Splatstick Done the Ash Vs. Evil Dead Way
Roger Murray, on the phone to the Los Angeles Times from the Auckland set of Ash vs. Evil Dead, has one simple way to describe his job as the show’s prosthetics designer and props supervisor: “I have to think about blood a lot.”
Murray is, after all, the gore master in charge of the tanker’s worth of fake blood – as much as 40 gallons for a big scene – required to bring Sam Raimi’s splatstick revival of Evil Dead to life.
“Generally when [my team] arrives on set the [crew] all go, ‘Oh, no!’ and start gathering up all the brushes and pans and mops,” he says. “We do a lot of blood rigs, we do a lot of full-body dummies, body parts, decapitation, dismembering, chain saw action … Most of my day I’m thinking about how we’re going to make it even more bloody than the last time. Everybody likes more blood.”
Ash vs. Evil Dead, a television series extension of the horror franchise classic, is set 34 years after the first Evil Dead film and stars the same antihero, Ash, played as always by Bruce Campbell. The series, which premieres 31 October, ushers in a new era of splatter horror combined with absurdist humor as Ash and his newfound demon-slaying posse slaughter packs of invading Deadites.
So how does one master splatstick?
First, put an emphasis on the practical. Everything that Murray and the crew are assigned they strive to accomplish on set. The artist stresses that tangible props and physical creatures for the actors to react to helps all the elements come to life. “That’s definitely what Sam pushed to keep alive.”
And second, trust in your crew. Murray is quick to give credit not only to his team but also to the entire cast and crew.
Murray is the founder of Auckland props and make-up effects shop Mainreactor, which he established with his wife Felicity Letcher in 2002.
Mainreactor credits also include work on major television series like Spartacus and Legend of the Seeker.
Original article by Meredith Woerner, Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2015.
Photo by Matt Klitscher.