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In the trailer for new web series FANGORIA’S
BLOOD & GUTS (Presented on the Nerdist YouTube channel), host Scott Ian sits across from effects artist and director
Robert Hall of LAID TO REST infamy and declares, “CGI sucks. F—k CGI!” It’s a
rallying cry that will no doubt endear Ian to BLOOD & GUTS’ target audience,
meaning anyone interested in the enduringly fascinating discipline of special
effects makeup—lovingly devised, sculpted and implemented by human hands to
thrill and shock thirsty terror addicts worldwide.
Ian and the BLOOD & GUTS crew have been
granted access to the secret laboratories and toy shops of incumbent gore gurus
like Greg Nicotero (THE WALKING DEAD), as well as visiting with Robert Hall and
other emerging talents—Rembrandts of the red syrup who even now are managing to
carve a bloody niche for themselves in this age of cut-rate digital beasts and
unconvincing pixel-squibs. Ian, of course, makes his living as a founding
member of thrash pioneers Anthrax; the enthusiasm and humor that the band is
known for translates well into Ian’s BLOOD & GUTS hosting gig, making him
the ideal figure to guide viewers through the know-how behind the delightfully
nasty craft of horror film effects. FANGORIA managed to pin down the busy Mr.
Ian midway through his current tour to discuss his BLOOD & GUTS journey…
FANGORIA: Have you always had a passion for
SCOTT IAN: Yeah, ever since I was a kid
I’ve been into horror. At some point, when I realized it wasn’t real, my
curious mind wanted to know, “Well, if it’s not real, then how do they do it?”
So, even at a young age, it’s been something I’ve been fascinated with. In the
eighties, actually when FANGORIA came out, all of a sudden you really had a window
into that world. I was a fan of the mag pretty much from the beginning. So that
really opened the doors, and then you started finding out about who these
people actually were and how they did what they did, and they kind of became
like rock stars in their own way.
FANG: Who were some of your effects heroes
IAN: Certainly Tom Savini. Even though I
had seen movies that Dick Smith (THE EXORCIST) had done, and all the old
Universal stuff, as a kid Savini just struck a chord with me; based on DAWN OF
THE DEAD specifically. I went to see that in the theatres, and it still is my
favorite horror movie of all time. As a fourteen year-old seeing that in
theaters, it just seemed so real and so possible. Just the world that Romero
created in that movie, even more so than in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I can compare
that to when I was a kid: my bands growing up were like, Kiss and The Ramones
and Cheap Trick, AC/DC… whereas the kids who were about six, seven years older,
they were into Led Zeppelin and other stuff—which I got into later, but as a
fourteen year-old, that was for the older kids. That’s kind of how I felt, like
DAWN OF THE DEAD was my movie, and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was for the older
kids. I mean, I liked NIGHT, but DAWN was so much better. How Savini depicts
the violence and the gore… obviously, technology has made things better in that
you could do things now on a grander scale and make things look even more real,
but for me, it’s still the scene where the biker gets pulled out of the blood
pressure machine and they tear him open and rip his intestines out. That stays
with me more than anything I’ve ever seen in a movie. I was like, “Oh my God,
that’s f—king horror!” Savini did it so well, and it seemed so real to me.
FANG: We see Greg Nicotero and Robert Hall
pop up in the BLOOD & GUTS trailer, can you tell us if any other artists
make an appearance in the series?
IAN: Yeah, we’ve shot with Gary Tunnicliffe
(DRIVE ANGRY) and we’ve shot with Jerry Constantine (WATCHMEN), and then we
have a bunch more coming up. Hopefully, we’ve got Savini. I know we’re shooting
Jennifer Aspinall (STREET TRASH, THE TOXIC AVENGER) on October 7th, that’s the
day I get home from tour. And it looks like we might have
Rick Baker, but you know, fingers crossed on that one.
FANG: So BLOOD & GUTS is set to extend
beyond the initial five episode offering?
IAN: I think at this point, there are going
to be eight episodes. Originally, there were only going to be six, and we’re
hoping that if we nail down a couple more of these people that we’re going
after, maybe they’ll go for ten episodes.
FANG: You mentioned that you grew up
reading FANGORIA’s how-to articles on gore effects. Was there anything
unexpected that you learned by actually being in the studios alongside these
artists as they work?
IAN: I can’t say that there was anything
really unexpected; I know how hard the process is and how much time it takes.
I’m trying to think if there was anything that I learned where I was like, “Oh,
really?”, but I didn’t have any of those moments . I guess that’s why they
thought I’d be a good fit with the show, because it’s a world that I have
something to say about, and something I was already familiar with.
FANG: You always hear actors complain about
how arduous it is undergoing intensive makeup processes, such as having
lifecast moulds done of their heads. You are subject to this several times
during BLOOD & GUTS—so is it really that bad?
IAN: Hell, no [laughs]! Look, it’s not
something I’d want to be doing every day, let alone a couple of times a month.
But no, it wasn’t bad at all. If anything, it was a strangely relaxing
experience. Once they get you all covered, you just have to sit there and let
it set; for whatever the time was, ten, twelve minutes. You’re completely
closed off from the rest of the world, and I’m not a claustrophobic person
anyway. And you don’t have to worry about breathing, it’s not like they plug
you up so you can’t breathe. It’s nice and quiet, and it gets really warm…
toward the end, I think I fell asleep with the stuff on.
FANG: Another story often heard about gore
effects artists is how they may be responsible for these brutal atrocities on
film, but are really the nicest, kindest folks imaginable, on and off the job.
Did you find that to be true?
IAN: I definitely find that to be true.
Everyone’s just been super cool, just great. It kind of makes sense: I play in
a metal band, and all these other guys I know in all these other metal bands
that have been around forever, people think we’re the craziest, or most violent
or insane people on the planet because of the music we make. But if you meet
us, we all just tend to be nice guys and mostly a bunch of goofballs. I find
that it’s the same type of nerd in the horror makeup world. They just have a
different thing to focus on. They’re not writing songs, they’re smashing heads
FANG: Since BLOOD & GUTS is being
presented in conjunction with FANGORIA, what does the Fango brand mean to you?
IAN: It defines horror for me, the way I’m
sure Famous Monsters did for another generation. I bought Famous Monsters as a
kid, but it wasn’t until FANGORIA, because I guess I was now at an age to
really understand it, maybe, more than just being a fanboy. So for me, if I see
the Fango logo, it just defines horror. It’s also a brand that has never, ever
sold out. It’s been around for a long time, and for a brand to stay true to
what it started as, and to keep promoting what is basically the most
underground of the world of cinema, it’s a great thing. There aren’t many
things out there like that, let’s put it that way.
FANG: You’re obviously very busy with your
current tour, but is there something horror-related that you’ve seen recently
that really knocked you out?
IAN: Well, to say THE WALKING DEAD would be
kind of the obvious choice. I actually just watched the first new webisode that
Greg Nicotero directed for the season, and it’s good. I’m super looking
forward to season three, because anyone who reads the comic knows where it’s going
with the prison and the Governor, and from what I’ve heard... I don’t actually
have any spoilers, although I’d ask Greg all the time. He’d say, “Scott, I’ll
tell you anything you want, but do you really want to know?” And I’m like,
(sighs) “No, I don’t…” But from what I hear, where season two got a little
bogged down with looking for Sophia, season three starts off at a hundred miles
per hour and doesn’t stop. So I’m really looking forward to that.
FANG: So, when you were filming with these
effects artists, were they working on live projects? Did you get to see designs
done for anything exciting?
IAN: I did, yeah. Movies and T.V. I’d walk into a room and
everyone would be like, “No, wait, don’t take any pictures of that stuff!” Even
specifically, I’d be at KNB and they’d have out all the stuff they’ve been
doing for Joe Hill’s HORNS… I saw everything! I had just finished reading the
book, and I walked in the room and was like, “No fucking way!”
FANG: I have to ask about the day job.
Anthrax is in the middle of a North American tour with Testament, and you’ve
got some festival dates already booked for summer 2013. Would the recording of
a new album maybe fit in there somewhere?
IAN: Yeah, maybe next year. We finish these
dates next week and go to Europe, November, December. Then we have a pretty
good break until the end of February, when we go to Australia. For 2013, the
plan is to cut back on the touring; we’ve been out for a year now. Touring for
‘Worship Music’ started last September. We plan to cut it back to probably
about a third of what we’ve been doing now, so we can spend time working on new
material and maybe get a record out; doubtfully by the end of ’13, more
realistically, early 2014. That would mean two-and-a-half years between records,
which is a lot better than the eight years between the last two.
You can find the first episode of FANGORIA’S BLOOD & GUTS below
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