Furor – Going the Distance
The second stage of the Furor shoot was in Bristol and once again I was up to my neck in broken bones and corpses. I got the chance to pull double duty again as an FX artist and actor and once again found myself making something up on the spot. In this case someone had got on the wrong side of the thugs in the film and ended up on the receiving end of a baseball bat. I came up with a great way to render the poor actors face into a bloody pulp using cotton wool and gelatine. Out of the kit innovation at its finest.
We hit a stumbling block during this leg of the production when one of the actors couldn’t make it for his own death scene. It had been anticipated during a bizarre phone call while I was in ASDA; Vic had asked me to bring every body part I had…just in case. I had an arm and a leg, a hand, a tongue, lots of intestines, gallons of blood and that notorious penis I’d made for the film that never got finished. We started the scene simply with Zara kneeling on a bed and me in front of her armed with a pair of ketchup bottles. The cheap looking ones you always see on fast food stalls. Both bottles were loaded with blood and as Zara started stabbing and slashing with a big, wicked looking dagger I hit her with both barrels. It was messy but it worked. The cast and crew cleared out for the next few hours as I prepared the room for the aftermath.
I covered the walls in blood – lots of arterial spray! There were severed limbs tangled in the sheets, there was an altar of body parts made its way onto a side table. I wrote a biblical passage in O Neg on one wall above the bed and then nailed the penis to it. We were filming at Rob Ho’s house and he said it was cool to go mad with the room as he was going to re-decorate. Six months and 2 coats of paint later the blood was still showing through! And after we finished filming that night Vic and Zara slept in the room – blood and all.
We also managed to film at three gorgeous churches which made awesome locations to work in. One of them is rather famous and turns up on TV now and then. It’s cool to see a location you filmed in on Skins and Being Human. That was where we filmed the most brutal and traumatic scene for Furor. We’d had a night shoot the day before and finished around 2am, when we got back to Rob’s we stayed up later still talking. Then at 5 Nat came down to us with a bottle of sambucca. Mayhem ensued and some of us were the worse for wear when we started filming at 10 that morning!
I produced some nasty effects that day and once again had the pleasure of acting with my own FX work. The shoot was unusually subdued because of what we were doing and everyone felt the change. We cheered up again later and all agreed that we’d captured some phenomenal footage. The last leg of filming was rapidly approaching and we were heading North across the border into bonnie Scotland.
My first day on set in Glasgow was interesting – a five hour drive to spent less than five minutes putting a bullet hole in someone’s head. Things settled into a nice rhythm after that and we relocated to the home of Total Combat in the heart of the city. We got to see some amazing choreography again as George walked the actors through their fights. I had great fun doing a gag where a rather nasty dude gets his cheek bitten off. The blood was flowing yet again on the Furor shoot.
There was another baseball bat bludgeoning in the offing, some broken necks and another shooting. The pinnacle of the Scotland shoot for me was watching Scott and Zara fight to the death. Scott did a beautiful one-handed cartwheel kick before getting his ass handed to him by a girl half his size. Zara proceeds to break his ankle (it looked sickening on film) before pounding Scott’s face over and over into the floor until she rips off his bottom jaw!
Wrapping was a bittersweet moment. We had an awesome meal and then hit a nightclub but we knew that the cast and crew would only get together one more time – at the film’s premiere. That occurred in Nottingham in December. We had a red carpet and stretch limo to deliver the stars. The cinema was a great place to see the film and I got a buzz out of seeing the trailer for The Clown up on the big screen. Watching Furor with a room full of people laughing, cheering, wincing and clapping was an amazing experience. They reacted brilliantly to the great fight sequences and I loved the gasps as my gory FX work was on screen. The applause when the cast and crew stood up at the end was fantastic.
I’ve done some great work since then including short films and music videos both as an actor and FX artist. They included my first screen kiss – a truly awful experience while I was playing a mummy complete with prosthetics all over my face. That was a buzz in another way though as I got to follow in my make-up artist hero’s footsteps and portray a monster that I had designed on film. The full costume of bandages took me two weeks to hand sew! Somewhere on the way I cut someone’s kidneys out and dumped him in a bath of ice, fought vampires and got killed by Cenobites.
In Part Six: Sleazy Businessmen and debut directors