Thursday, August 31, 2023


Like last month's post, this entry is about a project that started off as a YouTube shorts project, until I rejected that idea. In the end, I ended up just making a very short, silly video. 

My inspiration for the ghost in the film was this Victorian illustration. I have no idea where it's from but it's included in a huge book on supernatural literature, which I've had for years.

I sculpted the face in medium-grade Monster Clay on a flat slab of aluminum and did all the rest: a plaster mold of the clay and the casting tinted latex into the mold. The chest area was cast in a mold created many years ago for the demon in my film "Memory."

I wanted striking eyes for the puppet since it would only be on screen for a very short bit. I picked a couple of semi-transparent plastic pearls, for a sort-of luminous effect, and reamed a concave surface into each pearl to create a lens effect. The eyes were detailed with acrylic airbrush paints painted on with a thin brush. UV resin was then added to create the actual lens effect.

I wanted the arms to be really spindly and skeletal, so they were built up with thin metal rods folded over and covered with soft crochet yarn soaked with latex.

When the puppet parts were assembled the whole thing was attached to a wooden rod, one of those you stick into a flower pot to support a floppy plant. Thermoplastic was used to hold it all together.

The flimsy garment of the ghost / dead thing was made with kitchen tissue paper soaked in latex. I then simply cut pieces from it and pressed them together. the sticky surface of the paper as a bonding agent.

So, here's the finished ghost. The arms, the neck, and the jaw were the only articulated parts of the puppet. the hair was made from crepé hair (sheep's wool used for fake beards.)

The second puppet in the film is the man who walks by the cave and engages in conversation with the ghost. This is actually a very old puppet, built at the end of the 1990s. It's still holding up, barely. The latex is really dry and brittle but the clothing and the armature are fine. As you can see he hasn't got any real feet because for the film he was originally built, he doesn't show his feet. I didn't make any tie-downs back then, I just clamped the puppet down on a tabletop with a small glue clamp.

Some of my YouTube viewers were disappointed that the film was short and thought it was just "gimmicky." Others thought the film was fun. It was an interesting experiment.