>Dig the demonic dressing gown

>One of my earliest adventures in fantasy film-making was the epic Fever, made in collaboration with my long-time buddy Phil Tuppin. It was a four-minute horror movie made with a Standard-8mm clockwork camera and entered for the BBC’s Screen Test Young Film-Makers of the Year competition. And, yes, it actually got broadcast in the Highly Commended category, although they censored the second half for fear it would “give younger viewers the heeby-jeebies”!

The key special effect in this epic is a shot of a demonic dressing gown crawling across a boy’s bedroom floor, shortly before throttling said boy (who’s lying unconscious in bed with a fever) to death. We did it using good old stop-motion animation. Each frame, I extricated myself from behind the camera, picked my way across the room without disturbing any of the artfully-arranged props, moved the gown the requisite inches, then clambered back out of shot ready for Phil to click the shutter. Our rudimentary lighting apparatus meant all this was done under the searing glare of bare 200W bulbs positioned close enough to our faces to act as sunlamps. Back-breaking stuff, but so rewarding to see it all come to life when we got the processed film back from Kodak a fortnight later – yes, this was pre-video and definitely pre-digital.

Most of the other gown shots were puppeteered with garden canes taped into the arms. But that hero shot of the thing crawling across the floor was a real winner. Once again, sadly, I’m posting before sorting out screen grabs from the DVD transfers of these ancient movies (see my previous post 8mm planetary approach), so stand by for a bumper crop of stills soon!

Comments

  1. Oh my Goodness – I was just explaining to my business partner about seeing this on screen test – I was one of the younger viewers who definitely got the heebie-jeebies. She put dressing gown crawling across the floor into Google and found your blog. I would love to see the film again, if only to exorcise it.

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