CLIFF: What went into the making and filming of the work-shed scene with the possessed Linda in Evil Dead 2?
TOM: That sequence was done by Mark Shostrum’s crew. The volume of work in that one sequence is massive. It has character make-up, an elaborate full size puppet being puppeteered by a crew, a stunt chainsaw and lots of uncomfortable acting being done by the actress playing Linda in a vise. As for who did what and how, specifically, I can’t help you there.
CLIFF: How was making the Evil Dead different from making the Evil Dead 2?
TOM: The money, the food, and the size of the crew. In ED 1 about 17 of us from Michigan made it to the Tennessee location. And on ED 2 there were more than a hundred from all over the country. Making movies usually mean extremely long days and grueling conditions. Both of these films qualified at that.
CLIFF: As an aspiring makeup artist, what materials did you use in the making of the Evil Dead films?
TOM: I only did makeup effects for the first film. I wanted to do stop motion and being a make-up person does not allow for much sleep. You have to get up very early to put actors in their masks. While as an animator on ED 2, I got to sleep into 5:00 A.M.
As far as materials, I used modeling clay, latex rubber, cotton, rubber mask grease paint, alginate, hydrocal for the molds and simple foam rubber for the castings, crepe hair and powder for the grease paint, and the contact lenses were made by a professional. If you can work well with these materials you’ll have a good basic background of the skills needed.
CLIFF: What advice can you give me on how to become a pro SPFX artist?
TOM: Start telling everyone that you are an SPFX artist. This way everybody will expect results. Get a good library of make-up books, which is essential. I’d try libraries, Cinefex magazine, American Cinematographer book lists, surf the net, Bookstores and write to your favorite makeup professional.
Richard Corson’s book Stage Makeup is a great place to start. Practice on friends and then photograph or videotape your efforts so you can get used to seeing how it transfers to the screen. Then get out there and network and find others making films, chances are they are looking for you. Then you get a good portfolio and start writing letters and knocking on doors. Good Luck!
CLIFF: As a makeup artist, who influenced you to get into the business?
TOM: Sam Raimi. I always wanted to direct, but unlike the collaborative group of Sam, Rob, and the Detroit guys, I was all alone, so I taught myself Art, Writing, Photography, Film making and the wide world of Special Effects. Sam had the confidence in me and that I could do it and gave me the chance. I’m grateful.
I wanted to know it all and did just in time for the digital revolution. I’m a good designer and film and art will always need good ideas and designers.
In the area of makeup, my influences would be the legendary Dick Smith, Rick Baker, William Tuttle, and Rob Bottin. In stop motion Willis O’Brien, Ray Harryhausen, Pete Peterson, Jim Danforth and Karel Zeman.
CLIFF: Was the clay stop motion animation idea all yours and Bart Pierce’s or did Sam Raimi have any input on it?
TOM: Good Question…
The script was very sketchy. It says on page 66 (the bottom of the last page) of my “Book of the Dead”(original title of “The Evil Dead”) shooting script (Copyright Renaissance Pictures LTD. 1979) And I quote:
“The fireplace poker slips from Cheryl’s hand and sticks into the wood scarcely an inch from Ashly’s head. The bodies of SCOTT AND CHERYL then begin to cave inward upon themselves collapsing to the floor in smoldering heaps. Finally, nothing is left but the burnt clothing and a blackish grey ooze on the floor where their bodies once were.”