Monday, April 15, 2013

Back in my day we made everything out of latex...


By - Steve Mezo

I'm going back a few years for this one, so I'm getting out the

I have to start by thanking Tim Mitchell at Titans Terrors & Toys for indirectly helping me find two books (along with their photos) that changed my life forever. And Marcia Lynn Cox for writing these books and getting me started on a great life long adventure.

It all started when I was seven years old and found two books in the monster section of "The Bookmobile"(I'm a huge bookworm and these bookstores on wheels were the greatest idea ever!!!). Sorry...

And those two books were 


Both of these were read and loved until they completely fell apart. It just amazed me how I could make myself look like quite a few of the monsters from Famous Monsters with stuff around the house or readily available at any drug store. And not only did I try a few of them out back then, I still used allot of Marcia's techniques for quite a few F/X jobs later in my Indie Horror career.

There was the Knox Unflavored Gelatin and Red Food Coloring Stay Put Blood and a great recipe of flour and water with popcorn kernels to make great chemical or acid burns. 

To give it depth you would glue cotton balls on the persons face first then apply the mixture over it.

And when I was eight I was able to do the skull with Halloween Makeup that years later would be fine tuned and taught to me by a F/X makeup artist named Patty and would for ever be known as "The Patty Skull" at "The Costume Shop".
Now for the doubters that say I couldn't do that back when I was eight, I can tell you that I did this Paint by Numbers Pirate Skeleton when I was eight and still it have to this day.

Then there were all of the trips to Red Bank when it was still more of a Artistic and Entertainment hub. And the home of The Magic Shop and The Costume Shop. And these would be even more of an influence on me wanting to be part of Monster movies in some way. My mother would take me to The Magic Shop and it was just that. Just imagine any and every magic store you had ever seen in a movie and this was it. They had a full size guillotine, large foam boulders and trick quarters nailed to the floor. And any and every slight of hand and large illusion you could think of as well as a ton of gags and novelties. Yup, dribble glasses, break away spoons and hand buzzers. 
This almost had me taking the path of a professional magician, but I guess fate had other plans. 

I had written about when I was ten and had seen Friday The 13th with my mom in the movie theater and was introduced to Tom Savini by Famous Monsters Magazine. But I forgot to mention that I had also discovered another magazine by the name of FANGORIA that same year. And in that magazine was an ad for the Blood Boutique when I was thirteen. 

I would save up any money I could get and send away for mortician's wax, latex and fake blood to try and recreate all of the gore and more in the pages of the magazine.
Who'd have thought that years later I would have met and became friends with Tim Ferrante (one of the original writers for FANGORIA) and The creator of "Drive In Madness", James Murray and Nick Pawlow along with Happy Goldsplatt from "Prevues From Hell" and "Celluloid Bloodbath: More Prevues From Hell" and Tom Savini himself. 

Another great thing about Red Bank was I had the chance to meet and be mentored by Gravely McCabre himself when he had an entertainment company where I had learned everything from stage makeup, to costuming to prop building and set design.

The Costume Shop in Red Bank was a huge part of my life and was another place where I furthered my training in F/X and became a Professional Horror Clown. And was a live entertainer as well as a F/X hired gun for more straight to video horrors than I can count. 
And led to me getting to meet and become friends with F/X Artist Tony DeBartolis who's work is now being featured in Newt Wallen's movie "Midnight Show", and in a upcoming Thomas Berdinski feature.   

All of this had led me to my meeting with writer director Warren F. Disbrow. Warren was hired by Samuel Sherman to film new sequences for "The Bloody Dead" (Which in Europe was called "Creature With The Blue Hand"). Warren had done a taped footage of Samuel M. Sherman for Tim Ferrante's "Drive In Madness" where he talked about making Dracula VS. Frankenstein.
Samuel and Warren had struck up a conversation and when he found that Warren was an experienced filmmaker with his own equipment he offered Warren the work of filming the tie in's for the American re-edit version. 

Warren had taken the job and had hired my Uncle Bob as a large cannibalistic cellmate of F/X Artist Ed French. 

This is when my Uncle Bob had told Warren about me wanting to get into horror movies in the worst way. Now could have easily given him a polite nod and just left it at that. But he didn't and had given my Uncle Bob his business card and told him to tell me to set up a meeting
We had hit it right off and Warren had offered me a position in his movie company as a production assistant. That had led me to be in quite a few of his horror movies

I was still involved with The Costume Shop and some years after working with Warren. I had met Stan Ambro and was able to spend a few years with his Hollow Graves Haunted Manor.  
And just when I thought I did everything there was to do, Newt Wallen had cast me in "Midnight Show" as a killer Redneck! 

And I just made some super secret props for Thomas Berdinski's upcoming feature

I can't wait to see where it goes from here!