Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Search Engine Terms of the Year for 2012

I did one of these halfway through the year this time around and it doesn't feel like it was 6 months ago, but here we are at another year end and it's time to round up the thinks that freaks out there search for that land them on my blog.

Top Ten Search Engine Terms.

1. severed finger (along with a dozen or more variations)
2. s (I’m not really sure about this one)
3. fake axe (several variations on this as well)
4. fox henderson (seems logical)
5. monkey prosthetics (which is kind of funny since I would never make such a thing, but both words are relevant)
6. julie laforest (congratulation Julie, you are obviously the target of many a creepy internet stalkers) 7. vampire nose (nothing special there)
8. zombie photo shoot (seems reasonable)
9. monkey rodeo project (a name which hopefully no longer exists to cause confusion)
10.zombie prosthetic (perfectly reasonable as well)

So, those all seem like pretty straightforward search terms that would land someone on this blog. Now for the weird ones. A lot were misspelled or seemed to have odd grammar and whatnot, so what you’re seeing is how I actually saw them in the list.

retro bimbo – I get where this one would lead someone to me and I sort of get what they might be looking for, but it does seem a little bit of an odd phrase.

richard allen poppe – just by placing this here I will incur more hits. He’s the fellow who I had long ago purchased some Lovecraft inspired props from. While I had two more or less decent transactions with him, a lot of people seem to really rag on him on having ripped them off. I can’t say I’m surprised since it did take the better part of a year to get three book props out of him after repeated excuses – maybe they were legit, I don’t know. It’s too bad whatever the reason he’s vanished from the net, he made good stuff

cool forehead prosthetics – ah, that explains why I’m not selling enough, I label mine as “lame forehead prosthetics”. Really, this is kind of stupid

severed finger props – I can only assume the word “props” was added because they were seeing way too many real severed finger

real bone hammer - ? I actually had to look this one up myself to see if it was a real thing or someone out there was just a little creepy. It is a real thing, but also a video game thing

hookers for sale – as opposed to just for rent. I guess someone was hoping to find a Pimp “going out of business” sale

cad finger – I’m guessing a 3D thing or the finger of a roguish fellow

prostetic good - Because for a minute – not sure if there’s more to this or this wasn’t intended to be a search. Also, you spelled prosthetic wrong

things that are 10lbs – sure, why the hell not

troll foot – makes me thing I really need to remake my baby trolls feet for resale.

demons with horns face – nice grammar

male finger – uh, okay

pictures of severed fingers – Okay, there were definitely looking for real ones and that’s kinda messed up

brittleness object – the hell?

sweet hell – ah yes, sweet, sweet hell. ?

monkey head for sale – someone was watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom again, weren’t they?

5 piece ear spike project – that seems very specific and I’ve no idea what it is

horrible monster images – hey, I resent that, I make nice monster images, they’re not horrible. Can't tell if they were looking for images of horrible monsters or shitty images of monsters.

real severed silicone finger props –someone is very confused here, I only sell fake props – they don’t actually exist, if you want real props, go somewhere else. ?

how to make a troll in clay – I appreciate the fact people might be looking for “how to”s online, but do they really thing they’d find something this specific? I mean would they have accepted it if it was just a goblin made of clay?

thumbor – I got nothing

well done prosthetic horns – again, mine are all labeled as shitty and will most likely cause gingivitis. I really need to label my stuff better

a severed finger painting – amidst the literally dozens of variations on severed digits, this one actually seems original for a change. They don’t want to see a real or prop severed finger, and not a picture – but a painting of one. Very nice choice. I believe it was Monet who went through a severed finger period.

finger monkey for sale – really? I don’t want to know

hooker hell – I can only assume it would be filled with either gay men or men with only 2 cents in their pockets

men eater monkey movie – this is just an example of random words or bad grammar

double malefinger – I don’t know about this one and I don’t think I want to

best werewolf prosthetic – again, I knew I should’ve went with this instead of “worst werewolf prosthetic”

male to female silicone – this just creeps me out for some reason

It’s a gortch” - Nope, no idea either

hooker man – that just sounds funny. Man-whore is the preferred nomenclature however

movies about hookers – yup, plenty of classy stuff came out of this search to be sure

foamy axe – it probably won’t work well

Why do I have demon ears – I think I posted this one before, it’s awesome.

witch doctor monkeys – hell yeah, that sounds awesome.

brilliant uzukler - ?

As usual, nearly every female I’ve worked with was searched for at least once and sometimes with “PEI” or “Charlottetown” following it – so yeah, some of you have stalkers perhaps. Or you’re searching for yourselves.

Severed fingers and fake axes had, I’d say, a couple dozen variations each. It’s pretty impressive actually.

As well, several variations of prosthetics, types of prosthetics – ears, horns, noses and whatnot. They all seem pretty reasonable.

Overall it wasn’t too disturbing a year at least.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

10 Things I Hate About Movies - Part 3.

3. Unoriginal attempts at Zombie movies (and sort of Horror movies in general).

This is getting pretty bad these days. So long as there's something to kill off topless girls, most people are satisfied and they never think more beyond it than that. Joss Whedon's "Cabin in the Woods" was a pretty brilliant take on that aspect of the genre, although the ending I can't get into without spoiling I thought fell down a touch (which makes me think of #4).

Zombie movies are pretty much the worst. A group of people, some zombies, they try to survive and get picked off one by one. They hole up in some location that seems safe with the idea of getting to some more ideal safe area only to not make or find it's not as safe as they thought. Zombies shuffle along, or they leap around like fucking Howler Monkeys, whatever. I'd say nearly 90% of zombie movies do nothing more than this.

I like zombie movies, too many though don't even try anymore. Some might follow that outline perfectly but have a decent script with well written characters and at least they have that going for them. Some, if not most, really indie attempts usually have nothing but plodding nothingness with a dash of T&A to distract from the blandness (but this is usually more confined to Italian zombie movies or slasher flicks for the most part).

My thinking is, if you're not making it fun or bringing something new and creative to the table, don't make a zombie movie. Just admit you're not up to it and don't waste the fake blood. "Shaun of the Dead" was a typical zombie movie in every sense, but they had great comedic writing and added a twist on the genre by having it focus more on the characters and a silly love story (although all that makes it sound terrible actually now that I look at it) and it worked. Others have tried since and stumbled, sort of did okay while others just fell flat on their undead asses.

Even George Romero seems to have succumbed to the shitty zombie movie illness. "Land of the Dead" was alright but lacked even a single "oh, they're all so screwed" moment. It all felt too safe. And then came along "Diary of the Dead" which I really wished I'd never watched. I utterly fucking hated this movie, it was miserable and god-awful on every single level. Romero should be embarrassed to have made it. And I didn't even bother with "Survival of the Dead", I just couldn't bring myself to even care it existed, let alone watch it.

So if the guy who pretty much created the genre sucks at it now, is there any hope left? Hell yes there is. I'm not a remake fan, but Zak Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead" is probably my favourite zombie movie, if not one of my favourite movies in general. I credit James Gunn for a really great script that follows the tired old plot outline I first mentioned, but filled it will decent characters and some awesome moments. The cast was pretty good, I mean Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley? Seemed like an odd couple to star in a movie together, but both were brilliant.

 "The Walking Dead" while not a movie, it's still in the zombie genre, is really good. I credit Frank Darabont for setting the bar and while I've never read the source material, I'm pretty sure it's awesome. I've taken a number of FX cues from this series an hope to incorporate them into my zombie web series next summer.

"Cemetary Man", awesome movie. On the whole it doesn't seem like a zombie movie, but it's a sort of David Lynch, surreal comedy, love story, zombie movie. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. And for any faults it might have, you have to admit, it's not a typical zombie movie by any means.

I'm on the fence about "Dead Snow" I liked it and didn't at the same time, however I would at least recommend it and would praise it for stealing an idea I've had for a very long time (okay I know they didn't steal it, it's just an expression) about having zombies in a snow environment.

"Zombie Land" awesome. "Planet Terror" sort of a zombie movie, was awesome. "Fido" was enjoyable overall and very unique at the time, although it seems to have spawned a sub-genre of zombie movies where the zombies can either be harnessed, tamed or are aware somehow.

"Dead Alive" or "Brain Dead" was a great Peter Jackson entry. And while it's not a zombie movie, I don't care how much of an ignorant twunt you are "28 Days Later" isn't a zombie movie, it's a sort of new side genre, "Infected movies" that follow all the cues of a zombie movies, with some new twists, but are in some ways scarier since they're more realistic in the sense they could actually happen. So you could call this a new twist on the genre as well as I suppose. But it's not a god damned zombie movie you idiots.

I don't think I could possible count the number of zombie movies I've ever seen, I could guess it's probably well into the hundreds though - and really, only a handful I think really deserve any attention because they didn't just make a movie with some zombies that ate people, the end. They created either a unique scenario, or had unique characters, found ways to break out of the genre, had a decent cast or script - just something that showed they actually cared about the project.

Now here's where I'm going to perhaps sound like I'm bragging, or even make a boast I might fall on my ass for making, in the case of Bimbo Zombie Killers! (the first two being homage type movies I was experimenting with so I don't really think too much about them plot-wise) the web series. I'm making a list of all my issues with zombie movies, "dos" and "don'ts" so the speak.

Here's a few of them:

1 - If you can't be original, don't be boring. Move things along, don't waste time thinking you're a better writer than you are and that people want to hear your "witty" dialog. "Witty" dialog isn't character development and they shouldn't sound like shitty comedians, skip this and get straight to the red stuff.

2 - Don't make shitty zombies. This is a makeup/FX thing and falls very squarely on my shoulders alone with this project and one of the reasons I shut things down this summer. I'm since taking major steps to ensure the zombies will be not only awesome, but FUCKING AWESOME - at least in as so much as I can make them.

One way to test that you've made good zombies is this, stick them next to someone who is incredibly hungover - if the hungover person is scarier or makes a more realistic zombie, you need to redo it.

3 - Don't let smart characters do stupid things just to progress the plot. I've already ranted about this one and I guess it's a matter of context and opinion - which is why I've re-written some parts that maybe felt in direct violation to this and rule 1. And I will be attempting to get more than my own perspective on critical choices characters make in the story.

4 - Be original in the overall story. This one can be tricky for some folks who really aren't as good a writer as they believe they are and while I won't say I'm a great writer (not even for a second) I know for a fact I have a better imagination than about 90% of the people I know, no insult to anyone intended. It might not be a brilliant story in the end and there might be parts you could say seem like something you've seen somewhere else, but honestly you can say that about literally everything that exists so really you're not be insightful in saying it, you're just being obvious.

With all the random crap I've planned, I'm sure some of it somewhere might've been done in some fashion before - but that doesn't mean I've seen it or know what you're talking about. Hell, I've heard people say a show about a super hero family was original, long after "The Incredibles" and "No Ordinary Family" - just a matter of how well you know what you're talking about. So when I say be original, that also means you should know your genre extremely well before trying to impress people with what ultimately might be just your latest contrived ripoff.

5 - Make sure it's fun to watch. Subjective to be sure, but so long as things move along, you've got awesome zombies, your characters aren't complete idiots doing things no human would ever do and you're not rehashing the same tired zombie plot for the millionth time, you have a really great shot at making a fun movie.

The way I'm attempting to gauge this is like this, in the context of a single page of script, there has to be two things. You're either delivering some critical information or something amusing must be happening. If you can find a way to combine both, you're deep fried gold. And in the context of a zombie movie, if something horrifically bloody is happening as well, even better.

I'm going to cap this off, this was a long one that sort of went offtrack, if you're trying to write an original zombie movie, each time you make a choice in either character, their choices, settings or cause of the outbreak, don't rely on the limits of your own knowledge of the genre - ask around, especially to someone who knows the genre. If you've only seen half a dozen theatrically released zombie movies in the last 5 years, you're not an expert, you're the problem.

Ironically, there's a lot of life left in the zombie genre. Don't make the mistake in believing it's strictly a horror genre, that kind of thinking is exactly what's wrong with the state of zombie movies right now already. Although, I will say (and yes, apparently this has already been done) zombie porn is going too far.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

10 Things I Hate About Movies - Part 2.

2. Writers out of their depth or lacking in imagination.

This might be a little subjective as well (get ready for that word a lot), and I'm no expert, however it's pretty much all I do now so I think I'm pretty well versed in the overall field of horror/monster movies. If you can't stretch your imagination you shouldn't even venture into the genre (this also leads me to #3), it's already so saturated these days, with little indie studios and even more indie groups, thinking it's an easy style. It's not, really, it's not - so just stop thinking it is.

Specifically I want to use a movie called "Monster Brawl" to make this point. I'm not a wrestling fan, but this seemed, on paper, like a great idea for a fun little movie. A championship matchup and finally a fight to the death with monsters. Hardly brilliant, but the potential was really there for an amusing movie - especially when you have Dave Foley doing commentary and Lance Henriksen as the announcer. What a load of dull-assed crap it turned out to be.

With characters like "Lady Vampire" and "Zombie Man" I should’ve just stopped watching. So lazy, unimaginative and dull. And since when does a Cyclops fire lasers from his eye? That's not imaginative, that's just really dumb - a laser? Really? They couldn't think of something more interesting? They just settled on Laser Eye Vision? Was this written by a child? No, a child would’ve come up with something better.

And then when they carted out "Frankenstein" I watched to punch someone. I know idiots for ages have been referring to the Monster as Frankenstein, but that doesn't excuse it. And when they admitted their mistake and called anyone who would correct them a dick, I realized the level of intelligence I was dealing with. Just dull, lazy writers way out of their depth but still thinking they're clever. Scooby Doo had more complex monsters than this shit.

 Look, you don't write a political thriller or police drama without being well versed in those concepts - although I'm sure it does happens, just neither of those are genres I usually watch - than why does anyone find it acceptable to venture into the horror/fantasy/sci-fi world thinking they can just churn out some lame junk and expect anyone to buy it? I can only assume it's because of two (insulting) reasons, reason number 1, fans of those genres are just idiot fanboys (and fangirls) who have no real taste in movies and will watch anything and reason number 2, it's an easy style because you can just make shit up without having to back it up with anything logical.

Both those reasons are grotesquely insulting, if anything fans of these genres (real fans) are more discriminating. I think they only reason they get made is because maybe that powers that be think we're all idiots too and they themselves don't know any better so they think it's brilliant so why not do it. Just crank out the cheap crap for a quick buck.

It seems for every 100 low-budget genre movies, we'll see maybe 5 with a decent scripts. Until Horror Movies are officially considered A-List movies, we'll continue to get C-List writers churning out their crap scripts. It's a bit of a catch-22, the only way it's change is if something massive changes within the industry. For every Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson, there's about 1000 desperate writers just wanting to pay the rent and a producer who just wants another overly expensive car he doesn't really need.

*I also want to point out, I’m well aware that some of these issues I’m bringing up are not always directly related to the people I attribute them to. In some cases it’s a bad writer, or a bad director or a bad producer  - sometimes it’s not necessarily a “bad” anything other than circumstances. Making movies is a massive undertaking and is incredibly difficult, and sometimes, along the way, people lose sight of what they’re doing or creative differences arise and in the end there still has to be a final product. Sometimes that final product is just slapped together in order to meet a contractual obligation and that’s when crap movies happens.

And sometimes they just suck because they just suck.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Testing Latex Paints and Missing Fingers

Sometimes there's just so much I want to try to do that my brain can't process it all properly and I end up just doing nothing because I can't sort through everything. Sometimes. Lately my random thoughts have been trying to focus on the various things I want to do for the Bimbo Zombie Killers! web series next summer. I didn't ditch the project, just had to postpone it until certain things were worked out.

One thing I've been planning in regards to the new version of the web series is using more elaborate effects for the zombies - because sometimes zombies are missing parts.

I did a very quick and dirty sort of bluescreen test today, whatever colour I end up using all depends on the location we're shooting. This test was by no means intended as a perfect result of what things will look like in the movie, just to see how simply it can be done. I spent maybe 10 minutes on it, and most of that was painting my finger blue, filming and transferring the footage to the computer.

In the final version I'll be making a prosthetic that would cover that seam between my finger and the blue, to then make it look more rotted or bitten off. Should work just fine and be easy enough. I'm not looking at using it too much, just enough to get some good shots to fill things out.

There will definitely be more tests to come as we get closer to next summer.

And the other things I've been putting off for ages has been making a serious airbrushing attempt on some latex props/costume pieces. I did the Pax Paint thing a couple weeks ago but I have my doubts it'll hold up in the long run and be reliable enough to sell stuff that way so I tried some latex paint base, something I bought long ago and never got around to testing. It was rough and crude but I think with a little work it will be absolutely perfect.

I don't want to post an image of the piece I painted since I'm using the same design for a prosthetic for a photo shoot next week, but I'm going to attempt to paint up a latex mask version of the Dust Troll prosthetic tomorrow hopefully.

For anyone wondering, how the hell you paint latex masks, there's only a couple methods and most a unreliable and one is incredibly toxic (rubber cement method), I'd really recommend going with the latex paint base method. You can get it from Monster Makers and use regular acrylic to tint it and (while I've yet to use it, I will be soon and several sources recommend it) thinning it out with ammonia should you need to. You can stipple it on, brush it and airbrush it. Not sure of the ration, but that's something I think most folks can work out on their own and suss out whatever works best for them.

And I think, maybe this weekend, I'll be doing another shoot that will be themed rather well for this time of year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Demons 2012 Calendar now for sale

So, I made a calendar.Turned out decent and now it's up for sale. $20 plus $5 flat rate shipping.

Not much more to say about it than that. It features 12 demons, makeup and photos all done my myself with some local models (not actual "models" per se, just some awesome folks who like getting all done up). If you're local (on PEI), no shipping we'll arrange a pickup and you can contact me at if you're interested in purchasing one. Payments can be made through PayPal or Email Interact (preferred in Canada).

A few outtake photos from the calendar.These are the actual images that appear in the calendar, just a couple extras that turned out really well.

Monday, December 17, 2012

New prosthetics!

First, a couple updated pieces:

The Dust Troll
G'Lorn Demon
Sylf Demon
And some new stuff:

The Baalmoor Demon
 Coshamis Demon
 Quexital Demon

And an experiemental piece, a Skullcap Prosthetic. These are hard to say if they'll work for everyone.  It's sculpted from a 21-1/2" head and John here has a 22-1/2" head and it fit really well on him. I'd say anything smaller wouldn't fit too well, but anything larger might work alright.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

10 Things I Hate About Movies - Part 1.

I originally intended to do all this in one post, but after I got to number 4 it was just too long. So I'm doing one a week, updating every Sunday, just to do it.

I kinda hate top10 lists, but what the hell.

I watch a lot of movie, I mean A LOT, mostly horror and odder fair though. I work at home and end up spending a lot of the time while I'm working watching movies - some I pay attention to more than others depending on how crappy they are. After a fashion I started seeing trends, sometimes just single, amazingly bad instances of sloppy, shitty film making.

One of the worst offenders for making stupid, lazy, unimaginative movies have to be a production company called The Asylum, from what I've seen most of their stuff ends up on the SyFy channel. They recently shat out another turd called Age of the Hobbits which right now is being tied up in court. They claim it has nothing to do with The Hobbit, even though it was intended to be released 3 days before the other. The fact they pretty much make nothing but ripoffs and repetitive killer mutant animal movies is one thing, but they thing is they really don't seem to give a shit about making movies.

I like bad movies, in fact I love bad movies - but theirs are so bad it's actually made me appreciate Uwe Boll as a film maker and actually enjoy Bloodrayne the 2nd time around. It's not hard to make a good, fun bad movie, for them however it just seems impossible. Their track record for shitty to decent movies so far is about 2-50 and even then it was just an okay movie because it didn't totally suck, it was just pretty unoffensive. I only vague remember the name, might've been A Haunting in Salem and the other, and I might actually be wrong about this being one of their movies, was called Mammoth.

So right you might ask, why the hell do I think my opinion is so important to call out shitty film making - because it's my opinion, that's why. If you don't like it or agree with me so far, keep reading. While I'm not going to call out their movies specifically, because I've seen others do the same lame-assed mistakes, I felt like compiling a list of things I see in movies that just ruin them in some way.

1. Stupidity progressing the plot.

This happens even in A-List movies and it annoys the shit out me. While it's also a little subjective, there are some instances where a character's actions are just so mind-blowingly dumb that you can't just sit and ignore it. Sure there are dumb people who do dumb things in the real world, but in a movie it feels more like lazy writing in order to progress the plot. It's like the writers wrote themselves into a corner and could find no other way out than to have one of their characters (in the worst cases a previously somewhat intelligent character) do something completely stupid so they can keep going.

You can say, "Well, there wouldn't be much of a movie if that didn't happen" but you're only making my point for me. In these cases, there isn't much a movie to begin with - the stupidity just keeps it going longer than it should.

It's lazy writing, no other excuse. If you write something you can't handle, then you're doing it wrong or you're just a shitty writer with all the imagination of one of the morons in your script. Stop doing it.

Now, there are rare cases where someone doing something stupid is actually the point and part of the plot - that's where it gets kind of subjective, but you can usually tell the difference even if you're only half-assed paying attention. I wish I could think of a example right now, but I can't - unless you want to cite Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil as something like that, the stupid thing in this case is the "college kids" constantly mistaking Tucker and Dale as the villains. But that's kind of a weak example as it's literally the whole plot - and an awesome move.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Demon Crown

I did this piece just recently since I started thinking again about doing more than just prosthetics. This is latex, but it's not foam latex - pretty much the same as regular latex pullover masks. Painting them is a tricky process so I've been avoiding it.

I thought I'd start out with a couple pair of horns then I got this idea into my head and went for it instead. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, it was a quick turnaround so it's not as perfect as it could be.

Overall it does give the look I was hoping for. It's pretty lightweight, attaches with a clear elastic thread which can be resized - and is dirt cheap to replace should it break and relatively easy to find.

I guess I'd call it a Demon Crown of sorts, makes for a nice addition to a prosthetic.

I'm looking at producing a limited number for sale starting in January - after a little more testing, I want to make sure the paint I'm using will hold up in the long run. Normally you'd use a toxic concoction of rubber cement and naptha to paint this with but I tried homemade Pax paints, seems to have held up well and once I get some proper glossy finishing paint it should hold up well.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

"Things in Jars" again.

I thought I'd do up some images of the actual "Things" as they're not totally clear from the jar pictures, which is kind of the point, but from a selling point of view I think some folks might like to see what the "Things" look like.

Freeze Dried Two-Head Faerie
Haitian Bloodworm
Yeti Fetus

I've only made 8 of each for now, we'll see how well they sell and than they'll only be made in a limited quantity. They sell for $15 each, the jars a re pretty high quality 8oz. jars, all sealed shut and coated with wax. The liquid is just water with the smallest drop of acrylic paint to make it cloudy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Demons, Calendars and Stuff

Been busy working on stuff, just a series of random stuff. Just finished shoot number 6 for the Demon Calendar - so far so good. Got the rest all lined up and shoot dates tentatively book for a few.

Meanwhile, I've pretty much wrapped up producing new prosthetics for the shop. I've got 3 female sized finished that all look pretty decent (I've got to come up with a better of way of phrasing that, female oriented? Female only? Whatever), they'll be going online, along with a few other pieces next week. As well, I'm working on a new large pair of ears and a new nose piece that should be ready for next week as well.

Since I'm running low on supplies I've been working out what best to focus on and I've decided to give latex pieces another try. Like horns and whatnot that you just slip on, no makeup required. I figure pieces like this might be more enticing for non-makeup oriented folks.

I've got an idea for a weird horned latex headpiece, might work, might not - but there's only one way to tell for sure. I think I'll do it up for a photoshoot and if it tuns out, I'll think about putting it online.

Here's a couple outtake shots from the last two shoots:

Otherwise I'm just trying to sort of some FX for the BZK! web series next summer, so far I've got some pretty cool stuff lined up and some of which will be for sale online. I'll be posting some progress about that once I make some good headway.

And I'm finally going to take a serious attempt at building a larger foam latex oven this winter. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Things in Jars going online for sale tomorrow!

Had a decently productive day - I think because I planned on doing way more than humanly possible getting just a bit done that took most of the day made it seem really productive and busy overall.

My main goal was to get the "Thing in a Jar" props done for sale. It's been a long, long, long time coming and they're finally done. Took awhile to track down just the right jar - mainly because I  needed a reliable and consistent source if I end up selling a lot of them.

So here they are:

This here is a Freeze Dried Two-Headed Faerie, found in the Aran Islands in Ireland. This is the only dry one, the other two jars are liquid filled and I thought I needed something a little different.

The Faerie itself was cast in Flex FoamIt X, I wanted it to have a bit of a dry look. I tried regular FoamIt, but it's small so it was pretty fragile and some parts broke off trying to get it out of the mould.

The Haitian Bloodworm, from the stomach of a zombie. This one was pretty simple, just made from EcoFlex 30 *future ones will be done in 20, just because I have a lot on hand for the moment). To cloud the water I added the smallest drop of yellow acrylic paint. I wanted it to have more of a yellow cast, but literally one more drop made it look like orange juice and was totally clouded up. I'm happy with this though. Hopefully the cloudiness will remain and won't settle out, but shaking it up should recloud it.

And finally the Yeti Fetus from a cave in Northern Tibet. This one was cast in resin, SmoothCast 305. I originally was going with latex filled with FlexFoam it, but the thing was so buoyant it was stuck to the lid of the jar, so I opted for solid resin with a painted on latex skin peeled and ripped up to make it look a little more gnarly.

I'm not totally sure of the prices on these just yet. I'm thinking they'll be under $20 though, maybe $15, and I'm looking into finding wooden boxes for selling all three as a set. I might even make them and put it out there as a limited edition set. We'll see how all that goes.

Until I get them on the website, which is going to be overhauled just slightly tomorrow, you can email me,, if you're interested in purchasing them.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Skullcap Prosthetics - 1st test

I finally got a chance to test my first Skullcap prosthetic. If you've never heard me mention it, I had an idea to create prosthetics for either bald people or people who like using baldcaps - it was sort of inspired by my annoyance of other prosthetics out there on the market that force you to use a baldcap (or actually be bald) but neglected to tell you in the product description.

So I figured, why not. Might be a really niche item in an already niche market - but the moulds are made and it turned out alright, so why not offer it up for sale to anyone who wants it.

Firstly, it was designed on a 21-1/2" head and the model here, John MacDonald, has a 22-1/2" head - and it went on relatively well with only the slightest little fold on one side that ultimately wasn't actually noticeable as a flaw in the end. Will it fit everyone? I highly doubt it, like all prosthetics like this they're generically made and made to fit an average size, so if you feel your skull is average sized, you might be alright. I would guess that anyone with a small head circumference might be in for a problem, although noticeably larger might be perfectly fine.

It took a whole batch of foam to make this one, so it might end up be a slightly more pricey piece along with the horns. However, because it's so thick, the edges held up really well and could be more reusable than most pieces - so it might be worth it for some folks, I guess I'll let them decide.

The's alright. Hard to do something like this for the very first time when you're not sure of the potential problems and all that. It looks okay, I would never brag about it being a great design, but it works really well with the new Baalmoor piece.

I will be throwing it on the site and seeing what the response is. With the appropriate warnings of head sizes and all that. It'll be around $65 I think given how much foam is needed and the amount of resin horns. Still pretty decent price though for something with more reusable potential than most pieces.

So there you go. If you're bald and always wanted to slap a prosthetic on your skull - now you can.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A whole bunch of random crap

I've been working on a few things at once, so this post is going to be a little everywhere all at once.

First, I've been trying to do a Demon Calendar, nothing too spectacular, just about 12 new images. I've got 4 done so far and I think about 3 more shoots lined up and I'll see where it goes after that. No idea where I'll be printing them or how I'll be selling them. All I know is, I'm trying to keep it on the non-expensive side.

Here's a few outtake images from the shoots so far:

I've been airbrushing only as well with the makeup this time out. Slightly faster, when the airbrush isn't clogging up - but way better end results, so it's worth it.

Second, I'm hoping to wrap up some new props by tomorrow. You've probably seen them or heard or read about me mentioning them before, the "Thing in a Jar" props. I've been meaning to get around to finding proper jars and finishing a 3rd one and I should have them online by tomorrow night if all goes well.

Third, I've been slowly whittling away at some ideas for the reshoot of the BZK! web series and one thing I really want to refocus my attention on are the FX. I've complained about this before and I really wasn't happy about how I was handling the zombie makeup. That's not to say I wasn't happy with what my two makeup artists, Maggy and Krista, were doing - they were doing exactly what I told them and they did a great job. I'm referring more to keeping things more organized and on track.

As the shoots went by, with each one, the makeup become more and more rushed. That should never have happened and was the biggest mistake (aside from letting just anyone volunteer) on the series. So for next time, we're really going to make an effort that the quality of the zombies is much better and not rushed.

One thing I'll be doing is trying some "out of mouth" dentures. At least that's how I've heard them referred to, they use them a lot on The Walking Dead and it's where you create a pair of dentures that latch onto your teeth, but they overlap your lips, so when a prosthetic is applied over them it can have the lips peeled back way more than humanly possible with series pain or surgery. If that makes sense.

The overall principle behind making them is pretty simple and I reckon I'll attempt a few test pairs over the winter. It should go a long way to really sell the zombie look and I might even be able to offer them up for sale with a bit of work.

Another thing I'm debating about, and again this was inspired by The Walking Dead - is their use of animatronic or puppet zombie heads in the foreground. There were a few shots in season 2 where I noticed in the extreme foreground, so you only saw it's face or down to it's shoulders, a very decayed looking zombie. You really only saw them for maybe a few seconds, enough to really get a sense of the thing,  pretty simple effect and if I have enough of a budget I'll be trying that trick as well hopefully.

Other than that, I'm finishing up my last prosthetic of the year. I'm running low on supplies so I don't want to make another huge expense for myself so I'm doing as much as I can with what I have left and I'm running low on master mould supplies. I've got my 3rd female oriented piece to finish up today and then perhaps a new pair of ears and that will be it for this year.

I've got a few older designs I want to redo, but they'll have to wait for now.

And lastly, while I haven't even started it yet, I do plan on building my foam latex oven this winter. Could be awesome, could be a disaster - I won't know until I get around to it I guess.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Dust Troll Redux

I started my first redesign of one of my older pieces, one of many. As I believe I started before, the reason behind this is just because some of my older pieces were never master moulded and the original moulds are long since gone, so I thought it seemed like a good time to update them - having not only seen what potential problems there were with them, but just because they were older pieces and I've improved a lot in the sculpting department since then.

First up was the Dust Troll, this is one I really wanted to redo. I really liked the design when I first made it but over time saw how many issues there were with it. It kinda lacked any character - plus the tusks were a pain in the ass. All future pieces with horns, tusks or spikes, will all be using the resin pieces instead of having them as one solid foam piece. Making sculpting, moulding and casting so much easier to do it this way.

Just letting the mould dry out after cleaning it for now and I'll be master moulding it tomorrow and hopefully doing a shoot with it this weekend. Really looking forward to seeing how it looks applied and painted up.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Post Halloween Syndrome

For me Halloween is pretty much year round, so it's not so much all that special in the sense of I can finally see people in costume and all done up looking freaky - I see that all the time. And it's not so much a relaxing time of year as I'm busy getting everyone else ready and usually don't really feel like doing that much myself. Although, without Halloween I wouldn't be making as much money, so for that reason, it is indeed awesome. And it's finally over.

This year was a little quieter than last, for a number of reasons. Although I did a higher amount of retail business, which I was rather happy about. Still having trouble really breaking into the wholesale market. I have a couple clients, but I'd really like 2-3 more. I think it would push things over the edge into making the business much more viable in the long run. So I'm starting early to get that process moving forward rather than waiting until next spring.

One of the things I'm doing this year, and I've mentioned this before, is introducing a couple new prosthetic lines. The main one being female oriented prosthetics, since around 95% of my retail business was from women and I've been told by a wholesale client that it's definitely an unfilled niche in the market - I'm thinking it might not be so niche.

I've got my main positive mould done and I'm about to start testing them to see if they'll fit women better than my current pieces - which I'm well aware won't fit them well. These ones are a little shorter in length from forehead to chin, so I'm hoping it'll work. I'm about to line up the first of a few shoots with some new designs over the next few weeks.

Here's the first sculpt, it's already been moulded and I'm doing a silicone master right now. No name for it yet, I'll decide on one once I see it applied as a character I think. Overall I'm happy with the design, I'm trying to make these ones less monstrous and simply more "obviously not human" looking. This particular one will have some chin spikes as usual, I seem to like doing that.

We'll see soon enough if it all works out. And I hope to be trying out the SkullCap Prosthetics soon as well.

I did a few makeup jobs last year and I think one or two even the year before that, but this year was a bit of a bust. I had a lot lined up and pretty much all, but one, flaked out on me and just never showed up. One cancelled, I'm fine with that, but just not showing up I found a little rude. Their loss.

Anyway, the one I did end up doing turned out awesome. I even kinda impressed myself with it. My first time relying totally on my airbrush for all the makeup. Not one bit of grease or creme makeup was used.  You can't really see the details in the picture, but overall it was blended pretty well and looked decently freaky. I used the Borom Demon piece and just did a fleshy colouring with it, some spots and reddish colouring as well, it wasn't too crazy. We went for a more, I guess you could call it realistic look. And he bought a Shrunken Demon Head to fill out the look.

It's been years since I've seen the movie, but this piece unintentionally reminds me of Rawhead Rex.

I'm not cranking out piles of prosthetics a day for the moment, so I can take a bit of a rest and start working on redesigning some older pieces that were never master moulded and creating some new ones. And even working on a few more Demonic Antiquities pieces, first on that list is a Mummy Hand. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Another new line of prosthetics

There's a while backlog of stuff I've been meaning to do this year for Halloween, but life and the whole web series thing really got in the way. Now I have more free time to actually work and I've started working on a couple new things, 2 new lines of prosthetics.

I know I mentioned one of these before, either here or just on Facebook, I don't even remember anymore where I mention things. I really should keep track of that.

Back when I was just buying prosthetics online one thing I encountered that continually annoyed me was the size of some of the pieces. Most of them were way too high on the forehead for the average person to wear without needing a bald cap - however next to none of them ever mentioned that fact so I would end up with a piece I couldn't use on just anybody with having to apply a pain in the ass bald cap as well. And some were just too large for female models or actors so I had to trim them down and try to blend in these massive edges as best I could.

I decided when I started making mine to never do that, to try to stay within a defined area so that nothing but the piece and makeup would be needed. And that they'd be wearable by most everyone - that's pretty difficult since women have small or shorter face, might not seem like it but it's pretty obvious when you try to put an average size prosthetic on them.

This all lead me to two ideas that I'm finally getting around to:

Skullcap Prosthetics
Now there might be a good reason why I've never seen these before, I guess I'm willing to find out the hard way. During the course of doing the first "Demons" book I worked with quite a few bald folks have encountered more since who are interested in this stuff so I began thinking - if there are already pieces out there that require a bald cap why not make pieces specifically for that? Both bald people and those that don't mind using bald caps.

The idea is to keep them fairly small and one two part moulds, I don't want to get into doing 3-4 part moulds. So they'll stick pretty close to the crown of the head or maybe the front or back. This would give a little more variety and dramatically alter the shape of the human head. I'm just hoping I can get them averaged size enough. Slightly on the small size would be stretchable at least to a few sizes larger, that's the best I can think of right now.

This is sort of a top-down angle on the very first attempt at one of these pieces. It's pretty simple, kind of Predator inspired. The holes are obviously for the many various resin spikes and horns I have. I'm hoping if this one is a success, I'll need to try it on a few different people to be sure, then I'll move on and finally get around to creating some big-assed horns. With a large piece to attach them to, it should work. Time will tell.

Hopefully they pan out, could be a decent corner of the market.

Female Only Prosthetics.
As I mentioned earlier on, there's a huge issue and a gap in the market for prosthetics that fit women well. The ones I've tried, full faces at least, tend to be way too long and end up looking sloppy. Or way too high on the forehead - same results.

I wouldn't have thought there was such a market, but I've had more women interesting in doing demon photo shoots than men on average and I've been told my one of my major wholesale clients there is indeed a huge hole in that market no one has yet to really show any concern about. And if this Halloween season has been any indication, he's right. Almost 95% of my retail orders were from women this year.

So I'm hoping to get these started this weekend and online in time for Halloween as soon as possible. At least one of each, all depends since I have to start from scratch and I need to test them to make sure they're doing to perform as intended.

I might even start doing female versions of some of the already existing full face pieces, who knows.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Custom Halloween Makeup Service

Hey folks, it's that time of year again. Almost. I posted this on the website and on Facebook, so I figured I might as well here too:

If you feel like doing a little something extra this year but aren't too sure how to do it, you might want to try out some prosthetic makeup. And if you're not confident enough to apply it yourself, I can take care of that as well. Or if you're interested, but had some questions - fire away.

Book times now, email me at Application times can vary, from 1 to 2 hours. Prices are the cost of the prosthetics, plus $5 to $20 depending on the si
ze and elaborateness of the actual makeup.

For example, the image in this Facebook ad would cost $130. It includes the Melicor Demon prosthetic (on sale for only $40 now, originally $50), Pointed Ears are $20, plus 4 pairs of Medium Horns Type B for a total of $40. Application would be $20 and would take 2 hours to apply.

Don't wait until the last minute as prosthetics are not being kept in stock, they're being made on demand right now and could take up to 2 days to make.

Also, I am not located in Charlottetown anymore, so you'll need to get yourself out to where I am on your own this year. This is really only open to folks on PEI, unless you want to drive, or whatever, to get yourself here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Baalmoor

The Baalmoor is a short I did a long time ago when I was relatively inexperienced. Well, I don't know if I'm much more experienced but I'm remaking it anyway just because I want to.

It was a simple enough idea and it was too simple a movie - it kinda fell a little flat and just didn't work as a creepy horror piece. It involved a  girl, fresh from a terribly breakup being preyed upon by a demon. This was before I was into doing makeup and those kind of FX as well, so I think this new version should prove more interesting in some regards - not to give anything away, but let's face it, if you know what I do, you'd be expecting it.

I've got a rough plot outline, I'm getting together with the actors to walk through the whole thing and really flesh it out so I can get a script started for shooting in November/December. It'll be a chilly shoot - it might even get postponed until spring, I've no idea of anything at this point really.

The other motivating factor in doing this is that I've spent the last 4 years, more or less, making rather campy silly stuff. I guess you could say exploring more of the lazy side of filmmaking, or the easy side of it, whichever seems more politically correct to you. I want to really put forth the effort for a change and actually experiment with trying to create an atmosphere, tension all that stuff.

I am of the opinion that amateur filmmakers should stay away from drama, and anything involving it, because above all else it really requires you to perfectly tackle every element of making a movie. If you're even slightly off you end up with a laughable mess. Most noticeably acting and writing. If you got good actors and a shit script, you'll still get a bad movie. At least if you got a good script, you're halfway there and if it's really good and your actors are at least willing to really give it all they got, you might be okay. But there's a lot of "ifs" in there to really risk wasting all that work on something that immediately and inevitably falls apart because of inexperience. You might get lucky though, but don't expect it to happen every time - you can't tell what works when you don't have a clue about what doesn't.

So we'll see how well I fair. I'm at least brutally honest with myself, something I will admit some filmmakers I know are incapable of. Some are pretty blind when it comes to their own work I think, taking criticism way too personally and not able to grow as a filmmaker or even challenge themselves. I'm well aware of my flaws as a filmmaker - even though I don't fancy myself to be one, and never will, so I'm only so concerned about my weakness, which explains my love of making crappy movies on purpose. I don't think I'm awesome, but I think I know pretty damned well how to make a good bad movie. And I know well enough to stay away from things beyond my abilities, like heavy dramatic stuff.

The Baalmoor remake might be another failure and I'm more than willing to admit that right now. We'll call it a "check in", to see if I've actually gained any experience. And if I fail, right back to cheesy crap I guess.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Silicone Zombie Mask

So here's the "Uber-Jesse Zombie" mask that was to have been used in the BZK! web series. I wouldn't say I'm terribly experienced in making silicone masks, in fact this is the 2nd one I've attempted. The other was years ago and was done wrong, as a result it was very expensive (too thick and used way too much silicone) so I never really went back to try again.

I had the idea of going thinner and to re-enforce the entire head, that than just the eyes, mouth, nose and ears - that way I'd be sure it was tough enough. This was confirmed by a couple awesomely helpful guys I met at the CHAC back in April, who really knew their stuff. I wished to hell I could remember their names offhand, but I suck at names.

When BZK! came around again and I was applying for an FX grant I decided to give it one more try and after putting it off several times I finally got it sculpted, I was really happy with the sculpt and finally took to making the mould. Here's where things when slightly pear-shaped. I was using a material called EpoxAcoat Red, which is actually not too bad to work with and pretty fast overall - however, it calls for two thin coats and then you apply a backing materials. The problem was in experience with the Red and it tend to draw up a little in random spot causing holes - which you can fill in on your 2nd coat.

The surface of the mould was great, and fairly easy to clean out. I used Monster Makers clay and about 95% of it just pulled right out. That last 5% was a bugger, but using a head gun and mineral spirits took no time at all.

The problem I mentioned before was the edges of the mould, where the two halves meet. Since it's a bit of a 90 degree angle, in some places the Red just refused to settle in properly and left some open spots. And upon applying the backing, it left other open spots just under the surface. As a result the edge, right were the two halves meet was broken and shipped and just poor in spots. My thought was to just do a 3rd and 4th coat along that seam to really thicken and re-enforce the mould where it needs it most. Next time.

And man, was this thing a bugger to demould. Removing the halves from the original sculpt took 3 hours and there was some damage done to the mould itself. While I hated using Shell Shock (the material I used on the original silicone mask attempt years ago), it was tough and sturdy. I might try it again, not sure yet.

I poured it last night, demoulded (about an hour) this morning and was kind of pleased with the results. There were some air pockets in places where the re-enforcing material didn't allow the silicone to flow around it properly, but overall it turned out well.

I was able to identify problem spots where I'll be re-enforcing for the next one and it should be good enough to sell maybe. I'll be using the original to do a paint test.

Here the bugger is though in all his undead, fleshy looking glory.
 If I do offer them up for sale, it will hopefully be very soon, in a very limited edition (10 maybe?) and at a very low cost. I'm thinking $250 each. These things normally retail around $500-$600 if you've ever seen silicone masks before.

That's it. I've got ideas for a 2nd one, not a zombie, I might attempt at some point in the future, but I don't think I'll get too heavily into doing silicone masks just yet. Maybe another year or two.

Monday, October 01, 2012

In the aftermath of a different sort of Zombie Apocalypse

I've been debating about how to approach next summer when we attempt to shoot the Bimbo Zombie Killers! web series again. So I had to give some thought as to exactly what went wrong and how to fix it for next time.

First off, was timing. Through absolutely no fault of theirs, the grant folks who so graciously gave me the funds for the FX for the web series, the PEI Council of the Arts, had to push back their deadline because of their own issues with outside forces, prompting me to push back mine until we lost about 2 1/2 months. That was the big thing. I was trying to shoot, organize and get the FX ready all at once in a big jumble - it just didn't work and we ran out of decent shooting weather and time. Fair enough, that problem is now solved with an extension of about 8 months.

Of course I am doing a major rewrite which will greatly increase the FX for the series and probably the budget, but I'll whittle away at it at here and there from now until May rather than in a 1 month period. I would definitely say the problem of time has been solved there. If we shoot for May, we have 5 months of decent weather to attempt to do this, rather than 1 1/2 months.

The other major problem was the extras. I should've realized this very early on after how things played out with the first BZK! movie. I had used Facebook to create an event, to which 50 people joined and ultimately only 5 showed. That's pretty pathetic. Extremely pathetic. Now I'll give some folks the benefit of the doubt and say a percentage forgot, 95%? Not likely, more likely 30-50% forgot, the others just lost interest, didn't care what they were agreeing to show up for, never read the fine print, blah, blah, blah. And then there's the regular old just unreliable folks, there's way too many of them. They have the best of intentions, and I'll totally give them that, but when it comes right down to it, they just can't be bothered - and that's totally fine, they're allowed to not be bothered, but their still a pain in the ass.

This time we had a group page created in Facebook to which almost 80 people joined (to be zombies at least) and I'm remembering this number from the top of my head, maybe 15 responded. I recall the last day we were scheduled to shoot I contacted 30 of them and only 2-3 responded. I don't really understand any of that. I don't get why you'd sign up for something then just ignore it, but now I have a list of those people and won't even be entertaining the notion of bothering with them anymore. Obviously their motivation and enthusiasm are off in two different directions.

So, how to fix all that? I'm wondering if Facebook is the problem? It's just too easy to say "Yup, I'm in" to something without any consequences, like the rest of the internet you can just hide in some dark little corner and pretend nothing ever happened and walk away from all responsibility. So I'm thinking, while I might use Facebook to organize the schedule - because it's fairly efficient for doing that, I won't be recruiting people that way - at least not by way of just allowing anyone to join a group, it'll have to go through another stage in the process that requires them to actually communicate their interest first.

We'll see how it all goes. Another option is to rethink large zombie scenes. Is there a way around it? If I do more full face makeups I can reuse actors much easier, and I may go that way. I really want the zombies to look like zombies, the ones you expect to see. Which is yet another reason, partially because of the time thing, that I shut it down. In the end, the zombies just look like they were run over by the Kool-Aid Guy, just red splashed on them. That should never have been allowed to happen, I should not have let that slip and that's totally my fault. I'll be more prepared for the makeup next time around.

Plus, I'm thinking a proper schedule, done way in advance so there'll be none of the usual being put off by everyone at the last minute. People need to know things in advance, as do I. If I say right now we're shooting on May 8th (I picked that randomly, that's not a date) than it's hard for anyone to really say right now they're not available - in fact, this becomes the thing they schedule everything else around. Ideally at least. Things always get in the way.

And I believe we'll shoot in order, possibly doing one episode per shoot, rather than randomly grabbing bits here and there. This was a good test I think, we tried, we got halfway there and probably could've finished, but it would've been a shadow of the original idea. This way, I get to rethink everything, having seen all the possible problems and we should be pretty good next time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

BZK! Undead in the Water - CANCELLED.

I had to make the call on this today, I've been debating it for some time now whether with all the compromises I've been making if it's worth it to keep going. With each shoot, more and more I'm changing things to make it easier and more and more getting away from what I originally intended.

The lead actors, you know who you all are, have been beyond awesome. The only thing I actually feel bad about in cancelling the shoot is that you guys have done such a great job, it's a shame to just drop it all and move on. So I don't want any of the leads having even the slightest doubt that this decision was caused by them - it's only because of you guys I've kept going on this long.

And I'm going to be perfectly honest here, and possibly insult a great number of people - than again, those that I'm insulting probably won't be reading this anyway so who cares? The zombies. I created the group page, specifically to wrangle in the zombie extras. Out of supposedly 80 people who joined the group just to be a zombie, less than 1/4 of them ever responded to any of the calls for them to come out to shoot.

I could really go on about how disappointing that was but I don't want to. There were some of the extras who were beyond fantastic and who gave it way more effort than I expected. I appreciate people are busy, but there's always enough time when you're directly asked for something you've volunteered for to at least respond - it's only polite.

While the zombies were an issue, there were others. The blame does not by any means rest solely with them. Just a lot of bad timing, bad weather, delays. There was literally so much bad that went on, I think I've forgotten some of because there was always something worse right around the corner to top it.

Today it just finally went downhill far enough for me to just call it quits. We lost days of shooting because of the weather, which then turned out perfectly fine. If that's not something that makes you want to punch a duck in the face, I don't know what would. Unless it's just an asshole duck who deserves it.

There's way more I could say about all this, but there's just no point. We tried, everyone gave it their best (at least as far as I could tell) and what we did get shot was great, but it was just slowly fizzling around the edges until we're at this point. Cancelled. Or postponed I guess.

The Bimbo Zombie Killers! web series idea isn't over, just postponed until next June. I have all winter, and living in the country there's not going to be much else to do, to go over everything and rewrite, make it better and way more over the top awesome. Get all the FX and props ready. It will be way more awesome because of this.

So that's it. No more zombies for me this year - unless I end up doing makeup for Halloween, in which case that's fine.

I just wanted to thank everyone involved who helped out, you all know who you are. Everyone did an awesome job considering the circumstances. See you next year, some of you I'll be seeing very shortly to move on to other project, but you get what I mean.

And for anyone wondering, "Hey, what about the Indiegogo stuff?" Everyone will still be getting what they donated for, aside from the DVD, which is only delayed.

And the Facebook group is gone, so anyone wondering what happened there, I just wanted to get it over with and move on. Anyone interested can follow along on The Monkey Rodeo Project page to see if there's any updates.