Kicking into Kickstarter: 15 days left for 'Muck' Kickstarter project

Jesus Figueroa
Written by Jesus Figueroa

The "Muck" franchise Kickstarter project is close to their goal and if they reach it, they will bring a new level of independent horror to a new generation.

"Short answer, I just have no interest in directing computers, or two guys in front of a green screen waving nerf sticks at each other. It'll just never look as cool as if they're locked in a life-and-death struggle in the marshes of Cape Cod swinging real weapons or even prop weapons," director Steve Wolsh said.

Practice special effects have taken a back seat to Computer Generated Images.

In an interview with special effect artist Rick Baker for "Men in Black 3" he said that CGI can be really good if it was used to help practice special effects look even better.

"Second, the long answer, is that no matter how good CGI gets, there will always be a subtle but noticeable distinction between computer generated and practical effects," Wolsh said. "At the tail-end of CGI realism, tail-end like in the bell curve sense, you fall into the uncanny valley in terms of aesthetics where people aren't fascinated, they're confused or repulsed, and not in the way you want them to be. Overall, audiences just know something is off with what they're seeing."

Practice effects aren't just better looking in horror, they allow a filmmaker to be a filmmaker, they present challenges, they allow for solutions which may not have been thought about and they make horror films more interesting.

"Practical effects offer more of a challenge, like a problem to be solved. How can we do this full-body burn, make it look realistic, but not actually burn my lead or his stunt double? How can we throw this naked actress through a picture window and make it look awesome without sending her to the ER. With CGI there's basically nothing you can't do with a sophisticated enough computer, which is great, but where's the challenge for a filmmaker there? Besides in budgeting," Wolsh said.

The cast of the film is one-of-a-kind. With horror legend Kane Hodder once again terrorizing hot women and killing them in brand new terrific ways horror fans are sure to get their fill of blood and gore.

"Kane Hodder is one of the most respected names in the horror community, and that's the public that Muck serves, true horror fans. As soon as I finished my script I knew I had to get Kane Hodder to play the Grawesome Crutal character," Wolsh said. "For the other cast members, it was important, to me, to cast young, hungry, up-and-coming types, because that's who we are as a production company. Bryce Draper and Lachlan Buchanan are perfect examples of guys that as a film franchise we want on our team. I wasn't going to overpay for some name that was big three years ago but sacrifice the quality of my film for a little more name recognition. When people see Muck I think they'll agree that every casting choice fits their role perfectly and they'll appreciate that we chose to go in that direction."

With a new generation comes new technology. The newly introduced 4K technology allows for a higher Ultra High Definition way to shoot film.

Much of the time with a higher resolution CGI becomes more expensive and still looks like it lacks realism.

With practice effects, the look is controlled on camera. If an effect is looking poor, it can be changed as needed to look better and not be as time consuming or expensive.

"4K technology is just the next iteration in digital, so if this technology is available, I knew we had to use it," Wolsh said. "The difference between 4K Ultra HD and previous generation HD is almost as great as that between Standard and High Definition. We shoot on the same cameras they used for The Avengers and we mixed our sound at the studio were they do X-Men. Muck films will always be shot on the most cutting-edge technology available."

The new technology is actually more suited for horror as other advances in visual technology does not lend itself well to the horror genre.

"Overall, a film in 4K Ultra HD is just noticeably more immersive than lesser technologies, but not in the hokey or cartoonish way that 3-D sometimes looks," Wolsh said. "Every color is richer in 4K. The blacks are deeper, too, which lends itself nicely to horror."

Although there is no horror film or slasher film which "Muck" draws inspiration from Wolsh does have his favorites.

"Growing up I was always partial to the Friday the 13th series, especially Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. Critics crapped on it, and maybe it isn't the best Jason movie, but there are some pretty surreal moments that I still enjoy, like Jason in Time Square under all the lights, or my favorite death scene in the series, where Jason literally just punches someone's head clean off their body," Wolsh said. "I don't know if that or any other film really informed my vision for 'Muck,' but Friday the 13th is what I was raised on."

"Muck" is sure to have something for any horror fan to enjoy. Independent horror films have always tried to make a stride. The horror genre lends itself for experimentation and interpretation.
With so many different types of horror films produced year after year every fan sees something different in every project.

"Some people who have seen extended clips of 'Muck' make comparisons between it and some of the backwoods psycho-type films like 'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.' That wasn't an intentional choice on my part, artistically, but obviously viewers are welcome to draw their own comparisons," Wolsh said.

This project if successfully funded may lead to more stories of its type.

Independent horror may get a good jump into the new world of 4K Ultra HD and B horror movies will not be lesser quality than any other film.

"'Muck' isn't just a trilogy, it's a franchise, so we don't plan on going anywhere after the prequel and sequel are released," Wolsh said. "We already have a spinoff movie that falls outside of the trilogy, that we may shoot as early as next summer."

With so much in the works, which supporting this Kickstarter project will help move forward, this project can help propel independent horror films to a new level and bring in a new generation of horror stars.

Wolsh said, "Muck movies will come to mean a few things; an attractive cast, gruesomely ingenious death scenes, pitch-perfect dialogue, and lots of blood. Heavy on the three B's of horror film-making, and then some."

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