“Damnationland,” the annual, all-Maine horror anthology film starts Oct. 16 at the State Theatre, promising, as ever, the most frightening short films Maine’s best filmmakers can offer. (See damnationland.com for details – if you dare!)
Imagination can only take horror directors so far. They need blood. And lots of it.
That’s where Eric Anderson comes in. Anderson founded the Maine-based special effects house The Shoggoth Assembly. In his eight years in the business, he has become the go-to guy for Maine moviemakers looking to spice up their films with serial killer masks, severed body parts, rotting zombie flesh and, of course, blood. Lots and lots of blood.
“I’m not a fan of sticky blood,” Anderson said. “And neither are actors – that old Karo syrup stuff is horrible. I invented a formula using different food dyes and a food thickener. It’s great because it dries clean, and it’s safe if you get it in your mouth. I was working on a movie up north with (Hollywood actor) Xander Berkeley (on the Maine-made film ‘Rene’) and I ended up getting blood all over him, and his daughter, and he said, ‘Usually I hate the blood,’ but he liked my blood. So that’s nice.”
That Anderson, who describes his craft as that of “practical special effects makeup and props,” is southern Maine’s main man for gore is borne out by his contributions to this year’s “Damnationland.”
He worked on six of 10 movies showing this year and also contributed to the film’s promos and website.
“I also loaned them one of my skeletons,” he said, and laughing, “I’m not exactly sure what they’re doing with it.”
As to what, exactly, Anderson has contributed to this year’s horror extravaganza, he’s wary of spoiling the fun. But he said you can look for his ghoulish handiwork “in a big swath of things.”
“Last year I did a demon thing I was pretty happy with,” he said. “This year I made another, even bigger build.”
And, of course, there will be his blood. “I ended up using five 5-gallon buckets this time,” he said.
Anderson marveled at the quality of the films he saw being made for this year’s “Damnationland.”
“Last year, the production value on 95 percent of ‘Damnationland’ was just excellent. From what I’ve seen, everyone’s stepping up their game this year, too, spending more time getting the films polished. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Check out Anderson’s Shoggoth Assembly work on his Facebook page and Etsy store, just in time for Halloween. And come on out to the State Theatre to see just what his talents combined with those of Maine’s finest filmmakers can accomplish. As they say – there will be blood.
“Searching For Home: Coming Back From War”
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Hannaford Hall, USM
“Searching For Home: Coming Back From War.” Several Maine soldiers and their families are featured in this documentary from director Eric Christiansen which feelingly examines the often difficult transition of wounded solders when they return from combat. The director will be on hand for a Q&A after the film.
7:30 p.m. Sunday, SPACE Gallery, Portland. www.space538.org
Sunday: “Finders Keepers.” In this deceptively affecting (and funny) documentary, the bizarre legal battle between an amputee and the woman who found the man’s mummified leg in a flea market barbecue grill becomes a two-person character study of the real, improbably human story behind a story someone probably sent you on Facebook once.