Gary J. Tunnicliffe is a name best known in the world of special effects makeup, but he now has a feature of his own coming in 2014 called Judgement. I have been granted the opportunity to conduct an interview with Gary about his career and his new film.
For those that do not know who Gary J. Tunnicliffe is, he was the makeup effects designer for films such as My Bloody Valentine 3D, Exorcist: The Beginning, The Collection, the Hellraiser series and many others.
‘Judgement’ is a place where heaven and hell collide, ‘a spider’s web’, one of many of hundreds, maybe thousands littered all across the world, a place where the good and the bad are processed, ‘audited’.
One man’s demise marks the beginning of a police detective’s journey into this world, a world where all is uncovered, where the very blood in your veins reveals the secrets of who and what you are.
But even the machine that has run so smoothly for a millenia can falter when something new, something ‘different’ is added to the mix and that something will create ripples that become waves, cause black and white to become grey and cause shifts in the powers of good and evil.
Gary has started a KICKSTARTER campaign for his film. The set goal is $195,000. Not only will you be helping a great project that even Doug Bradley calls “Visually Arresting“, but there are perks for the levels of donations.
LBoH: What got you interested in the effects industry?
: Horror films fundamentally and so I suppose if I backtrack my Brother, he was five years older than me and on Friday nights in the UK they would play horror films, he would get to watch them and would then tell me in detail what they were about. Eventually I was allowed to watch them and from there my obsession began (I read Dracula when I was 7) by the time I was 12 or 13 I was a full fledged horror junkie
– then when I was about 15 a friend of mine handed me a copy of Fangoria magazine..it was like PORN for a horror movie lover and when I saw pictures of people sculpting monsters and applying make up’s it changed my life!
LBoH: What was your first effects project?
GT: Personally…probably a cut or a bruise on my younger sister..professionally it would have been working on ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (for Christopher ‘The Elephant Man’ Tucker’) stage musical, creating the foam latex appliances for Michael Crawford (and the other actors around the world) to wear every night.
LBoH: How long have you been in effects?
GT: A long time :-)…since I was 19…and I’m 45 now..so there’s the blog readers math puzzle for the day!
LBoH: What was your favorite film to work on?
GT: Truthfully they are all fun in some way, there’s always at least ONE fun moment….in some ways its weird, you tend to remember the bad experiences over the good ones and oddly enough rarely does the quality of the final film have anything to do with the experience you had making it. I had a nightmare of a time on SLEEPY HOLLOW, but the film came out great!….DINO SHARK was god awful but I had such an amazing time working on it in Mexico, Exorcist: The Beginning in Rome was very cool, I really enjoyed making the Dracula films (Dracula 2000, Ascension and Legacy) and I think the films are cool too
LBoH: How different is it to go from working on someone else’s project to being in charge of your own?
: If you mean in terms of being an fx artist working as part of a crew is a LOT easier, your responsibilities stop the moment you leave the shop at night, as the designer its all on you, your managing the look of the things the producers and director are buying but you’re also managing the finances of the build, the day to day running of the shop, crew, materials etc, etc…wow…perhaps I should go back to working in a crew, just reading that is a revelation!
If you mean in terms of going from being an fx artist to being a director (as a full bloodied control freak) it usually makes me a lot happier, although there is a lot more work, but I’ve never been afraid to make decisions and stand by them and I think that is the key to being a good director sometimes.
LBoH: What advice would you give anyone looking to come into the world of special effects make up?
GT: Learn computer graphics…it’s cleaner, safer and in the future there is going to be a LOT more work doing CGI than make up fx. Deny it if you like, romanticize that make up fx will make a huge comeback, mourn the poor quality and fake look of cgi sometimes…but have no doubts that cgi will take over 90% of the fx industry eventually…make up fx are CD’s to CGI’s downloads…the writing is on the wall. BUT if you simply must be a make up effects artist DON’T go to make up fx school!…save yourself the cost of tuition!…buy some clay, sculpt, read make up fx books and research on the internet, sculpt, apply make ups on friends, visit conventions, sculpt, send letters to make up effects artists asking for advice (and start establishing a relationship) sculpt, enroll in the Stan Winston School of Character Arts on line and watch their tutorials by industry vets (like yours truly!) sculpt, sculpt and sculpt…if you took a year and did the above without going to a ‘make up fx school’ you would save the huge cost of tuition and housing etc….but if you wanna go party with a bunch of like minded people and generate a portfolio that is a replicate of EVERYONE else in the class (past and previous) and blow Mom and Dad’s hard earned moolah – knock yourself out! :-)
LBoH: Where did your inspiration for Judgement come from?
GT: The idea basically was born out of what I thought HELL might really be like, a processing machine and then wondering how it works, who it’s manned by and the ‘jobs’ they perform and also the idea that Heaven and Hell might actually operate in tandem….that is what spawned the story.
LBoH: How long have you been working on Judgement?
GT: Over three or four years now since I mused the first concept, we could have launched on Kickstarter over a year ago, but honestly I was busy working on a project so I didn’t see the point, that extra year also gave me a chance to polish the script.
LBoH: Are you working on the special effects of this film?
: We will be creating everything for the film, but we wont begin until (if) we get funded, but as a company we will be involved in set
dressing, props and all the make up and special effects.
LBoH: How would you best describe this film, gory, psychological, a combination of the two or something completely different?
GT: Definitely a combination of the two and a lot more, but in NO WAY is this a gorefest, torture porn or mutilation or titilation….most of all ‘JUDGEMENT’ will be like no other horror film, a bold statement I know, but sincerely there are concepts and images that have never been seen like what is in this movie I want ‘Judgement’ to be a horror film your uneasy about putting in the dvd, a film that lives in your mind long after you turn the tv off, a film that will show you things, ask you things, that will frighten you, intrigue you, horrify you. If you take the dictionary at its word then – ‘horror’ (noun) meansdismay, alarm, appall, horrify and when was the last time a film did all those? ‘JUDGEMENT’ will.…but if you want the soundbite pitch?…”It’s Se7en meets Hellraiser”
LBoH: Who will we see starring in this film?
GT: Honestly until we are funded I have no idea, I didn’t want to go to actor friends ‘cap in hand’ I would rather do this the proper way, get funded and then cast the movie with a casting director and get the very best people who are right for the roles, who are availaible and with who the material resonates.
LBoH: What can fans expect to see from Judgement?
GT: Images unlike anything they have seen before, content that stimulates unease and discussion…and few sharp intakes of breath, a heavy experience that lives with you long after you have watched it.
LBoH: Anymore film writing/directing/producing aspirations for the future?
GT: Right now just this, I have turned down several directing projects that I felt were derivitive and formulaic, I dont think I can be involved directing a project again that I am not 100% behind, I’m done compromising as a director…its just too demoralizing. My focus right now is this movie and the sincere hope that we get it funded and we can make this film and deliver horror in its purest, undiluted form.
A special thank you to Mr. Gary J. Tunnicliffe for being so awesome!
Be sure to show your support for Judgement
by liking the film’s Facebook page
, visit the official site
and of course donate to the funding of this film via KICKSTARTER
. Why would we not want to see an original film like this? If you are as tired as I am of the same old Hollywood regurgitations they are trying to pass as “reboots” to the classics, then spread the word and help make Judgement
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