Welcome back, Shivers.
It’s been two years since Shivers the clown was arrested and put into an asylum for his crimes.
But now he’s out and once again looking for artist Lynn Blodgett. He still wants to “get better,” and he still thinks killing Lynn will be his cure-all. So he busts out of the hospital with the intention of finishing what he started. And this time, he brings some friends.
Yet Lynn is not alone in her battle. Detective Dan Peters has vowed to protect her and end this game once and for all. And he has some friends of his own.
There’s going to be a helluva showdown at Tuckahoe Steam Park.
That’s the premise of Fear of Clowns 2, and I was fortunate enough to receive an invite from the director and writer, Kevin Kangas, to the set for a few days of filming.
On the first day, I arrived at the shoot at 6:30 p.m. A half-hour early. Shooting wasn’t supposed to start until 7:00, and I overplanned the drive over. Lucky for me, though, because I was able to grab some photos of Mark Lassise, who is reprising his role as Shivers, getting his makeup applied. Lassise has spent the two years since Fear of Clowns studying at the William Esper Studio in New York City. Lassise was fortunate enough to be taught by Esper himself, whose studio has such alumni as Kathy Bates, Jeff Goldblum and Paul Sorvino.
Stephanie Petagno applying makeup to Mark Lassise.
Applying Lassise’s makeup (which is actually airbrushed on, rather than painted) was Stephanie Petagno. Paul C. Kangas, who co-created Shivers’ and applied the makeup in the first movie, was not able to return for the sequel, but Petagno has stepped in for the clowns’ makeup and special makeup effects easily. She is not only the special effects supervisor for the movie Deadlands, but also runs her company, Studiocoleoptera, out of Baltimore. Her company specializes in makeup, costumes and art direction.
After a few hellos and pictures, I stepped out of the meeting hall and ran into Kangas, who introduced me to David Mun. Mun has returned as the director of photography — the third time he’s worked with Kangas (Hunting Humans and Fear of Clowns being the other two). Since Fear of Clowns, Mun has been doing a lot of writing and trying to get some projects produced. In addition, he has worked as an assistant cameraman on such projects as TV’s “Related” and Akeelah and the Bee. What’s interesting about Mun is that he is not much of a horror fan, and one of his goals when filming Clowns 2 is not to shoot it like a typical horror movie. At one point, he asked a light to be moved because the effect was too “horror-filmy.”
Soon after the introductions, Kangas and Mun went to set up the first shoot of the night: Shivers walking across a field — and I followed. After numerous takes, they got the shots they wanted, and we headed back to the meeting hall. You’d be surprised on how long it takes to get one (seemingly simple) shot.
When we got back to the meeting hall, I was introduced to Jacky Reres, who is reprising her role as Lynn. Things got a little hairy when it looked like Reres wouldn’t be able to return for the sequel, but everything fell into place and she was able to get away from work for the filming. And if you thought she looked good in Clowns, you should see her in real life. Thank God for Jacky and Stephanie. Otherwise, the set would have been a sausage party.
Frank Lama as Detective Peters.
Frank Lama (pronounced “LAMB-UH”) is also in the house, returning as Detective Peters. Since the first movie, Lama has been busy with various other projects, including the horror-comedy Swarm of the Snakehead, in which he not only stars, but also directed and produced. Lama also doubled as a producer for Clowns 2, securing some of the films’ locations and sleeping arrangements.
Incidentally, all of the main players have returned, with the exception of Rick Ganz, who played Tuck in the first film. Accordingly, the character has been written out.
(Left) From left to right: Tom Proctor, Frank Lama, Lars Stevens and Adam Ciesielski wait for their scene to start.
(Right) Ciesielski and Stevens joking around between scenes.
New to the scene are Shivers’ evil companions, Clarence McNatt as Ogre and Philip Levine as Giggles. McNatt, a former defensive end for the Detroit Lions, stands 6’8” and weighs in at 365 pounds. Ogre is a more-than-appropriate name for his character. McNatt is as quiet as he is intimidating and when he’s not bringing pain to the innocent — and not-so-innocent — victims, he’s bringing the knowledge to the youth as a math and science teacher at a New York junior high.
While Levine wasn’t on location the days I’ve been there, I’ve been assured by those who’ve seen his scenes that you can’t possible miss him in the movie.
There were times between takes where Lassise and McNatt were lounging around and, even though you are 99.9 percent sure these are nice guys, it was still unsettling catching glimpses of crazy-looking clowns in the middle of the woods, in the middle of the night.
(Left) David Mun (left) and Kevin Kangs discuss a shot as Rob Stull prepares the lighting in the back.
(Right) Adam Ciesielski and Mark Lassise (sans makeup) work on their lines.
And just like Shivers, Detective Peters has an entourage of his own, consisting of Adam Ciesielski as Hot Rod, Tom Proctor as Rego and Lars Stevens as Stoltz. Adam Ciesielski was a stunt double, precision driver and Colin Farrell’s and Jamie Foxx’s stunt training production assistant in Michael Mann’s upcoming Miami Vice. He’s also had roles on TV’s “C.S.I. Miami” and is the lead in the upcoming movies Kanyon’s End and Hush. Like McNatt, Ciesielski’s character is aptly named, as he is a ball of energy. I watched him go from a wisecracking smart-ass to deadly serious without missing a beat, and both are equally believable.
Tom Proctor is a man to be reckoned with, too. He retired as heavyweight champion of cage fighting’s largest sanctioning body, the International Sport Combat Federation. He has starred in such movies as Halloween 6, and TV’s “Stephen King’s The Stand,” in which he also did stunt work. Proctor also holds the record for the fastest air ratchet, in which he was propelled backwards at a starting speed of 80 miles per hour and was thrown 30 feet. Proctor is currently working on The Haunt, a film about a young, geeky kid that gets picked on and beat up until he puts on a haunt mask — then he has the ability to scare the bullies. Rottentail, also in the works, is “a movie totally designed to destroy Easter. It’s the most politically incorrect movie.” Already completed and coming soon are When Shadows Die and Sugar Creek Killer.
(Left) Lynn (Jacky Reres), Peters and crew sit around biding time.
(Right) Mun sets up a shot, Kangas checks the script and Petagno waits patiently.
Lars Stevens plays Stoltz, a former SWAT team member. He is from New York and has been in 25 films, including four in post-production as of this writing. One of his more recent films, Inside You, based on Rumi poetry, has been so well received that it has been playing worldwide and had a special screening in the Pakistani Embassy in New York. He also starred in the award-winning My Imaginary Friend, in which he played an imaginary cowboy.
What’s interesting about Peters’ crew is how different they are. Obviously outcasts from their jobs — and there is even mystery as to what their jobs “are”—they are a ragtag bunch of an ex-SWAT (Stoltz), a “guy who really likes guns” (Hot Rod), an ex-ESU (Emergency Services) (Rego) and, well, a detective (Peters). On paper, it looks stereotypical, but watching the filming, it really works. In the film, Peters is forced to look outside of the normal channels for help. Having a somewhat mysterious past of his own, Peters called the men he could count on. And, as I mentioned, it really works.
(Left) Kangas goes over a scene with the sound man, Jared.
(Right) Hot Rod watches the car burn.
My biggest foot-in-mouth moment came when, on day two of my three-day experience, I first met Michelle Trout. When Kangas had told me Trout would be showing up on set, I told him the name was very familiar, but at the time I couldn’t place it. When I introduced myself to her, I asked her what she had been in.
“Well, I was in Livelihood,” she replied.
“Holy shit! You look a lot better in real life.”
“I would hope so. I was a zombie in Livelihood,” she said, smiling. I truly hope that smile was genuine because she’s a helluva nice lady. And she doesn’t look like a zombie at all.
A Silver Spring native, Trout is playing “Mrs. Horner,” a lady who has the unfortunate luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The place being in front of an ax. The time being when it comes down. Trout has starred in Secret Sin, Gray Tale and Kamikaze: A Deathography. Coming up is Exodus 20:13.
(Left) Kangas gives Lassise direction.
(Right) The crew watches Kangas give Lassise direction.
As I was talking to Trout, I noticed a man hauling all kinds of goodies from his car to the table next to the one I was sitting at. He was bringing in cool things like heads, upper torsos, a lower torso (with guts), some weapons — basically things that make a horror fan smile. Yes, it was the special makeup effects artist, Doug Ulrich.
Among other effects, Ulrich created an artificial hand, three head-and-shoulder busts and fake axes for destruction for Clowns 2. He is a self-taught effects artist and has been working with effects for 26 years, ever since he found a special effects book in the library when he was 13. He has done the special makeup effects for Fear of Clowns, Alien Factor 2: Alien Rampage, Barry’s Gift, Snuff Kill and Game of Pleasure. Ulrich resides in Dundalk, Maryland.
(Left) Doug Ulrich preps the blood.
(Right) Jacky Reres and Adam Ciesielski enjoying a break.
After talking to Ulrich, I got a chance to talk with Rob Stull, who plays Officer Rickenhouse. He has been in TV’s “The Wire” and “Homicide.” Stull is currently working on “Horror Creek Manor,” which will be a series of 30-minute episodes in the vein of “Tales From the Crypt” with a twist of “The Twilight Zone.” In addition, he is working on a project with Frank Lama called “Cinema Lounge,” a show concentrating on the local films and filmmakers in the East Coast region. It will include movie clips, trailers and studio interviews. The project is produced and hosted by Lama and directed by Stull.
Then Johnny Alonso showed up for a very cool scene. Alonso, the star of such TV shows as “One Tree Hill” and “Dawson’s Creek,” plays Ralph, a hospital orderly who has bitten off a helluva lot more than he can chew. Good times, indeed.
(Left) Jared recording some ambient sound during the burning car scene.
(Right) Not much left of the Saturn.
The final night I was on set was probably the most intense — the car fire. It’s not often you get to hang out and watch a car burn. It started off a little scary, though. The interior of the car had been loaded with fuel. By the time the car was lit (by a man with a torch, no less), the fumes had built up so much that the interior immediately burst into flames, as did the technician’s arm. The force of the fire starting was so intense, it blew the passenger-side door panel off. But, being the trouper he was, the technician told Mun and Kangas to keep filming as he ran out of the shot.
The three days were well worth the time I took off from work, and I wish I could have stayed for the entire two-week shoot. As cool as the things I saw were, Kangas said there were some days I should have been on set for some really cool things. When further questioned about them, he just said “Wait for it to come out.”
But, just from what I’ve seen in those three days, Fear of Clowns 2 promises more blood, more grue and, for the little coulrophobic in all of us, more clowns.
Check out Kangas Kahn Films for the latest news on all of their projects.
(Top Left) Kangas and Mun framing a shot.
(Top Right) Hot Rod taking aim.
(Bottom Left) Reres and Proctor having a laugh.
(Bottom Right) Shivers coming soon to a town near you.