Randy R. Fabert: Creature Feature

Navigating through a seemingly endless sea saturated with sequels, prequels, reboots, merchandising, franchising, and banging out the next big blockbuster the quickest and cheapest way possible movies have become mass produced on a masturbatory scale. Practical effects that require a certain degree of creative ingenuity and countless man-hours make way for computer generated bloodshed, explosions for the sake of explosions, and gratuitous use of a lens flare.

Randy R. Fabert

Randy R. Fabert

Since childhood Cincinnati based filmmaker and makeup artist Randy R. Fabert garnered a passion for making monsters. Real corporeal monsters. Following in the footsteps of his father, hammering out horror films flows in his blood, all one and a half gallons of it. Today he specializes in eye popping, gut wrenching, skin rending, bone jarring, face melting, stomach churning, and skull splitting practical effects. With both feature length and many short films to his name he hacks, slashes, and flays his way to reaching his ultimate goal. The one film he is destined to make. Thus proving that through due diligence, hard work, and perseverance while battling demons, vampires, werewolves, and psychopaths along the way.

Jessica Hopsicker: I understand you are quite busy at the moment. How many projects are you working on?

Randy R. Fabert: I’ve got Into The Woods, Black Cross, Skuggorna, Autumn Moon, The Last Days of Ezra Parrish.

Jessica Hopsicker: And they are all in production?

Randy R. Fabert: They are all in pre-production. Well, Into the Woods was a play that recently wrapped up.

Jessica Hopsicker: And what did you do for that?

Randy R. Fabert: Makeup. The witch makeup and the wolf makeup.

Jessica Hopsicker: And you are doing all of this with a day job too?

Randy R. Fabert: Yes. Collins Stained Glass Studio.

Jessica Hopsicker: How do you find the time?

Randy R. Fabert: I’m usually up to midnight or after.

Jessica Hopsicker: Do you sleep at all?

Randy R. Fabert: A few hours.

Jessica Hopsicker: How many films do you have under your belt?

Randy R. Fabert 2Randy R. Fabert: I have writing, directing, makeup, acting, for one film Psycho Killer which is on Amazon. Then there are the films that I have worked on with makeup or whatever. In 2005 I did a film called Immortally Yours which was a vampire film. It had a lot of Hollywood talent in it. I did makeup effects for that. Then I did a film called Vagrant. I was second unit camera and did all the makeup effects. Then I co-directed a film with Royce Freeman called Blood Ties: The Legend of Hammerhead. That was a co-shoot and I did half of the makeup effects. Royce shot footage in Florida and I shot it up here. It was like a travel movie. I did the makeup in Cincinnati and he did or had somebody do them in Florida. Then what… then I worked on Beowulf, the local film. I did Grendel’s makeup. That’s all I did with that. It was like a three day shoot for me. I wrote, directed, and shot a short film called Hideous Progeny which was a vampire thing, that won Best Short Film in the Cincinnati Horror Film Festival. A ton of short films, gosh, I can’t remember all the short films I have done. I played Sensei Phildo in That’s What She Said which is a short film shot up Dayton. My costume was a Jedi robe, a skirt – a miniskirt, a vest, and that was it. Then, we did another short film also in Dayton called Planet Terra. That was a sci-fi horror thing. I played the doctor and I did the makeup effects. What else… those are the only ones I can think of right now. I’d have to get on my IMDB page and see all that I have done.

Jessica Hopsicker: And when did you get your start in the horror genre in the first place?

Randy R. Fabert: When I was ten years old, basically. My dad was an artist. He liked to sculpt and make masks as a kid. And I kind of took over the torch so to speak and started making masks at the age of ten. Actually, I started making masks and film both at that age. Super 8 short 3 minute movies also because of my dad. But then I saw 1931 Frankenstein with Boris Karloff and I was like “this is great. This is what I want to do. I want to make movies, do makeup and make masks.” At that time the two went hand in hand. Then when I was 12, I saw An American Werewolf in London at the drive-in double billed with The Thing and that kind of changed my life from making masks to doing makeup. I’m a huge fan of Rick Baker’s work in that film and everything else he has done. So that was that.
I worked in drama in high school doing makeup, acting, and directing plays. My friends and I would go out and shoot short films or we would do feature films when we got a video camera. I think I was sixteen when I got my first video camera and then we were shooting feature length movies. They all sucked. They were horrible. They were badly acted but they had great makeup effects. It wasn’t really until I moved to Cincinnati in 2001 that I stared seriously working on film and doing my own projects. I tried to have other people doing makeup for me but their stuff wasn’t up to the standards that I’m looking for. I ended up having to decide that I’m going to do both the makeup effects and the movies out here. I think I bit off more than I can chew. But I’m having fun. That’s all we can do I guess.

Randy R. Fabert 3

Jessica Hopsicker: And how much work goes into creating a film?

Randy R. Fabert: A shit ton. First, I’ll sit down with two or three other people. I’ll come up with the concept for the film and the basic story. Together, we will sit down put the beats in, such as this has to happen and that has to happen. We write the script. The other people in the group will be like, “okay, you are falling into cliches here. Maybe change this.” Writing the script really is a collaborative effort for me. Once we get the script written which usually takes about six months to really get it nailed down. Then we go into pre-production and that can take about a year. You can’t make a film without money. Getting money is the hardest part. I hate producing. I hate asking for money. I try to have other people doing that but in the end I usually end up having to do it myself. Getting money can take up a year, two years, five years, ten years. That’s the hard part. That’s why I decided to do Black Cross as no budget film. I figured that we could do this Crusader movie and have everybody purchase their costumes. Go ahead and have a fundraiser to see if we can reimburse all the actors for their purchases. If we don’t raise the money then that is fine. The actors can keep their shit and they are happy. This is kind of an experiment for me. I’m having somebody else write the script based on the story that I came up with. The story is kind of out of my hands right now and I kind of feel helpless. That’s why I’m working on my costume. So I’m not worrying about where the story an script are going. All of this really came about from the failed attempt at raising money for the werewolf film Autumn Moon. That was pretty depressing actually. Talking to a few guys, a few of the production people on that film and we decided to do a couple of smaller films right now. Build up our resumes a bit more and go back to Autumn Moon and see what we can do then. So Autumn Moon is on the shelf for now but still we are still going.

Jessica Hopsicker: I really liked what I saw so far.

Randy R. Fabert: The opening has gotten a great response from people. I like it. I’ve always said that when we shoot the film we are re-shooting the opening. I don’t know if we are going to use the same actor. I might move that actor to a different character. Because the actor there is Tim Waldrip and he did a wonderful job as Ronnie Joe but I think his talents are better than just the opening guy that gets killed. I think he should play an important role in the film.

Jessica Hopsicker: What kind of work went into making that wolf of yours?

Randy R. Fabert: The wolf head took three months of design and sculpting. Another month working on the under skull. Another two months of hair work. All the while holding a full-time job.

Jessica Hopsicker: Is there anything else that you have made that you are particularly proud of?

Randy R. Fabert: No. I hate everything. That is my curse. The artist’s curse.

Jessica Hopsicker: What are some challenges you face in dealing with practical effects in a CGI driven filed and how do you feel it is better?

Randy R. Fabert: I feel that it is better because your actors can act with a werewolf or the monster in the scene. A lot of times when the actors are acting with a green screen and their portrayal can come off looking fake. There is not that tension of having that creature right there. Like the original Alien made in 1979. That movie wouldn’t work with a CG character. What really makes that movie stand out is the practical alien. That and the fact that the actors didn’t see it until their death scene. I like to do that with my films, not show the actor until I want a genuine reaction to that creature in their face. With Tim having the wolf right in his face that was kind of unnerving because that was the first time he saw it. That’s it right there. A genuine reaction. It’s not always acting.

Jessica Hopsicker: On average how much blood and gore goes into one of you productions?

Randy R. Fabert: I, hmm, about a gallon for every hour on set. I really don’t know. I don’t try to use a lot of blood in my films because there is not that much blood in the human body. I probably honestly use more blood than I should sometimes. There is kind of a disconnect because in real life I’ve looked at pictures of people getting their heads taken off for props and stuff like that. There is not a lot of blood and to me the real gore looks fake. But by using a lot of blood, I think it grosses out the audience. It’s trying to keep it in that art form. I know there are a lot of directors out there that try to make it as realistic as possible and I don’t necessarily try to do that. I kinda do my own thing and think about the consequences later.

Randy R. Fabert 4Jessica Hopsicker: What is your favorite movie that you’ve made or worked on so far?

Randy R. Fabert: My favorite movie? I really don’t have one yet because everything in my career is building up to the one movie that I want to make. Psycho Killer isn’t it, Black Cross isn’t it, Skuggorna is not it. All those movies that I have in the works right now – they are not it. The movie that I want to make that will be my favorite is Frankenstein from Mary Shelly’s novel. There is something about the story that fascinates me. I have read the book five times and I’ve written the script at least 20 times. I don’t have it right yet. As soon as I get it right, I’ll have a lot more experience under my belt and I’ll really have a name for myself that I can actually pull off the film that’s going to be my film. Like Peter Jackson, everything he did in his career lead up to him doing King Kong. And that’s kind of how I look at my projects as one step closer to being able to make Frankenstein.

Jessica Hopsicker: The ultimate project.

Randy R. Fabert: Yeah, so the films that I have worked on some of them I like and some of them I hate. My film Psycho Killer has elements of Frankenstein in it. But, I was kind of forced to make the film that I made. Do I think it could be better? Yes I do. But I did what I did with what I had on hand. I think the budget on that film was ten thousand dollars. It is hard making a feature with ten grand but we did it.

Jessica Hopsicker: Off the top of your head what is the worst possible way for a person to die?

Randy R. Fabert: Probably of Ebola. I don’t know. The worst possible way… I’ll just tell you my biggest fear is: Sharks. I will not swim in the ocean ever again. Jaws ruined me. I saw Jaws when I was a kid and that was it. I’ve had problems with water after that. My biggest fear is floating in the water and not knowing what is below you and getting eaten by a shark. That is the worst way to die I think.

Jessica Hopsicker: And do you believe in the afterlife?

Randy R. Fabert: Oh gosh. I don’t know. It’s not something I really think about too much. I’d like to think yeah there is something there after we die. I think life would be really depressing if there wasn’t. What it is I don’t know. I can’t say. I’ve had some premonitions, I guess. Near death experiences, twice, so I’ve seen some shit. But I don’t know I really don’t. Your mind can play tricks on you.

Jessica Hopsicker: What are your plans and aspirations for the future?

Randy R. Fabert: Frankenstein.

Jessica Hopsicker: Frankenstein?

Randy R. Fabert: Yeah. My plans are to do Black Cross. I’m getting a lot of support for this and I don’t know what it is about this movie. A movie that takes place in 1410 that is about Crusaders. People are messaging me out of the woodwork. They want to help with this project. They are wanting to donate and to be a part of it. Skuggorna, nobody could care about that. Autumn Moon, not as much as Black Cross. We decided that we were going to to do Skuggorna first and then do Black Cross. I raised a couple hundred dollars for makeup effects for that, which is a demon film, and there was not much of a set beyond that. Then when I announced we were going to do Black Cross and everyone wants to know about this and everyone wants to be in it. What is it about this project? Is it the fact that Game of Thrones is popular right now? I don’t know. Maybe I hit the in thing right now at the right moment of time. I have no clue.

Jessica Hopsicker: It’s all the armor.

Randy R. Fabert: It must be the armor. There’s that. Autumn Moon has a big following. The following isn’t big enough yet to bring in the $250,000 that it is going to take to make the film. I’m going through and trying to figure out ways to cut costs to get Autumn Moon‘s budget down so it is more doable. But that’s not the film I want to make either. I have the script and the cast in place for Autumn Moon. That’s the movie I am going to make. Hopefully, we’ll get Black Cross and Skuggorna done and people will be like, “wow look what this guy can do for little to no money. Lets give him some some money and see what this guy can return.”

Jessica Hopsicker: Any there any last words or anything else you like to add?

Randy R. Fabert: Donate.

Learn more about Randy R. Fabert’s projects at:

http://skylarphoenixproductions.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fabert-Makeup-EFX-Studio/393309007471012
https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/dtWZ4
https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/dpSs3
https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/3tVt4

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