Friday, January 05, 2007

Story Time...

Back in the mid 90's I was directing a series of Halloween promos for MTV featuring different horror movie icons: Jason from the Halloween movies, The Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt and my favorite, Pinhead from Clive Barker's Hellraiser movies.

In true MTV fashion I was given a whopping budget of ....5k for an entire weekend's worth of programming - approx. 8 hours of material. This was truly DIY.

In the Hellraiser movies Pinhead resides in a black abyss filled with smoke and swaying meathook chains. My PA and I built a wooden grid out of 2x4's, bought chains from a construction supply store, rented a smoke machine and viola - Pinhead's abyss.

We shot the promos in a NYC hotel where Doug Bradley aka Pinhead was staying while doing press. We dressed one corner of the room with black fabric, balanced our wooden grid on some ladders, hung the chains, cued the smoke machine, added some spooky colored lights - movie magic.

Pinhead took his position and we were about to roll tape when my DP realized, "Hey, is the smoke machine going to set off the hotel's smoke alarms?"

Oh crap. I called the front desk and asked them to send up a maintainence man to temorarily turn off the detectors. We sat around and waited, talked small talk (the weather etc.) with a bloody monster riddled with pins and fishing hooks. Finally, a knock at the door. Whew.

I opened the door to find a small Mexican man of about 45 wearing handyman coveralls. In what felt like slow motion and observed the entire scene from outside my body.

I saw him look at me.
I saw his eyes move passed me to the scene behind me.
I saw him take in the smoke filled room...
The meat hooks covered in tomato sauce...
and the demon with pins sticking out of every orifice.

The old man's eyes widened with fear. I heard a mumble leak from his lips...

"El Diablo..."

He then crossed himself and took off running.

I turned of the smoke alarms myself.

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