Diced pepperoni. That's the best way I can describe what I'm looking at. The knobby end on a stick of pepperoni, except someone has hacked the hell out of it. Flesh torn asunder. Sinewy and raw. It's really a life-sized dummy of a dead coroner. And this is what has happened to his head after meeting Michael Myers' knife.
The corpse sits in a make-up chair. His upper half - the gory bits, we'll call 'em - is usually covered by a black garbage bag, but when ShockTillYouDrop.com visits Wayne Toth's make-up FX trailer it has been slowly revealed to us like some sideshow attraction.
A freakshow-like atmosphere hangs heavy in Toth's working quarters right now, in fact. A sundry of costumed characters, mutilated victims and, well, other things I'm not allowed to talk about populate photos decorate this trailer located at the base camp of Rob Zombie's H2 (or, Halloween 2). A mirror facing us has a picture of Tyler Mane scowling from his behind his beard and a ragged hoodie; above, a pic of actress Danielle Harris, her face riddled with stitches - the result of her last encounter with Myers.
Outside, the temperature on the Georgia set is dropping and crew members diligently load into vans like soldiers boarding an armored transport vehicle taking them into the battlefield. Toth stays behind to talk to us about his sophomore outing with Michael Myers with Rob Zombie at the helm (the FX artist's first introduction to the franchise came in Halloween 4).
ShockTillYouDrop.com: How much prep time did you have from when Rob told you he was going to do the sequel to production start?
Wayne Toth: The whole thing came up last minute. It was probably around Christmas when it started looking serious, there wasn't much word before that so it came up pretty quick. It limited our pre-production time, somewhat. I had less prep time on this than I did the last one and there is ten times the amount of make-up FX here.
Shock: What changes needed to be had in regards to the mask?
Toth: Well, there's a jump in time like in the first one. So there are a couple of different versions of the mask, but none of them are the same mask from the first film. He just wanted to take it a step further even though one of them is basically supposed to be the last mask, we changed it anyway so it's its own thing. Then towards the end of the film is the current version of the mask which is a lot different from any of them that we've seen. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised when they see it.
Shock: So the early fan-created bloody mask that got attention online isn't all that accurate?
Toth: Yeah, that was basically based on a picture of the sculpture that I sent Rob and that he put online and everyone just said, "This is the new mask." That's where it started but that's not where it winds up.
Shock: Do you find it flattering when people do that? Running off with your design?
Toth: No, I don't see it that way at all. It's not really mine to rip off.
Shock: But you put your stamp on the mask so...
Toth: I think it's neat there are that many hardcore fans that people are excited about the character to even do stuff like that. [The mask with the hole] is kind of similar to how we first see him in the movie but again, the final incarnation is so different from that, I think it's going to throw the real Myers fans for a loop. If you just saw it in its own context at first, you wouldn't know it was Michael Myers, really.
Shock: What were the challenges you faced on this production this time out?
Toth: Our real challenge was time. Just due to the shorter pre-production period. It was a challenge just to get stuff done, the amount of stuff we had to do and finished in time. None of it is groundbreaking, technology-wise, as far as make-up FX, it's just the amount of stuff in a short period of time. Although, there are a few dream sequence characters that were fun and that we got the jump on because they didn't rely on casting of actors, so those we got to first. We had a little bit of time at the beginning to play around with it.
Shock: Did you have fun creating some of the costumed characters we'll get to see milling about on Halloween?
Toth: Just a few of them, we did some of the featured characters that were dressed in Halloween costumes. There was a fine line, like we have the Wolfman character, these are guys that are just supposed to be attending this Halloween party, and typically when people do their own costumes they don't look very good. How realistically should we approach this? You don't want to do something that just looks bad because it looks like you did a bad job. [Rob] just gave it the vibe that these people are so into it that they work on their own costumes and make them a little bit better. That's how they wound up looking like that as opposed to, for the Wolfman, some guy just gluing hair on his face.
Shock: Looking at some of the pics up on the wall here, I'm seeing a lot of great body wounds...
Toth: We wanted to do something a little bit different. Like this slit-faced nurse, it was supposed to be a slit throat. Michael's only weapon is a knife so you're limited by a stabbing or a slit throat, stuff like that, so we tried to come up with a couple of different things to change it up a little bit. [The nurse] seems to be everyone's favorite 'cause no one likes to get slit across the lips. That seems to be the crowd pleaser so far.
Shock: The horror host featured in the film, Seymour Coffins, is getting a lot of MySpace attention through Rob's blog, can you talk about his creation?
Toth: That was great. We used the Vincent Price Madhouse make-up as reference because he was supposed to have that kind of vibe and I've always liked that make-up a lot. We showed it to Rob and he wanted to do something like that. We did it first on Bill Moseley, he came in and shot some stuff that was going to be playback, TV stuff for the Phantom Jam party. But then he had another film that conflicted with the next time we were going to shoot that character, so we wound up [with someone else].
Shock: I see Danielle Harris up there looking terrible, did she enjoy this transformation?
Toth: She wound up doing a lot more than what was originally scripted, Rob just kept coming up with more stuff. We see her at the beginning of the film looking like that, the aftermath of the last movie. She winds up being in this quite a bit. Then there's Dan Roebuck in the Frankenstein make-up. He's the owner of the strip club where Michael's mother worked at. In this movie, he puts on the local family Halloween carnival, but at the same time he's trying to drum up business for the strip club. Then we did a bunch of stuff that's the aftermath on Scout, various victims and nurses, Scout's mangled hand. And then there's Michael's new look for the film.
Shock: Glad you brought that up, what's the percentage in terms of when he's in the mask, because I've heard he's out of it quite a bit.
Toth: Percentage-wise, probably at least 70% of the film he looks like that. Again, Michael Myers fans will be a little bit shocked...
Shock: That's bold...
Toth: So much of that stuff started to leak out already. And there are shots, clear shots of him like that. Reading what people say, they seem pretty responsive to it. I thought the reaction was pretty much going to be, "What? No mask on Michael Myers?" But it's like anything else, as long as you're doing something cool, people get it. No one has dared to change the character, they just put him in different situations and that gets old pretty fast. Be daring with Michael Myers and change it, I think that was the appeal with this movie. It wasn't limited to a remake, like last time. We're taking it a step further.
Shock: Were you responsible for Tyler's make-up FX when he's seen without the mask or did those duties go to the make-up department?
Toth: No, that was us, we just came up with an exposure look. Like you'd see on a homeless person, cracked skin. Sometimes there's a gray area regarding where they would fall, but we handled anything Michael Myers. It's a two year passage of time in the film, I don't know what he's been doing exactly. Growing a beard.
Shock: With the dream sequences in the film, was there a strict guideline or did he allow you to go free in terms of the designs?
Toth: Most of the time, when we come up with stuff like that we'll talk about it first and he'll wind up doing some sketches. Usually rough sketches but I get his vibe already by now, so I take those and translate them into something. It's a back-and-forth, but he's got a good eye so it helps a lot to have a starting point like that. I think people will be surprised, you never expect to see anything like this in a modern horror remake sequel, so it was fun to get a chance to do stuff like that.
Shock: Are there a lot of dream sequences?
Toth: Yeah, because she's going a little crazy and she's Michael's sister so there's this shared dementia, so her dream sequences start to have some similarities and stuff. Again, it was a good opportunity to just go haywire. A lot of the stuff we did on this movie wasn't even planned. We'll come in in the morning and Rob will say what can we do to these people, I have this idea. I'm thinking about having twenty people in a body pit. Literally, at breakfast: "What do think about twenty dead people in the basement?" It's fun and a big variety. It's fun to come up with those moments on the fly.
Shock: Well, I'll tell you, I didn't expect to see this. It's sort of surreal.
Toth: It's neat to have some fantasy elements, it mixes it up and it isn't just kill, kill. I think slasher film fans will be satisfied because it's gritty and realistic. We've used a lot of blood, but there are not a lot of insert shots of blood and stabbings. It's done in a more voyeuristic way, what it might look like if you were witnessing something like that. And then there's some stuff on top of that I think people will get a kick out of.
(Read our on-set interview with actress Scout Taylor-Compton here!)
Source: Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor