Saturday, March 16, 2013

Gothic Puppet Horror - The Mill At Calder's End

I wanted to share something really cool I've discovered on Kickstarter. The Mill at Calder's End is described by creator Kevin McTurk as a ghost story puppet film. He's hoping to make it to $60,000, and they're about $5,000 shy of making the goal.

"The Mill at Calder's End is a gothic ghost story in the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft that will be told with 30 inch tall bunraku puppets and old fashioned in-camera special effects. Featuring the voices of Jason Flemyng (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,X-Men:First Class) and horror legend Barbara Steele (Black Sunday,The Pit and the Pendulum) , this film celebrates two of my great loves: the art of puppetry and gothic horror.

From my experience working as a special effects artist in Hollywood for over twenty years and now collaborating with some of the most talented creature effects artists,concept artists, and puppeteers in the industry, The Mill at Calder's End will be unlike any puppet film you have ever seen before.

The Mill at Calder's End is a passion project that is heavily influenced by the classic Hammer horror films of the 1960s and the films of Mario Bava (most notably, his gothic masterpiece Black Sunday). I have also always had a great love of puppetry and traditional in-camera special effects. The work of Jim Henson (The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and his Storyteller television series) is a great inspiration to me and I am hoping to bring his sense of wonderment and artistry to The Mill at Calder's End

In 2012, I was honored to work with Heather Henson (Jim's youngest daughter) on my first film. Heather produced The Narrative of Victor Karloch as one of the short films for her Handmade Puppet Dreams Film Series and was a guiding force in helping me create the haunted world of Victor Karloch. 
The Mill at Calder's End is a gothic tale that will be told with the traditional Japanese theater puppetry technique known as bunraku. Each puppet figure is controlled by three (or more) puppeteers dressed in black and hidden behind each character. It is my goal to make a film that celebrates practical effects and therefore there will be almost no computer generated imagery in the final film. In my first film, The Narrative of Victor Karloch, I utilized several silent film era camera techniques, such as a shot of a miniature ship on a stormswept ocean (which, in fact, was made up of painted flowing garbage bags). I plan to continue to use many more of these techniques to give a hand crafted look to The Mill at Calder's End." 

To learn more about the project and the gift rewards offered head over to Kickstarter.

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