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INT: F13 SFX

Nov. 7, 2008by: Jared Pacheco

READ THE FULL FRIDAY THE 13TH SET VISIT HERE!

Scott Stoddard has been around the effects business for a while now, since around 1994 at least! So I think it's safe to say he knows what he's doing. Stoddard makes his living in the form of make-up and special effects. Not CGI special effects either; I'm talking the real stuff. So it's pretty exciting having an old school effects guy like Stoddard attached to FRIDAY THE 13TH. He's also seen his fair share of genre work, having worked on LAND OF THE DEAD, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake, and CONSTANTINE. He's also done sculpting work or art for SERENITY, SIN CITY, and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST, so the guy definitely has experience! We got a chance to sit down with the effects pro while on the set of FRIDAY THE 13TH. He talked to us about all aspects of special effects in regards to the movie, including Jason's make-up, his mask, the kills, the sets, etc. So go ahead and read on to get a hint of what we might expect in FRIDAY THE 13TH.

Scott Stoddard

What kind of stuff are you working on today?

Tonight we're doing Jason's makeup, his regular look. We've been shuffling around second unit shots; insert stuff, a couple of the different kills and dead bodies in kind of like a chamber of horrors type of thing. Sort of Jason's handy work just lying around that the kids stumble upon. It's pretty busy, the second to last night. It's like go, go, go. But it's good. It's what, 1:15 AM? It's going fast.

How long did it take the team to figure out exactly what his look was going to be? Whether his actual look or the mask.

I spent probably about a month before we even started building the thing, just thinking about his look underneath the mask. And then started dealing with the mask and the hood that he wears, stuff like that. So all together we've got 3 months from beginning to end as far as build. I would come up with some ideas and designs and then start doing two dimensional designs. Designs in Photoshop and then at that point once things got agreed upon to what the look was, then I would hire on a crew of people and everybody kind of added to it, doing their different parts. So probably about a month, a month and a half of sexualizing it then another two months to build up.

How much of it was sort of taking from the earlier films?

I'd say there's easily fifty percent - seventy five percent taking from all the different makeup and fusing them all together. Then from there, things that I wanted in.

How much license did you have to actually do that? HALLOWEEN is a great example, how Michael Myers always had a different mask because rights issues. Did you have pre-range?

They said your a fan of it, do what you think is going to be right and what you would want to see and what you believe the fans are going to want to see. You can only do as much as you can to please all the fans, you can't please everyone but I just looked at it as a fan myself and said this is what I would really want to see. If I was going to see this movie, this is how I would want it to look. So I took out elements from each of the different films and said ok I like this, a piece of that and weld it all together. We made our own Frankenstein monster, even though he's not a monster.

Can you tell us about some of the kills you worked on?

I can't get into specific stuff. We kind of went back to what was done and enhance things a bit so that it's a little more creative and a little more excessive than what was seen before. We've enhanced quite a bit of stuff. There's some makeup stuff that we've done in the film. I've done a bit of it before but we've never been able to go as far with it as we've been able to go with this, so that's a cool thing.

Any CGI?

There is some CGI element stuff to it. Some of the kills are all practical in themselves and then other ones are enhanced with CGI. But I don't think we've done any kills so far that're all CGI kills.

What were your points of reference from the previous movies in designing Jason?

The makeup that was done in Part 2, the more mountain managed type. Some elements of that I liked. And then also Part 4 and a little bit of him as a child in one, but not as balded. More of a young kid that still has hair and is more of a kid but more of a deformity and definitely more in the human realm. Having one side more excessive than the other. That's where I kind of pulled from. And then from there we went through medical books and looked through different types of diseases and stuff and abnormalities, human abnormalities. We pulled from that. Scoliosis of the spine, a hump up on the side of his back. He's kind of crooked. He's a little thinner and barrel chested a bit. I just wanted to draw from all that stuff instead of just big, solid, lumbering Frankenstein.

To your knowledge, how much exposure does the makeup of Jason's face get in the film? Our understanding is you see the back, neck, and mask for 99% and then a little flash of the makeup for shock value.

It might be a little more than the one percent in seeing his face. We shot a couple different things so we'll see what ends up in it, what they want to see. The outcome from what they've seen they really like, so we'll see what works best for the film. I know the whole time when doing the designs for it I know they didn't want to show him that much, his face. They wanted to keep it real covered. In my own right I went off and said well if we do show it I want to be prepared for it and I want to make something really special and cool, and pay homage to the other films. Once I did that and we started seeing it through the days, it was like well maybe we can do a little here maybe do a little there. Once it comes into editing they'll determine what is appropriate for the film, for him to be seen. Instead of having something that you bring to the plate where they go 'Oh ok. Yeah sure, it's fine; we'll just use a slice.' You come in with your best game and go 'Here.' Now you can decide what you want to do with it, give you something really cool.

What's the creative process like for coming up with the kills? Is there a group? Do you get together with the writers? Do the writers come to you with outlandish requests so you have to figure out if you can make them work or not? Does a compromise have to happen?

There's always the compromise. What's great is that the writers did come to the plate with a script. We read it and looked at it and then it's my job to figure it out. Like ok how're we going to shoot this, how're we going to do that? But nothing was really set in stone. Once we started sitting down with the producers and the director we would start having meetings and go well what do you think of this? Do you think it should be more like this? What's your input into it? So nothing was really set in stone where they said, it's been written - that's what it is. It's like this is an idea, if you have other ideas and we kept shuffling ideas around for things. It was good, it was a whole collaborative effort as far as what we've seen before in the past films, what's going to be new and a little different, interesting and play off the character of Jason. There's kind of a reason behind certain things. It was nice. It was a nice, open playing field. By the end it's the producers and director as far as what they want to see. But everyone got a chance to voice really what they thought. Because this is coming from a group of people that have grown up with these films or watched them a lot. I'm a fan and this is what I'd think would be great and what I'd like to see, or even like to do. Something that might be a bit different. So we all got to get involved with it, which is good.

Is there anything that might have been in the original script, that you can talk about, that didn't actually happen. Something too outlandish or that you couldn't make work?

There was a couple things that were a bit too outlandish where it was just shock on top of shock. It kind of took away from the initial impact of it. So we said ok, lets slice it down and make it a little bit more not simplistic but maybe impact in one area and not drag it out where its just obsessively obscene where it wouldnt work for the film. Theres a few things.

Even in slasher films, depending on how its shot, you dont have to show a lot of blood. You can show a lot of blood. Does this film show a lot of blood? Or is the blood obscured by angles and smaller amounts?

Its a bit of each. Well shoot stuff where its a little less blood and its more of the impact of whats going on and definitely the actors bring it, their game in. I always feel that sometimes theres a lot better reaction to what you dont see. And the reaction, instead of seeing the visceral, you see the emotion from somebody going through something. So theyre shooting stuff like that. Well also have stuff to choose from thats a little more excessive and a little more grotesque. In the final editing theyll figure out what works best for the scenes.

Or for the DVD?

Sure, sure. Thats why they come out with directors cuts and extended versions. Its a little alternate approach to it.

Is there anything over the top? Like FREDDY VS JASON at some points had geysers of blood going on.

We havent done too many geysers Again whats nice is that with it being a collaborative thing, theyll come in and go What will really happen? Realistically this will happen, this will not. Theyll stretch it a little, but its not called for a fountain. No. Theres only so much blood in the human body. Organs are now spring loaded where they dont shoot against the wall and explode through a wall.

So its based on a sense of realism?

Yes. Which is where I wanted from my standpoint its where I wanted to keep it at. Theres a lot of stuff in the older films that you saw that was real. It didnt have to be more is better. You have to do it just right and then its the reality of it. Thats scary I think.

You talked about Jason keeping bodies in his little cellar, little underground tunnel thing. What can you tell us about that? Like old decayed bodies or people hes killed recently and stacked up and hung from the ceiling?

A bit of each. We havent even gotten into the scene yet tonight, so I dont know how were setting it up but its a bit of stuff that hes just held onto, keeping them out of the way so nobody falls upon it in his wilderness. Kind of just trapping and pulling away, keeping his area clean. Some are older than others, definitely. Therell be skeletons and things like that in there but its not going to be in the realm of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE or anything. Its not thought of as that, like taxidermy or anything. Its just taking care of it, storing it, and putting it away. Keeping it out of eye sight from the rest of the world and thats it.

What can you tell us about Pamela Voorhees and what were going to see?

Its in the movie and its about a twenty year span.

So its just like a skull?

Ehhh.. sort of. I dont know. Well see. The good things you dont want to let out. I know you guys want to, but I would think you would want to wait and see.

Looking at the movies that were done then, was the motion that doing effects now dramatically different in your experience?

Theres definitely materials that we use now thatre way more advanced than what they had to deal with back in the 70s and 80s. Even in the beginning of the 90s. So we have better technology for things, to make things more user friendly for actors. Also looking nicer as well. But then when youre getting into an area of someone being dirty and grimy and gross its all kind of the same techniques to get to that point. We just have better materials now. And Im just a fan of the slight of hand tricks that you do for certain kills and things like that. That if theyre shot right and coordinated correctly they work really well. Its all about a magic trick., kind of like what [Tom] Savini used to do. Thats fun.

Visual effects have come so far in terms of CGI. Have you found CGI kind of undermines some of the work that you do? In the sense that theyre like well just go ahead and shoot it and pretend that theres a blade

Sometimes you hear that and people tend to want to rely on things like that. Weve been able to get away with quite a bit without having to rely too much on stuff like that. Relying wholly on one effect tends to not work. Its nice when you see an entire element happen or an entire effect happen and realize that there are two to three elements involved later and you cant piece them take them apart. The greatest for me doing practical stuff is when you do it and people are like gee that was a really nice CG shot or something. Its sad that everybody is CG. I remember when it first came out, nobody knew what computer generated image meant. They heard CG and were like whats CG? Now it seems like its overloaded with a lot of computer effects. Its like watching a big video game. If its a big video game, I dont want to see it. Its nice when its something thats really clean and then they go wow that was a great CG shot. And its even nicer when you go no but that was entirely practical. That was slight of hand and you didnt even know it. Youve got a real actor there whos really doing something and it fooled people, like smoke and mirrors. So thats kind of cool when that happens.

What was your favorite thing to create? What was your favorite creation of this whole thing? Like was there a certain kill you just really loved?

Well they were all quite interesting. For me it was really the Jason character. Even from the young Jason and the older Jason, the one thats trotting about. It was just fun to kind of revisit that. Imagine what I remembered seeing. Not really going and visiting the films again. Ive seen them on and off throughout the years, but Ive never really did sit and study it. So just to think back in my head what I liked about certain things and piecing it together. Then go back and looking at the films and going ok, I took a bit of that and I took a bit of that. Again like making Frankensteins monster. Like piecing it together, that was fun to make that.

What about the mask? We seen it and were able to hold it. Its very simple but extremely effective. How did you come up with that?

Id gotten a copy of the mask from three. I utilized it and looked at it. There were some things I wanted to change and make a bit different. Again I wanted to keep it in the realm of where it needed to be, as a fan as well. I did a few sculpts and I went nope thats off, thats off, I dont like that. I tried to make it, again a bit more user friendly for Derek, whos going to be in the makeup and wearing this thing. Once I got the shape right then I would mold it. I made a two part mold from it. Instead of just doing a fiberglass or a vacuum form, which I had heard that ones in the past were made like that, they were just fiberglass. I knew that Derek was going to be doing a lot of physical stuff in this film. So I made a core for it. Basically I made it from a really high strength resin that is more like a heavy dense plastic. So it can take a hit, it can be pounded into.

He mentioned that and he really appreciates that.

Yeah, yeah. He said after hes been smashed in the face, hes been kicked in the face a bunch of times. The struggles and its like go ahead and hit him and hes a stunt man as well so hes like go ahead and hit me, Ive got a hockey mask on. From what Id heard about the old hockey masks that were in the circle of the hockey world were made out of whale bone. So they used to carve whale bone into the shape of a mask for a face. So it was like thatd be kind of cool if we could get a material and make something thats, not as strong as bone, but something thats similar. Light enough that it could take a hit, and impact. Then it could be a stunt mask as well.

What can you tell us about the sack? Derek Mears mentioned how its basically the same but theres a noticeable difference, a pretty cool noticeable difference.

Its kind of a melt between Part 2, which was kind of like a pillow case tied around his neck. Instead of using a rope and tying it around his neck its kind of like a wrap in a way. Like a very thin cheese cloth. Very stained, dirty, one eyehole cut out for his good eye to see through kind of paid homage to THE ELEPHANT MAN with this little square opening. Just really stained.

He mentioned that when he would breath

Yeah, it would move. So that you know theres a mouth under there over to one side. Kind of fluxing. When hed breath through his nose youd see it going in and out. It gave a little more emotion to it. It conforms to the shape of his head a bit. You know somethings going on under there. So its just this big square thing. Its wrapped. We didnt want to go Mummy-ish with is as well, so theres a very fine line. It was Tim Jarvis, a guy Im working with, that came up with that. Its really, really nice.

In whatever terms you can, whats been the most challenging in terms of kills or things youd have to create?

Probably the amount of work we have to get done every day. (laughs) Its a good schedule. Its a little tight and a lot of stuff to do. So inside of the time frame, appeasing what everybody wants to see in the film.

Is there a really big scene or thing you have to do?

Today is going to be pretty big. A lot of splinter unit stuff where a lot of concentration has to get towards insert and effects happening. As well as Jason doing his thing inside of first unit scenes and then some stunt people and the body scene situation that we have on the stage in the lair. Theres a lot of work to it.

This Jason seems to be running around more, as apposed to just kind of stalking. Did you have to go and change a lot of things? Like change your approach to this more mobile Jason?

No, not really. Derek moves really well. Wardrobe mightve had to do adjustments. From what we had to do, hes basically got like a body suit on the top with just a sculpture of his chest and his back. He gets into that and we have a head cal piece and his shoulders that go down to get his shape. Its pretty flexible. He can move around pretty nicely, do what he needs to do inside of it. Its dented in the right place for movement, his shoulders and arms and torso.

His back has some kind of spinal deformity?

Yeah, hes got like a scoliosis. A sort of larger, a hump on his back.

So he has to walk a certain way to..

He can accentuate it. Hes actually just standing straight when you see him moving around. Thats just the shape of his body, thats an appliance. Like how twisted up his spine is. He can accentuate even more, just going to be like off the kilter a bit.

How many different weapons does he use in this film?

I dont do props. Ive seen him using he definitely has more than one.

What do you think the ratio is to using weapons to using his bare hands on people? Because he likes to do both.

For each of the kills.. Probably 50/50. Yeah. Because some of the stuff he uses his hands as well as weapons.

Thats true. Hes been known to do that in the past.

Yup. Whatevers available right there thatll get the job done.

Now the scene tonight, is it going to be props as well as actual people thats stacked up?

Mmmh. Yeah. Theres actually bodies.

So will there be people killed earlier in the film revealed tonight?

I actually dont know. Your finding out as I am, because thats how sometimes things happen. Like ok we want to do this, we want to do that.

Has that been a challenge? Weve heard from other people that things change day to day almost.

Maybe once a week things will change. Not really day to day but once a week theyll add a bit more. Like lets do that. So we have like a mobile shop to try and open up the can and pull it out. Make it happen.

Thank you.

Cool. Alright guys.

READ THE FULL FRIDAY THE 13TH SET VISIT HERE!
Source: JoBlo/AITH

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