From the depths of hell, horror legend Pinhead returns in the latest chilling chapter of the bloodcurdling Hellraiser franchise, created by master storyteller Clive Barker. With long-time SFX artist Gary J. Tunnicliffe at the helm, get ready for gore-soaked set-pieces and nightmare visuals that will tear your soul apart!
To celebrate the release of Hellraiser: Judgment on Digital Download 22 February and Blu-ray™ and DVD 1 March, Gary has taken us on a tour through his top five sanguine-splashed special effects from the Hellraiser series and beyond!
PINHEAD (HELLRAISER franchise)
Well obviously Pinhead, it was just an honour to do that prosthetic makeup and to redesign it slightly. It’s a makeup that I looked up at the screen in 1987 as a cinemagoer, and basically said: ‘Who did that? How did they do it? I want to do it!’ It was an honour to apply that makeup again and again. And I never felt bored doing it. There was always an amazing sense of the ‘Frankenstein Syndrome’, as we call it, where you get to take a human being and turn them into something else. Doug Bradley and Paul T. Taylor, were both so brilliant with it and the makeup is only as good as the performer wearing it. So because of the legacy of the makeup, I put it on here as one of my top creations although of course it was created by Clive Barker! Jeff Porter did a brilliant job executing it in the first two movies. And then I got to carry on with it. I refined it and added my own touches, of course, but it was really just an honour to do that makeup.
ANGELIQUE CENOBITE (HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE)
The Angelique cenobite from Hellraiser: Bloodline is a huge favorite, because the fans took to her and really, really loved it. And I have this thing for designing sexy Cenobites. Clive Barker, always described things as grotesquely beautiful. I thought the concept of Pinhead with the pins was grotesque but you are fascinated by the look of him. So I wanted to do something like that for a female Cenobite. What happened was, I came in one night and Sister Act was on TV. And I saw these nuns with the whimple on and I thought, ‘how cool would it be if it was like wires peeling down skin instead and she’s got an exposed skull’! So that’s what I designed. I scribbled it down on a napkin and gave it to a brilliant artist friend of mine, who rendered it as a drawing. We showed it to the director and he approved it. It was a very tricky makeup to do and it had some weird technical aspects to it but again she was one of those characters who people were really into when she first appeared in the trailers. People were attracted to her sexiness and then disgusted by the grossness! If you can do that, it’s such a great dichotomy to have. So that’s why I love that character and why I think the fans gravitated toward it so much.
BOX CUTTER KILL (GONE GIRL)
My next one is the boxcutter kill in Gone Girl. It was just an honour to work with David Fincher. I was a huge fan of David Fincher anyway, and although there’s only really one kill in the movie, because the movie is so slow burn, no one expects that kill to happen. David is incredibly precise about everything. I think we did 20 or 30 tests of flow, colour, amount and everything else. That whole sequence had to be planned to military precision because we had so much blood going everywhere that we had to clean up the actors and the bed in between takes. The actors were very patient and very cool. I will never forget Rosamund Pike on set going ‘Gary, my butt cheeks are sticking together from the blood’, or having to stick my hand up Neil Patrick Harris’ underpants to wire up the bloodline through his neck. Every time I shoved my hand up through his underwear, he said, ‘I think you and my husband are the only people who have had their hands in my underwear this much’. It was a great couple of days shooting that sequence and very bloody! And then to see the scene in the film and it be so iconic, it was fantastic. It was a badge of merit and to have David Fincher come to you at the end and shake your hand and say, ‘great job’. To me, that’s as good as any Oscar.
CAESAR THE APE (SCARY MOVIE)
The reason I really love Caesar the ape from Scary Movie is because initially they were thinking about doing him digitally. And it was like going back to old school technology of a man in a suit with a mechanical mask. It wasn’t a big budget but we did all the classic techniques that were used in things like Harry and the Hendersons and all the brilliant work that Rick Baker has done. First we had to get a really beautiful sculpt done. And then get a great mechanical artist to work on it and have the hair worked in. When we turned up on set, and the director David Zucker saw it doing its thing and talking, he was like, ‘Oh, my God, this thing’s amazing’. And then they started writing so much stuff for it and adding new sequences to the film, it really warms your heart because what was initially a couple of minutes in the script became a character that appeared everywhere. It had so much character, because of the expression in the animatronic and because of the guy playing it. Plus what was really, really great was that we get residuals from the movie. So I got a lot of money from that movie for puppeteering the ape. So that’s also why I like it!
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER UNDER THE BED (DRACULA 2000)
Sometimes it is nice to do an effect and the effect not be noticed. When we did Dracula 2000, originally, Christopher Plummer, who was a wonderful, wonderful man and actor, was supposed to deliver a big speech at the very end of the film, and then die and pass away on camera and crumble and fall apart. But the studio decided after the first cut that they just wanted him to be dead, like he’s been killed, and that his daughter finds his body under the bed. And I think Christopher was very disappointed because he really liked his speech. So he didn’t want to do that. So I got a call saying, ‘Can you do a head of Christopher Plummer. We need to do a shot of his head under the bed.’ We didn’t have a live cast. So I very quickly sculpted a likeness of him with a good friend of mine, Mike Regan, ran it in silicon and I painted it. Denise Bear did the hair work on it. And we shot this head under the bed. The director loved it and thought it looked very realistic. Peter Pao, who did Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the DP on the film. And then what I heard, which really warmed my heart, was Peter Pao turned to Patrick Lucio the director and said, ‘Oh, you got Christopher to come back and do the shot?’. And Patrick said, ‘That’s not a real person. That’s a fake head.’ And Peter Pao apparently walked down to the screen, stood up, looked at it and said, ‘That’s incredible’. To hear that was amazing. I wanted to put this one in here because it’s nice when people don’t realise an effect is actually an effect.
Hellraiser: Judgement is on Digital Download 22 February and Blu-ray™and DVD 1 March from Lionsgate UK.