Monster Man a few months ago I was pretty excited. The thought of a series that focuses on what happens behind the cameras for horror films, especially in the make-up and effects shops that make horror films work, was a thrill to me. Ever since I read Grande Illusion by Tom Savini I've had a love for knowing how the magic for conventional make-up effects are done, how they are built and how it works in front of the camera. So, of course, this series was one I'd have to try.
The series focuses on Cleve Hall, his daughters Constance and Elora, his ex-wife, and the employees of his shop. When I saw the size of the cast and the content, I started to get a sad feeling. I was afraid they were going to focus less on the special effects and the heart of what I was interested in and more on the faux drama and completely made up scenarios that, like Comic Book Men, will make me not give the series a second episode.
Face Off, they do some horrible make up trying to hide their own age, which makes you wonder about their work.
But, I powered through and watched the first episode.
And all of my fears were justified.
The Asylum! And the first episode was on how Cleve's team worked on the effects for Two-Headed Shark Attack, which I reviewed back in episode 142. And it DOES show us how the effects are made! Losts of details on how they sculpted the shark, blew up the model, put it together and more.
And they also show us how they worked on a parallel project to create conjoined twins for a film. And, like with the shark, it look awesome. Lots of details on negative molds, casting silicone, camera work, screen tests, etc. Great looks behind the scenes.
But in between they did horrible, stupid setups. Like have Cleve and his daughter go chumming and then swim with sharks in the water in order to see how they move. Really? Can't find any of the hundreds of films from Shark Week? Or having Cleve walk in during a screen test and the director yelling at him. Really? The Monster Man film crew was there filming him walking through the door so SOMEBODY knew he was coming! So why the fake incident? It didn't make anything interesting at all.
Honestly, i don't know if I'm coming back for a second episode. I hate the faux drama so much in shows like this. I don't want drama, I want information and real situations. And the exaggerated reactions during the interview segments between are lame. There's a reason these people aren't actors: they can't act. And asking them to then do a convincing performance of being upset proves it.
Maybe if they learn to dial back the drama and gives us more details on the effects then I'll stick around. And they need to go to OTHER effects shops as well. Sticking with one is going to run out of real situations and result in even MORE fake situations just to have some drama.
But if they're going to stick with this one shop and with the fake situations then I'm going to move before long.