What are your thoughts on the trend to use CGI, which used to be just for spaceships and dinosaurs?
Yeah, but you’ll never see a makeup artist standing in California with a sign that says, “Will do effects for food.” That’s never going to happen. They still use the animators. I love CGI. When CGI is done well I love it. Like the damage on “The Mummy.” You could never do that with makeup. Or the damage on Schwarzenegger in “Terminator 3” You could never do that with makeup. And that’s done well. The upcoming generations are being trained to accept CGI. It’s us old tigers who think it’s crap but I actually love it. It makes our job easier.
Like when I saw “Jurassic Park”, I didn’t see any dinosaurs. I saw a guy sitting at a computer. Because you have to pretend it’s there. So you’ve got to change your mindset. Most people don’t want to make that effort or make that mindset. They’re used to Rick Baker’s “American Werewolf in London.” All the other guys have the physical stuff that’s created. The makeup guys are still the guys who have to create the artwork and the computer guys use that. There are still artists like myself and other guys who have to create the actual thing that the computer guys scan.
So is latex ever going to die?
No, no. I don’t think so because there’s still going to be low-budget independent films. But, no that’s not true. There’s a guy I know who did a film for $20,000 and used a huge CGI mechanical monster that was brilliant. So at a $20,000 budget and shooting a movie and getting CGI with the home editing and these guys using Premiere and Final Cut Pro and Avid, any of these guys who are computer savvy could go in there and do CGI, you know? So, I think it’s always going to be around and I do believe it makes our job easier. So, was that the thrust of your question?
Yeah. I wanted to hear it from the “Godfather of Gore.”
Yeah, even in the big budget movies there’s lots of gore. “Total Recall.” “Casino.” I mean, I know it sounds strange coming from me, but the less you show, the better it is. Stuff that you never see, stuff that I did behind a door sticks in my mind longer.
Okay, here’s the deal, there’s a monster behind the door, and you know the monster’s behind the door. Now the woman walks in – and it’s almost always a woman – from the moment she walks in, you can’t wait for her to get to that door. So a “boo,” a scare jumper effect. That’s what, two seconds? But the suspense scares are the best because they last the longest. So from the time she walks in that door, the scare begins and you can’t wait for her to get to the door. But the trick is, slow her down. Have her walk to the door, the phone rings. Okay, the whole conversation on the phone is the scare cause you really want her to hang up and get to the door. She hangs up the phone and you go, “Oh great, she’s finally gonna get to the door.” So she’s going to the door, “Oh I broke a nail.” Slow it down again. So the suspense is building, and building, and building. So when she gets to the door and opens it, you’re going “AAHH” and the monster’s not there. She closes the door and you go, “Awww.” And that’s when the monster jumps out behind her. Always catch them on the way down or make them laugh or something. I don’t know why I went off on that tangent. What did you ask me?
Will latex ever die?
The computer savvy guys are able to do the CGI stuff. But again when it’s done well. Like, did you ever see “An American Werewolf in Paris”?
What a piece of s**t. I mean the wolves! My cat could have drawn those wolves better. Punched on computer keys, maybe accidentally made something. It was horrible. But that’s a really good example of when it’s really done badly. You just tune out. That’s the point. You just tune out. Even younger generations, when they see bad CGI, they have to pretend. It’s a mindset you didn’t have to change when the stuff was there in front of you. And that’s what the new generations are getting used to. I think, by and large, they’ll just accept that. There’s no effort to pretend anymore, it’s really there.
I saw a guy at the computer creating dinosaurs. And I went back to see it again, to see “Jurassic Park.” Okay, I said, “I change my mindset.” No matter what I see in the frame, foreground, background, whatever, it’s really there. And it blew me away; it was awesome. But I had to change my mindset to enjoy that. That’s what I’m saying. Sometimes people just aren’t making that effort. They need to change the mindset.
The interview continues in part three of TOM SAVINI: A REAL SEX MACHINE>>>