JOE SHERLOCK HAS NO PLACE TO HYDE
By Joe Sherlock
The script was a cool blending of werewolves, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, with a sci-fi twist thrown in. Could it have been more perfect for the guy who made Dimension of Blood and Lust of the Vampire Hookers? I think not! Kevin Lindenmuth of Brimstone Media Productions, LLC was putting together a series of werewolf anthology tapes and when he asked if I would be interested in directing a segment, I jumped at the chance. The story (written by Lindenmuth) concerns a descendent of Dr. Jeckyll who manages to recreate the fabled "secret formula," but thanks to the appearance of a mysterious stranger, finds out his "transformation" is not all that it seems.
I called on my friend Rob Merickel to pull double duty: playing the mysterious Henry as well as handling the special effects make-up. Thankfully, Rob accepted. Opposite Rob, I cast Warren Blythe as Hank. I had met Warren while involved in a show on the local University cable TV channel. From seeing his past work, I could tell he could pull off the slightly brooding, slightly mad scientist who has his world turned upside down. In the small, yet fun role of Hank's bitchy wife, I cast Dee Alsman, whom I had worked with on Lust of the Vampire Hookers, as well as a zombie project still in production. Fellow b-movie maker John Bowker of Pipedreams Entertainment was on hand to help out, as were Bob Olin and Tamra Redmond, both recent veterans of my movie Underbelly.
Our original plan of shooting over three days had to be squished into two days after some scheduling problems arose. I managed to use my house for most of the locations, including a gravel road behind the back yard, as well as setting up the lab set in my garage. We did have one location that was far off the beaten path as you'll read later.
We all met at my place on a cold Saturday morning, starting off with donuts. Mmmmm....donuts. A few of the highlights from Saturday included me distressing the package that Hank gets in the mail by smearing chocolate syrup and mustard on it, then stomping on it and smearing it around the dirt; Warren rolling in the same dirt to get his shirt sufficiently messed up; using leftover cranberry sauce from Christmas as gore (mixed with karo syrup blood, of course); despite having to sit, sprawled-out, covered in special effects make-up and play dead for several hours, Dee saying she had a good time; and finishing in the late afternoon, only to have to go over to Rob's place and shoot most of the night for one of my other projects, Underbelly.
Sunday morning came too soon and most of us were groggy and/or late. I sent John off to pick up the dry ice I forgot to get and he picked up some more donuts on the way - thank you John!!! We started off with all of the lab scenes. One thing I had forgotten to get was a cork for the bottle that Hank finds inside his battered package. I improvised by crumbling up some tin foil and spray-painting it a tannish-brown. How gosh-darned convenient I had that paint in my garage! It dried in an instant and looked great on camera!
For our lab scenes, Tamra was able to secure a real frog whom we nicknamed Prince. Prince was a trooper, despite having tropical punch Kool-Aid poured on him...twice! Prince's stunt-double was a monsterous frog puppet, controlled by John. We slimed up the puppet with KY, threw some dry ice in the aquarium and we had ourselves a monster movie!
Because I arranged the shoot by location, we shot a lot of stuff out of sequence. When Warren had appear in the lab wearing the dirty shirt from the previous day, we found that some one had tossed it in the washing machine with some of the bloody towels and it had been washed! So we had to get it dirty all over again!
Rob spent several hours getting himself made up as a frightening werewolf, complete with large pointy ears, big bushy eyebrows and custom-fitted fangs. His long hair, eerie yellow contact lenses and a hunchback only made him scarier. Once he was ready, we drove outside of town to an area of the forest criss-crossed with hiking trails. While we carried our equipment in, we only had a few odd looks from hikers passing by. After what seemed like an eternity of tromping through the mud, we arrived at an old rock quarry, complete with high cliffs and a water-filled bottom. It was cold and drissling, so everyone wanted to get out of there as soon as we could. Warren and Rob performed well and we got come terrific shots. The shoot was painfully short compared to the travel time, but in the end I think it will be worth it for our segment of the movie. We packed up and started the hike back to the cars. It was all uphill to get out and it seemed like it took us about a week to make the trip. We eventually made it back to the house and were all ready to collapse. Rob got cleaned up while I took care of some set decoration and prepared lights for exterior shots, as it was now dark outside. We got a few more shots out of the way and then it was Warren's turn in the make-up chair. A long while later, he had been transformed into a fearsome wolfman. After a quick shot in the lab, we ventured into the darkness outside for the shoot behind my house. Luckily when Warren let out his loud werewolf howl, no one came by the see what was going on. A few shots later, we were done and all dragged ourselves back in the house. Needless to say, it had been a very, very long day. Everyone was tired and sick, but we had managed to get it all shot and I think the end result will be way cool.
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