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 utilizing their new full-frame Sony A7 camera.  I re-imagined iconic monsters Dracula, Frankenstein, and Wolfman as teenagers posing for their Prom photos.

Virtually all Americans are familiar with the classic Prom photo.  We’ve all seen them, and most of us have even posed for them.  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, braces, bad haircuts.  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.

A lot of wonderful people helped me with my teenage monster project.

My eldest daughter Arinna (from my photograph BABYSITTER) played the part of Frankenstein’s girlfriend.  She also did a wonderful job helping 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 my friend Nikki Moreno.  Nikki specializes in retro Pin-Up portraits with her company Vixen Pin-Up Photography.  Not only did she do everybody’s hair, but Nikki was also a crucial photography assistant.  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 wonderful 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.  This was my 3rd collaboration with Anthony.  He 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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You might ask, “Why make sculptures?  Why not use make-up appliances on the models?”  This was so that Kosar would not be limited to the proportions and facial structure of a real person.  This way the eyes could be set further apart than a real person’s face would allow, a neck could be thinner than a real person’s neck, a mouth shape could be extended beyond the physical limits of make-up.  I encouraged him to create stylized character designs, knowing that they would be fleshed out with amazing realistic detail for my camera.

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 friend Celine Collins (the victim in my JACK THE RIPPER project) at her store MonkeyWrench Clothing in downtown KC.  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’s best vintage clothing store, 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!

 

Oddities

November 14, 2013

Yes, that was me on the television show Oddities.  My wife Jen and I stopped by the store Obscura Antiques while we were in NYC – we love the show! – and ended up on-camera for Episode 16 of Season 4 – ‘No Guts, No Glory’ – which aired on the Discovery Channel just before Halloween on October 29th!

Oddities

3 Days Left For BLACK LULLABY!

November 7, 2013

Only 3 Days left for the Kickstarter campaign for my first short film BLACK LULLABY!  Pledges of $25 not only receive a signed DVD but a credit in the film as well.  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this unique Horror project!

Here you can see me and FACE/OFF Champion J. Anthony Kosar making a final pitch for our awesome film:

 

MALEFICIUM Dark Art Exhibition 3

November 1, 2013

Hi kiddies!  My photograph LAST STAND will be on display as part of the amazing group art show MALEFICIUM 3 at the Kosart Gallery in Chicago during the month of November.  The opening is tomorrow Saturday Nov. 2nd from 1 – 10 pm.  This show is curated by my friend and collaborator (and FACE/OFF winner!) J. Anthony Kosar, and features a stunning line-up of artists, including Travis Louie and Thomas Kuebler.  Come join us!

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HuffPost Live

October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Check out my 15 minutes of fame on HuffPost Live!

WOLF

LAST STAND

May 30, 2013

Hey kiddies!  Here is my new zombie photograph LAST STAND.

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It remains true to the simple sketch from my KickStarter video, but now brought to life with actors and detail.

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My star A. Michael Baldwin gave a wonderful performance!  The gunshot to the head was achieved using flash paper and black powder fired through a prop head sculpted by Ryan Pintar.  I then combined these elements with the kneeling zombie actor and Baldwin firing the gun on set using Photoshop.

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For reasons of safety, I photographed my little niece Rev separately as well.

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My friend Erica has the greatest face.

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My youngest daughter Sadie gave me an identical scream to match Erica’s.

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This photograph was by far my largest project to date, and only came to life with the help and assistance of many wonderful people.  A special thank you to all of the KickStarter Pledge supporters who made this image possible!  The success of this image has encouraged me to consider future photo projects on an even larger, more elaborate scale.

THE CREDITS :

ART DIRECTOR & PHOTOGRAPHER : Joshua Hoffine

PRODUCER : Justin Gardner

CAST :

FATHER : A. Michael Baldwin

MOTHER : Erica Kauffman

DAUGHTER : Sade Hoffine

POOR LITTLE TODDLER : Rev Mercader

THE ZOMBIES :

Bob Barber

Colin Mogg

Sonny Williams

Jen Hoffine

Brian Wendling

Davis DeRock

Henry Feltmeyer

Alice Pollack

Nathan Beggs

Dylan Thomas

Brett Johnson

Austin Goldberg

MAKE-UP EFFECTS : J. Anthony Kosar

MAKE-UP ASSISTANTS :

Meagan Hester

Jeffrey Sisson

Brenna Hoch

Rita Hoch

HAIR : Jill Sixx

SET CONSTRUCTION :

Jerry Hoffine

Steve Hoffine

Bill Rose

Michelle Seward

Mike Clouse

PYROTECHNICS :

Jerry Vest

Demian Vela

GUNSHOT WOUND : Ryan Pintar

LOCATION MANAGER : Steve Hoffine

CAMERA ASSISTANT : Felix Mercader

DRIVER : Mike Clouse

CATERING : Mike Clouse

DOCUMENTATION :

Anna Perry, Photography

Trevor Hawkins, Mammoth Media, Video

PHOTOGRAPHED AT 3RD ST. ASYLUM IN BONNER SPRINGS, KANSAS

A 40″ print of LAST STAND is currently on view and for sale at the LAST RITES GALLERY in NYC, as part of the ‘Zombie’ group art show curated by Travis Louie.  Thank you again to Travis for inviting me to be part of this show!

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More ambitious projects coming soon.  See you next time!

Paris National Opera

May 1, 2013

The Opera National de Paris licensed two of my images, WOLF and BED, to use in the programs for their production of HANSEL AND GRETEL, which is running currently until May 6th.

In a curious twist of fate, my daughter Chloe – who was featured in my photograph CANDY, my own take on Hansel and Gretel – will be in Paris the same month the images are being used.

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Thank you to Mariame Clement, the production designer, for being a fan!

Making LAST STAND

March 14, 2013

Hi kiddies!  While I am saving the debut of my big zombie photograph LAST STAND until the Last Rites Gallery opening in NYC on Memorial Day Weekend, here are some fun making-of pics from last week’s photo-shoot.

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 regular assistant Demian Vela, and behind us is Colin, one of my drafted zombie models.

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Kosar’s sculpted appliances were marvelous.

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Meagan Hester from FACE/OFF Season 4 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 down to help.  Here you can see him working on my regular assistant Demian Vela, who was excited to finally be on the other side of the camera.

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

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My favorite model Bob Barber is feeling better and 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.  Here you can really see how good Kosar is with his make-up.

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Brenna and her mom Rita work for 3rd St. Asylum and 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 on set, having fun.

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Me with Brian and my daughter Sadie on set.

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My brother-in-law Felix helping run camera.

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My friend Erica Kauffman played the Mother character.  Here you can see Davis biting her arm as she reaches for her pistol.  And yes, that is a dinosaur.

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A special thank you to  Mehron Make-up, who generously provided make-up and blood for our art project.

LAST STAND coming soon!

Photos courtesy of Anna Perry.

Kickstarting My New Zombie Project!

January 17, 2013

Hi kiddies!  I have officially started my first Kickstarter Project!

From May 25th through June 29th 2013, the great Travis Louie will be curating a show at the Last Rites Gallery in NYC entitled “ZOMBIE.” He has been kind enough to invite me to be a part of this show, so I am raising funds to help with the costs of creating my most ambitious photograph ever, “LAST STAND.”

This photograph will feature a family in their last moments right before they are completely consumed by a horde of zombies! The central figure will be the Father, who is blasting a zombie in the head with a shotgun.  My camera will freeze every detail of this explosive moment. The Father does not realize that right behind him his wife and children are already being taken down and eaten by the zombies pouring in through the broken barricades of the front door. This image will include over a dozen characters in full zombie make-up interacting all at once, on a set that will be destroyed by gunfire and fake blood.

Please check out my Kickstarter Page. There are wonderful incentives, and all pledges will receive a signed print of the final image. Tell all of your friends, help spread the word by sharing my link on Facebook, and let everybody know.  This image will be amazing!

I have already cast the role of the Father, and I am thrilled to announce that he will be played by none other than PHANTASM’s A. Michael Baldwin!

The special effects will be led by my friend J. Anthony Kosar, who recently exhibited my work in his Chicago gallery, and made his television debut this past week on Season 4 of Face/Off!  He is monstrously talented and a sweetheart and we are very proud of him! He won both events on the first episode – can you believe that? I am super-excited about our upcoming collaboration.

All prints will be signed by me, Kosar, and my star Baldwin.

Please help spread the word.  I will keep you updated on progress!

Neurobiology of Fear

December 17, 2012

Continued from post What is Horror?

If the Horror genre is best defined by the intention to elicit and manipulate the emotion of fear, what then exactly is the emotion of fear?

The dictionary defines fear as: a feeling of agitation and dread caused by the presence or imminence of danger.

Persons experiencing fear display increased alertness, concentration on the source of fear, attack and fight-or-flight behaviors, and evidence of sympathetic-nerve stimulation such as cardiovascular excitation, superficial vasoconstriction, and dilation of the pupils.

Fear evolved as a basic survival mechanism. It is the ability to recognize danger, which leads to an urge to confront the danger, or flee from it: the fight-or-flight response. This mechanism allows animals to move quickly away from a location of perceived threat and hide.  All people experience fear as an instinctual response to potential danger – this mechanism is important to the survival of all species.

Although many fears are learned, the capacity to fear is part of human nature.  Many studies have found that certain fears are much more common than others.  These fears, such as fear of heights, predatory animals, darkness, etc. are also easier to induce in the laboratory. Because early humans who were quick to fear dangerous situations were more likely to survive and reproduce, certain innate fears developed as a result of natural selection.

People also develop specific fears as a result of learning.  Fear can be acquired through a traumatic event. The area of the brain most involved with the learning of conditioned fears is the amygdala.

Amygdala

The amygdala is located behind the pituitary gland. In the presence of a threatening stimulus the amygdala generates a secretion of hormones that influence fear and aggression. Once response to the fear stimulus commences, the amygdala elicits the release of hormones into the body to put the person into a state of alertness, in which they are ready to move, run, fight, etc.

There are many physiological changes in the body associated with fear. The fight-or-flight response accelerates heart rate, dilates blood vessels, and increases muscle tension and breathing rate. Only after this series of physiological changes, does the consciousness realize an emotion of fear.

After a situation which incites fear occurs, the amygdala and the hippocampus record the event.  The stimulation of the hippocampus will cause the individual to remember many details surrounding the situation. Memory formation in the amygdala is generated by activating the neurons in the region.  Once the person is in safe mode, meaning there are no longer any potential threats surrounding them, the amygdala will send this information to the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) where it is stored for similar future situations.  The storing of memory in the mPFC is known as memory consolidation.

Recent studies show that a person learns to fear regardless of whether they themselves have experienced trauma, or if they have only observed the fear in others. Fear responses in the amygdala can develop in both conditions.

Fear is transferable.

This is partly achieved through mirror neurons.  A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another.  The neuron ‘mirrors’ the behavior of the other, as though the observer himself were acting, not simply watching. Such neurons have been directly observed in primates and other species. Mirror neurons are the neural basis of the human capacity for emotions such as empathy.

Fear and the emotional response to dangerous situations can be triggered through observation and simulation.  Recreational Horror, such as Horror movies, roller coasters, and Haunt Attractions, all simulate danger for the bodily pleasure of the fight-or-flight response in the absence of real threat.


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