Exclusive Interview With Special Effects Legend Greg Nicotero
By James Whittington, Wednesday 22nd August 2012

Greg NicoteroGreg Nicotero is a legend in the film industry. His special effects and make-up work has graced some of the most popular movies and TV shows of the last 30 years. This creative genius shows no sign of slowing down as he continues to create innovative and jaw-dropping work time after time. He is part of KNB FX and has also made the move into directing too.

Nicotero will be presented with the Variety Award on Saturday August 25th, following an on-stage interview at this year's FrightFest The 13th so we decided to have a quick chat with him about his work and what future releases he’s been working on.

HC: You had, what many would consider, a dream start to your career working alongside George A Romero and Tom Savini, how did this happen?

GN: Ironically I had met George while he was in Rome working on the script for Dawn Of The Dead and we became friends. My uncle, Sam Nicotero, was a local actor and had a part in The Crazies so we had a mutual acquaintance.

HC: How nervous were you?

GN: More in awe than nervous. It was like waking up in another world standing on set next to George and Tom. It was one of the most exciting times of my career

HC: KNB EFX has become one of the most respected effects teams in the industry, you and the other members of the group must be rightly proud of its achievements. What do you think has been its finest moment?

GN: When we started in 1988, we were able to bypass the splatter films to some degree and get a chance to do films like City Slickers and Dances With Wolves. Having the chance to be associated with more mainstream films opened a lot of doors for us. I remember always saying I didn't want the company to peak after Dances so always pushed us forward.

HC: You work across genres from horror to family fantasy to period drama; which film genre is your favourite to work in and why?

GN: I love horror and always will... something I grew up watching and still am fascinated when you react to something in a movie and the hairs stand on the back of your neck...

HC: Do you have a favourite director whom you work with?

GN: Way too many to name but immediately Frank Darabont comes to mind along with Robert Rodriguez, Quentin, Sam Raimi, George Romero, I mean I got to work with Spielberg and we talked about Jaws for crying out loud!

HC: You're a co-executive producer on the global hit The Walking Dead. The series really does strike the perfect balance between gruesome horror and heart-breaking drama. How do you constantly keep up this quality in storytelling and effects?

GN: Ironic for me to say but the acting and storytelling are very important to me. The horror works when the audience cares and for our characters and it is a balance I am always very aware of... and we try to make sure everything feels grounded... the decisions our characters make our decisions we would all make in the same situation….and then there are zombies.

HC: Have there been creature designs for the series that have been considered just too gross for TV?

GN: Never! I get to do anything I want... which is the most freedom I have ever had.

HC: Could there be a The Walking Dead movie in the future?

GN: Sure... but if you think about it... we make a movie every week... that is how we approach the series

HC: You're now a regular behind the camera, would you like to become a full-time director?

GN: I am directing 3 episodes this season and get a chance to work with this amazing cast and crew from a different perspective and that is a fantastic collaboration.

HC: You're at FrightFest to receive the Variety Award for your work; do you get nervous at such ceremonies?

GN: Ask me on Saturday. Ha!

HC: Zombies - which do you prefer; walkers or runners?

GN: Walkers (Simon Pegg and I will go to our graves defending slow zombies).

HC: What advice would you give to someone wanting to have a career in effects make-up?

GN: Photograph everything! It is the best way to learn to analyse what you do and be able to be critical of your work. I am always wanting to improve on the work we do and you always learn every day... the person that doesn't think there is anything new to learn is lost.

HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?

GN: It is all The Walking Dead all the time right now. We just wrapped on The End Of The World comedy with Seth Rogan, Pain And Gain with Michael Bay, Machete Kills with my best pal Rodriguez, The Man With The Iron Fist with RZA, prepping Horns with Alex Aja and waiting for release on Raimi's Oz in March and Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho.

HC: Greg Nicotero, thank you very much.

GN: Anytime.

Arrow Video FrightFest 2022 announces bumper Glasgow Film Festival line-up
Posted on Thursday 20th January 2022
FrightFest Glasgow 2022 - headline banner

The UK's No.1 horror and fantasy film festival is back in person at the Glasgow Film Theatre, which for 17 glorious years has been FrightFest's second home, as part of the internationally renowned Glasgow Film Festival.

From Thursday 10th March to Saturday 12th March, FrightFest opens its terror trove to present twelve tasty treasures; an extravaganza of the dark arts, embracing the latest genre discoveries from around the globe, spanning eight countries in three continents, which includes World, International and UK premieres.

Alan Jones, co-director of FrightFest commentated: "It's with great delight and with every single b...

Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Final film of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 is a fangtastic (sorry) twist on the vampire movie, Sean Nichols Lynch's Red Snow. We had a quick chat about this blood-splattered shocker which has a deep vein of humour running through it.

HC: Where did the idea for Red Snow come from?

SL: I was trying to get a different horror feature financed and was struggling to get it off the ground. It was a frustrating period for me, and I honestly felt like I'd never get to make another film. I happened to run into Dennice, who I knew from my film school days at San Francisco State. We got to talking and I started to think about how great it would be to just drop everything and ...

Interview with Alex Kahuam writer and director of Forgiveness
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Alex Kahuam 1 Forgiveness

Director Alex Kahuam has brought to Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition a brutal and intelligent film, Forgiveness. Almost devoid of dialogue, it's an excursion into the raw side of reality. Here he chats about this movie and his plans for the future.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when growing up which made you want to go into filmmaking?

AK: When we were kids my brother and I my parents took us a lot to the theaters and this is where everything began for me. I just loved the experience so much and till this day I thank them because they triggered this on me and for many years filmmaking has been my life. While growing up Hollywood films have always be...

Interview with Sarah Appleton co-writer and co-director of The Found Footage Phenomenon
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Sarah Appleton

The final documentary of FrightFest Online Edition looks to one of the most misunderstood genres out there. The Found Footage Phenomenon dissects this often over-looked type of movie with interviews from many key players. We chatted to co-writer and co-director Sarah Appleton about this very informative piece.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror movies?

SA: Yes, I grew up watching Hammer horror movies and Japanese horror because my dad was a film critic, so I used to look through all his VHS tapes he'd taped off the late night tv and pick something to watch. Evil Dead II was one of the first horror movies I ever saw, aged about 8.

HC: Can you recall the first fo...

Taxi rides and crumbling hotels - Day 5 of Arrow Video FrightFest Online Edition: Part 2
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

As we enter the final evening of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 there's still plenty to look forward to starting with a belter from directors Brad Baruh and Meghan Leon, Night Drive. Ride-share app driver Russell picks up his Hollywood fare Charlotte... and his whole life turns upside down. Slipping him a wad of cash, she hires him for the rest of the evening. Their first stop at her ex's place sees Charlotte running out the door clutching a tiny suitcase being chased. They make their escape, but accidentally run over a pedestrian, setting in motion a chain of gruesome events that will go to places Russell could never have imagined in his wildest dreams. What starts off as a simpl...

Interview with Josh Stifter director of Greywood's Plot
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

There are a number of monochrome movies at FrightFest this year and one of the stand out ones is Josh Stifter's Greywood's Plot so we had a quick chat with him about it.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when you were younger that made you want to be in the filmmaking business?

JS: Beetlejuice. I saw it when I was 5 years old. My family all got the flu and my mom went and rented it. This was back in the day when you didn't have access as easily to movies so if you rented a movie, it often would get watched a couple times before it was returned. Since we had nothing else to do, we all just laid around sick watching Beetlejuice over and over. I became obsessed. It was the first tim...

Interview with Conor Stechschulte writer of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Based on his own graphic novel 'Generous Bosom', Conor Stechschulte has written a tight and tense script for Ultrasound which is showing today at Arrow Films Fright Online Edition. We chatted to him about the process of bringing his original idea to the big screen.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to become a writer?

CS: I did! At about 7 or 8 I went from wanting to be a fighter pilot to wanting to be a writer. My formal education is in visual art, but I've always had narratives at the heart of all the creative work that I make and have never really stopped writing in one form or another.

HC: Was there any one person who inspired you?

CS: I can't...

Interview with Rob Schroeder director of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

The feature debut of Rob Schroeder, producer of Sun Choke and Beyond The Gates, Ultrasound is a startling puzzle box Sci-Fi mystery and playing today at Arrow Films FrightFest Online Event. We chatted to Rob about this chilling movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be in filmmaking?

RS: Not really. When I was young, I loved going to the movie theatre every week, but I didn't see filmmaking as a career because in my town I didn't know any filmmakers. The movies were always so special for me and even sacred, so at a young age I did sense the magic.

HC: How did become attached to this project?

RS: I developed the project, by reaching out to Cono...

Interview with Peter Daskaloff director and co-writer of Antidote
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Peter Daskaloff Anitdote

Peter Daskaloff has brought his nerve-jangling movie Antidote to FrightFest Online Eidtion 2021 so we chatted to him about this complex and intriguing movie.

HC: What is your writing method when working alongside someone else?

PD: I usually write alone. But for Antidote, I had to hire a co-writer because the subject was complex. I needed another set of eyes to look at it from outside my box. Matt Toronto was recommended to me by my executive producer, Ian Michaels, who has worked with Matt before. The collaboration was a bit bumpy, but the resulting script turned out pretty good.

HC: How did you go about casting the movie?

PD: I had a casti...

Interview with Francesco Erba writer and director of As in Heaven, So on Earth
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Francesco Erba As In Heaven director

As In Heaven, So On Earth mixes the found footage genre with incredible animation to deliver a truly unique take on the format. The movie effortlessly moves from its gothic animation to cutting edge technology footage and brings together a tale which is emotional and utterly heart breaking in equal measure. We chatted to its writer and director Francesco Erba as it plays at FrightFest Online Edition 2021.

HC: Where did the idea for As in Heaven, So on Earth come from?

FE: As in Heaven, So on Earth was born not only from one specific idea but, as very often occurs, from many different ones, different influences and life experien...

Interview with Casey Dillard actor and writer of Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Writer Casey Dillard is back alongside director Glenn Payne but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to Casey about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since we last chatted, apart from Killer Concept, what have you been up to?

CD: Mostly avoiding Covid and trying to find work-arounds so that I can still perform safely.

HC: Where did the idea for Killer Concept come from?

CD: Glenn wanted to make a simple movie with minimal people while our core filmmaking team was unable to go to work so we kicked around a lot of ideas and KC wa...

Interview with Glenn Payne director and actor from Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Director Glenn Payne is back alongside writer Casey Dillard but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to him about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since you brought the superb movie Driven to FrightFest, how was that movie received across the world?

GP: Thank you for the kind words! We've felt very blessed by how warm the reception's been for Driven. We knew the story was different, given the entire thing takes place inside one vehicle, but the characters really seemed to resonate with people. I think that's a huge testament to the per...

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