A message from the editor...
I was thrilled when JeF.Grenier, the man behind The Killer Cup, accepted my offer to write a behind-the-scenes article for Monsters At Play. What I didn't expect was the extreme length and detail that JeF would go into, and for his efforts I am truly appreciative. Please bear in mind while reading that English is a second language to JeF, although I have to admit that I feel he did an incredible job with this piece all things considered. Step into the mind of a no-budget filmmaker as JeF takes us on a fascinating journey chronicling the making of The Killer Cup and its upcoming sequel.
I grew up watching a lot of monster movies in the '80's. Very young, I was already fascinated by the Frankenstein's creature... not quite usual for a 5 year old boy, I guess. Growing up, I started to watch Horror films... until my dad rented me The EVIL DEAD one day and it stoped everything for about 2 years. It scared the HELL out of me, God was I terrified!!
At school, I was "the one". The one with all the weird and crazy stuff hidden in his agenda... mostly gory red pictures taken from the pages of FANGORIA (and GOREZONE). While everybody else had cute drawings of flowers and birds, I was carrying pics from Tom Savini's make-up... Yep, I was the only one around with a Freddy Krueger t-shirt.
When I went to college, I took some CINEMA classes. I knew already that I wanted to do Special-Effects, and the first day I went there, I tried to convince the teacher to play (the original) TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE on the big classroom screen... but that never worked. (Shame on them!!)
Sitting there, I think I never really did exactly what the teachers were asking when it came time to work some basic stuff with the cameras at home. While all the others were doing crap to please the teachers, and have great marks in return, I stuck to my ideas and stood strong... cause I don't fallow fashion, I make my own.
I like to say that I kind of have "3 Gods". Stephen King, Peter Jackson (also the first brand of cigarettes I smoked cause of that...) and, YEAH!!, Rob Zombie. Now that this is set, it might help you to understand a little more about the things to come.
My name is JeF., and the stories you are about to read might sound twisted. But, anyway... WELCOME IN MY HEAD...
KILLER CUP - Episode 1:
I was sitting in the college's cafeteria one day with a girl, killing time during the lunch break.
She was well aware of my ability to create things and in order to keep her there as long as possible, I bought her a cup of coffee to go with mine.
As we talked, the coffee ran down.
Near the end, I wanted to bring a last smile on her face and there, I carved two eyes and a mouth in the poor little cup, giving it life and pretending that it was "one hell of a killing machine"... snapping and bitting all around.
The "joke" made pretty much its share of the deal, but the girl had to go back to class before I had to (as usual...).
I was now left alone. Me, and the cup. "That thing" was still in my hand for I don't know what kind of reasons. I looked at it again, second before I threw it away, and it brought a smile up my face too. In fact, "it" stood at me. I had created "something".
The first ever "KILLER CUP" was born.
Not long after that, it kind of became an obsession that grew up by itself.
I went home, sat down, turned on the computer and started to write a (short) script. My teachers were already desperately on my case, and that was not gonna help them much.
I soon brought the "idea" to some friends I had in my classes, Yannick Riopel and Phil Ivanovick, and as crazy as it was, they trusted me on that one. Cause I was having "a plan"... !!
During that same time, I was also looking for some relief.
Too many flicks where comming out, pretending to be "THE" real horror stuff. How many times have I rented cheezy crap ?? And thoses stupid movies where getting big time distribution, playing in theaters, and packing the shelves of video stores ??? I then said to myself, I'll find the stupidest thing on Earth if I can, turn it into something truly evil, and I'll spit right back to their faces with it (and my "cups" ideed seemed to fit the perfect match fot that...). And all of this, was years before SCREAM screwed it up again !!
From great A Horror films down to level Z movies, I'll watch everything. I know what a TROMA film is and don't hide to look at them (I simply just don't try one on a first date). I was also well aware of the existence of the four KILLER TOMATOES movies (part of the reason why a scene called for a can of tomato soup in my script, but was not an "homage" clear enough in my own opinion) and the CRITTERS series, but a mix of all of that helped me up to pursue the writing of my little home made fifty cent spoof. Using first, "The SHAPE of TERROR" as my catch line to go with my earlier sketches and original concept desings.
By the time I had my script ready, Christmas time was almost at my door. Vacation and all.
One day, I went with my dad to the store and jam packed the car with dozens of 50 packs of cups (I think we also did that run twice...). I knew that in the script, the "leader" of the cups was gonna give a kind of "meeting" to all the others and declare "WAR to the humans", and so it was time to get that ready. Later that day, I gathered around all of my littles 4-5 year old cousins and we sat down, carving cups all together in a circle for hours. About 2,000 cups were made during the Holidays of '97. Yeah, from me and my (cheaply paid labor) first crew ever.
They kept asking me "why are they alive ??" "Cause of toxic waste ??... Cause they come from space ???" And I just kept saying, NO, just because. (Or... maybe it's Satan himself who could not stand thoses creatures in Hell anymore and has sent them back to Earth to get rid of them... but that was to "hard" to explain for them, my devoted hard workers - littles/cousins.)
Around the same period, Véronique (a cousin of mine, who's about the same age I am) came up to present me her new boyfriend for the first time. This is how I met with Richard Pearson. She basicaly said, "...this is my cousin, JeF., and he's doing I don't know WHAT the FUCK...!!"
Once the casting was completed, mostly from friends and people I knew (like Yannick), the time was set to start shooting. Using a friend's own video camera, we were ready to have fun.
Had just found a new girlfriend at the time (who was also a make-up artist and there, the connection was made...), so with all of this coming up, I could not have asked for more. I was FREAKING OUT, it was too good to be true !! Imagine now... how "she" must have felt, her, meeting this new guy, who's about to direct a film filled with "coffee cups who kill"... !!
It was really something, the shooting I mean.
Having to explain to your friends "why" they are getting attacked by "cups." Try to keep the (not so) seriousness of the situation on hand... And other people looking at you when you are moving those things around (remember, the 2,000 cups part...??). Most of the time, they don't bother you cause they know, at that moment, that you are far away in your own bubble.
First thing I did was pay "homage" to that girl from the cafeteria, "Nancy" and made the main caracter watch "HALLOWEEN" in a scene... since, yes, me and her were talking about that film "the" same day... big fan of Michael Myers she was. (And again, "the pumpkin" from the first cover box was also a great source of inspiration.)
But moving "them" around was not enough. "They" had to look as real as possible. And in order to do that, I molded a real cup and made several (about 8) latex puppets out of it. I also molded a smaller (cup) version, since a scene called for "baby-cups"... The way I had set things was simple, there was the "normal" cups, and mostly just the "fat-cups" (who, at the time, where simply just cups turned over so that they'd look as if they had a bigger belly). And YEAH right, there's also all the others "what ever you want to call them-cups" !!
So before they even got ready to be used, we simply started with all the "not much cups in that" scene, with all the INSERTS to be added later as notes were taken on several piece of paper.
Not long after the shooting had started, I also realized "what was really possible to do" and "what was not". Some minor parts of my script had to change, or simply be removed.
We now had to adapt the script with the kind of props we were using, Some of the actions could simply not be done with them in the real world (but in front of the computer, I had imagined so mutch stuff...). So now, with that in mind, we did the best with what we had, to make it look as close as possible.
Looking back at all sort of "movies for references", like the Full Moon's PUPPET MASTER serie, Chucky from Child's Play, The GHOULIES, GREMLINS and all that has anything to do with rubber monsters and small mayhem, like BASKET CASE, we made use of as many tricks of the trade as we could. From rods and strings to popcicle sticks (!!!), if it worked and could be hidden, it was not left behind. And the great first lesson with that was, always write with what you'll be able to do for real in mind. Always.
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4