Saturday, April 16, 2011



JOE: We planned to reshoot the scene in which Byron kills his Mother/Father in early spring after we had finished Laugh A Little and were set to concentrate entirely on one project. We had never liked the scene as we'd originally shot it and since the footage was now lost to us we had no choice in the matter anyway.

My grandmother was going to be out of town for a couple of weeks so I secured her permission to shoot in her kitchen and basement. We were set. I relayed the good news to Jeremy and Darren and we scheduled a day to begin filming.

Jeremy came over early as usual and helped me prepare everything we needed for the scene. We would require more eggs to destroy and more corn syrup and red food dye for blood. All of these things were readily available at our place of employment. Something was missing though. I couldn't quite put my finger on it at first but we were shooting Blood Pudding on consumer quality equipment. How do you make it look cinematic on equipment that isn't designed for that purpose?

Sometime earlier Darren and I tried to make a vampire movie and I used a lot of colored lighting to give it a unique look. Either Jeremy or I thought that the colored lighting would work well in Blood Pudding. The amalgam of colors would make it sort of surreal and give it a dream-like quality. So, we bought some colored light bulbs (red, blue, green and yellow, not to mention the standard white lights) to give the movie a distinctive look.

JEREMY: As much as I would like to take credit for the colored lights idea this was entirely Joe's doing. He wanted to experiment with lighting, to enhance the color of blood with red lighting and create a mood by casting a room or a character in a particular color. As the movie progressed Joe became more experimental and began blending lighting in scenes, creating almost dream-like sequences. It really upped the quality of the video, making it look more professional than it actually was.

JOE: Jeremy and I set everything up for the shoot. We got the eggs ready, mixed the blood and positioned the lights. We'd shot the scene before so we already knew what we wanted. We figured it would be a relatively simple task; begin at , end around five or six, tops. All we had to do now was wait for Darren. We did that a lot on the set of Blood Pudding. Darren arrived around one-thirty without so much as an explanation for his tardiness and began applying his Byron make-up.

JEREMY: It usually took Dar around an hour to apply his makeup, and this wasn't because it was some monumental task but because he screwed around and talked a lot while doing so. He'd begin in the bathroom with his makeup kit and latex, add a touch here and there on his face and then wander into the kitchen where Joe and I were doing last minute testing on the equipment or planning out a shot and try to talk to us. We'd ask him to please hurry and finish so we could begin shooting. He'd wander back into the bathroom only to re-emerge a moment later wanting to talk to Joe about something that happened at school that day and so on. Sometimes Joe or I would strategically place ourselves in front of the bathroom door and chat with him in hopes of keeping him in one place long enough to finish his transformation into Byron.

JOE: The scene opens with Mother/Father cooking some eggs for breakfast. Byron is crouched in the corner, minding his own business. I know you've heard this song and dance before but the difference this time was the lighting. The first shot of Byron shows him eating a stick of butter and some bread. We lit him with a yellow light. The Mother/Father started off in a green and white light. When we got to the part where Mother/Father beats Byron in the head with the frying pan we lit the entire kitchen in red. We then did a close-up of Byron to show the aftermath of Mother/Father's handy-work. We poured red colored corn syrup all over Darren's head. It was a simple shot. Byron was to then taste the blood. I don't really remember why we wanted him to do that. It just seemed like something Byron would do.

The shoot was going great up to this point. We were all very relaxed on the set, cracking jokes between takes and just having a great time hanging out and doing what we all loved, which was making movies. Jeremy was to crouch down and hold the red light just above Darren's head to give it the desired look. It was a very uncomfortable position to be in. Easy shot though, wouldn't take that long to get. Yeah, right!

For some reason it was at this point that Darren and I got the giggles. Before Darren could complete any of the takes either he or I would start laughing. This went on for at least seven takes; far too many for such a simple shot. Jeremy got a bit irritated at this point; and rightly so. Finally, we got a usable take and were able to move on.

JEREMY: I had to squat into a rather unpleasant position for this take from which I wasn't allowed to move while I shined the red light on Dar. Now, the first ten to fifteen minutes of this wasn't exactly a walk in the park but I finally had to be the sourpuss and yell at them to finish the shot as I had lost all feeling in my legs. Joe said all right, called for the next take...and he and Dar broke into laughter.

From that point on I think they were doing it just to spite me.  The bastards.

JOE: The next thing we shot was Mother/Father standing over Byron, waving the frying pan at him as he shouts, "Haven't my lessons taught you anything?" Of course they have. They taught him how to kill! The shot was at a low angle looking up at Mother/Father. I placed the camera on the corner of the washing machine after the take while I considered our next set up. We were still having a great time, cracking jokes and acting goofy. But as I went to reposition the camera it slipped from my grasp and tumbled to the floor.

It seemed to happen in slow motion. The camera hit the floor and we all just stared, dumbfounded. At first we tried to laugh it off.  There was nothing else we could do in that situation. I picked up the camera to assess the damage. The laughter stopped. The camera needed to be repaired. No more shooting could take place that day. Tears streamed down our faces. We put the camera in the case and caught a bus to Best Buy.

JEREMY: The camera really did seem to fall in slow motion. I remember the three of us stood there, watching in shocked horror as it plummeted to the hard tile floor. The thought that raced through my mind was I can catch it. If I reach for it now, I can catch it. But I couldn't seem to get my body to follow through with the ideation. Since none of us had a car at the time we trekked to the nearest bus stop and waited impatiently in the scorching hot afternoon sun for the bus that would take us to Best Buy.

For a moment I thought our luck was changing for the better when one of the co-managers of our store spotted us as he drove by and asked what we were doing. We told him what had happened, all of us secretly hoping he'd offer us a ride since he was driving in that direction anyway, but he just said that was a bummer, told us to be on time for work tomorrow, and drove off.

Man, that'll teach us to horse around on the set.

JOE: After the camera was repaired it was time to move onward and upward. The next scene took place right after Mother/Father's death. Byron, very excited that he was now free, leapt out the front door of his house and did a happy dance through his backyard. We shot this simple scene in my parent's expansive backyard.

It was just some random shots of Byron skipping and hopping with joy. Some filler before he met Unicorn Boy. The shoot went smooth and everyone was in good spirits. There was, however, a shot where Byron rolls around a bit on the ground. I noticed later that under his Byron costume Darren was wearing jeans. It didn't look right. I don't know why I let this happen. We were running out of time perhaps? Oh well. It turned out to be an amusing scene that makes me chuckle every time.

JEREMY: For those with a watchful eye it’s interesting to note that the knife Byron carries throughout the movie changes from scene to scene. Sometimes it's a kitchen knife, other times it’s my old hunting knife, and by the end of the film it is an electric drill! The drill part is easy enough to explain away, since Byron could've snagged it from the house he eventually holes up in with Unicorn Boy. It's still funny though.


JOE: After the happy dance, Byron wanders into a wooded area and comes across a horned boy in a sheer costume seated regally on a tree-stump. This is the freakish Unicorn Boy. When he spots Byron walking towards him with a knife in his hand he is, of course, startled and a bit afraid. The exchange of dialogue goes a little something like this:

UNICORN BOY: Don't hurt me!

BYRON: I won't hurt you.

UNICORN BOY: How do I know that?

BYRON: Because you are like me...different.

It's very funny to watch this scene now. It was funny then as well, come to think of it. Jeremy and I had a difficult time with a lot of the dialogue in Blood Pudding. It always came out sounding corny. Oh well. We just moved on and let the visuals do most of the talking.

JEREMY: The dialogue was pure crap, that's all there is to it. I wish I could blame the actors but even Brando couldn't have made this stink-burger of a script sound good. It was corny, yeah, and in a weird way that was part of its charm. Kind of like Edwood D. Wood JR.'s films were charming. Of course, there was more to the dialogue than the few unintelligible remarks mentioned above, but neither Dar nor Jim could remember their lines and we ended up paring it down to the basic elements instead of the whole shebang.
Would more dialogue have improved the overall quality of the story? I doubt it. Sometimes less is better.


JOE: Unicorn Boy tells Byron that he escaped from a circus freak show and he thinks someone is following him. Byron tells him they should travel together for protection and the two leave. Just before the scene ends, the bounty hunter Patch appears and surveys the area. I believe this was the first time Jeremy was in the full patch costume for a shoot. He looked pretty cool. He wore a long black duster, a black patch over his eye, black boots, and a black hat. Patch picks up the knife that Byron left behind and then heads after them.

JEREMY: Of all the characters I have played (and I have played quite a few, believe it or not) Patch is my favorite. I loved dressing up in those duds of his and speaking in a low, raspy voice ala my idol of the time, Mr. Clint Eastwood. There's just something about bounty hunters that I've always found appealing.


JOE: Byron and Unicorn Boy make their way to some railroad tracks.  This scene was just the two of them walking along while Patch watches them from a nearby bridge. Patch unfolds and looks at a Sideshow poster of Unicorn Boy he is carrying with him. He then looks up as the camera zooms into his eye. This set up the flashback scene where the Ringmaster (aka Mr. McCorman) hires Patch to retrieve Unicorn Boy, which will be discussed later. The camera then zooms back out and Patch turns and watches Byron and Unicorn Boy trot along in the distance.

A location we always seem to use is railroad tracks. They are close by and give the movie a gritty look, which is what we like.

JEREMY: The Sideshow poster Patch looks at was drawn by yours truly the morning of the shoot. I didn't have a lot of time so I drew the basic elements of a young man with a horn growing out of his head along with that weird-ass yellow dress-thing he wore. All and all I don't think it turned out too bad. And another reason we used the railroad tracks a lot was because they were near my grandmother's house and were, for the most part, an isolated spot to shoot exteriors at.


JOE: The next scene involved Byron and Unicorn Boy hiding out in the basement of an occupied home. The day we shot this Darren was very late. Our friend John Mattingly was to play the homeowner. A girl Jeremy had a crush on, Amy Ford, was to play his wife. John didn't have a lot of time that day because he had to go to work later in the afternoon, so Darren being late was very annoying.

The scene went like this: John hears a noise in the basement while playing cards with his wife. He goes to check it out, finds Unicorn Boy and Byron, and attempts to beat them to death with a broom-handle. Byron overpowers and kills him. Then Amy hears the commotion and also goes to check it out. Before she gets there, Patch arrives and grabs her shoulder.

JEREMY: We rigged a broom handle so that it would break in two when John hit it over Byron's arm. We wanted John to really lay into Dar with it but John must have been afraid of hurting him because he would only whack Dar hard enough to break the handle. Still, it remains one of our better attempts at special effects.

I also love John's line when he bursts through the basement door and spots Unicorn Boy. "Who's down here? What the...? It's a freak!"

Cracks me up to this day.

JOE: John made the most of his brief appearance. He hammed it up big time. He was very funny. Amy on the other hand was a piece of cardboard. She would not make any facial expressions. Nope! Only a blank stare! That's all we got from her.

I would shout, "Your husband's just been killed!"

Amy just stares at me blankly.

"Your husband's insides have been scattered all over the basement!"

Amy stares at me like I'm speaking Greek then looks blankly into the distance.

All she would do when I called action was walk over to the basement door and stare vacantly into space. All I can say is she must have been wondering what the hell she was doing here with these nerds!

Okay, if that was all we were going to get out of cardboard-girl, so be it. When Patch sneaks up on her and startles her she's supposed to scream, but she can't even do that! She was made of cardboard I tell you, or at least some brand of pulped or pressed paper! So I screamed for her. I did my very best girlie scream (which I do quite well). It's funny because she would not even open her mouth to mimic a scream. The scene turned out pretty good despite these obstacles.

JEREMY: Amy was as a cashier at Marsh. I took a liking to her and bragged about our budding production company every chance I got. She expressed a genuine interest in acting (JOE: Are you sure you want to use the word "expressed" to describe her?) and asked if there were any parts she might be able to play. I told her the only one available was the wife of a guy whose house is broken into by a couple of freaks who end up killing both of them.

She distanced herself from me after that but when she learned that John Mattingly was going to play the homeowner she was all for the role. It seems the girl I had a crush on had a crush on John. It was a strange mixture to have on the set, what with the three of us sitting around ogling each other between takes. Ah well, I don't hold it against John, he's a good guy. Amy left acting by the wayside after this brief stint (small wonder, eh?) and the last time I saw her she was about to become a mommy.

JOE: With his scene over John headed off to work. Amy bolted out of there as fast as she could without a backwards glance. However, this was just the beginning of the shoot for me, Jeremy, Darren, and Jim. And what a shoot it turned out to be.



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