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-Interview by Nic Brown-


A knife whizzes through the air and embeds itself in actress Pricilla Barnes’ chest, just above her left breast. The actress, clad only in her underwear, looks dumbly down at the weapon protruding from her as she dies. A horrific scene in Rob Zombie’s film THE DEVIL’S REJECTS and one made possible by the special effects magic of Robert Kurtzman. Kurtzman has been in the business of making movie magic for over twenty years. Whether it is buffalos in DANCES WITH WOLVES, Deadites in ARMY OF DARKNESS, or zombie vultures from his own film THE RAGE, Kurtzman makes the impossible possible on the big screen with his special effects know-how.


At the 2009 Scarefest Horror and Paranormal Convention in Lexington, KY, Kurtzman’s Creature Corps takes up most of one row. A shelf containing masks sits next to a row of busts of monsters that his effects shop has created. Everywhere you look, there is something monstrously wonderful to see among the displays of special effects and movie memorabilia.

Kurtzman and his associates talk with fans and filmmakers alike about their work. The fans leave excited by their brush with special effects wizardry, the filmmakers equally excited about what his talents might offer for their films. It is clear that Robert Kurtzman is one of the guests at this event that everyone wants to see. Despite all the people vying for his attention, Kurtzman still finds time to sit down with B-Movie Man Nic Brown for a few minutes to talk about some of his work, how he got into the business and what his plans are for the future! 


Nic - Robert you’re known for your work in the special effects business. What are some of the projects you’ve worked on?


Robert - Well, I ran K.N.B. Effects Group in L.A. for twenty years before starting my own company, Creature Corps. I’ve done a lot of movies! (Laughs). Let’s see, I’ve worked on ARMY OF DARKNESS, EVIL DEAD 2, SPAWN, MISERY… a whole lot of films! We specialize in horror films, but we also do a lot of animal effects like DANCES WITH WOLVES and WILD AMERICA. I’ve also worked with quite a few television shows including THE X-FILES, XENA, and HERCULES.


Creature Corps has done movies like HOSTEL, DEVIL’S REJECTS and my film THE RAGE as well as the HORROR CHRONICLES films: BURIED ALIVE and ORGANISM.


Nic - You mentioned your film THE RAGE. You wrote and directed that feature in addition to doing the FX for it. Was that your first foray into that aspect of filmmaking?


Robert - THE RAGE was my first time going at it from scratch. I did direct two other films: WISHMASTER and THE DEMOLISIONIST. It was the first film that I ever actually put the entire production together. I wrote, produced, directed… I shot the film myself and my whole crew built all the sets and did all the art design.


Nic - So will there be a sequel to THE RAGE ?


Rober - Well we’re working on a comic book sequel to the film right now. We already did a comic prequel that came out right about the time the film did and we’re looking to expand the story. We’d love to continue it with a sequel, but it is an independent project so it’s one of those things where we have to go out and seek the money ourselves! Or we can give it all away to a studio who would screw us over! (laughing)


Nic - You’re known for running the gamut of special effects from the traditional make-up and models to the latest in digital effects. With that in mind, what would you say is your specialty?


Robert - Oh it’s definitely the traditional effects - make-up, creatures, animatronics that sort of thing. The visual effects are a great tool for me as a director. I like to mix it up and there are certain things that you have an advantage with visual effects that you don’t with make-up. I’m always prone to do as much as I can on camera, when I can do it.


Nic - How did you get your start in the industry?


Robert - I grew up in Ohio and I moved out when I was nineteen to go to L.A. and learn make-up effects. I was then lucky enough to get hired by John Buechler at Mechanical and Makeup Imageries. At that time they were doing all the Full Moon movies so I got to do a lot of Charlie Band movies and basically learn how to do it on the job.

Nic - Other than your film THE RAGE, what has been your favorite film to work on as a filmmaker?


Robert - As a filmmaker? ARMY OF DARKNESS, it was a fun movie to work on.


Nic - Can you tell us a little about some of your current projects.


Robert - I just finished a movie which is in post production right now called HISS. This one is interesting because it is the first Bollywood/Hollywood co-production. It’s about the legendary snake woman and is directed by Jennifer Lynch who is David Lynch’s daughter. I also have a film coming out in April called DEADLY IMPACT; it’s a film I directed featuring Sean Flanery from BOONDOCK SAINTS and Joe Pantoliano from THE MATRIX. It’s an action picture about a mad bomber so it’s a different kind of beast for me because it’s not horror, it’s a thriller. I am really into action/thrillers so it has been a really good project for me.


Ni c- You’re here at the 2009 Scarefest Horror and Paranormal Convention. How do you like doing this kind of convention?


Robert - I always enjoy it. I really love seeing everyone’s work here and the fans are great. I don’t get out to do cons like this often. The Scarefest has been a lot of fun. It’s really well organized and it’s much bigger than I thought it would be.


Nic - If someone wanted to find out more about your special effects company or you, is there somewhere they could go on the web?


Rober t- Sure, right now it’s, but that’s merging with Creature Corps which is the special effects division so eventually it will be one big website. We’re rebuilding that one now and it will have everything on it, our catalogue, our show and everything!


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