Archive for the ‘At Work’ Category

Making PARKING LOT

November 25, 2016

Hi kiddies!  This is my new photography project called PARKING LOT!

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Being afraid of somebody hiding under your car is the adult equivalent of fearing the monster under your bed.  Dark spaces and exposed ankles.

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I wanted this Horror image to be set in bright daylight.  Finding a location for this idea was not easy.  Most businesses would prefer you not stage a murder in their parking lot.  Even a fake one.  In the end, I staged my photo-shoot in a parking lot across the street from 3rd Street Asylum, the haunted house run by my cousins.  The police stopped by only once, and they were very friendly.

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The victim was played by Cori Jo Hawkins.

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The scary man hiding under the car was played by her husband and filmmaker Trevor Hawkins from Mammoth Media.  Trevor helped me with my short film BLACK LULLABY and is one of the chief collaborators on my upcoming movie project.  Right now he is finishing up his own first movie, a romantic drama called LOTAWANA.

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I based Cori’s positioning on Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting CHRISTINA’S WORLD.

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The SPFX mask was created by legendary creature designer Jordu Schell.

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Thank you to Nikki Moreno at Vixen Pin-Up for doing Cori’s hair!

Thank you to Luke for allowing me to borrow his cool car.

Thank you to Chris Hawkins for all your help getting the car to the location and back.

And thank you to Dawn and Matt Cheek for producing this photo project!

See you next time!

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Portraits of Fright – Short Documentary

November 16, 2016

 

Filmmaker Alden Miller made a short documentary about me and my Horror photography!

Making NOSFERATU

October 28, 2016

Hi kiddies!  This is my new image NOSFERATU.

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Nosferatu was played by Bob Barber.

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The Victim was played by my wife Jen Hoffine.

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SPFX Make-Up by J. Anthony Kosar and Kosart Effects.

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Demian Vela was my photo assistant.

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This image is included in my upcoming book of Horror photographs from Dark Regions Press.  You can Pre-Order your copy on their website. Thank you to all of the Kickstarter backers who made this project a reality!

See you next time!

Making WITCH

September 30, 2016

Hi kiddies!

This is my new Horror photograph called WITCH.

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This project was produced by Jeff Simon.

The SPFX witch mask was made by Midnight Studios FX.

The witch, in Jungian terms, is the archetype of the devouring mother. The anti-mother.  So of course, I gave my own mother Carol Hoffine the title role – despite the fact that she is one of the greatest moms of all time.

Here she is trying on the costume for my shoot:

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The baby head is a doll’s head.  I painted it and glued on snippets of my own hair.  My wife Jen glued on fake eyelashes for me.

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Brenna Hoch did the make-up for my mother’s hands.

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Demian Vela, as always, was on set to assist.

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The witch mask was foam-filled and unable to wear.  So after photographing my Mom, we moved the witch head into her exact position.

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I combined my Mom with the SPFX witch head in Photoshop for the final image.

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A special thank you to Trevor Hawkins for helping me find the perfect wooded location.

See you next time!

Making JEKYLL & HYDE

September 2, 2016

Hey kiddies!

This is my recent photo project JEKYLL & HYDE.

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The star and producer of this project was Chad Hawks. Chad previously played Jack the Ripper for me.  He was also the producer for my Lovecraft project INNSMOUTH.  We staged JEKYLL & HYDE as a triptych of 3 images: Before, Mid-Transformation, and After.

Make-up effects were created by J. Anthony Kosar at Kosart Effects.

Demian Vela, as always, was on set to assist.

Lab props were loaned to us by Pamela Coggins at Noir Oddities on 39th.

And we staged this photo project in the beautiful Victorian home of Kent Dicus and Michael Ohlson.

Thank you to everyone, especially Chad, for making this project a reality!

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See you next time!

 

Making INNSMOUTH PORTRAITS

October 21, 2015

Hi kiddies!

The monstrous fish people created by J. Anthony Kosar and his team at Kosart Effects are amazing!  I wanted to shoot portraits of these Deep One characters to compliment my main INNSMOUTH photograph. Because the story by H.P. Lovecraft Shadow Over Innsmouth describes generations of Innsmouth inhabitants going back decades, I decided to shoot the portraits as genuine wet plate photographs utilizing photo technology from the 1800’s.

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This type of wet plate photography is like alchemy and utilizes dangerous chemicals that can asphyxiate you or even cause an explosion.   I recruited knowledgeable wet plate photographer Steve Wilson to come in and help.  I worked for Steve Wilson at Hallmark Cards as a young photographer. He was an early important mentor and it was great to work with him again.

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We shot the portraits in my home.  Kosar and I dressed wooden mannequins in period costumes and posed them for the camera.

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Steve used a powerful HMI light because wet plate has a very slow exposure time and requires a tremendous amount of light.  I love the idea that some young man from Innsmouth participated in the Civil War as a Massachusetts resident.

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Here you can see Steve manning the large 8×10 View Camera.  I helped frame and light our portrait subjects.

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After exposing a metal plate that he had prepared with a light-sensitive chemical coating, Steve would remove the plate from the camera and develop it in my kitchen while we watched.

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I think the singular aesthetics of the wet plate process lend themselves beautifully to gothic subject matter.

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See you next time!

Making INNSMOUTH

October 1, 2015

Hi kiddies!

This is my new photograph called INNSMOUTH.  This image is based on the story Shadow Over Innsmouth by legendary Horror author H.P. Lovecraft. This photograph stars actor Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) as the victim and features SPFX from frequent collaborator J. Anthony Kosar and his talented team at Kosart Studios.

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In the 1931 story Shadow Over Innsmouth, the human victim is chased through the streets of the seaside town of Innsmouth by a teeming mob of monstrous fish people called the Deep Ones. The imagery of a sole individual being pursued by a city full of monsters is similar to Invasion of The Body Snatchers, I Am Legend, or any modern zombie movie, but exists first in Shadow Over Innsmouth.  As with my previous zombie photograph LAST STAND, INNSMOUTH is populated by a horde of monsters, not just one.

Staging the scene in deep focus with extreme foreground elements was inspired by my love for Citizen Kane.  Giving the monsters daggers was inspired by the assassination scene in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. There are no daggers in the original story, but Lovecraft does make a point of describing the strange gold jewelry worn by the Deep Ones.  I changed the gold jewelry into golden knives, so that my swarm of monsters could fish-gut their cornered victim.

We ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for this ambitious tribute to H.P. Lovecraft to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of his birth. Many talented people came together for this grand collaboration.

My cousins Steve and Jerry Hoffine and Mike Clouse from the haunted house 3rd St. Asylum in Bonner Springs, Kansas built the walls in Jerry’s carpentry shop.  They are all big men and accustomed to wearing masks for extended periods of time, so they also flew to Chicago to play the lead monsters in the photo-shoot.

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Our friend Kyle Stanley helped paint the styrofoam brick walls. He drove up to Chicago to play a monster as well. Kyle is the monster on the far right with the bowler hat and bulging eyes.

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My assistant Demian Vela transported me, all of my photo equipment, and the brick wall we created in a rented U-Haul trailer from Kansas City to J. Anthony Kosar’s studio in Chicago.  He also plays one of the monsters in the photo.

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Kosar and his talented team spent weeks creating the crowd of Deep Ones. Kosar acted as Concept Designer, FX Supervisor, and Lead Artist, with Jamie Leodones and Stevie Calabrese leading the charge as key artists, and Dina Cimarusti, Matt Kapolczynski, and Neil Viola jumping in as additional sculptors.

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Celine Collins at MonkeyWrench Clothing hand-made the costume for my star Doug Jones.  I wanted him dressed as a white collar city slicker – an outsider – to contrast the blue collar mob of Innsmouth locals.

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Doug Jones is famous to Horror fans for his roles in HellBoy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Crimson Peak, and many other movies. Here you can see my wife Jen Hoffine adjusting Doug’s sleeve on set.  Everyone was elated to spend time with Doug.

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Kosar created an army of monsters as pull-over masks and gloves. With my encouragement, he mixed elements of piranha, angler fish, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon into his designs.  His collection of Deep Ones is amazing.

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Here you can see Kosar giving Doug the easiest make-up application of his career.

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In addition to Demian, Kyle, and the Cousins, several other volunteers suited up to play monsters, including Justin Gardner, Mark Lancaster, Coye Vega, and Dan Dudych.  Costumes and prop knives were loaned to us by Jerry Vest at Have Guns Will Rent in Kansas City.

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I used several strobe lights to ensure my  whole scene would be in focus at F/22, including a special battery-powered strobe inside the lantern. Thank you to photographer Barrett McGivney for the additional equipment, tech support, and behind-the-scenes photos.

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Spending time with Doug Jones is too awesome to convey in words.

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Careful framing and the liberal use of fog completed the illusion of an outdoor night scene.

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The brick building in the distant background of the final shot is actually 3rd St. Asylum, the haunted house run by my Cousins.  I photographed their brick building and composited it into the background of my original scene.

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A huge thank you to my Producer on this project Chad Hawks – pictured here in red on the far left – who worked harder than anybody to make this project a reality!

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A tremendous heartfelt thank you to all of our Kickstarter supporters, especially our mega-backers Matthew & Dawn Cheek and family, and Alan Harris!  And a big thank you to the leaders of the H.P. Lovecraft community who helped spread the word about our project – including Aaron Vanek and James Knouse at the HPLFF in Los Angeles, Neils Hobbs at NecronomiCon in Rhode Island, Brian & Gwen Callahan at CthulhuCon and the Arkham Bazaar and HPLFF in Portland, Tom Jenkins, Mike Davis at the HPL-Ezine, Chad & Chris at the HPL Literary Podcast, and Sean Branney & Andrew Leman at the HPL Historical Society. We could never have done this without you! Hail Cthulhu!

See you next time!

Making MONSTER PROM

May 12, 2014

Hi kiddies!  This is my new project MONSTER PROM.

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This project was a commission from Sony UK.  I re-imagined iconic monsters Dracula, Frankenstein, and Wolfman as teenagers posing for their Prom photos.

I love Prom photos.  Nothing captures the quintessential awkwardness of adolescence like the Prom photo.  It is the final game of dress-up before entering the adult world.

Monsters are the perennial outsider.  Did any of us ever feel more like monsters than we did as teenagers?  Bodies changing beyond our control, sprouting hair, developing acne, wearing braces.  The self-consciousness of adolescence comes with the realization that the villagers could turn on you at any moment.

There is a long-standing tradition of teenage monsters in the Horror genre, starting with I Was A Teenage Werewolf and I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, both from 1957.  Modern variations on the teenage monster movie include Carrie, Teen Wolf, The Craft, even Twilight.  Wes Craven’s Scream could easily have been titled I Was A Teenage Slasher.

My eldest daughter Arinna (from my photograph BABYSITTER) played the part of Frankenstein’s girlfriend.  She also helped me cast my project, and recruited several of her friends to be models.

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All of the girls’ hairstyles were done by Nikki Moreno. Nikki specializes in retro Pin-Up portraits with her company Vixen Pin-Up Photography. She provided set elements, like the silver tinsel backdrop, as well as lighting equipment. I could not have done this shoot without her.

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Candy Cunningham – Nikki’s partner in Vixen Pin-Up Photography – did the make-up for all the girls.

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Rod Zirkle, a graduate of Tom Savini’s school of make-up, did a great job airbrushing monster hands for the boys.

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I staged the photo-shoot in my own home.  Here you can see Rod airbrushing Frankenstein’s hands in the middle of my living room, surrounded by teenagers.

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The real star of this project is my friend J. Anthony Kosar, and his special-effects team at Kosart Effects – Neil Viola, Scott Mitchell, Stevie Calabrese, and Matt Kapolczynski.  Kosar also created the make-up effects for my zombie photo LAST STAND and my upcoming film BLACK LULLABY.

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I met Kosar in a parking lot in St. Louis, roughly half way between Kansas City and Chicago to collect his fragile monster sculptures.

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I photographed the kids in full costume on my set, complete with hand make-up.  Kosar even provided fake feet for teenage Wolfman, played by Wyatt Zirkle, Rod’s 12 year old son.  His plaid suit was made by my Celine Collins (the victim in my JACK THE RIPPER project) at her store MonkeyWrench Clothing.  Wolfman’s date was played by Fee Pauwels.

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I photographed Kosar’s sculptures on the same set, under the same lighting, to ensure that both parts would fit together seamlessly when combined in Photoshop.

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My daughter Arinna and her friend Andrew Gleason, who played the part of Frankenstein.

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Dracula was played by my 12 year old nephew Nate.  His date was played by Mary Burke.

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A special thank you to my sister Sarah who made all of the flower corsages.  And a big thank you to Kevin Kinkead at Boomerang in Westport KC for giving me such a great deal on all of the retro clothes!  And lastly, thank you to Margaret of London for inviting me to be part of this project.

See you next time!

 

Making LAST STAND

March 14, 2013

Hi kiddies!  This is my new zombie photograph called LAST STAND.

The star of the photo is A. Michael Baldwin, who played the lead boy in the classic Horror movie Phantasm in 1979,

The little girl is my niece Thea Mercader, who was the baby in my photo SNAKE.

The mom was played by Erica Kauffman from Atomic Cotton.

The other child victim was played by my daughter Sade Hoffine.

We built our set at the 3rd St. Asylum Haunted House in Bonner Springs, Kansas.  My cousins Jerry and Steve Hoffine did all of the carpentry and construction.

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Bill Rose and his girlfriend Michelle stayed up late one night to wallpaper my set for me.

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Here you can see Steve and Bill measuring the shag carpet.

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I filled the set with my gathered props.  Jerry Hoffine and Mike Clouse destroyed the door by jumping on it.

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Here you can see me talking with J. Anthony Kosar, who drove in from Chicago to lead the make-up team.  Beside me is my assistant Demian Vela, and behind us is Colin Mogg, one of my zombie models.

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Kosar’s sculpted appliances were marvelous.

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Meagan Hester flew in from NYC to help Kosar with the make-up effects.

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Kansas City make-up artist Jeff Sisson also came to help.  Here you can see him working on Demian Vela, who was excited to finally be on the other side of the camera.

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My wife Jen Hoffine, who played the title role in LADY BATHORY, also played a zombie.

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My favorite model Bob Barber came in to be a zombie as well.

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Brian Wendling, the man walking the tightrope in my early photograph DEATH, played one of the zombies attacking my daughter Sadie.

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Brenna Hoch and her mom Rita also helped with the make-up.

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Demian with Kosar and Meagan, loving it.

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My producer Justin Gardner.

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My star A. Michael Baldwin having fun on set.

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Me with Brian Wendling and my daughter Sadie on set.

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My brother-in-law Felix Mercader helped run camera.

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Here you can see Davis DeRock biting Erica’s arm as she reaches for her pistol.

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Theodis Williams made the coolest zombie of all.

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See you next time!

Photos courtesy of Anna Perry.

Making JACK THE RIPPER

September 4, 2012

Hey kiddies!  This is the first part of my new photo project JACK THE RIPPER.

Conceived as a 2-panel diptych, JACK THE RIPPER depicts the moments “just before” and “just after” a grisly alleyway murder.  What makes Jack the Ripper so compelling to me is that nothing is known about him.  Because he was never caught, we have no actual information about who he was or why he committed his gruesome crimes.  We do not possess a historical or biographical portrait, but instead share a communally imagined idea of Jack the Ripper as an aristocratic predator.  As a boogeyman, he graphically symbolizes the idea of the wealthy and powerful preying on the poor.

Unable to find an appropriate alleyway, I decided to build a set.  The walls were made from large sheets of styrofoam that I carved and sculpted to look like brick using a hot-knife and heat gun.

My cousins Steve Hoffine and Jerry Hoffine run a Haunted House called 3rd Street Asylum in Bonner Springs, a small town just outside of Kansas City.  They allowed me to build my set inside their Haunted House.

The part of Jack the Ripper was played by Chad Hawks.  He grew out his own muttonchops for the role, and flew himself in from Chicago to help me with my project.

The part of Jack’s victim was played by Celine Collins.  She is the owner of Monkey Wrench Clothing. I drafted her to make the elaborate costumes needed. She was already doing the costume work when I asked her if she would be willing to play the part of the victim as well.  Despite her shyness, Celine agreed.  She gave a marvelous performance.

Celine’s wig was styled by Ruby Von Blush.  Her make-up, for good or ill, was done by me.

My assistant Demian Vela helped with this photo-shoot, as did my wife Jen Hoffine.  Jen helped Celine sew wire into Jack’s coat so that it would hold it’s position.

Steve and Jerry Hoffine, as well as Mike Clouse, came down to help run fog machines during the shoot.

The rats were plastic toys that I painted.  I added whiskers made out of fishing line.

Coming soon is JACK THE RIPPER 2, by far the goriest image I have ever made.  I hope you can check it out!

See you next time!