What is it with our interest in the unknown, and our desire to get close to our fears? Our fascination with fright has led audiences to the zombies in Dawn of the Dead, the unstoppable evil force that is Jason in the Friday The 13th, and the gnarly-looking creatures in horror anthology movie Creepshow. All of these films have one common denominator: Tom Savini.
For a recent #SonySundays show, Joe and Phill invited Tom Savini, the famed make-up special effects artist, into our studio. They sat down with Savini to discuss everything from his time working George Romero, to his thoughts on contemporary movie making and even some in-depth conversations about lucid dreaming.
4. What's Tom Savini's Favorite Movie He's Worked On?
Here's a hint: Savini's character in the movie went by the name of Sex Machine and and wore a crotch pistol. That's right, the wizard's favorite is Robert Rodriguez's vampire flick From Dusk Till Dawn. He got to be on set with one heck of a cast: Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Salma Hayek and George Clooney. Savini said Clooney was the nicest person he ever met in his life.
3. Which Actor Scared Savini The Most?
If George Clooney was the nicest guy, then Juliette Lewis freaked him out the most. He said she did an amazing job of staying in character, at all times, as the simple little Christian girl in From Dusk Till Dawn. That's not the reason she scared him, though. The movie she finished before From Dusk Till Dawn was Natural Born Killers, which means she probably still had some of that character, the psycho serial killer Mallory Knox, in her head.
2. How Does Savini Scare People On Set?
We see #horror movies to feel scared. If the actors don't look scared, then the audience won't be on the edge of their seats. How how did he scare his actors? Once, when the cast wasn't looking, he fired a gun on the set! Ok, it was a gun loaded with blanks, and the producers said he wasn't allowed to do it again after that time. So he started banging pieces of wood together to startle the people working on scenes, instead. He says there's a different look in a person's eyes when they're really scared as opposed to just acting. A director has to do whatever it takes to make the movie experience as real as possible.
1. What Are Savini's Thoughts On 'The Walking Dead'?
Back in the early days of make-up and effects, there was no CGI. Savini talks about how the combination of practical and CGI effects create the best scenes. That's why #TheWalkingDead looks so cool on TV. What's really interesting is that Greg Nicotero got his first job in make-up effects as Savini's assistant on Day Of The Dead. Nicotero has created the best zombies by using both practical and digital techniques. The show does so well because audiences can see the zombies (as opposed to just CGI monsters) and the production can use CGI to enhance the practical effects. Savini mentions how CGI allows the directors on the The Walking Dead to easily and quickly do reshoots because there's no cleanup on the scene. Now directors have the ability to shoot the zombie scenes just right (who has time to clean up all that gross blood and guts?)