From the napalm-drenched fires and gruesome death fields of Vietnam a young man with a camera emerged, a photographer whose experience in the war encouraged him to employ both his memory and imagination to revolutionary creative work. Tom Savini is the man and legend behind all those horror films from the eighties you know and love. Savini’s work in the field of make-up effects distinguished him as one of the most influential symbols of an era of horror filmmaking we often look back on with nostalgia and sorrow. Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2… If you look at those effects, both in films themselves and behind-the-scenes footages, you realize how much effort, sweat and talent went into creating them. Today, it’s more or less all about digital effects. Once again, people decided to tread along the easier path. Today, gunshots wounds, head explosions, disembowelments, limb castrations and other gruesome integral parts of every slasher film in the style and tradition of the eighties classics, as well as every film that aims to disconcert the audience in the gory visual sense, are added in postproduction, and the results are often disappointing, as the damages seem visibly artificial. Tom Savini is, therefore, an artist that not only stands out for his talents and modus operandi, but also a living symbol of an almost extinct way of shooting films.
Scream Greats, vol. 1: Tom Savini is a wonderful documentary which came out as a part of a short-lived series of direct-to-video releases from the cult Fangoria Magazine. It serves as a detailed and precious insight into Savini’s work, providing numerous behind-the-scenes footages and interviews, some of which with the great George A. Romero, with whom Savini built his career, and today’s master of make-up effects Greg Nicotero. It’s a crying shame that this documentary isn’t available worldwide in DVD, but even this Youtube video seems priceless as it’s bound to inspire countless filmlovers and filmmakers. If you consider yourself a true horror fan, or even just a lover of all things film, Scream Greats is a delight to watch and study. Thanks to the original uploader, the Intermission Society.
Also, recommended viewing:
- a rare, behind-the-scenes footage of Day of the Dead taken from Tom Savini’s personal archives. The entire thing runs over 4 hours in 20 parts. For more videos, visit Goremeister100’s YouTube chanell.
- Jonathan Ross looks at the work of the Godfather of the Zombie movie, George A. Romero, and legendary makeup and special effects wizard Tom Savini. This was episode 6 of ‘Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show’, made for British TV’s Channel 4 in 1989.
- a rare behind-the-scenes of Stephen King and George A. Romero’s 1982 horror anthology classic, Creepshow. On-set interviews include Romero, King, Savini, Adrienne Barbeau, Hal Holbrook, E.G. Marshall and the movie’s bug wranglers!
Two Evil Eyes: Grand guignol illusionist, Cinefantastique 21. 1990. No. 3. On the film by Dario Argento and George A. Romero, especially on the makeup effects by Tom Savini.
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