Effect-dude Bart Mixon has an endless "genre friendly" resume, having tackled pretty much every position that exists within the world of Special Effects. I'm talking makeup effects, special effects, visual effects and more! His work can be seen in groovy films' like "Nightmare on Elm Street 2", "Pet Semetary", "The Ring", "House of 1000 Corpses", "MIB 2" and the upcoming "Hellboy". I had the chance to talk shop with the lad and here's what came out of it.
ARROW: What's your favorite horror movie?
ARROW: How did you get into the art of makeup, visual and special effects? Was it a long time dream or did you stumble into it by fluke.
BART: It was something that I had wanted to do for a long time. Growing up, I either wanted to be a comic book artist, a stop-motion animator, or a make-up effects artist. I had done all three on a fan level in the late '60's and early '70's, but make-up effects won out. Movies like THE SEVEN FACES OF DR. LOA and PLANET OF THE APES made huge impressions, but reading about Rick Baker in "Famous Monsters" when he did SCHLOCK made the biggest. At 18 years old, I met Rick at a Houston Con in 1977 [the same con Steve Johnson, another "Houston native," met him at] and kept in touch over the years via the mail. While still living in Texas, a friend, Ernie Farino, got me a job at Roger Corman's New World Pictures in 1981 on FORBIDDEN WORLD.
On that show, I met Mark Shostrom, and we became friends, working together on shows like RAW COURAGE, THE SUPERNATURALS, and ELM STREET TWO. While waiting for THE SUPERNATURALS to start, I worked a little with Ernie Farino and my brother, Bret, at Fantasy II Film Effects on THE TERMINATOR. Here I met the owner, Gene Warren, for whom I would run the creature effects shop for on such shows as FRIGHT NIGHT PART TWO, STEPHEN KING'S IT, etc. After working on ROBOCOP in Texas in 1986, I moved to L.A. in early 1987 to work on films full time.
ARROW: Your filmography is quite impressive with so many stellar
titles on hand such as Terminator 2, Pet Sematary 2, The Ring, House
of 1000 Corpses etc. But the title that caught my attention the most
was Nightmare on Elm Street 2, which is a guilty favorite of mine. What
effects did you perform on that show?
ARROW: Looking back, how was the Nightmare on Elm Street 2 experience? Was it a relaxed and pleasant set?
BART: It was GREAT! I was a fan of the first one, so, of course, working on the sequel was a thrill in itself. I was still living in Texas, and came out to L.A. for 11 weeks or so to work on it with Mark. I cannot say it was relaxed, as we had a lot to do in those 11 weeks, working 12 to 16 hour days, sometimes 7 days a week! We worked 40 hours non-stop getting everything read and shooting our first [of two days on the transformation! The set was pleasant enough, and I think everyone was happy with what we created.
ARROW: What is your opinion of the film itself?
BART: Truthfully, I was disappointed. We tried to get the production to do more creative, visual effects type sequences, and they would not. Of course, part three was loaded with these types of visuals, and a better film, I thought, because of them. Also, part two was so dark [photographically] to the point of not being able to see the new and improved Freddy make-up. I do not think the producers really understood what made the first one work; in fact they came VERY close to not casting Robert England as Freddy, but using a stunt man, ala the FRIDAY films.
ARROW: You seem to have touched upon pretty much every field of the
Special Effects and Makeup world. Which one fulfills you the most as
ARROW: Is there one visual effect you've accomplished or helped create, of which you are particularly most proud? Which one and why?
BART: Of my own, personal work, I think Pennywise the clown, is the one of which I am the proudest. I think Tim Curry did a fantastic job bringing that make-up to life. It has been over ten years since I created that make-up, and I still have people come up to me and tell me how much if frightened them in their youth. Likewise, I am such a HELLBOY fan that I HAD to be a part of that movie, and I think we will not be disappointed by the results.
ARROW: What horror franchise would you love to contribute to that you haven't yet?
BART: At the time, I was probably most disappointed that circumstances did not permit me to be involved with EVIL DEAD 2 with Mark Shostrom. Also, when I had my shop, ME*FX, we were bidding on FREDDY VS. JASON [this was the 1997 version] and I would have liked to have done that one.
ARROW: You just finished working on Hellboy. Which effect do you think
is going to knock our fanboy sox off in that picture?
ARROW: What's next for you in terms of effects gigs?
BART: Looking into a few things, but nothing I can talk about at this time. I hope HELLBOY 2 happens soon.
ARROW: Any advice for the budding effect artist out there?
BART: Someone asked Rick Baker this question at the con I met him at in 1977. He said, "don't." We all had a good laugh, but now, some 20 years later, I can see what he meant. I LOVE doing this work, and would not want to do anything else, but it can be a major pain in the ass! It is such a competitive field, with less and less work to go around these days; bidding on jobs is a pain; and while you work with some great people, you also run into your share of jerks. But, hey, follow that dream! With magazines like CINEFEX, MAKE-UP ARTIST MAGAZINE, etc., you have all the information you need to know how to do it, you just have to do it. If some guy from Texas can make it, you can to. And embrace those damn computers, they are here to help you, they can be your friend.
Thanks a lot, Bart for dropping in and giving us some insight as to the world behind the latex. Keep kicking butt my friend!
More Interviews with the Arrow...
Crawl back to the Arrow in the Head Homestead...
Fallon 2004 All Rights Reserved JoBlo.com