Indie cinema is in a constant debate as to which is cheaper and better, Computer generate effects or practical effects. What it comes down to is the talent involved. Some indie filmmaking teams have great Computer graphics people who do an incredible job at a low price. But what many of the up and coming artists can agree on is the thought process of the days of ol’. We love practical effects. If we can dream it we can make it. Filmmaker Charles Pieper believes in the same and is including an incredible practical feature in his upcoming project Malacostraca.
Malacostraca tells the following story:
A married couple is going through difficult times as the husband loses his mind and ability to love. One day when his wife announces her pregnancy, his mind snaps. When the baby is born he doesn’t see it as being his, or even as being human. Instead he sees his baby as a hideous lobster like creature.
The creature spoken about above is the center of the film and main cost of the film. The lobster baby is being created by well known Special FX artist Gabe Bartalos who is known for his incredible work in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, Brain Damage, Friday The 13th Part 6, Leprechaun, Gremlins 2, and Cremaster Cycle. The crew at Atlantic West Effects will supply all the work needed to make this lobster baby come to life. The film itself will include other special effects as well. Included on that effects list is an external embryonic sac, cable controlled translucent newborn creature puppet, a silicone torso duplicate, a small scale crawdad puppet for skin breakthrough, a larger cable controlled creature toddler puppet, a duplicate toddler puppet for stunt work, and silicone severed fingers.
The psychological creature feature stars Charle Pecoraro as Chris and Amber Bollinger as Sophia. Directed and written by Charles Pieper, the film promises to be a horrifically scary film which will explore the fragility of the human mind and male ego. We spoke with Charles about the upcoming project. This is what he had to say.
WAIH: What is the inspiration behind Malacostraca?
CP: Malacostraca begun as a short story I wrote in college in 2007 in which I forced myself to come up with the most disturbing plot I could think of. After that the idea lay dormant for several years until I decided to revisit it and rework it into it’s current short film form. I took inspiration from films such as Possession and Picnic at Hanging Rock as well as from my own personal fears and concerns. To me there is nothing scarier than one’s own mind or body failing them and this film explores that deeply.
WAIH: Explain the process of attaching a legend like Gabe Bartalos to the project?
CP: Having Gabe involved in this film is extremely exciting. I feel very lucky to have his expertise indeed! I worked at his company Atlantic West Effects for several years. When I worked there I painted a huge miniature of the city of Los Angeles and created several horrifically disturbing stop motion animations for the artist Bjarne Melgaard. While working at AWE I became friends with Gabe for we both shared very similar interests in art and horror. So once I felt I had created a strong enough script and production team for Malacostraca I contacted Gabe about it and he jumped on board!
WAIH: With such a high budget for a short film, where do you want to take the project when it is done?
CP: The budget is indeed sizable for a short but it is essential to pay for the elaborate practical creature effects that Gabe and his team shall create… The creature in this short (which is seen in two distinct forms) is not just an effect but has to be a proper, realistic, emotive character and with Gabe‘s brilliant sculpting and FX knowledge it will be! So yes while the FX budget alone is the size of many short film’s entire budgets it is what will make this short stand out. Once completed Malacostraca will be submitted to film festivals across the world and will no doubt impress and horrify audiences everywhere!
WAIH: Do you have backup plans if the budget cannot be met?
CP: Yes. Luckily Indiegogo allows one to keep whatever funds one gets, even if the whole number isn’t met… So even if we don’t get our full asked for amount whatever we do receive will go into paying Gabe to further continue building the creatures… We will document this online to generate continued interest to possible new financial backers if need be. So far we are 12% funded within the first two weeks which is pretty good! The fundraiser will be live for 60 days so if this donation rate stays similar throughout we shall be fine! Regardless though my team and I are also looking into individual private financiers as well as several film grants.
WAIH: What advice do you have for up and coming independent horror artists?
CP: My advice is to think deeply on what truly scares you the most and work with it! The more personal or idiosyncratic one gets the more one’s work becomes oddly universal as well I feel. So yes, focus on your own brain’s nightmares and develop them with as many like-minded filmic friends as you can!
Currently Malacostraca is on Indiegogo with an ambitious but necessary budget. Most of the money go to the amazing effects that will carry this film across the world. Producer and friend of WAIH, Kimmie Yan, is attached the project. She is known for her work on The Devil’s Carnival and it’s sequel.
Since this is a crowdfunding project, there are many perks to be had and with such an intense budget, you sure bet the perks are plentiful. You can earn yourself the original short story along with the shooting script, some incredible and colorful artwork from Director Charles Pieper, laser etched wood engraving, signed posters, and even cooking or guitar lessons. One of the coolest perks is an exclusive tour of Atlantic West Effects where all the effects are being made.
We Are Indie Horror puts the official approved seal on this project and would love to see it come to fruition. If you cannot donate monetarily, be sure to spread the word through all social media. We’d love to see them hit if not all but most of their goal. This is We Are Indie Horror’s Blood Bank Where Every Drop Counts!