The Grossest Scene in the Whole Damn Movie
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.
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 (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
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
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!
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.
the term "went off as planned" has the same Latin
root as "something is going to bite you on the ass".
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, 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).
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....