This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Putty In Their Hands: The Experts Speak

Posted by on

10302008_theexorcist.jpgAndrew Clement was ten when he implored his father to see “The Exorcist,” only to have his dad come back from seeing the William Friedkin horror classic and tell him, “You are not seeing that film!” These days, Clement is partners with Dick Smith, the man who was responsible for Linda Blair’s spinning head and the pea soup, and takes pride in carrying on Smith’s proud tradition — “We did [a dummy] for the end of ‘Cloverfield,’ which was in the final frames of the film,” said Clement. “And people are having this emotional reaction to this character dying and it’s just a piece of my rubber.”

Such rubber is the stuff ten-year-old’s nightmares are made of, and as part of our weeklong celebration of the ingenious makeup magicians and creature creators like Clement that are precise in their scares and liberal with the red-tinged corn syrup, we asked some of the best in the business to pick their favorite horror creations. Here are their picks:

“I’m partners with Dick [Smith], so clearly one of the things that I wanted to talk about was ‘The Exorcist.’ I think that it’s such a seminal moment in what we do. It’s really the film that’s pointed to as the birth of makeup effects, because Dick invented so many techniques that led the way for so many other developments [in the medium] — the raising letters on the stomach, the dummy with the head turning around backwards, a rig that goes inside somebody’s mouth to let them vomit pea soup. So many things that before that were just never handled by a makeup artist — Dick just took it upon himself to start coming up with all of these gizmos and tricks to make these horrific things happen on screen.

10302008_alien.jpg“The other film, roughly around the same time frame, was the Ridley Scott ‘Alien’ — that was incredible. Everybody takes [H.R.] Giger’s design [now], it was a design that had never been seen before. Nobody had thought in this direction and it influenced so many people. The design aesthetic has woven its way through so many films and other things, this biomechanical thing. The beauty of that film is this creature is not in your face all the time. [Those little glimpses] really give you a sense of being with these characters in this environment.”

–Andrew Clement, makeup artist of “Zombie Nightmare,” and the upcoming “Carriers” and “Repossession Mambo.”

“There are so many great horror makeups that have gone into my mental blender over the years. I have to say that the one that resonates most with me is Jack Pierce’s original Frankenstein monster. There’s something antiquated and yet timeless about it. Its ‘flaws’ only deepen the psychologically disturbing concept of a man stitched together from various corpse-parts. The design accentuates the young Karloff’s awkward gauntness to a point that one wonders whether Karloff could have possibly created that brilliant performance without his partnership with Jack Pierce. The only makeup which could possibly top it is the Karloff/Pierce re-teaming for ‘Bride of Frankenstein.’ “

–Alec Gillis, Oscar-nominated FX artist of “Monster Squad,” “Tremors,” “Hollow Man” and “Alien Vs. Predator.”

10302008_thething.jpg“It’s impossible [to name a favorite horror makeup moment], it’s like trying to think of your favorite movie. The head with the spider legs in [artist] Rob Bottin’s work on the ‘The Thing’ came to my mind first, and I was thinking just what the character was thinking when he said ‘You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.’ “

–Tom Savini, legendary artist on such films as “Dawn of the Dead,” “Killing Zoe” and “Friday the 13th.” He will next appear as an actor in “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.”

“I would start with ‘Nosferatu,’ the old black and white movie. To me, it’s the ultimate vampire. It’s the non-sexy creature, which I thought was fantastic. The Max Schreck makeup, I always thought it was stunning. Then if you go for makeup [a few years later], ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ for the design of the Creature and also how much technology was involved, for the time — being able to swim underwater with the kind of material they had at the time. And in general, there’s one guy that made me want to come to America when I started makeup — Rob Bottin. Rob Bottin’s work in general has been so influential to me [and] my favorite is the stuff he did for ‘The Howling.’ I just did ‘Underworld 3,’ a bunch of werewolves and things, and his werewolf to me is still the ultimate werewolf. That doesn’t take anything away from what Rick Baker did [on ‘An American Werewolf in London’], but the werewolf from ‘The Howling’ was, to me, one of the best things I’ve ever seen.”

–Patrick Tatopoulos, director of the upcoming “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,” and creature designer of “Silent Hill,” “I Am Legend,” “Cursed” and “The Ruins.”

10302008_frankenstein.jpg“The most influential and important makeup in cinematic history to me is the Frankenstein’s monster of Boris Karloff executed by Jack Pierce in Universal’s original ‘Frankenstein.’ It may seem cliché to choose this, but it truly fascinated me at a very young age and made me wonder how such a character was created. To me, it’s the perfect blend of imagination and artistry with the actor’s terrific face to make a seamless, believable character. It doesn’t look like an overexaggerated attempt to create a scary monster, but rather a natural, disturbing personality. Even without considering it was created so long ago, it’s one of the most iconic characters of all time, recognized worldwide by almost everyone on the planet and stands the test of time as one of the finest makeup creations ever.”

–Wayne Toth, the makeup artist behind “The Devil’s Rejects,” “Jason Goes to Hell” and “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

The experts have spoken, but how about you? Do you have a particular favorite piece of gory makeup in a movie? Tell us in the comments below.

[Photos: “The Exorcist,” Warner Bros. Pictures, 1973; “Alien,” Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, 1979; “The Thing,” Universal Pictures, 1982; “Frankenstein,” Universal Pictures, 1931]



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

Posted by on

Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.