How’s everyone out there doing? Still shut in like the rest of us? Need a movie to watch? Well, there is a documentary I can recommend to anyone who is a bit of a horror fan. Usually I do a review in which I tell you the plot of a movie, then give my irreverent thoughts and questions about said movie. In this case, it’s a documentary and much harder to do that. What I can tell you is that you should watch Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini.
If you have watched a movie in the last 40 years or so where there was a violent death involving blood and you for even one second thought it looked realistic, you can thank Tom Savini. His story is fascinating from when he was a young kid obsessed with monster movies to his adult days fighting in Vietnam and on through his legendary film career. He’s an actor, stuntman, director and special effects artist all rolled into one. If you happen to watch Locke & Key on Netflix, you will see a cameo by him and I recommend you watch the documentary first in case you don’t know who he is. If you have watched Friday the 13th recently you probably have seen his name in those credits too.
His filmography is long and impressive and his approach to his special effects is refreshingly straight forward. Sometimes when I watch modern horror films and it’s nothing but CGI, I find the scares much less frightening and the film much less enjoyable. I used to wonder why that was but now that I have seen this documentary I know it’s because of Tom Savini. He went through the Vietnam war and saw some gruesome stuff so he knew what looks real and what did not. It also helps that unlike some CGI, his effects are three dimensional and can be touched. One really simple example is in Friday the 13th. In one scene, an ax is about to buried into someone’s head. Right before the ax connects with the face, it hits a light overhead and the camera lingers on the light swinging for just a moment. This makes the hit with ax feel much more real. Why? It feels like it has actual weight to the thing.
Tom was full of ideas like that (and still is really) but I found this film fascinating and you should go watch it.
PS Want to see Tom do his thing? Click below.
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