS: Speaking of iconic 80s films, you worked on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. How did you get hired for that job?
BM: I was part of Tom Savini’s crew and I was living in Houston at the time. I had been corresponding with Savini since before Creepshow, so I was trying to get on the show but wasn’t having much luck. But my brother was living in California at the time and knew some of the people on Tom’s crew, and they’d already been in Austin for a week or two setting up, and I believe it was John Vulich who suggested that, “Tom isn’t going to hire you over the phone, but if you go to Austin and have a meeting with him, he’ll hire you”.
HoTS: What specifically did you do for that job?
BM: By the time I came on, which was a week or two into it, the main characters like Chop Top had already been doled out to various artists, so I was doing lab work. I ran a lot of foam latex, made some molds. In the film, somebody gets their hand cut off. We did a prosthetic on an amputee, and we sculpted the pieces for that. The guy had recently lost his hand, so when John Vulich applied the severed stump to him, the guy freaked out and literally ran away so we weren’t able to shoot him for the movie. I also helped Shawn McEnroe  apply makeup to Chop Top, and I also did a lot of set work. Probably the most visible thing I did in the movie was on Leatherface, doing work above his eyes and mouth before we put the mask on him. I was mainly watching set, so I would do the day to day makeup like the sores on his lips. That was like an out of the kit makeup, this material which is like a scar plastic you can build up wounds and stuff.

Tobe Hooper on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

HoTS: This was the first and, I believe, only time you worked with Tobe Hooper. Any special memories of working with him?
BM: I remember he said I looked like Stephen King. I thought that was cute (laugh), and at the time, just the length of his hair and goatee, I thought he looked like Rick Baker. So we were like, “Hey, you look like Stephen King” and “Oh, you look like Rick Baker”. I remember I was removing the Chop Top makeup once, and I was working a brush under the prosthetic to loosen it, and Tobe was there, I guess talking to [Bill] Moseley and watching what I was doing. And I remember poking the brush through the prosthetic and it looked like it punched through the skin, and Tobe was kind of grossed out by that. I was like, “Really? Out of all the stuff we are doing in this movie (laugh), this seems odd that this would affect you.” I also remember there was this one shot where we were doing a scene where the girl (Caroline Williams) was tied to a chair at the end of the table and her makeup artist was coming in and giving her water in between takes because she was screaming so much. She left a cup of water on the table for one of the takes, and Tobe was really pissed off, understandably, about that. I remember him telling the script supervisor, “Make a note to the editor that his preferred take was the one with the cup in it” just to emphasize how displeased he was with it left in. I try to remember anything else, nothing more specific. I remember Dennis Hopper had a birthday on the set, and the little cake and a mini chainsaw that he was cutting the cake with was spitting oil all over the place, and nobody wanted to eat the cake because it had oil all over it. I think Dennis Hopper might have been a little high once and awhile. I remember the makeup girl trying to do his makeup, and she comes at him with the sponge and he flinches like kind of recoils, and he said “What are you doing?” and she was like “I’m doing your makeup”. He was like, “Oh, okay” and settles down. And she goes to do it again, and he flinches and again said, “What are ya doing?” and again she says, “I’m doing your makeup” (laughs), and he’s like, “Ohh, okay”, and this must have gone on for 15 minutes. (Laughs) I was thinking, ‘Yeah Dennis might be smoking something before he came to the trailer’ that day. But yeah, Tobe was a cool guy and seemed to know what he wanted. I was impressed with him and how he handled the set and whatnot, so it was defiantly a good experience.
HoTS: Now the thing you probably get asked about the most is designing Pennywise for the 90s miniseries. I read you started designs before Curry was cast?
BM: Yeah as much as I could. I mean, once I read the script, I started just kind of doing some doodles and some rough conceptual stuff. I know there are some pictures that showed up online of some of my early sketches. But I quickly found that without having the actor’s face that you are working on, it was kind of pointless at least in terms of specifics. I think I might have gotten some board strokes before Tim was cast, but a lot of that, especially a makeup like that, much is dictated by the actor’s face. So you can sit there and draw for weeks, but once you get your actor, you’d be like, “Okay, this isn’t going to work on him”. Again, I did a few just board strokes, concept type things, but luckily they cast Tim fairly early on, and I was able to focus my attention on making it work which is the features.
HoTS: And Curry wasn’t the first choice if I am remembering that correctly?
BM: Tommy doesn’t remember this, but maybe he wasn’t yet on board, but originally this was going to be a three-part six-hour miniseries, and at that time, I remember going [to] Fantasy 2 and asking who was going to be Pennywise. I remember at the time saying it was either going to be Tim Curry, Malcolm McDowell, or Roddy McDowall being considered. Tommy has since said in interviews he doesn’t recall that, but again it might have happened before he got on board. But certainly, I never did any design work for anybody but Tim Curry.

Bart Mixon concept art for Pennywise in 1990 IT miniseries

HoTS: Curry was not a big fan of prosthetics from what I read?
BM: He previously did the character Darkness (for Legend) and wore more prosthetics. I guess, yeah, he probably wanted to keep it as simple and as little as possible. I know at one point he was saying that he wouldn’t mind just having a rubber bald cap instead of the foam latex cranium that I had for him. I guess his whole concept of Pennywise was a little different than mine. For example, he was okay with the edges showing on the bald cap, like he was a guy wearing a clown makeup. But for me it was never a guy wearing a makeup; it was an illusion this creature was projecting, so it didn’t make sense to me to include flaws like that. The makeup that we used in the movie had a headpiece and a nose, and then, in additional tests there were cheekbones also. We tested both of those, and I could tell that Tim wasn’t too thrilled about wearing the cheeks, and again in hindsight I think it was the right decision, but I thought he looked good with them in the test. At the time, I sculpted the battery acid, he was going to be wearing those, but once we tested, we decided not to use them. And we didn’t have time to re-sculpt the makeup, and, for a while, they weren’t going to use it anyways. So yeah, he wanted to wear as little as possible. We had to have the headpiece on him, and plus I wanted the light bulb head, and Tommy Wallace wanted that, too. So we needed to build up his head a little bit. Also, to his credit, the whole battery acid look… we almost didn’t shoot that. When we did principal photography, we didn’t have time to put it on him, so we shot the scene without it and used the regular Pennywise look, and then Tim expressed some disappointment and said, “Well, you did this beautiful prosthetic. It’s a shame we aren’t going to be able to use it”, so they scheduled a day of additional photography at Fantasy II and Tim said if we could get it all in one day, that he would wear the battery acid look so we could do the inserts for that sequence. So it wasn’t that he was totally flat against prosthetics, otherwise he wouldn’t have volunteered to wear that, and the only reason that’s in the movie is because he graciously offered to wear it for that day. And I am forever grateful to him for that and, of course, that is a very memorable piece in the movie. Its almost as iconic as Pennywise himself, and that came very close to not being in the movie. Tim was a great guy, and I cannot say enough nice things about him. I’m glad they choose him.

Tim Curry as Pennywise in IT 1990 miniseries

HoTS: Had Curry not minded a lot of prosthetics, would you have gone another direction in the look?
BM: I did three designs, or what we call clay sketches, once we had Tim cast. Then we did a head cast of him, and I did three different designs. One was very heavy and almost covered his whole face. It was almost like one of those tramp or hobo clowns with the sculpted frown, and it had a lot more character in the face. The second was the one that we went with, and the third was somewhere in between, and just in conversations with the director, we choose the one we went with. Of the three looks, that’s the one that was picked, but it was originally supposed to have cheekbones to the chin. It was like a stylized Lon Chaney from The Phantom of the Opera, which is what I was going for. So had Tim been more open, we would have gone with the cheek and the chin, but we already eliminated the heavier makeup in the design process.

 

HoTS: King, I heard, wasn’t on set.
BM: I don’t know why he wasn’t on set. I’m not sure if nobody invited him or he didn’t want to go. And I know he was around The Stand and some of these other miniseries of some of his books, so I’m not really sure why he didn’t show up on ours. Maybe he was busy at that time. I don’t know.
HoTS: Did you meet him prior to IT?
BM: I never met him.
HoTS: So, I am dying to know what you thought of the new IT and the design of Pennywise.
BM: It was cool. I’m certainly fond of mine, but I thought they did a nice job. I did get to apply that one day for the promotional thing, and there were certainly some similarities to my makeup which probably couldn’t be avoided [with] it being a clown, but I thought it was different enough. I don’t envy [Bill] Skarsgård just having to follow Tim Curry. That must be a pretty daunting task for him, but yeah, I thought it was interesting as a makeup. I’m glad they did their own take on it, that they didn’t just copy mine even though I have friends that thought they copied it a little too much. I guess it has the bulbous head like mine, but that’s where the similarities end. Just as a movie, I thought they did a pretty good job. Mine was a TV movie from 1990; theirs is an R-rated feature in 2017, so obviously they can do stuff we weren’t allowed to do. For what I did, I think it was about three hours and five minutes long. By the time they do part two, it will probably come into about four and a half hours to cover the same territory, so I am kind of envious that they got another hour and a half to tell the same story and they are not restricted by the 1990 TV censorship as I was. But I’m really looking forward to part two. I got a lot of crap on mine for the spider at the end of ours, so I’m kind of curious to see what they do or if they are even going to do a spider, or if they are gonna chicken out and not do it at all. (Laughs) I have a feeling with all the references to the turtle in the first one, we are going to see the spider and turtle fight. That was in the book. So I wish them luck with that, but yeah, I’m looking forward to the second one. Actually, after the director met Chris and I, he said, “Oh maybe we should get you to do part two”, and I was like, “Hey you know where to find us”. So [we] will see, but I thought they did a good job. Some of the visuals in there I thought were really cool, like the scene with Georgie in the flooded basement and he’s standing in like ankle deep water and Pennywise comes up out of the water, which I thought made a nice supernatural element since obviously the water wasn’t deep enough for him to be completely submerged and yet he was. Or like when he was working Georgie like a hand puppet or when he ripped Georgie’s arm off – which is a scene we could only hint at. In our version, he is missing an arm but you can’t really tell.
HoTS: You’re doing a book signing at Dark Delicacies on Jan 13, 2018. The book is entitled Monster Squad about the art of monster makeup. Is this going to be a reunion for you with the other guests?
BM: Well, it depends. I’d have to look at the list to see who’s on there. Like I think Tom and Alex from ADI are going to be there, and I just saw them recently at Creature Features for a promotional thing. But most of these guys I’m certainly casual friends with but, unfortunately, with everybody’s schedule, we probably don’t see each other as much as we would like to. Certainly, there are some people that I’ve seen more recently than others.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

You can meet Mr. Bart Mixon at the Dark Delicacies book signing Jan 13, 2018.
INTERVIEW: Original Pennywise Designer Bart Mixon

INTERVIEW: Original Pennywise Designer Bart Mixon

You may not know his name, but if you are a horror fan, you’ve seen his work. Bart Mixon is best known for creating the now iconic makeup for Tim Curry’s dancing clown Pennywise. Among the other movies to his credit are RoboCop, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Rings, and the Netflix film Bright. Bart, along with Heather A. Wixson, Steve Johnson, Michele Burke, Gabe Bartalos, Tom Woodruff, Jr., Jennifer Aspinall, John Goodwin, and Rick Lazzarini, will be doing a book signing at Dark Delicacies this Saturday, and I was granted an exclusive interview with Bart Mixon about his epic career.
House of Tortured Souls: I read in an interview that the hardest part of the job is just getting it. With your amazing resume, does the work ever just come to you now?
Bart Mixon: When I did that interview, I owned my own shop so I was trying to bid on shows, and I think that was more in reference to that. Lately (in the past twenty years), I have been doing mainly set with application work for other guys, such as Rick Baker on The Grinch, Planet of the Apes (2001), and Men In Black 2 and 3, so I’m not key in the show as much anymore. But yeah, I get work from a lot of my friends these days. Like I was just doing Bright a year ago, but it just came out, and I got that job from a friend Chris Nelson whom I’ve known for twenty years. When he got that show, he was like, “Hey, wanna help me apply it?” So it does seem like a lot of it these days is more either contacts I’ve made or I guess I have enough of a reputation that the work comes to me. It’s not to say if something cool is going on that I won’t make a few phone calls or make a few suggestions, but yeah, it doesn’t seem like I have to beat the doors down like in the 80s or 90s.
HoTS: How much interaction with the directors do you have? For example, you just did Guardians of the Galaxy II by former Troma alumni James Gunn. I could see him being a fan of your past work.
BM: Actually I didn’t have much contact with him. Depending on the show I’m working on, for example on Men in Black 3, I was doing the main villain Boris for Rick Baker, so I was with Rick and Barry Sonnenfeld and others. But a show like Guardians, I was on it for about 12 weeks or so but pretty much I was just doing midground and background characters, so I really didn’t have a chance to interact with Gunn that much. I mean, Legacy was in charge of the prosthetics for part two, and they put the teams together for who was doing the Nebula or Drax. By the time I got on set, I was just doing mid ground characters. But no, I didn’t have much contact with Gunn. However, in that same vein, when the new IT came out, Chris Nelson (who I did Bright with) was doing a virtual reality promotional film for the film (IT), and he (Nelson) asked me to apply the Pennywise makeup. Then, when the director heard that one of us had done the original Pennywise, he was very interested in talking with me. He was a fan of the original and was like, ‘Oh cool you worked on the first one’, so I showed him my notebook with all my Pennywise photos – that sort of thing. So in that instant, he was a fan and that was flattering.
HoTS: Your first big project was A Nightmare on Elm Street 2. Where you did the Freddy coming out of Jesse’s body? Do you recall how long that sequence took to pull off?
BM: I think we had about 11 weeks from start to finish – when we did our first meetings and storyboards and what not to when we shot. Most of our effects were shot were on the last two days of filming the movie because it was all the Freddy bursting out of Jesse, and we had so much to build that we basically told him that it had to be the last stuff they shot because we needed every day that we could get. I recall staying up 40 hours straight getting everything ready for the first day of that two-day shoot.

HoTS: Did you work on anything else or just that scene?
BM: We also did the mechanical tongue that Jesse has when he’s making out with his girlfriend, so things like that we did earlier in the shoot, and there might have been one or two other little things that worked prior to that transformation, but 99% of what we built was that sequence.
HoTS: You’ve worked on bigger budget films and lower ones. Would you say having a bigger budget is easier or do you have more freedom in the small production?
BM: Defiantly on a small shows either time or money can certainly be more of an issue, but I guess you have to be a little more creative, like when I was doing stuff in Texas before I moved to LA, I might have known the right way to do something, but I maybe couldn’t either find the material or have the money to do it that way, so I would have to come up with an alternatives. I guess it forces you to be more inventive and resourceful, but sometimes too if they don’t have the time or money to do it, then it doesn’t get done at all and that can be frustrating. I think I’ve become a little spoiled working on the number of Rick Baker shows that I did because he always saw to getting things scheduled and having the time and budget to get do the project right. And, of course, after you get used to doing things the correct way and you get thrown into other situations where you don’t have that luxury, it can be frustrating. For example, the prosthetics that came out of Rick’s shop or other shops, like Vincent Van Dyke, they make beautiful prosthetics, and when you are on set applying their stuff, 99% of the time it’s going to be a nice piece, whereas, and I can’t name any names (laugh), but some other shows things might not be good such as the edges might not be what they should be or whatever and your kind of like, ‘Why is this made this way?’ And that can be frustrating – like being handed a pile of ‘whatever’ and trying to make it work. Like I said, I don’t want to name any names because a lot of these guys I’ve worked with are my friends and whatnot. But sometimes that’s due to budget and sometimes it’s just how things are designed, and you don’t always have input on how things go together. That was one of the nice things on Bright. You’ve seen Bright?

Bright (2017)

HoTS: Yeah. I really liked it.
BM: Oh good, I did too. Well, the initial test that they did on that, everybody wants to do everything in silicone these days. That’s just like the go-to material. But it would have been very impractical to do that movie with silicone, and when Chris did the first test, he made the prosthetics out of silicone and quickly realized that this was going to be more of a headache. Then whatever advantage you might have been getting from silicone, which I don’t know if there really was any. So after that first test, they decided that foam latex would be the better way to go, so thankfully the shop listened and that’s what we did. So when you get into a show early enough and where you can have input on the ways things should be executed, that’s always preferable. Again, some shows will afford you that luxury and other shows don’t, quite frankly. So, like on Bright, there was enough time to retool their thinking to go to foam latex and, again, when we did a couple of tests, for example, the way we were doing ears on Joel [Edgerton], we changed those after the second test just to make them more user friendly. They were very concerned about not getting the makeup applied in a certain amount of time, so we came up with suggests which would expedite it whereas the makeup might not have been originally designed that way. So some shows you know you have the schedule and budget to try things and rethink things and other shows you don’t.
But in general, yeah, it’s great to have a budget. Another example: I had the job of (the character) Vision on the new Avengers movie, and we had the time and the budget to rework the cowl that Paul Bettany wears because there were some comfort issues on Civil War that we were able to address in this new Avengers movie. But, then again, some of the most fun I’ve had, like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, were smaller budgets – especially compared to things I’ve worked since then (laughs). Or the Rob Zombie movies with Wayne Toth. I had a pretty good time because I was working with friends.
HoTS: Speaking of iconic 80s films, you worked on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. How did you get hired for that job?
BM: I was part of Tom Savini’s crew and I was living in Houston at the time. I had been corresponding with Savini since before Creepshow, so I was trying to get on the show but wasn’t having much luck. But my brother was living in California at the time and knew some of the people on Tom’s crew, and they’d already been in Austin for a week or two setting up, and I believe it was John Vulich who suggested that, “Tom isn’t going to hire you over the phone, but if you go to Austin and have a meeting with him, he’ll hire you”.
HoTS: What specifically did you do for that job?
BM: By the time I came on, which was a week or two into it, the main characters like Chop Top had already been doled out to various artists, so I was doing lab work. I ran a lot of foam latex, made some molds. In the film, somebody gets their hand cut off. We did a prosthetic on an amputee, and we sculpted the pieces for that. The guy had recently lost his hand, so when John Vulich applied the severed stump to him, the guy freaked out and literally ran away so we weren’t able to shoot him for the movie. I also helped Shawn McEnroe  apply makeup to Chop Top, and I also did a lot of set work. Probably the most visible thing I did in the movie was on Leatherface, doing work above his eyes and mouth before we put the mask on him. I was mainly watching set, so I would do the day to day makeup like the sores on his lips. That was like an out of the kit makeup, this material which is like a scar plastic you can build up wounds and stuff.

Tobe Hooper on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

HoTS: This was the first and, I believe, only time you worked with Tobe Hooper. Any special memories of working with him?
BM: I remember he said I looked like Stephen King. I thought that was cute (laugh), and at the time, just the length of his hair and goatee, I thought he looked like Rick Baker. So we were like, “Hey, you look like Stephen King” and “Oh, you look like Rick Baker”. I remember I was removing the Chop Top makeup once, and I was working a brush under the prosthetic to loosen it, and Tobe was there, I guess talking to [Bill] Moseley and watching what I was doing. And I remember poking the brush through the prosthetic and it looked like it punched through the skin, and Tobe was kind of grossed out by that. I was like, “Really? Out of all the stuff we are doing in this movie (laugh), this seems odd that this would affect you.” I also remember there was this one shot where we were doing a scene where the girl (Caroline Williams) was tied to a chair at the end of the table and her makeup artist was coming in and giving her water in between takes because she was screaming so much. She left a cup of water on the table for one of the takes, and Tobe was really pissed off, understandably, about that. I remember him telling the script supervisor, “Make a note to the editor that his preferred take was the one with the cup in it” just to emphasize how displeased he was with it left in. I try to remember anything else, nothing more specific. I remember Dennis Hopper had a birthday on the set, and the little cake and a mini chainsaw that he was cutting the cake with was spitting oil all over the place, and nobody wanted to eat the cake because it had oil all over it. I think Dennis Hopper might have been a little high once and awhile. I remember the makeup girl trying to do his makeup, and she comes at him with the sponge and he flinches like kind of recoils, and he said “What are you doing?” and she was like “I’m doing your makeup”. He was like, “Oh, okay” and settles down. And she goes to do it again, and he flinches and again said, “What are ya doing?” and again she says, “I’m doing your makeup” (laughs), and he’s like, “Ohh, okay”, and this must have gone on for 15 minutes. (Laughs) I was thinking, ‘Yeah Dennis might be smoking something before he came to the trailer’ that day. But yeah, Tobe was a cool guy and seemed to know what he wanted. I was impressed with him and how he handled the set and whatnot, so it was defiantly a good experience.
HoTS: Now the thing you probably get asked about the most is designing Pennywise for the 90s miniseries. I read you started designs before Curry was cast?
BM: Yeah as much as I could. I mean, once I read the script, I started just kind of doing some doodles and some rough conceptual stuff. I know there are some pictures that showed up online of some of my early sketches. But I quickly found that without having the actor’s face that you are working on, it was kind of pointless at least in terms of specifics. I think I might have gotten some board strokes before Tim was cast, but a lot of that, especially a makeup like that, much is dictated by the actor’s face. So you can sit there and draw for weeks, but once you get your actor, you’d be like, “Okay, this isn’t going to work on him”. Again, I did a few just board strokes, concept type things, but luckily they cast Tim fairly early on, and I was able to focus my attention on making it work which is the features.
HoTS: And Curry wasn’t the first choice if I am remembering that correctly?
BM: Tommy doesn’t remember this, but maybe he wasn’t yet on board, but originally this was going to be a three-part six-hour miniseries, and at that time, I remember going [to] Fantasy 2 and asking who was going to be Pennywise. I remember at the time saying it was either going to be Tim Curry, Malcolm McDowell, or Roddy McDowall being considered. Tommy has since said in interviews he doesn’t recall that, but again it might have happened before he got on board. But certainly, I never did any design work for anybody but Tim Curry.

Bart Mixon concept art for Pennywise in 1990 IT miniseries

HoTS: Curry was not a big fan of prosthetics from what I read?
BM: He previously did the character Darkness (for Legend) and wore more prosthetics. I guess, yeah, he probably wanted to keep it as simple and as little as possible. I know at one point he was saying that he wouldn’t mind just having a rubber bald cap instead of the foam latex cranium that I had for him. I guess his whole concept of Pennywise was a little different than mine. For example, he was okay with the edges showing on the bald cap, like he was a guy wearing a clown makeup. But for me it was never a guy wearing a makeup; it was an illusion this creature was projecting, so it didn’t make sense to me to include flaws like that. The makeup that we used in the movie had a headpiece and a nose, and then, in additional tests there were cheekbones also. We tested both of those, and I could tell that Tim wasn’t too thrilled about wearing the cheeks, and again in hindsight I think it was the right decision, but I thought he looked good with them in the test. At the time, I sculpted the battery acid, he was going to be wearing those, but once we tested, we decided not to use them. And we didn’t have time to re-sculpt the makeup, and, for a while, they weren’t going to use it anyways. So yeah, he wanted to wear as little as possible. We had to have the headpiece on him, and plus I wanted the light bulb head, and Tommy Wallace wanted that, too. So we needed to build up his head a little bit. Also, to his credit, the whole battery acid look… we almost didn’t shoot that. When we did principal photography, we didn’t have time to put it on him, so we shot the scene without it and used the regular Pennywise look, and then Tim expressed some disappointment and said, “Well, you did this beautiful prosthetic. It’s a shame we aren’t going to be able to use it”, so they scheduled a day of additional photography at Fantasy II and Tim said if we could get it all in one day, that he would wear the battery acid look so we could do the inserts for that sequence. So it wasn’t that he was totally flat against prosthetics, otherwise he wouldn’t have volunteered to wear that, and the only reason that’s in the movie is because he graciously offered to wear it for that day. And I am forever grateful to him for that and, of course, that is a very memorable piece in the movie. Its almost as iconic as Pennywise himself, and that came very close to not being in the movie. Tim was a great guy, and I cannot say enough nice things about him. I’m glad they choose him.

Tim Curry as Pennywise in IT 1990 miniseries

HoTS: Had Curry not minded a lot of prosthetics, would you have gone another direction in the look?
BM: I did three designs, or what we call clay sketches, once we had Tim cast. Then we did a head cast of him, and I did three different designs. One was very heavy and almost covered his whole face. It was almost like one of those tramp or hobo clowns with the sculpted frown, and it had a lot more character in the face. The second was the one that we went with, and the third was somewhere in between, and just in conversations with the director, we choose the one we went with. Of the three looks, that’s the one that was picked, but it was originally supposed to have cheekbones to the chin. It was like a stylized Lon Chaney from The Phantom of the Opera, which is what I was going for. So had Tim been more open, we would have gone with the cheek and the chin, but we already eliminated the heavier makeup in the design process.

 

HoTS: King, I heard, wasn’t on set.
BM: I don’t know why he wasn’t on set. I’m not sure if nobody invited him or he didn’t want to go. And I know he was around The Stand and some of these other miniseries of some of his books, so I’m not really sure why he didn’t show up on ours. Maybe he was busy at that time. I don’t know.
HoTS: Did you meet him prior to IT?
BM: I never met him.
HoTS: So, I am dying to know what you thought of the new IT and the design of Pennywise.
BM: It was cool. I’m certainly fond of mine, but I thought they did a nice job. I did get to apply that one day for the promotional thing, and there were certainly some similarities to my makeup which probably couldn’t be avoided [with] it being a clown, but I thought it was different enough. I don’t envy [Bill] Skarsgård just having to follow Tim Curry. That must be a pretty daunting task for him, but yeah, I thought it was interesting as a makeup. I’m glad they did their own take on it, that they didn’t just copy mine even though I have friends that thought they copied it a little too much. I guess it has the bulbous head like mine, but that’s where the similarities end. Just as a movie, I thought they did a pretty good job. Mine was a TV movie from 1990; theirs is an R-rated feature in 2017, so obviously they can do stuff we weren’t allowed to do. For what I did, I think it was about three hours and five minutes long. By the time they do part two, it will probably come into about four and a half hours to cover the same territory, so I am kind of envious that they got another hour and a half to tell the same story and they are not restricted by the 1990 TV censorship as I was. But I’m really looking forward to part two. I got a lot of crap on mine for the spider at the end of ours, so I’m kind of curious to see what they do or if they are even going to do a spider, or if they are gonna chicken out and not do it at all. (Laughs) I have a feeling with all the references to the turtle in the first one, we are going to see the spider and turtle fight. That was in the book. So I wish them luck with that, but yeah, I’m looking forward to the second one. Actually, after the director met Chris and I, he said, “Oh maybe we should get you to do part two”, and I was like, “Hey you know where to find us”. So [we] will see, but I thought they did a good job. Some of the visuals in there I thought were really cool, like the scene with Georgie in the flooded basement and he’s standing in like ankle deep water and Pennywise comes up out of the water, which I thought made a nice supernatural element since obviously the water wasn’t deep enough for him to be completely submerged and yet he was. Or like when he was working Georgie like a hand puppet or when he ripped Georgie’s arm off – which is a scene we could only hint at. In our version, he is missing an arm but you can’t really tell.
HoTS: You’re doing a book signing at Dark Delicacies on Jan 13, 2018. The book is entitled Monster Squad about the art of monster makeup. Is this going to be a reunion for you with the other guests?
BM: Well, it depends. I’d have to look at the list to see who’s on there. Like I think Tom and Alex from ADI are going to be there, and I just saw them recently at Creature Features for a promotional thing. But most of these guys I’m certainly casual friends with but, unfortunately, with everybody’s schedule, we probably don’t see each other as much as we would like to. Certainly, there are some people that I’ve seen more recently than others.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

You can meet Mr. Bart Mixon at the Dark Delicacies book signing Jan 13, 2018.



Posted by Mike Vaughn in INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Alistair Cross

INTERVIEW: Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross - Sleep Savannah SleepAlistair Cross, acclaimed author of such works as The Crimson Corset and his newest novel Sleep Savannah Sleep and co-host of Haunted Nights Live! a radio program broadcast on the Authors On The Air Global Radio Network with the equally amazing author Tamara Thorne, was kind enough to do an interview with me for my home here at House of Tortured Souls. Before I get to the interview, though, I would like to tell you more about his works.
Alistair Cross - The Crimson CorsetAbout The Crimson Corset: Welcome to Crimson Cove a cozy village in California where Cade Coulter, our protagonist, moves to live with his brother hoping for a peaceful life. Everything is idyllic until the sun sets and the little tourist town begins to show more night death than nightlife. At the very edge of town sits The Crimson Corset known for its crazy soirees and licentiousness, where people can indulge their every fantasy no matter how depraved or unacceptable. The only thing is is that the place is owned and operated by a vampire.
The owner, Gretchen VanTreese, wants to take out the Old World Vampires that also exist in the town so that she can be free to create a new race of vampires that she will rule. And Cade Coulter will have to fight this wicked and enticing vampire, even give up his own humanity to save the town and everyone that he loves.
I loved this book. There is nothing better than a great story infused with blood, violence, and gore. Let me show you some of the reviews so you can get an even better idea:
Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, The Crimson Corset-a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.
—Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion and Lucid.
Alistair Cross’ new novel The Crimson Corset…is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (Carmilla, Uncle Silas) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.
—Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of Saint-Germaine Cycle and the Chesterton Holt Mysteries.
Very nice heavy hitters for a debut book!
Alistair Cross - The Angel AlejandroHe has also written The Book of Strange Persuasions, The Angel Alejandro, and the aforementioned Sleep Savanah Sleep. Alistair has also collaborated on many books with the sensational Tamara Thorne as Thorne&Cross. Some of their joint titles include The Cliffhouse Haunting, Mother, The Witches of Ravencrest, and The Ghosts of Ravencrest.
Which brings me to the next bit about him. Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne started their own radio show called Haunted Nights Live! where they talk all things horror to some of the biggest names in the business. Featuring such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of the Walking Dead series, and Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels.
So, now that we have established his illustrious credentials, let’s ask him some questions.
House of Tortured Souls: So, Alistair, what would you like people to know about you?
Alistair Cross: I am not a morning person: no, I will not help your sister move…and I prefer cats to most people.
HoTS: When I was doing research for this interview, I noticed on his website that in 1987 – He saw Carrie and the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, wrote more stories (most of which featured an unmanageably extensive cast of talking cats). So sorry I missed that readers.
Next question Alistair: What are your horror influences?

AC: Stephen King, of course, who was my introduction to the genre back when I was barely 8 years old. I am also influenced by Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Ira Levin, and William Peter Blatty, just to name a few.
HoTS: What did you do with your very first advance for a book??
AC: I just stared at it. A lot.
HoTS: What was your first scary movie?
AC: The first movie I remember being absolutely terrified by was Cujo. It still makes me a little uneasy.
HoTS: How do you write what you want without worrying about how your subject matter will be taken?
AC: As a horror author, I consider it my duty to shock and offend. There are few subjects I won’t touch on, animal cruelty for example because it’s not necessary and it’s too easy. But I don’t think about reader reaction when I’m writing. I write the stories I want to read and figure it is likely others out there will want to read them too.
HoTS: What is your spirit animal?
AC: Stevie Nicks is my spirit animal.
HoTS: Has anything in your books ever happened to you?
AC: While I’ve certainly never been lured into an underground lair of a seductive blond vampire or found an amnesiac angel in my koi pond after a violent storm, some of the events in my writing do come from personal experience. All fiction is rooted in truth, but I never set out to chronicle my own experiences. It’s about the characters and their stories, not mine. The only exception is Five Nights In a Haunted Cabin, a real-life account of an experience I had with my collaborator, Tamara Thorne.
HoTS: How did you and Tamara become writing partners?
AC: It’s an unusual story that began in the late 1990s when I came across Tamara’s novel Moonfall. I liked it so much, I got all of her books and began stalking her website via AOL dial-up because in my day we had to practice patience when we stalked people online. Several years later, after my first book was published, I began a blog dedicated to interviews with authors. Tamara Thorne was one of the first people I asked to be on my blog. She said yes and we hit it off enough that she asked me if I’d like to write a short story with her. That short story became a full-length novel, and that led to the next one and the one after that, and the rest is history. Writing with Tamara is one of the easiest, most natural things I have ever done and, at the risk of sounding corny, I believe it was simply meant to be.
House of Tortured Souls: And readers I thought it was only fair to reach out to Tamara Thorne and gets some fun stuff on Alistair from her:
Tamara Thorne: I love collaborating with Alistair. We spend our days working on Skype and when our cats start climbing us, we turn on the cameras. Alistair’s kitty, Pawpurrazzi, truly abuses him. I love watching the way she gives him kisses, then shoves her butt in his face. Those two are madly in love.
We write together in the Cloud and rarely recall who wrote what. After each day’s work – or after completing the first draft – my job is to read our words aloud. When we’re in edit mode, reading for hours can be pretty grueling, but my collaborator knows how to keep things lively. He moves ahead in the manuscript and adds lines so outrageous and rude that I fall apart – so does he. We relish our giggle breaks more than I can say. Once in a while, we leave an obscenity in to amuse our editors. The reactions are varied but hysterical.
So I cannot recommend these authors enough and I also cannot thank them enough for taking their time to answer some questions and share a few laughs. Below are some links for you to get to know and experience more of Alistair Cross and his partner in crime Tamara Thorne. And definitely, check out their radio broadcast.
Posted by Horrormadam in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, FICTION AND POETRY, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, PARANORMAL, PODCAST, THRILLER, VAMPIRES, 0 comments
ARTIST OF THE MONTH – OCT 2016: Nicole Robinson

ARTIST OF THE MONTH – OCT 2016: Nicole Robinson

By Tammie Parker

I came across a pair of TWD themed Eclectic Goods shoes on a page on fb. And it was like I found the love of my life!! LOL seriously I was shouting, 'WHY. am I just finding these??' Eclectic Goods is actually a power couple of KICK-ASS comic nerds, gamers, comic-conners, and cartoon lovers! I swear I'm going to move in with them!!! Now they are doing caps and totes. #LOVE

Nicole Robinson, owner and artist, agreed to answer a few questions.

twd-shoes-michonne

House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started drawing and painting?
Nicole Robinson: To be honest it wasn’t until I was an adult in my 20s that I tried to paint anything. I used to doodle and draw here and there growing up but never anything serious. My husband has been my biggest teacher and whatever talent I do have I learned from him.

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HoTS: Where did you learn to draw? Did you take classes?
NR: I took art classes in high school and one in college. Also I have had some amazing people throughout my life with various talents that taught me many things. Jack, my partner and husband has had some training at an Art Institute in Florida which he was kind enough to share with me. Before him I had no idea about mixing colors, shading, or a lot of technique skills that are really valuable. I would just grab a brush and start painting. He taught about what size brush and what type of brush I needed. He has really been my mentor in all this.

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HoTS: When did you fall in love with horror art? (TWD, Pennywise, etc) Why?

horror-movies-it-shoesNR: Growing up, my father was a huge influence on how my interest were formed. Halloween was always a big deal in our house. He had a love for the Stephen King Universe and my first horror movie was IT. Pennywise scared me to the core. It has always been a lot of fun for me and I enjoy creating the same type of memories with my kids. Watching horror movies and shows like The Walking Dead is just good old fashioned fun for me. Horror art is an expression of that and gives me an outlet. It always the most fun when it something I really enjoy.

twd-shoes-carlHoTS: Do you first draw in ink, or the blood of innocent souls? Then paint in?

NR: A little of both. Just depends on what we are painting that day.

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HoTS: Do you have a favorite monster?

NR: Pennywise the Clown will always hold a special place in my heart. I find Regan from The Exorcist really scary. There is something really frightening about innocence gone wrong.

horror-movies-it-shoes2

HoTS: Do you do comic cons? Or art shows? (I know the answer to a lot of these, so don't think I'm senile.)

NR: We do comic con type events for the most part. This past summer we had booths at Scares That Care in Williamsburg, Va and Walker Stalker Con New Jersey. Both of which were beyond amazing to us and we can’t wait to return. We have also done a few others like Wizard World and Tidewater Comic Con. We don’t have anything coming up except for attending Scares That Care in July 2017.

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HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?

NR: We are on Etsy! Our shop is: Ecletic Goods.
horror-movies-nightmarebeforechristmas-shoes

HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or a Twitter acct, so we can keep up with your work?

NR: Yes, check us out here:

FB Follow / Free.

Instagram Follow / Free.

Twitter Follow / Free.

horror-movies-silenceofthelambs-shoesHoTS: Are you working on anything right now?

NR: Right now we are getting some new designs together for Halloween and preparing for the holidays. We have a new Hellraiser design and The Exorcist coming as well as a Walking Dead Rick and Daryl high top in the works.

HoTS: What are some of your pastimes outside of drawing?

NR: I play The Sims 3. Most of my free time is spent with my family. I have two amazing girls that keep me pretty busy. I do yoga and enjoy crafting.

Alright since this is the end of our Q&A with Nicole Robinson, let me just throw in another pair of TWD shoes.

twd-shoes-rick-graveyard

Posted by Tammie Parker in ART AND VENDORS, FEATURED ARTIST, 1 comment
THIS JUST IN: 1, 2, Freddy’s Coming for You… Again

THIS JUST IN: 1, 2, Freddy’s Coming for You… Again

By Jonathan Patrick Hughes

In 1984, writer/director Wes Craven and producer Robert Shay made everyone terrified to fall asleep with their hit film entitled A Nightmare on Elm Street. The film was about a child murderer who was killed by a bunch of parents to protect their children, but this horrible human being does not stay dead for long. The children, now teenagers, are finally beginning to understand the truth and to pay for their parents’ sins as they fall victim to this dream demon who has the power to invade their nightmares and kill them one by one. If he gets you in your sleep, you don't wake up at all. His name is Freddy Krueger, and he is coming back!

Heather Langenkamp in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Photo by Melissa Moseley - © 1984 - New Line Cinema Entertainment, Inc.

Heather Langenkamp in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Photo by Melissa Moseley - © 1984 - New Line Cinema Entertainment, Inc.

The franchise is a sacred and well-loved piece of cinema, and fans all over the world can tell you their favorite lines, kills, and sequel. For me, the original was the best; it was scary, fresh, and terrifying. My favorite sequel is either Dream Warriors or Dream Master. I can't pick one or the other because for me three was the last one that was scary and four was a turning point where Freddy became more of a fun cartoon. And I believe that was the film where fans started to adore him and want to love him. A Nightmare on Elm Street spawned six sequels as well as Freddy vs. Jason in 2003. After the FvJ installment, there were talks about bringing in Chucky, Michael Myers, Ash, and even Pinhead. Things didn't develop as fast as people wanted. So, lo and behold, MICHAEL FRIGGING BAY decides to take his horror production label, known as Platinum Dunes, and remake one of the best iconic horror films ever made and he fucked it up!

Robert Englund in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Photo by Zade Rosenthal - © 1984 - New Line Cinema Entertainment, Inc.

Robert Englund in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Photo by Zade Rosenthal - © 1984 - New Line Cinema Entertainment, Inc.

Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line Cinema and Michael Bay brought us a remake back in 2010, and, like most people, I only hope that one day I can forget about it. Looks like that won't be happening anytime soon, however, because Freddy is on his way back to the screen and a new actor will be putting on the dirty red and green sweater as well as the glove.

As a loyal fan of the franchise as well as Robert Englund himself, I, for one, do not see a point in this at all. The first remake did horrendous at the box office and I'm sorry, but when you have an iconic character played by the same person (Robert Englund) throughout the entire franchise, fans only see that person playing that character. Freddy isn't Freddy without Mr. Englund. The infamous outstanding one liners, the body language and the facial features were all created by him and no one will ever be able to pull that off no matter how hard they try. You cannot replace greatness. A script is being written as we speak and casting has yet to be announced as well as a director, but in the end this is going to be another remake that people will toss to the side unless Robert Englund himself puts the glove back on one more time. Only 184 billion people can hope!

Posted by Jonathan Hughes in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH : Author Nicolajayne Taylor

WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH : Author Nicolajayne Taylor

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By : John Roisland

 

In celebration of Women In Horror Month, I bring to you a national best selling author, Nicolajayne Taylor. The lovely and talent Taylor resides in  Lancashire, England, where  she brings to the world , dark erotic stories that will surely keep haunting  the back of your mind for some time after reading her work . I had the pleasure of speaking with Author Nicolajayne Taylor, who goes by Enjay, amongst family and friends, and this is what she had to say after being nominated one of our Women In Horror Month recipients ...

HoTS : Enjay , congrats on being selected as one of the "Women In Horror Month"  by House of Tortured Souls, what does something like this mean to you?

Enjay :  Women in Horror month, means a lot to me, being one of them. Carmilla Voiez, my friend, horror author, feminist and editor has educated me in all of these areas since getting into the industry. She is my idol on these subjects too. We are starting to appreciate that not all women want to wear pink, get their hair and nails done or read romance novels. That age, is gone and more women than ever are reading, writing, watching and game playing the genre. This is a great thing, it mean the conversations between the genders has widened and we are more on a level with one another than ever before.

HoTS :  AT what age did you pen your first story, that made you decide that this was your calling?

Enjay : I have been writing stories since I was a child. I didn’t take it seriously until my mother died and I felt at a complete loss as to what to do with myself. I poured my emotions on to the laptop and began writing The Curse of Mary. My friend and co-author Carmilla invited me to sub to an anthology and I did. Again not really taking it seriously, then my story The Fallen Ones was accepted and that was when it hit me, my mother always said I should be a writer and I was writing because of my mother and why shouldn’t I take her advice after death. It was then I subbed the novel, landing me with a three year contract with Vamptasy one of the leading US independent publishing houses. My debut sub was to become a debut success and The Curse of Mary hit bestsellers within the first 24 hours and stayed that way for over six weeks.

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HoTS :  Of all topics in the world to write about, why horror?

Enjay : I have a deep set interest in the paranormal side of life, death and of course horror. I also love history and you can’t do history without running into a ghost story. I think it add to the romance of what I write about because you can’t have the hardcore without having the softer elements in the mix. Otherwise the harder to swallow elements lose something.

HoTS :  What is it that inspires you, where does most of your thoughts, your creativity come from?

Enjay : I have already mention history, but most comes from years of reading, watching and playing the genre. I also find humanity can be more horrific than any horror creator can articulate, draw or film.   Look around you and the stories that don’t make the news should keep you awake a night, I write horror to make people think. The Curse of Mary is about greed and selfishness in its most pure form. It is also about having the strength to survive those atrocities too.

HoTS :  So tell us what we can expect in the future of Enjay Taylor?

Enjay : I am back with Vamptasy and three more books are in the process of being signed to the label. These are all horror with a smiting of erotica slid in there because it is the most natural way for me to write. You can’t write about graphic violence or supernatural forces wreaking havoc here and then play shy when it comes to your characters sex lives.

HoTS :  Who is your favorite horror character?

Enjay : Graham Masterton by far, his books, are my horror haven. I will send him the link to this in the hope he will appreciate the shout out.   Carmilla Voiez is another favorite , her books are like the darkest poetic script you will ever read. Starblood, Basement Beauty and her Halloween specials are to die for. Barbra Erskine for the perfect ghost story and history trip is another must read.

HoTS :  Lastly, what is your all time favorite horror story and movie?

Horror story, House of Echos by Barbra Erskine is fantastic but you can only read it once. After you know the ending, it blows you away and doesn’t make the same impact the second time around.

Graham Masterton’s Anthologies are always a pleasure to read. I love the one featuring Tengu, Devils of D day, Mirrors and Night Plague.

Movies, hmm… tough one I am going to say The Haunting, Poltergeist and any of the Freddie Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

Nicolajayne Taylor, Enjay, thank you so much for your time, it has been a true pleasure , and again, on behalf of House of Tortured Souls.com , congratulations on being a huge part of Women In Horror Month!

 

Keep It Evil

Posted by John Roisland in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Strangeland (1998)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Strangeland (1998)

By John Roisland

Strangeland

October 2, 1998, was a time when people were still learning about the Internet and body modification was really breaking through. Director John Pieplow brings us Strangeland.

The story is about "Captain Howdy" (played by Dee Snider of rock band Twisted Sister, who also wrote and produced the film), a sadist Internet predator who invites other internet friends over for a party, where they soon meet their end.

Kevin Gage (Heat, Blow, G.I. Jane, Laid to Rest) the town sheriff is quick on the case after his daughter, played by Linda Cardellini (Grandma's Boy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Freaks and Geeks), falls to the hands of Captain Howdy.

The chase continues to find Howdy, and the scenes of the torture with his victims and his own self mutilation are actually pretty impressive. A few scenes are actual text book history of how different cultures used different devices to either torture or elevate one to a higher sense body limitations.

Now I'm not saying its the best film ever made...it's not. At moments its actually kinda slow. But I will give Dee props on his first attempt and writing, producing and starring in....he put forth a very valiant effort. At the box office, this film actually lost money. If not for its huge impact as a cult classic...it would have been a complete bomb!

It offers a pretty impressive cast, aside from Dee Snyder, Kevin Gage and Linda Cardellini it also stars Elizabeth Pena (Jacobs Ladder, Down in the Valley, Things Behind the Sun), Brett Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money), Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street, Wishmaster, Urban Legend, 2001 Maniacs, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon), Amy Smart(The Butterfly Effect, Crank, Just Friends, Starsky and Hutch) and Robert Lasardo (Death Race, The Human Centipede III, Anarchy Parlor, Nip/Tuck). Now with this line up, one would expect a little more...but they only acted in it

For those head bangers out there like myself, the film did have a pretty kick fucking ass soundtrack though: Bile, Pantera, Megadeth, Coal Chamber, Anthrax, Soul Fly and Hed PE to name a few.

I can't say this is honestly on my every year must watch Halloween films...but it is always this time of year when I do think about it the most. Does that count?

I REALLY want to say better things about the film, but sadly it is what it is, a great idea, that just wasn't executed to its fullest potential.

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"So much flesh...so little time"- Captain Howdy

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

Another… Nightmare Reboot

nightmare-on-elm-street1

The first A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in 1984, and in 2010 Samuel Bayer made the first reboot of the movie. Here it is 5 years later and yet another A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot is in on its way.

The script is, as we speak, in the hands of David Leslie Johnson, known for his 2009 movie Orphan. As it stands there is no info regarding the details of the movie (i.e. cast, plot, or release date). We are all eager to hear more in the matter, and we at House of Tortured Souls will keep you updated on the details as they become available.

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments