At this past weekend’s New York City Horror Film Festival, Fango spoke with special makeup artist and festival programming director Anthony Pepe about his next FX project, a feature being directed by PET SEMATARY’s Mary Lambert called THE ATTIC. The movie starts principal photography tomorrow, and “we’re shooting through the middle of November in New Jersey,” Pepe tells Fango. “It’s a ghost story about this girl who realizes there’s a spirit in this very nice house in the woods that her family has just moved into. The idea is that the girl is stuck in the house, because every time she tries to exit, she sees this ghost outside that’s practically a twin version of her, beckoning to her and trying to kill her, so she can’t set foot outside her home.
“Her parents start to get worried,” Pepe continues, “because she’s freaking out and won’t eat, and every time she looks out the window she sees the ghost staring at her. So the girl starts going mental. It’s a new take on the ghost-story situation of finding out who lived in the house before, and why the spirit looks like her.”
Despite the subject matter, THE ATTIC’s frights won’t solely be of the spectral kind, which is where Pepe comes in. “There’s a lot of cool effects we’re creating,” he reports. “I’m doing a guy who gets his throat slit, a lot of ghost makeups. Mary Lambert is amazing to work with. I’m a big fan of hers—I loved her TALES FROM THE CRYPT episode and PET SEMATARY—and she’s been really down with the effects, trying to understand them to the smallest detail.”
Pepe came to the movie via producer Aimee Schoof, for whom he had worked on Jeff Lieberman’s recently released SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER. “When she got the script for THE ATTIC, I was the first person she called,” he says. “She was like, ‘Anthony, I’ve got a ghost movie with lots of effects.’ The hardest part is the fact that we start shooting on the 26th, so I’ve been in preproduction at the same time the festival has taken up a lot of my time. I’ve been going to production meetings in the morning and then working the festival at night. It’s been a nonstop thing the whole week.”
Not to mention the fact that he’s also prepping for Lieberman’s ’TIL DEATH DO US PART, the TV project starring John Waters that rolls on Halloween day. “I went to meet John last week,” Pepe says, “and I’m a big fan of CECIL B. DEMENTED and especially SERIAL MOM. Meeting him was a very big moment for me; I got to sit with him, bullshitting about makeup—and then that afternoon I went to meet Mary Lambert. So it has been a very good end of the year for my makeup business, getting to work with all these horror celebrities.” Look for more details on THE ATTIC very soon.