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Dark Country

Bernie Wrightson designed Bloodyface in an afternoon. I described what happened to the guy, and the general story. I gave Bernie the script but i didn’t expect him to read it. This was just a quick job-in-between-jobs for Bernie. But Bernie did read it. He gave our character design as much dark majic as he gives everything else.

Bernie Wrightson: Master of the Macabre

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The finished piece was built by our pals at KNB. Little did they know they were just warming up for Walking Dead.

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 Check the famous Wrightson ‘droopy eye.’

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David Allcock stayed at my house in Silverlake for two weeks. Morning to night we storyboarded every single shot of the film.

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I met Dave on Mutant Chronicles, where they had him chained to a drafting table at Shepperton Studios, doing boards, designs, creatures, you name it. That’s Dave, right after he got his face ripped off. It was a tough shoot.

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Dave is one talented SOB. Here’s a couple posters he did, just for fun.

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Dave is right now slaving over new boards for the next STAR WARS. I hope they’re paying him a little more than we could.

He also came up with the tag “At the end of the road, the nightmare begins.”  Or was that Tim Bradstreet? The mind gets hazy sometimes.  Tim’s poster made a couple “best posters of the year” lists.

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It rocks. Tim was on set every day (which was night on our film) working the production design. He designed everything he could get his hands on, including the soda in the sodas in the soda machines.

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He once spent an entire night with his cronies adding graffito to the rest stop bathroom. That’s right; the brilliant ‘Streetypie with sharpie in hand, making wall art all damn night. Ultimately, we decided it looked too “real.” They had to paint the whole damn thing over. Wish I had taken pics of those walls.

Adam Jones of TOOL was on board to score the film. I had a hallucination sequence:

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Adam wanted a crack at designing it. These are some of his tests he showed me:

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I said Hell. Yes.

Adam was going to create and shoot the sequence himself. Then Sony said they wouldn’t give Adam the rights to the score he was creating for us. Adam walked. Today, I would have walked too. But being a newbie director, and being that Sony was the only place in town that would have let me shoot 3D (we were the first digital 3D feature film at the time) – I stayed.

RZ&TJ

That’s Ray Zone with some cowboy looking character. Ray is the best 3D graphics artist, . Ray had done our 3D section of Bad Planet, ish 3. He killed it. We sat down with Ray before we laid out the issue, and asked him, “How do we make the best 3D comic?” Ray said, “By coming to me before you lay out and draw the issue.” A friendship was born.  Ray turned me on to the world of 3D. It was ray Zone who gave me the idea to shoot DC in 3D, god love him. No one had even thought of doing a digital 3D movie at the time, but Ray was always ahead of the curve. Looking back, it was madness. I had enough on my plate with a first film; the “no ones ever made a 3D feature using digital cameras!” idea was a gigantic headache that wouldn’t go away for two years.

To punish him, I asked Ray to come on as our 3D supervisor. He was also there on set every night – except for once when he tried to escape. I broke his ankle. He was all right after that. Max and Tim at Paradise FX built and operated our 3D camera rigs. No one made them – they had to machine the parts from scratch. Ray and I spent 10 days color coding Dave’s storyboards to create a “depth chart.” Ray wanted the 3D to get stronger in places and weaker in others (say, action sequences) and he didn’t want the 3D to “jump” from shot to shot. Folks who know their 3D, like the Stereo Club of Southern California, say the 3D is a thing of beauty. I agree. That would be Ray Zone.

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Eddie Muller of Dark City fame invited me up to San Francisco to do a special screening a the Castro Theater. Max drove up and filmed our interview (in 3D, natch). It was a great night. It’s a niche film, for lovers of noir and lovers of 3D. That night, we had a theater full of both. It was a great turnout. They really dug the film. Eddie and me have stayed pals. Thanks Eddie.

 TJ & Eddie Muller

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2 responses to “Dark Country”

  1. Josh Lee says:

    I love the gallery. Any hope of DARK COUNTRY BLU RAY release? I can only find non-American region discs…

  2. Thomas Jane says:

    thas right, josh. looks like the UK released bluray so you’ll need one of those new fangled all region players. highy rec getting one – all sorts of good stuff doesn’t seem to make it into region 1..!

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