My interview with artist Gary Pullin about the new INNSMOUTH project is featured in this month’s issue of Rue Morgue Magazine – on stands now!
The INNSMOUTH project is really coming together. I am getting excited to share the finished work!
My Sinister Seven Q&A with Rue Morgue Magazine!
We managed to snag photographer JOSHUA HOFFINE fresh from his cinematic debut, the stunning short film BLACK LULLABY, for this week’s Sinister Seven Q&A. Hoffine has been hard at work on INNSMOUTH, a “Lovecraft photograph” inspired by the master’s classic tale The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and starring DOUG JONES and featuring creature design by J. ANTHONY KOSAR.
1. What is the difference between telling a story with a photograph and telling a story with a movie?
The power of a photograph comes from its perceived limitations – it is a fixed moment in time. This inherent feature of the photograph can be used to great effect for Suspense and Horror. Unlike a movie, there is no before and there is no after. There is only the single moment – frozen and unresolvable. And because the image is fixed, and does not fleet across the screen like a movie, the metaphoric aspects of the image can be highlighted as details in the background. This added layer of ‘depth’ engages the viewer in a way that is different than cinema. The photograph becomes more reflective due to its static nature.
2. Tell us about the worst nightmare you’ve ever had.
I once had a terrible nightmare where somebody was hiding in the backseat of my car and slit my throat with a knife. It was the only dream I ever had that made me sit bolt upright in bed with a gasp – just like in the movies.
3. What makes a monster scary?
The absence of humanity, I think. That could be a lack of empathy, or a relish for violence and brutality. Or it can be expressed more symbolically as a non-humanoid monster, or even a distorted human form (like a clown, zombie, or vampire) where obvious humanity has been diminished.
4. What was your inspiration behind making BLACK LULLABY?
BLACK LULLABY was intended to be the climax to my photo series dealing with childhood fears. The inspiration for the film was simply an earnest desire to see one of my photographs move, while preserving the same ‘look’. It is an exercise in building tension, as much as it is about style. More and more, my new ideas are about moving pictures.
5. What inspired you to pursue a photo project based on Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth?
The project began as a suggestion from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in San Pedro, California. I read the story and loved it. Part of what made it exciting to me visually, was that the story featured a single person being chased through the city streets at night by hordes of monsters. The imagery is similar to I Am Legend, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or any modern zombie movie, but exists first in this story. I like the potential grandeur of this image, it’s spectacle – but I also like the core idea of being hunted down by an entire society.
6. What is the scariest story you have ever read?
Mabye, The Big Toe in Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark.
7. What’s next for Joshua Hoffine?
Next year I hope to publish a limited edition book of my photographs and then start work on a full-length Horror movie.
Thank you Rue Morgue!
Only 1 Week remains to contribute and become a part of our new INNSMOUTH project on Kickstarter!
This project is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s classic story The Shadow Over Innsmouth and stars the great Doug Jones (HELLBOY, PAN’S LABYRINTH)!
The photo will also feature Special Creature Effects by FACE/OFF Champion J. Anthony Kosar!
Earn amazing rewards like signed prints, unique prop collectibles, and original masks and maquettes!
With your help, this will be my biggest photo ever! Can’t afford to contribute? You can still help by telling everyone your know. Every gesture, no matter how small, is deeply appreciated! This photo is going to be great!
This 4 minute film is the climax to my classic photo series dealing with childhood fears called AFTER DARK, MY SWEET. Like my photos, this film features my daughter Chloe and regular model Bob Barber as the Boogeyman. Special make-up FX by FACE/OFF Champion J. Anthony Kosar.
Don’t miss your chance to see my film! And please be sure to check out our newest project called INNSMOUTH – based on the H.P. Lovecraft story The Shadow Over Innsmouth, starring Doug Jones (HELLBOY, PAN’S LABYRINTH) and featuring more amazing creature effects by J. Anthony Kosar!
Please help us make more art!
On Friday April 24th J. Anthony Kosar and his team will create a character from our current INNSMOUTH project as part of a live demo at the wonderful Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo C2E2 event in Chicago! It will even be live streamed! Check it out if you can!
Please help spread the word about our project! More updates coming soon!
WHAT IS INNSMOUTH?
My new Horror photo called INNSMOUTH is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story The Shadow Over Innsmouth. This image will feature the human victim of the story being pursued and surrounded by a terrifying mob of amphibious people called The Deep Ones, as he tries to escape from the decrepit seaside town of INNSMOUTH.
TV’s FACE/OFF Champion J. Anthony Kosar is creating all of the monster effects, and the human role is going to be played by famous actor Doug Jones, who was Abe Sapien in the HELLBOY movies, as well as The Faun and The Pale Man in PAN’S LABYRINTH (among many others)!
Check out our cool video here:
I discovered Lovecraft a few years ago when Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine commissioned me to shoot a project based on Lovecraft’s story Pickman’s Model. I’ve since become smitten with his writings. He deserves his title as the inventor of modern Horror. Part of what makes him intriguing is the long-standing tradition of other artists contributing to his ‘mythos’. ‘Mythos’ refers to the way his stories are all loosely connected and exist in the same world, like Tarantino films. Other writers, beginning in his own lifetime, began writing homage stories that riffed off of his mythos, making it even grander. This tradition includes contemporary writers like Neil Gaiman and Stephen King. This year marks the 125th anniversary of his birth, so I thought this would be a wonderful time to do another Lovecraft project.
In the 1931 story The Shadow Over Innsmouth, the human victim is being chased through the streets by an entire city full of monsters out to get him. The imagery is similar to Invasion of The Body Snatchers, I Am Legend, or any modern zombie movie, but exists first in The Shadow Over Innsmouth. As with our zombie project LAST STAND, I am excited INNSMOUTH will be populated by a horde of monsters, not just one!
I’m trying to find every secret Lovecraft fan on the planet. If you could, please help by sharing info about this project with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any other place else you can think of!
Here is an easy link you can cut & paste:
Thank you my friends! Hail Cthulhu!
My short film BLACK LULLABY is being released online for Black Friday! Anyone, anywhere can now watch it on my new ProVimeo site – BlackLullaby.com – where you can ‘rent’ a viewing or even download a copy to own. Check it out and tell your friends!
My short film BLACK LULLABY will be screening Saturday night at the opening of the 4th Annual MALEFICIUM Dark Art Exhibit at the Kosart Gallery in Chicago.
This fantastic art show is curated by FACE/OFF champion and frequent collaborator J. Anthony Kosar – who created the incredible Boogeyman for my film!
Hi kiddies! This is my new project MONSTER PROM.
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.
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.
Candy Cunningham – Nikki’s partner in Vixen Pin-Up Photography – did wonderful make-up for all the girls.
Rod Zirkle, a graduate of Tom Savini’s school of make-up, did a great job airbrushing monster hands for the boys.
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.
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.
I met Kosar in a parking lot in St. Louis, roughly half way between Kansas City and Chicago to collect his fragile monster sculptures.
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.
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.
My daughter Arinna and her friend Andrew Gleason, who played the part of Frankenstein.
Dracula was played by my 12 year old nephew Nate. His date was played by Mary Burke.
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!
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: