Zombie Films and Hypothermia
An artist friend of mine is working on a low (read “no”) budget horror film. Last weekend I had the privilege of standing in as one of the kills. This consisted largely of me stumbling about in the middle of the street with a pressure sprayer duct taped to my back. On cue I would wave my hands in the air and Rob would fire the sprayer, creating what we hoped looked like a spray of blood gouting from my neck.

We were using black and white 16 mm (?) film, so the color of our faux blood wasn’t a concern, but viscosity was. After several tries, we settled on a chocolate syrup/grape juice mix.

Complications arose around take 5 or 6. We were filming in Colorado, so it was a little chilly, especially if you were drenched in chocolaty goodness and grape mashings. By take 9, I couldn’t feel my hands, but this might have improved my acting. Certainly it couldn’t have made it worse.

After 1.5 hours of wetting Grims and the streets of Fort Collins, we called it good. We did one last shot of my twitching corpse, mugged for the camera to use up the last of the reel, and ran home to the showers.

For the record, hot water showers are the foundation of modern civilization.

A final note for aspiring horror film directors:

There are a lot of fake decapitated heads on the market, some more expensive than others. You might ask yourself, “Self, what separates a $20 head from a $75 head? Shouldn’t I just save some cash and go with the cheap one?”

Sure, but like most things, you get what you paid for. We were using a cheaper, styrofoam head, and after the first couple shots, the girl was showing signs of wear. Her face mashed in a little, one ear threatened to fall off, and the paint had begun to flake.

So if you are going to use a decapitated head, and if you plan on throwing it around in the street, I recommend going with something a little more durable. The extra $50 you spend will be money you save when you use the head in later films.


At 3:26 PM, Blogger ec said...

The last paragraph of this post, excerpted without any previous explanation, would make a marvelous signature for just about any fantasy message board persona.

"So if you are going to use a decapitated head..." Love it.

It also sets a new standard as an interesting example of false economy--far more so than flannel sheets, which must be of very good quality or they will pill after a few washings. ;)

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Zombie_Flyboy said...

Man, that sounds like a lot of fun. Great post.


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