Fango had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Los Angeleno hottie and FX artist/creature maker Laurel Grimm earlier this year at Burbank’s Weekend of Horrors, and recently caught up with her again to get the lowdown on the supernatural horror flick OMINOUS, for which she provided the practical makeup creations. Filmed by Las Vegas-based Dark Water Productions in that city and Henderson, NV in 28 days spread out over six months in 2006, the movie “was an intimate and pleasant experience; we even had a pet bat on set for a few days!” says the 27-year old.
Educated in the art of the macabre by her father (Grimm started building monsters at the tender age of 12 with him for their annual Halloween haunt), the artist went on to major at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies in Performing and Visual Arts, followed by stints as a morgue technician, co-runner of an “yearly Halloween two-block-long haunted forest in Dover, Delaware” and caricature artist before moving to LA to facilitate her “need to make creatures.” Grimm wasted little time upon her arrival, jumping feet first into the world of film production with OMINOUS, where she “designed and executed the makeup effects, hair and wardrobe” for the young actos playing the movie’s dead kids, who she says “were incredibly patient with the FX process, and really delightful to spend time with.”
OMINOUS was written and executive-produced by brother-and-sister team Sharry Flaherty (mother of child actor Sean Patrick Flaherty, pictured at bottom, who co-stars) and Ryan McMackin, and was inspired by the duo’s interest “in writing and producing for the past two years,” Flaherty tells Fango, “as well as both of us being on set with Sean [during his filming of DADDY DAY CAMP and THE GRAND] which interested us further in film production, so we began to brainstorm.
“Based on events we encountered growing up in a home on the Philippine Islands,” McMackin adds, the story revolves around “a vacationing family wrestling its own personal demons who encounter a paranormal presence. Secrets are then revealed and the lives of the living as well as the dead are changed forever.”
Teaming with executive producers Kevin Flaherty and Samual Gilliam, director Justin Bergonzoni and director of photography Justin Laforge, Flaherty and McMackin also cast Mellisa Salinas, Nick Wolf, Elizabeth Purdy and Joseph Jetti in key roles. Further “friends and colleagues were then organized,” McMackin says of the microbudgeted production, solidifying a “great and dedicated team. The locations were provided by friends and family to help with the cost, including vehicles and craft services, and everyone chipped in when it came to running the production. We had a total of 11 crew members—lighting, storyboarding, script supervisor, special effects makeup and cameraman—but most days on the set we had no more then five.”
Grimm became attached to the $25,000 production when she “was introduced to the team by Ryan, who was very impressed by her sketches and photos of her previous work, and her amazing dedication stretched far and beyond our expectations. Laurel traveled from LA to Vegas for weekend shoots throughout the production, and was responsible for all the makeup effects applied to the actors, from hair extensions to bruises, deep gashes, blood and more. You can tell that Laurel took pride in her work. She’s a true artist, and when audiences finally get to view the film, they will not know that it was done with such a low budget; the expertise and experience of her and our dedicated crew shows.”
OMINOUS is currently being scored, and the filmmakers will soon seek distribution and are “excited to land it in the film festival circuit.” In the meantime, check out the flick’s official website here (where a trailer is coming soon), Dark Water Productions’ MySpace page here and Grimm’s “Grimm Works” MySpace page here.