Next generation of horrors movers and shakers! A father’s journey with his daughter!
Being a part of the horror industry in many different capacities is fun and stressful at the same time. I have always been a fan of the genre since I was kid, and when the time in my life came and I had a child, I wanted to be able to share the experiences and feeling that I had with her.
When Aryanna was born, I was simply a journalist, writing for Gore Zone (UK) and a website called Horror-Zone. In the first 3 years of her life, I was the stay-at- home dad, so while taking care of the household chores and her, she would often “watch” horror films with me (as much as a toddler can).
Fate stepped in one day and I went to cover a film being shot in Sanford, NC entitled The Forever Dead (Dir: Christine Parker). Initially, I was going to simply cover it as a journalist but I wound up helping with the Special FX and did a small acting bit in it. Little did I know that the next day one of the lead FX artist would quit. I was asked if I would come on board and help with the rest of the film as an FX artist (later also becoming a producer on the film). Happily accepting (as I was a self taught FX artist), little did I know that Aryanna would become a little zombie in the film. She was entranced in the makeup process (now age 4) and was excited by the prospect of helping her Dad with what she was doing. I will never forget how hard we tried to express to her that none of it was real, but the first time the camera rolled and we did a zombie gut rip sequence she screamed her head off on camera! After seeing that the actor was not hurt, she fell right into all of the excitement and had a blast the rest of the day!
Thinking that would be the only opportunity to work on a film, life went back to being a journalist for a bit. By now, she became accustomed to watching horror films with me and knew who all of the main players were: Jason, Freddy, Leatherface, Michael Myers, Pinhead, Chucky and more. She would often join me when I would go to Best Buy and Suncoast whenever I would buy DVD’s. You would think a 4-5 year old would run amok in a store like that, but she would stay by my side and go through the films with me, often commenting on what movies I already owned and helping to find ones that I did not. We would go to Barnes and Nobles and Borders to pick up my copies of Fangoria and Rue Morgue Magazine, her eyes lighting up every time we would go.
Out of nowhere, I picked up my second film in Greensboro, NC with the guys from All Aces Media (Dir: Voltron Jones and Pro: Blake Faucette). By this time, I was going through the beginning of my divorce, and with this being a one FX spectacular day, Aryanna did not get to go with me on that one, but when I got home, she was eager to see the pictures and ask me about what I did. At that time, there was a joint custody agreement, so when she and I would get together, we would still watch horror films with joy, her always curling up next to me. Soon after that, I landed the Special FX supervisor/artist position outside of Charlotte, NC for New Daydream Films Heredity (Dir: Kevin Newton) (which was originally a short entitled The Grinder). Once again, Aryanna was not with me for that one, but again, she was excited to see the pictures and talk about it. After That, I landed an FX job working on The Evil Woods (Dir: Aaron Harvey) outside of Waxhaw, NC. Being a week shoot for me, again, Aryanna could not attend, but I spoke with her every night on the phone from set, questions pouring out of her about what I was doing. It was heartbreaking not having her there as she was and still is my muse.
After that, I was scheduled to work with Aaron Harvey again, but fate reared its ugly head. My divorce became nasty and Aryanna was taken away from me for a couple of years. I became very depressed and dropped out of the scene for a couple of years. After some time, I started writing for several genre magazines and for Horror Society, but there was an emptiness in me that just made it all seem like work. In 2009, I got back on the horse and did some small acting and FX work on Mental Scars (Dir: Mischa Perez). It was fun to be working on film again, but there was still that emptiness of not having Aryanna there with me. I continued to write and for some years and I did FX work for several bars and events in the Raleigh, NC area. Finally, the fates smiled and Aryanna came back into my life. The years away had not dampened our relationship, but her love of horror withered while we were not together.
Gradually, we started to share the experiences again, watching a film here and there. She took great interest in my writing for the websites and magazines, often pouring over my work with interest. I eventually landed her and I in a horror themed music video for the band The Hell No’s song Bad Dreams. She was thrilled to be a part of it, and as metal music has become her taste in music (as mine has been for years), she is starting to show more interest in everything again. We recently did a quick shoot to be a part of Evil Brain Taste’s (a UK zombie themed death metal band) new music video and we have also done a couple of make-up demonstrations. I think the bug has bitten her again and we are planning to try and do some film work soon! Next generation and one is mine!