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.

Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted on Friday 29th April 2022
Director Stewart Sparke watches a scene

A birthday bash becomes a bloodbath when monsters escape from a supernatural storybook, leaving a group of teenagers to fight for their lives and shut the party down in the UK TV premiere of Book of Monsters on May 16th on Horror. We chatted to its director, Stewart Sparke about this fun, retro-filled fright-fest.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a film director?

SS: I remember first realising that I wanted to make films during one of many viewings of The Mummy (1999) on VHS in my bedroom on an old 15" TV. I became quite obsessed with the film and tried to make all my friends come over to watch it ...

Interview with Paul Hyett, director of Peripheral
Posted on Wednesday 16th February 2022
Paul Hyett

Paul Hyett is a multi-disciplined creative whose work is as inventive as it is imaginative. His latest movie is a dark sci-fi chiller named Peripheral and it will have its UK TV premiere on Horror, Friday 25th February at 11.05pm.

Here he chats about this incredible movie and his plans for the future.

HC: How did you become attached to Peripheral?

PH: The producer Craig Touhy and I had been friends for a while and had nearly done another movie together and he'd liked the claustrophobia and tension of The Seasoning House so we met up to discuss Peripheral. When he pitched it to me, very much a low budget, contained movie, in one apartment. I must say I was a little hesitant. I...

Interview with Abigail Blackmore, writer and director of Tales From The Lodge
Posted on Tuesday 14th December 2021
Abigail Blackmore 1

Ahead of Horror Channel's Xmas Day broadcast of her horror comedy feature Tales From The Lodge, director Abigail Blackmore recalls the brutal weather conditions, the challenges of casting and the joy of playing at FrightFest.

HC: Thanks to Horror Channel, Tales From The Lodge finally gets its UK TV premiere on British TV. Excited or what?

AB: So excited! I know a huge amount of people watch the Horror Channel so I'm hoping it opens TFTL up to a whole new audience.

HC: Looking back to its showcase screening at FrightFest in 2019, what are your abiding memories?

AB: It was a wonderful experience! FrightFest has long been one of the highlights of my ...

Interview with Barbara Crampton, star of chilling horror Sacrifice
Posted on Wednesday 8th December 2021
Sacrifice Image 1

Barbara Crampton is a Horror Channel favourite. This much loved and much admired creative is starring in the UK TV premiere of Sacrifice, which is showing December 12th at 9pm on Horror so we chatted to her about this movie and her plans for the future.

Note that there are some spoilers for Sacrifice in the interview.

HC: Can you recall how you felt the first time you stepped onto a TV or film set?

BC: Yes, I remember the first time I was ever on a television set, it was for the soap opera, Days of Our Lives, and it was my very first job, and I had one line, "Hi. I'm your cousin Trista from Colorado". It was to the character Marlena Evans and subsequently I had w...

Interview with Michael Mayer and Guy Ayal from the acclaimed movie Happy Times
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
thumbnail_HT_set_Marie Alyse Rodriguez

Happy Times, which is showing at Grimmfest Online, is a movie that takes the home invasion genre and turns it inside out! Directed by Michael Mayer and co-written with composer Guy Ayal, the movie is a bombastic, bloody and hilarious piece of cinema. I chatted to them both about this dinner party from hell.

HC: Where did the idea for Happy Times come from?

MM: The idea for the movie started forming when I was invited to a Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year's) dinner in Los Angeles. It was the first year of Trump's presidency and wherever you went all people wanted to talk about was politics. One thing to know about the Israeli expat com...

Interview with D.M. Cunningham, writer and director of The Spore
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
DMC_SetPic copy

If you like your horror with a huge lashing of gruesome effects and a strong story then The Spore is for. Showing at Grimmfest Online, the movie from D.M. Cunningham is a smart take on the body horror genre. Here he chats about this movie which is guaranteed to get under your skin.

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

DM: I started out wanting to be a makeup effects artist. After seeing Night of the Living Dead and discovering Fangoria magazine I was hooked. Tom Savini was a huge influence on my trajectory toward becoming a filmmaker. It wasn't until later that I discovered that you could boss the monsters around on set being the director. That's...

Interview with Ben Charles Edwards, co-writer and director of Father of Flies
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
Father of Flies director

A vulnerable young boy finds his mother pushed out of the family home by a strange new woman in Father of Flies, and he must confront the terrifying supernatural forces that seem to move in with her. This intense and chilling movie is showing at Grimmfest Online Edition so we chatted to director and co-writer Ben Charles Edwards about this movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Father of Flies come from?

BE: It came from my childhood experiences. When my good friend and journalist Dominic Wells was talking to me about my next project, he told me to draw on real life experiences. So, I did. My own experiences were neither as heightened nor as traumatic as they may...

Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
Posted on Friday 15th October 2021
Faceless Director

Showing at Grimmfest Online Edition is the incredibly inventive horror/sci-fi hybrid Faceless. Here, co-writer and director Marcel Sarmiento speaks about this superb movie.

HC: Have you always been a big horror movie fan?

MS: Definitely as a kid. My first movies made with my Betamax were all about scaring one other and how gross we could push makeup effects. We mostly strangled, stabbed, and threw each other off buildings. I think as I got older, I appreciated what you could do with horror more than horror for horror's sake. I love that you can make characters do things that in any other genre you couldn't make them do and still come out the other end liking them and routi...

Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
Tom Paton on the set of G-Loc-3-1

Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.

Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?

It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...

Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Alexis Kendra-4

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.

HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.

HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...

Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
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Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.

HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!

Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.

HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...

Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Mickey Fisher 1

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

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

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

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