Tag Archives: movie

LET’S PLAY – Until Dawn

With my Unravel Let’s Play now over I have moved onto a horror game I have been excited to play, Until Dawn. To view the first two episodes of this series you can check out Twisted Tales Studio’s Youtube Channel.


Until Dawn is a cinematic survival horror video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Entertainment. This game is a PS4 exclusive which was released in August of 2014.

One year after the disappearance of twins Hannah and Beth, a group of eight teenagers return to the ski lodge on Blackwood Mountain. The group is faced with a life-or-death situation when a psychopath begins to terrorize them, and unfortunately for them that is not the only thing they have to worry about. Something strange is happening in the woods, and not everything is as it seems. Can all eight survive until dawn?

I always say that I am particularly attracted to games that have a heavy emphasis on storytelling. Until Dawn is an example of this principal put into overdrive. In Until Dawn actual game play mechanics take a backseat to story. To say this game is cut scene heavy would be an understatement. In the two episodes of my Let’s Play, which are about twenty minutes each, maybe half of the run time is the actual game play. The player can only effect the outcome of the story through a series of choices, quick time events, and exploration in short linear environments. Success in the game depends on making the correct choices in each situation and uncovering clues to the mystery behind the twin’s disappearance.

With the opportunity for player interaction so drastically downplayed, Until Dawn relies heavily on its story and atmosphere. This is where the game shines. The animation is top tier for a new generation console game and it contains some memorable music to set the mood. I have only played the introduction, and I have not yet gotten to the aforementioned ski lodge, but I am already blown away by the environments. I have high expectations for the set pieces I have yet to see.

I say this in the video, but I work in film, and I love horror, so I may actually be the ideal audience for this game. I cannot wait to actually get into the meat of the story.



Its a Very Scary Christmas: Krampus

Krampus (2015)

I will be the first to admit that I am more of a Halloween kind of girl than a Christmas enthusiast. I could even go so far as to say the only Christmas-ee movie I actually like is The Nightmare Before Christmas, and that is a 50/50 split on holidays at best. I have to say though, I like the lineup of new Christmas movies this year.

I’m sure by now everyone has seen the trailer for Krampus, which as of this post is coming out tomorrow (December 4th, 2015), and you bet I am going to be first in line to see it. This is the kind of Christmas spirit I can really get behind.

I mean, with a murderous Christmas demon how can this be anything but amazing? Sure, whether or not it will be a good movie over all is unknown, but I expect I will be thoroughly entertained.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the lore behind the Krampus the story goes a little like this:

Often considered the counterpart to Santa Claus … the Anti-Claus if you will *ahem* … the Krampus is a German tale about a demonic creature who dispensed coal to naughty children on the night of December 5th. Some stories even tell of Krampus leaving sticks or canes for the parents to use on their misbehaving children.

The Krampus is also referred to as the yule goat for obvious reasons. Most often he is depicted as a large hairy creature with horns, a tail and the hind legs of a goat.

Naturally, I am particularly interested in seeing the creature design for Krampus in this movie. From the trailer it looks as though he is going to be mainly practical effects, which is a nice break from the CG fest most movies have become. Give me a flesh and latex goat-demon for Christmas anytime!

But wait … there is more. 

The new Krampus movie had me all nostalgic for the Christmas horror movies of old. As I was scouring youtube for trailers from Black Christmas and Santa Slays I came across a movie called A Christmas Horror Story which actually also just came out this year.

Oh my word is it ever glorious.

Wow, Santa really came through for me this year. Not one Krampus themed horror movies, but two? I guess Christmas wishes really do come true.

Reasons why I need to find this movie and watch it:

  1. Krampus looks bad-ass
  2. Santa looks bad-ass
  3. Zombie elves
  4. William Schatner
  5. Promise of an epic one-on-one battle between Santa and Krampus

This film had a limited theatrical release around Halloween and is actually already available on DVD. It also has a 75% on rotten tomatoes, which is surprising for a holiday themed horror movie. The only major complaint I am seeing is the use of four separate story lines to form the narrative, which I can live with so long as it is tied together in a creative way.

At least now I have something interesting to watch while I scramble to finish my last minute Christmas gifts like a mad woman. I think the next order of business is to find as many Krampus themed alcoholic cocktail recipes as humanly possible.


Fan Expo Monster

The Monster

After long hours of work our monster is finally done! This guy was a big hit at Fan Expo 2014. There were many photo ops and high fives to be had that weekend.

This monster (unofficially called the furby) was about 6 weeks of fabrication work done by a team of six students and three members of Sheridan faculty. Every piece of this monster was specially made for the fan expo event from the hand sculpted face to the body suit and the cooling unit built in for our actor.

The structural parts of the body were built out of sheets of 3/4 inch reticulated foam and hooping wire (similar to the kind used in corsets). The fur for this suit was patterned from scratch, hand sewn, and punched with about a million feather plugs … or at least it felt like a million at the time.

This monster has two pairs of legs, one normal sized for easy wear, and one set built to accommodate a pair of drywall stilts. The stilts ended up being one of the beast features of this costume. In a crowded convention center it can be very difficult to see a person standing more than a few feet away. At an incredible eight and a half feet tall, nobody at Fan Expo was missing this big friendly monster!

I will also post videos of this guy once I can figure out how to convert file types. This guy was surprisingly difficult to film and photograph due to the crowds and the narrow space between booths in which to move. I actually ended up sitting on the table across from our booth to take some of these pictures. Thankfully the vendors selling the Doctor Who merch were good sports about it!

I would like to thank Fred Stinson for wearing this insanely hot fur suit while wearing stilts. It made me happy to see my monster walking around and interacting at the con. I would also like to thank all my teachers who helped us make the suit. They contributed so much of their free time to this project!

The Booth

For being part of the team I was offered a pass into Fan Expo for a couple of the days so long as I helped attend the booth. My major responsibility was plugging the school to potential new students, I spent a mass majority of the time painting faces and applying airbrush tattoos. The airbrush tattoos actually ended up being a huge hit because my teacher brought a laser printer so we could make custom stencils on the spot.

We all assisted our monster getting ready, and just generally moving around the booth. Inside the suit the visibility was limited, and there was a danger of people bumping into the stilts and knocking him over. I got to act as a human pylon to make sure there were no accidents.

The Con

I did have some time to myself to wonder around the con. We had plenty of volunteers to run the booth, so it wasn’t hard to sneak around and see what there was in the vendor’s hall. A few good friends of mine were also selling their wares in artist’s ally, so I couldn’t be at Fan Expo and not stop by to say hello. Artist’s Alley is always one of my favourite parts of any con, and I almost never leave without buying at least one thing.

I also purchased a photo opportunity with Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) which made my weekend. I have been a fan of the series since I was most definitely too young to be watching them. As a horror fan I could not miss the chance to meet the man who is Freddy Krueger.

Oh, and I do have one funny con story to help wrap up this post! As I was sitting at the booth eating my pizza between tattoos I some very large men in suits came hustling past. They were pushing the crowd aside for one of the celebrity guests. I looked up from my foot and who else do I see but Stan Lee walk by not more than three feet from me. I can’t say that I met the man, but I can now say that I was close enough for his body guard to justify breaking my arm if I got any funny ideas…

The End

The end of this project also marks the end of my college career. This is the first September since 1996 that I will not be going back to school. Next comes the question of what the heck I’m going to do with myself now. I guess I will just continue to make stuff. Maybe something on a little smaller scale.



Fur, Feet and Foam

My life for the last several weeks has been a blur of fur, feet and foam. Hello, everyone! It is time for one of my periodic updates on the projects I have been making.

It is frustrating when you do so much work over the course of a couple of weeks but for various reasons can’t post pictures and show the world. Our big furry furry FanExpo monster is still in several dozen pieces. As explained in the previous post, the unders suit is completely comprised of 3/4 inch foam. As of this post, most of the structural components have been completed, but it does not yet have any fur.

Testing some monster feet
Testing some monster feet

We are currently in phase two of monster making, which is learning how to pattern our monster bits so we can sew a fur skin to fit over top. We stared with the smaller, more complex pieces, such as the feet. In the picture above I am modeling these large monster does on my small girly feet.

The feet consist of a foam structure built around a pair of men size 11 shoes. Using a sponge we stippled liquid latex coloured with acrylic paint for a skin affect. The claws were originally sculpted in monster clay (chavant) and made into silicone molds. We were then able to make multiple identical claws from bone coloured liquid acrylic.

I was the group member who patterned the fur for this particular part of the project, which was all sorts of frustrating. These feet have all sorts of weird curves, so I was glad my teacher was there to walk me through the process of creating darts in the fabric that actually made sense. Thankfully, the fur for this project is long, and hides a multitude of sins.

Keeping in theme with feet this week I also got the chance to help a teacher work on making a Sasquatch costume for a kid’s TV show. Since the episode has not yet aired I won’t be posting a picture of the full costume, but here are the feet (the part I actually worked on) as a preview.

just a couple of feet I worked on
just a couple of feet I worked on

These feet were build more or less exactly the same as the feet for the FanExpo monster. The foam structure is built around large men’s shoes, and the toes were sculpt and run in foam latex. My teacher patterned the fur for the feet and I was tasked with hand sewing the pieces together. There was a lot of pressure to get these done right the first time since the budget for fur on this project was super tight. I had to do some interesting piece work to get the amount of coverage we needed. Under this fur the fabric is actually cut into twice as many pieces as strictly necessary. Like I said before, fur hides a multitude of sins.

The full sasquatch costume photo will be posted sometime late in the summer after the episode airs on TV.



Book Review: Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Welcome to Twisted Tales Studio’s book review of Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebook, Collections and other Obsessions.

Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities
Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities

To the shock of nobody, I have a rather large collection of books about my favourite directors, odd crafts and building techniques sitting on my shelf at home. I thought it might be fun to start including some reviews and recommendations on books and comics that fall in line with the theme of my blog. Where better to start than the book from the director of some of my favourite movies?

Unless you haven’t seen a movie in the past few decades, you have probably heard of Guillermo Del Toro. Some of his more well-known works include Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), and The Strain (2014). These are only a few examples, and each of them has Del Toro’s signature style. Much like Tim Burton, Del Toro films tend to have a look that is immediately recognizable.

Immediately when shopping for this book the title caught my attention. Completely by coincidence my blog has a title with a very similar flavor to Del Toro’s book, so of course I needed to order it on the spot. It is amazing how unconsciously we are drawn to other artists with similar sensibilities, even if we do not think about the reason why.

Moving onto the meat of the book, this one is more of a director’s notebook than an art book, so expect more text and interviews and less full spreads of pictures. Through a series of essays and interviews, this book is a comprehensive explanation of Del Toro’s inspiration and techniques he uses to create atmosphere in his films. There are tons of interviews that talk about the creative process behind the production of Del Toro’s movies, and the experiences in his life that influence his creative decisions.  If you are like me and you watch every single extra included on a DVD or Blueray disk, then you will enjoy this book.

Sample Page
Sample Page

As far as the visuals go, this book contains a lot of scans of his notebooks, and some concept art made for the movies are also included. The concepts drawn by Del Toro reflect the visual style that comes out in his movies. Every design element of each film is meticulously planned out, and there is tones of well hidden symbolism if you know where to look. As the reader, you get to see how a few pen and ink sketches scrawled with and endless sea of notes ends up as the final product in a film.

There are also some gorgeous photos of Del Toro’s house and work space. It is filled top to bottom with items collected from around the world, and of course memorabilia from his film sets. Seriously everyone, if I had the funds my home would also look like this. I am a firm believer in artists surrounding themselves in an environment that encourages their creativity.

For fans who love books about movies this is a good one to have in your collection, and it is certainly a must-have for all fans of Del Toro movies.Its easy to pick up and flip through for all the pretty pictures, but I honestly encourage everyone to sit down and actually read the articles. Its not a difficult read, and its an insightful look into film making and the creative process.

The book is bulky, and the price point is high, but this is to be expected with a full colour hard cover, so you really do get what you pay for. I was able to get an excellent deal when I ordered it off amazon and combined the shipping with other books, so I regret nothing about this purchase.

Now if you will excuse me I suddenly feel like digging up my Guillermo Del Toro movie collection and binge watching all of them.

Next up for consideration: The Advanced Art of Stop Motion Animation by Ken A. Priebe.

Among other things, I am in the planning process for making a stop motion puppet, and I like to hoard reference material for things I’ve never made before. Its pretty heavy reading, so hopefully I can get through enough for a proper review soon.



Toxic Zombie Makeup

From face casting to running foam latex, my classmate Michelle got to be my model for my toxic zombie makeup project. In honor of the new season of The Walking Dead it is zombie week in class. I actually made this sculpt all the way back in the fall, but running the foam was delayed several months. It was worth the wait though. I am pretty happy with the final project.

Toxic Zombie
Toxic Zombie

The assignment was simply to make a zombie makeup appliance from a live cast of one of our classmates. The mask was built to be applied in three parts: forehead, nose/cheeks and chin. This allows for greater range of movement for the actor and overall looks more natural. Gluing a solid sheet of foam latex to a person’s face can cause some weird folding and buckling to occur if you aren’t careful.

Toxic Zombie
Toxic Zombie

For this look I decided to go with a toxic or viral zombie appearance. In my mind she was exposed to some sort of highly infectious or corrosive chemical which resulted in her zombie state.

I made sure to include a number of boils, open sores, and a nasty infected eye to complete the character. The colour palette for this character was kept mainly to the pale yellow and green end of the spectrum, with a bit of purple in the shadows just to make everything pop.

Unfortunately due to my prosthetic mold not closing properly I had a rather nasty blending edge along the top where her forehead meets her hair line. It also just so happened that her hair was cut short on that side. I didn’t want to get her hair covered in blue in latex, so it is not so smoothly disguised as a cut of some kind along her forehead.

Toxic Zombie
Toxic Zombie

If I were to change anything I would probably go in and darken some areas up just for contrast. I would particularly focus on the areas where the blood just looks super red. I feel like the blood needs to look a little less fresh for this zombie girl. I think she also could have used a little black took lacquer on her teeth. My girl Michelle’s teeth are too clean and perfect for a sickly zombie design!


I would like to give a huge thanks to my friend and model Michelle. She was a good sport about me trying to fix the goof with the bad edge on the forehead, and she rocked the impromptu photo shoot we held in the classroom.

Michelle also appears as my model for my lizard forehead prosthetic in my portfolio. For more pictures of makeup and prosthetic projects I have worked on please feel free to visit my makeup and costumes page here.

Let’s start a discussion here. What are your favourite variety of zombie designs from TV or other media? Is there a specific type of zombie infection you think is superior? Let me know in the comments below.