If there's a universally agreed upon aspect of gory horror films that absolutely must be nailed - it's the visual fx, specifically the ability to deliver convincing practical effects. Unfortunately for fans, CGI blood and guts seem to be quit pervasive, especially in lower budget films. And it's understandable; the art of practical effects is something that requires some real dedication to the craft (a little bit of raw talent doesn't hurt either). Cost of quality practical is also usually prohibitive when you're working with a micro budget; it's just so much cheaper (assuming software availability) and easier to overlay some stock blood splatter in your favorite video editing application and call it a day. So when we see horror fans at the ground level, developing their talents in areas that would only serve to benefit the community at large, we absolutely have to do everything in our power to bring their work to light. What's good for the goose and all that. This particular artist has demonstrated a propensity for creating some truly convincing and truly disturbing work, gradually improving with each created gash, cut, bite, and sever. She also gets cool points for being a Thirteenth Floor contributor; Vicky Bagley talks about her growing passion with us.
Tell us a little bit about your history with the horror genre, how'd you come to be a fan?
Horror wasn't always a part of my life, I grew up extremely sheltered from the world, so the genre was more forced upon me than anything. I was 5 and it was Nightmare on Elm Street, and to this day I'll still think about that moment and how it shaped me. The adrenaline rush, that fear you felt as a small child -- what an impact it had. Whether it was the dark, or being chased by clowns, or something else, we all have a fear, so maybe we are all born into horror. Some may have go-to romantic comedies they'll watch when they're in some sort of mood, I have horror and it's just how it's always been.
We noticed samples of your incredible practical effects work all around social media. Is this a passion of yours?
It is! I've been doing it as a hobby for about 4 years now. I have a passionate love for zombies and have attended every zombie-walk we've had in Stockholm, I've been a zombie in commercials and music videos, I've done zombie makeup on others, for short films. My love for zombies just evolved into something bigger and more gorier. It got me to start reading up on the human body and its anatomy, color theory. I do it for fun. I create for me, myself and I, and to keep my creativeness afloat it has to be fun and never forced.
How'd you get so good at it? Any official training or school for this sort of thing?
First of all, thank you! I can't afford official schooling for it, because it is incredibly expensive to do the full course here. Everything I've learned has been from watching countless amount of gore movies and incredibly talented sfx youtubers! To be honest, I draw inspiration from everything around me, and I just feel so in my element whenever I get to play around with some blood; everything just comes natural and I feel at ease. I'm a daydreamer, with my feet on the ground and head in the clouds and will always come up with various ideas to tesr out. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn't, but from each project you learn something and you grow as an artist and that is absolutely amazing.
The gore makes for some eye-catching imagery. Is any of it being applied to a film production or two? If so, can you talk a little bit about your role and involvement?
Absolutely! In the past I've kept my gore only to myself, and helped out friends whenever it was needed for movie projects. Recently however, I was asked to do sfx makeup for a segment in the upcoming horror movie 'Funhouse' starring Sweden's very own Valter Skarsgård and a close friend of mine, Gigi Saul Guerrero. We did 3 different teasers here in Stockholm for a scene that will hopefully make it into the movie. Had three blood filled days filming at various locations around my beautiful city, from the deepest of forests, to a beloved skatepark under the subway, an extremely fancy hotel in a part of town, and last, a studio out in the suburbs.
I freehanded most of the work on the spot and really went with the flow as to what I thought would look good and I'm very proud of what I managed to accomplish with so little prep time.
You can read more about the movie on its official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/funhousemovie/
What are your personal favorite fx artists?
One of my favorites is Mykie, aka Glam&Gore, she's brilliant! Mykie is also a self taught makeup artist. Roligore on instagram is another inspiration, along with EllimacsSFX.
Does CGI have a place within horror, with regards to gore and visual depiction of violence? Or is practical the only way to go?
The industry is developing and forever changing and with that I guess we have to adjust. CGI is okay, but If you can do without, that's great! I'll just say; as long as it looks believable, do your thing, otherwise there's really no point. Clearly I have a preference and it's practical.
Give us your top 3 practical fx showcase films.
There are so many! I could mention specific scenes, like the chest-bursting scene in Alien, or the chainsaw attack in Haute Tension. But to me it's nothing defining or "life changing" movie moment of any kind. I just one I find really gruesome, yet beautiful and that is the cut-open stomach scene in the French movie À l'intérieur (Inside) which is also one of my favorite foreign films. And then I'd say The Thing and Cabin in the Woods. Honorable mention, Michael Jackson's Thriller!
What are your plans to expand upon your work? Anything in particular you're hoping to get involved with?
Been thinking about starting a YouTube channel for years. Really want to do some collaborations with other artists, so if you're located in or around Sweden, give me a shout, we'll work something out. Right now I'm just going with the flow and whatever happens, happens.
Vicky, thank you so much for your time!