Fantastic Fest attendees were treated to an extra special event over the weekend, courtesy of our pals at Mondo. It was by far one of the hottest tickets during the festival and I mean that quite literally. Fans raced to the theater the minute they went on sale that day and roasted in the Texas sun, jumping at the chance to view a pristine 35mm copy of the horror comedy classic with acclaimed special effects master, Rick Baker, in attendance. Each ticket came with an awesome poster created by the highly regarded designer/illustrator, Olly Moss, who made an impressive trek to attend and later sign this beauty:
A modest Mr. Baker took the stage before the show (donning a Slaughtered Lamb t-shirt) and immediately confessed that a few of the make-up effects make him cringe three decades later. Insert unanimous disagreement echoing back to the stage from a spirited, live audience. Dunne’s soused, exposed neck cartilage still makes my stomach flip. Blend those Oscar-winning effects with Landis’ wicked humor and you’ll still find a timeless monster movie classic more than worthy of its cult status.
Live vicariously through the lucky ones through this live stream of the Q&A conducted by Mondo Creative Director, Justin Ishmael. Baker shared a lot of great stories, but my own personal favorite is when he expressed the sheer satisfaction gained from beating Griffin Dunne with a puppet. It was a semi-secret way to retaliate after ol’ undead butterfingers destroyed a creation he was told to handle with the utmost care.
If you happened to drive down South Congress earlier that day you may have spotted a small group of us slapping ourselves on the street corner after sharing breakfast with him and his lovely wife. We were able to show them a small slice of our city before the big event which included a surreal stop by Austin’s favorite cuckoo costume shop, Lucy in Disguise, to peruse the mask and make-up section. And we ended the evening with country line dancing at Rebels Honky Tonk. Honestly, Ms. Baker wished that last rumor would spread and she’s really, really charming.
In another fortunate turn of events, I’ve also been given the go-ahead to share these never before seen storyboards with our readers that display David’s unforgettable transformation. They come to us courtesy of Beware the Moon director, Paul Davis. Thanks, @kesslerboy! His outstanding, feature-length documentary on An American Werewolf in London is available on the Blu-ray, Full Moon Edition. Don’t be a meatloaf and check it out soon.
Here’s a note from Mr. Davis:
“Seeing the video of the the wonderful Rick Baker Q & A with Justin Ishmael over the weekend (thanks for the shout out Rick!) and hearing Rick talk about how the transformation was carefully storyboarded, it made me realise that despite showing a couple of the original boards in the documentary, the full set have never actually been seen! I can remember very vividly sitting in John Landis’ living room as he told us the preparation that went into the transformation sequence in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. The minute he mentioned Rick Baker’s desire for storyboards (Landis made a point of mentioning it because he hates using them), and that indeed storyboards were created, I was determined to track them down so that we could use them for BEWARE THE MOON. It turned out to be a laborious task in the beginning because nobody could remember who even illustrated the boards in the first place. With little luck in our immediate search, a year later lady luck shined her light on us full beam as I got a very excitable phone call from my cameraman and editor on the project, Anthony Bueno. He was in LA at the time shooting footage for a documentary on Ghostbusters and had been touch with conceptual artist John Bruno regarding his work on that. While chatting, Anthony mentioned our American Werewolf documentary and Bruno told him that he’d also done some conceptual work on that. Low and behold, there were the original storyboards for Rick Baker’s transformations for AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Upon receiving them, I compared them to some photos from Rick’s workshop where you can clearly see boards up on the wall in the background. They were an exact match. So here they are in their full glory, finally putting to rest the endless question of “… so how did the wolf exit the flat anyway!?”