This Week: Special effects master Chris Walas, known for ‘The Fly’ and ‘Gremlins.’
You may not recognize his name, but the odds are good you know his work.
Welcome to the first episode of the Film Itself podcast, another new addition to the One Perfect Pod family of shows. The idea for our new show is simple: each week, we’ll be speaking to film fans both inside and outside the industry. Directors, cinematographers, actors, podcast hosts, video essayists, journalists, if they have a passion for film, we want to explore that. For those that may not know, Film Itself was the original name for One Perfect Shot, but in the end, the latter was a better description of what we did (and do). Our new show is an opportunity to dust off that name, a quiet tribute of sorts to the late Roger Ebert (a hero of mine), and give it the spotlight as we talk to aficionados of cinema from around the world.
Our first guest is legendary creature effects artist Chris Walas. He melted faces in Raiders of the Lost Ark, designed Gizmo and crew for Gremlins, and won an Academy Award for his work on David Cronenberg’s The Fly (turning down Gremlins 2 in the process. Yes, this is one of the few people to have ever told Steven Spielberg “No”). His latest project is more personal, but like his best screen moments, practical.
Chris is currently raising funds on Kickstarter for his latest short film called The Inheritence. Co-directing with his daughter Zena Walas, the film tells the story of a young man who arrives at a castle to claim his inheritance “but instead he finds mistrust, mystery, monsters, mutants and mayhem that lead him down a nightmarish path to his ultimate destiny as he faces the true nature of his ancestor’s spirit.”
This project is being executed using practical effects, puppets, and classic techniques. You can find the project by clicking here, they are getting closer to their goal each day but they need your help to make this project a reality. We spoke to Chris about his amazing career, we talked Raiders, The Fly, Gremlins, and sat in stunned silence as he casually mentioned that he painted the original Michael Myers mask for John Carpenter’s Halloween. This was the third or fourth chance I’ve had to speak with Chris and each time I walk away learning a new fact about his rich career.
So, there’s only one thing left to do: click play. Enjoy the first episode of Film Itself with the always entertaining Chris Walas.