INT: Al Magliochetti

The Arrow interviews Al Magliochetti

Visual effect supervisor Al Magliochetti has worked on various, groovy genre efforts. Think "Jason goes to Hell", the cult classics "Brain Damage", "Basket Case 2", "Frankenhooker" and the cheese-ball "Prom Night 3". Arrow recently had the opportunity to get into a verbal match with the man behind the visual goodies and here was the result.

ARROW: What’s your favorite horror movie?

AL: Believe it or not, “Jaws,” if that counts. To me, a good horror movie is one that steers the audience in the direction of a scare, rather than just startling them with a quick “Boo” and I feel that film did it admirably.

ARROW: What was the trigger that launched you into the visual effects business?

AL: I’d always been into effects to some degree, my first films were cut out animations made in 6th and 7th grade not dissimilar to the original South Park shorts. When I got into film school I started using effects to make my films stand out a bit from my other classmates and somehow it was just something I gravitated toward. Also, Star Wars came out when I was in film school so it was a great inspiration at the time.

ARROW: You worked on Prom Night 3. How was your stay in Canada and how would you describe your experience on that picture?

AL: What’s the phrase? If you can’t say something nice...don’t say anything at all?  J

ARROW: You’ve applied your craft on big and small budgeted films. Which ones do you enjoy working on the most and why?

AL: It’s kind of a trade-off. The smaller budgeted films are less rewarding, financially, but generally they’re much more appreciative of anything you can give them and they tend to let you input a lot of creativity. Whereas the higher budgeted films help pay the bills a lot better, but it’s sometimes far more frustrating dealing with the plethora of egos involved. All in all, I prefer the lower budget work, it’s generally far less stressful.

ARROW: As we all know, effects are often created which might not make the final cut. Is there a particular effect in which you participated that you were really disappointed to see hit the editing room floor?

AL: A few years ago, I would’ve said the ear-pulling scene from Brain Damage, but happily that’s since been restored to DVD. Since effects generally cost proportionately more than the rest of the film, it’s fairly rare for them to be cut out altogether once the effect has been completed, usually any hacking like that happens during the budgeting phase and the effect is never shot in the first place. One scene that comes to mind is a character from Basket Case 2, a member of the freaks named Spider-Boy. He was originally supposed to be a stop-motion character that crawled up the walls in a few scenes, I was really sorry to see that get dropped from the script.  Come to think of it, Little Hal from Basket Case 3 was supposed to be a stop-motion character as well.

ARROW: You’ve worked for the great (in my mind anyways) Frank Henenlotter on Brain Damage, Basket Case 2 and Frankenhooker. How would you describe your experience working with the man on three of his most twisted and unique films?

AL: Frank is one of the more amazing filmmakers I’ve ever worked with his scripts were hysterically written and no matter how good they were on the page there was always ten times as much detail in his mind that he’d not have the room to write down. Walking onto a Henenlotter set after reading the script was literally like walking through a looking glass, no matter what you’d previously imagined it was taken to a bizarro level you’d never have thought of especially when Gabe Bartalos was involved!  It’s an incredibly creative environment to be immersed in and I sincerely hope he’ll get to make some of the other scripts he’s written, all of the ones I’ve read so far are incredible.

ARROW: Of all the movies to which you’ve contributed, is there one you wish you could go back to and do things differently?

AL: Most of the visual effects shots in Brain Damage and Frankenhooker were done only once, we never had time or money to tweak the exposures or soften some of the mattes a second time so basically most of what you’re seeing as a final product  is an educated guess on my part. I wish I could’ve had a chance at doing a second or third take on some of those shots just to make them a little better looking.

ARROW: What’s next for you in terms of visual effect work? Any films on your “upcoming” plate?

AL: I have recently been talking with Sonny Chiba about making the ultimate Samurai movie. I hope that one comes together.

ARROW: You had an acting role in “Spookies” which you also worked on in terms of special photographic effects. What was your part and how was the experience on the other side of the camera?

AL: In the original incarnation of “Spookies” when it was still called Twisted Souls the character I played, Lewis Wilson,  was originally killed by a flying squadron of ghosts, the strategy was that since the death occurred by visual effects, it’d be more efficient if I played the role.  I thought it would be a good experience to act if just to help me direct actors better in the future, but it wasn’t something I was very comfortable with, as you can tell from the finished product.  If you’d like more insight on the Spookies experience you can read some letters that both myself and director Tom Doran wrote HERE.

ARROW: Is there a genre film franchise that you’re dying to contribute to, but have yet to this day?

AL: I’d have liked to contribute to a Freddy movie, maybe it’s not too late J Actually, I think I’d really like to contribute to whatever the next cool monster is, we haven’t had a good one in awhile. Although wait till you guys see "Skinned Deep" when it’s released later this year...

ARROW: What is your favorite and least favorite Friday the 13th film?

AL: I liked the first Friday just because it came from out of nowhere and scared the hell out of everyone, although I did also like the 3D gimmick in part 3. As to my least favorite...why call it Jason Takes Manhattan if he’s on a boat for the whole movie and it’s shot in Canada ?

I'd like to thank Al for his time and for bringing the slick "Jason Goes to Hell" footage to the last Fango Con in Jersey. It was much appreciated by many Voorhees fans! Keep up the great work lad!

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