(Special Makeup Effects Lab Technician)

"My involvement started a few months before principal photography. I was in Vancouver, working on a project, and I was introduced to Jeff Dawn (Makeup Department Head on 13TH WARRIOR) by Charles Porlier (one of the three Keys on 13TH, the other two being Victoria Down and Stanley Edmonds). Jeff was looking for prosthetic people for the show. A couple of months later, Charles called, and asked if I was interested in working in Steve Johnson's Canadian shop, Northwest Effects Group (no longer in business), on the show. Of course, my answer was YES!

I had an idea that they would probably change the original title (EATERS OF THE DEAD), simply because it sounds like a zombie movie! After reading the script, I wasn't at all surprised that Disney would do a project like this, although I wondered about the violence... I am not sure of the exact reason why they finally changed the title, but I'm sure it has to do with the marketing of the picture.

I worked on THE 13TH WARRIOR for about eight weeks, July and August, 1998 (I think that's the right year, but you might have to check... All these projects seem to blend together). [Note: The right year was in fact 1997.]

A "special makeup effects lab tech" is usually a person who specializes in the manufacture of prosthetic appliances, puppets, blood effects (i.e. squirting from wounds, etc.), moulds, fibreglassing, silicones and general mayhem; my task on this show was to design and create (along with colleagues Sean Sansom and Ryan Nicholson) all the prosthetics.

The Wendols were a big part of the project. We spent alot of time working on drawings and maquettes (small design sculptures) for the Wendol look. We sculpted ten Wendol maquettes, which we numbered, photographed, and sent to John McTiernan and Jeff Dawn for approval. They selected one of each of Seans', Ryans', and my designs. (Thank God, no one got left out!)

It's been a while since I read the script, but I don't remember a specific description [of the Wendols in it]... We just went on what we were told by Jeff, Charles and Steve (Johnson). We were told to make them look like Neanderthal Men. That was pretty much the direction we were given. Because these were not supposed to represent actual people, we were given a little licence in what they looked like. We sent constant photos up to the location in Campbell River (where the film was shot) for approval (or disapproval). We used mostly creative licence, but tried to make them look as realistic as possible. [Whether the Wendols were demons or not in the final version of the movie] seemed to me rather uncertain as well, but the paint scheme (black body paint with red "flame") seems to indicate a "demon" look...

The master sculpts were done by Sean Sansom, Ryan Nicholson and myself. Once we blocked out the designs, Sean then fine tuned them. We detailed the appliances as we would for any prosthetic makeup, no matter what the lighting situation. When you are in a shop producing appliances for a huge feature film, you detail them to the best of your ability, because you NEVER know how they will be lit and photographed! We created three different looks for the Wendols, and all could be shot in extreme closeup. Each design consisted of six foam latex appliances. The artists on set could then take these appliances, mix and match them to create as many different Wendols as they need. The dental prosthetics were created at Steve Johnson's XFX. Artificial hair was used too on the characters...

How many makeups were done on this show? Including the Wendols, and all the wound appliances, it ran into the hundreds! Sean, Ryan and I sculpted and moulded dozens of wounds which we produced in foam latex. (It seems like we did nothing but run foam latex!) Sean also sculpted a set of scar appliances, which he moulded in Ultracal 30 (a dense gypsum material, used for making foam latex moulds). We sent the mould to Campbell River, where they used it to make plastic appliance scars.

If there were special makeups on the freaks [in the second Oracle Woman sequence], they were done out of kit, on location. The bodies [from the farmer's hut scene] were made by someone else. (I had nothing to do with the additional photography. I was on another project by that time.)

[The mass suicide scene you mentioned] does not ring any bells with me! That may be another reason why they had to shoot additional scenes...

We had heard rumours about Arnold [Schwarzenegger] having some kind of involvement with the project, from being a producer to acting in it... The rumour mill keeps running! But I don't know anything about the Wendol Mother and I don't know of any dispute between McTiernan and Crichton.

I think my greatest challenge on this show was getting all the work done in the time we had. In the film business, your worst enemy is time, and you never want to hear "TIME IS UP"! Finally, I am proud of my contribution to THE 13TH WARRIOR. We produced some excellent work (even if alot of our wound stuff was barely seen, or seen quickly), and had alot of fun working in the shop in Vancouver. It was an honour to work on this great film."


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