The Bad Movie Report

Making A Bad Movie:
My Personal Nightmare


The Grossest Scene in the Whole Damn Movie

Then there is the one scene in Forever Evil that is always talked about - unfortunately it is not the Beowulf scene or the eulogy delivered at the end, since those were both cut pretty early on; no, this is the one that the redoubtable Chas Balun singled out as a chunk blower. The demon baby birth.

For those of you who have never seen FE, or own a copy: Our hero, Marc, is out doing research at a graveyard. Spielbergian clouds obscure the sun, and Marc's dead girlfriend, Holly, appears to him. There was a subplot at the very beginning of the movie about Holly's pregnancy, and the fetus disappeared during the massacre scene. In this scene, Holly Gooey!(somewhat the worse for having been in the ground for a while) tells Marc she has decided to keep the baby, and grabbing her stitched-up belly, rips the wound open and extracts the baby forcibly. Lying in the cemetery dirt, the baby looks at Marc with glowing red eyes.... And Marc wakes up.

Yes, it is, of course a nightmare. It was not, however, my nightmare. The scene exists in the original script, but in a much more budget-conscious form: Dead Holly asked Marc if he still wanted the baby, and held out a bloody bundle to him. "I'm afraid it's not all there," she would say, and a baby's arm would fall from the bundle. Time to wake up, Marc.

So the birth scene is not mine, much as I would like to claim it; no, it came from Roger, during a conversation he and J.C. were having. That's right: the grossest moment in the movie came from the guy who didn't like horror movies.

Once they hashed out the details of the scene, JC and crew went to work. Since they already had a full torso cast of Diane Johnson, who was playing Holly, one of the stages of the FX work was done. JC proceeded to sculpt the full belly appliance. Louis Ibarra began work on the demon baby itself; to save time (in short supply, as ever) , he used a cast-off baby doll as the basis for the sculpt.

It was during one of these all-night sculpting and latex baking sessions (when I was home with my girlfriend) that I missed the FX crew's one and only field trip. JC suddenly realized that he had no idea what kind of stitches would be used to close up a corpse - and Jim mentioned they obviously needed to go down to the Houston City Morgue.

In a way, I'm sorry I missed that little road trip. How many chances do you get to visit the morgue for less than tragic reasons? On the other hand, the saner hemisphere of my brain (which seems to be getting larger as I grow older) says, Are you nuts? Do you really need to see that?

As I heard the story later, the helpful attendant supplied the information, "As you can see, it's a sort of baseball stitch." The other bit of information was that I would not believe what color a drowned corpse turns. How educational is the field of filmmaking!

Now take them to be tortured!The filming of the scene itself presented a challenge from a completely different direction. Houston sees a fair amount of film shoots, but finding a cemetery that was willing to let us film on their grounds was much harder than anticipated. One was eventually found; The day time scene were shot while Diane and I met at JC's studio for the gluing on of the appliance. That was fun - Diane's very ticklish.

Once we arrived at the graveyard, the extra hoses were run to the appliance, to cause the air bladder within to pulse, and the whole thing was filled with red-tinged Ultra-slime (damned handy stuff, I tell you). Filming went off pretty much as planned, except for a minor amount of freakage when Diane realized she was probably standing on somebody's grave while doing her ghoul act.

I believe the term "went off as planned" has the same Latin root as "something is going to bite you on the ass". The FXAttaching the goo hoses footage shot that night proved to be unusable, for whatever reasons - improper focus, wrong exposure, lab screw-up. The solution was a pick-up night, though not at the graveyard. Almost all the Holly footage in this scene was shot in the parking lot outside Roger's studio, which actually afforded us more control.

In the sequence, Holly pulls her stitched stomach open, revealing the goo and pulsing bladder* (Roger would have preferred some horrible fluid flowing from the wound, but that would have necessitated another set of plumbing, not to mention yet another nightgown). The scene cuts to Marc's reaction, then back to Holly. During the cutaway, the bladder was removed from the appliance and replaced with the stunt demon baby (foam rubber only, with a wire armature so it would retain its fetal position).

It was necessary to construct a fake placenta to encase the stunt baby, and this was accomplished by simply painting layer upon layer of latex over the suspended model, Ultra-gooey!and then painting the resultant covering. Diane tore into this with her nails, and the model slid from the rubber with an unnerving motion. Another cutaway before this moment provided the time to connect the umbilical from the Womb to the latex placenta (not too well, you see it pull loose from the placenta as the baby falls to the ground).

After another cutaway to Marc, we cut to the baby lying on the ground, moving, and eventually looking at Marc, ie, the camera. A raised platform, roughly three feet tall, was constructed in the studio, and grass and dirt layered upon it to give the impression that we were actually shooting outside. the second demon baby, a rod puppet, was operated from underneath the platform. It also had wiring coming up into its head to illuminate the red eyes. I believe a music stand was Diane's stand-in, wearing that incredibly messed-up nightgown.

It all adds up to nicely memorable horror movie sequence - I just wish I could, in good conscience, claim it as mine.



The More Things Change....