Thursday, June 30, 2022



Someone in my YouTube comment section described this little short as "Metal Hurlant meets Lovecraft", and I think that's pretty apt. The French sci-fi comics magazine (better known in the US as Heavy Metal) had a lot of crazy content, and I certainly read the magazine and I'm sure I've been influenced by it. The Lovecraft part is the fact that I decided to join bits of his poems "Nemesis" and "Psychopompos: A Tale In Rhyme", which, in themselves are good, but I had my favorite parts and thought they'd go together very well. What I ended up with was, basically, a revenge tale of a single warrior taking out a planet-destroying giant monster.

So, let's start with the monster, as I usually do. My idea was to make a tentacled skull with a distinctly evil look. I started with a rough clay sculpture of a slightly cartoony and scowling skull. The skull and the jaw were made as two separate pieces.

However, I didn't make a plaster mold around the sculpture as I usually do, but I instead built up a skin over the clay using cotton and latex. I just addad one thick layer, and allowed to dry slowly.

The eyes were two glass blobs with flat undersides glued to a paper printout of photoshopped blood veins. I used transparent scrapbooking glue.

I wanted some very big, gross-looking veins protruding from the skull, and used macramé yarn soaked in tinted latex to achieve the effect.

To make the skull and jaw sturdier, I mixed up some Rhino plastic, a fast-setting resin that I use for many things, and simply poured it into the hollow skull and jaw skins, slushing around the plastic to make it cover all spots. Tentacles made from aluminum wires covered with soft yarn soaked in tinted latex were attached by drilling holes in the skull and inserting the ends of each tentacle, attaching them with thermoplastic. I also made a bunch of horn-like protuberances by wrapping yarn around the tip of a pencil and painting tinted latex over the yarn. 

I added teeth made from cotton dipped in latex, using liquid latex as a glue.

The eyes were stuck to the eye sockets with dabs of hot melt glue.

Patches of textured latex skin were cast in texture molds and attached to the puppet.

The finished puppet was painted with tinted latex and acrylic airbrush colors. A support rod was made from two thick aluminum wires wrapped in chroma key tape.

The ship seen in the film was a CGI stock footage animation downloaded from Videoblocks. In the clip I used various angles and movements were provided.

In After Effects I added the ship to various space backgrounds that were either Photoshopped or also downloaded from Videoblocks.

The vengeful pilot was an even bigger cheat. I simply used two still images of a dressed up person, found at stock image provider Depositphotos, and placed that guy in spaceship interior backgrounds, also a mix of stock photos and Photoshopped details.

I'm sure my interpretation of Lovecrafts poetry differs wildly from the intent of the old guy himself, but as it is, I had fun doing this film. It was a quick and creative project.