Making art of movie mayhem
Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on July 18, 2009
Gwendolyn Richards – Calgary Herald
Special effects duo aim for realism in messy work
Leo Wieser likes to experiment with blood.
There is viscosity to think about, colour saturation, opacity and, of course, what it looks like when it’s sprayed.
He’s an ad hoc chemist, trying to take what is, for the most part, corn syrup and make it look enough like the real thing that audiences will be suitably grossed out.
Wieser has some expertise in this area. After all, he and his company, Bleeding Art Industries, were behind the bloodbath that was the Evil Dead musical, which recently wrapped in Calgary.
And, when not dealing with blood, there’s plenty of other special effects Wieser and his partner –in business and life–Becky Scott are concocting, plotting, organizing and offering up to film and stage shows.
Their effects have made appearances in Jackie Chan’s Shanghai Knights, werewolf movie Ginger Snaps 2 and have graced the stage for not just Evil Dead, but the rather bloody production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore.
They were behind the controversial Work Safe videos that use graphic special effects to convey exactly what the dangers are at some work places.
The world of special effects has been a draw for Wieser since he first watched the Wizard of Oz and was enchanted by the tornado and the red cloud of fluid smoke that envelopes the wicked witch when she disappears.
Now, he deals with models, creatures, explosives, prosthetics and a mixed bag of other special effects.
“We do the fire, the blood, the wind and the rain,” he says.
Diversification is part of the job these days. Productions want Cadillac effects for Lada prices, says Wieser. And, as a result, Bleeding Art must try to balance artistry with cash flow.
Still, Wieser recognizes having a career like his has moments others would envy, such as faking a train wreck or building a life-size animatronic lion for the Calgary Zoo.
While a lot of their work is for stage and screen, it isn’t just audiences who benefit from the talents at Bleeding Art.
The company was also behind a series of military simulations where they provided realistic body parts for scenarios designed to prepare soldiers for what they would see in action overseas.
In a handful of cases, Scott confides, soldiers were held back because they couldn’t handle the situations, crying or throwing up in response. It is this kind of realism they strive for.
“I like bringing people experiences, making them believe something that isn’t there,” Wieser says.