What is Bloodfest? (Part 2)

===Part 1 Here.===

Over the years, the models and sets got better. I cannot find the actual VHS tapes of the later Bloodfest sequels, but I do still have the models.

No longer articulate with their bendy paper clip armatures, all that remains of the Bloodfest movies is a box of body parts. It’s very appropriate really.

Damn, what a mess.

After that had all settled down, I discovered the Enterbrain RPGMaker. Oh no.

BF game screenshot 1 BF game screenshot 2BF game screenshot 3 BF game screenshot 4

BF game screenshot 5 BF game screenshot 6

Oh yes. A 2D, turn based battle RPG with midi music with a lot of the original assets heavily edited. Ace Mcdagger, Captain of a special forces unit, arrives on a secret, government controlled island to clear out a horde of the undead. Along the way Delta Squad discover the ruins of ancient civilisations; whispers of a force  known The Ultimate Evil, and remnants of a war that took place thousands of years ago.

A war that may still be going on, waiting for Ace and a chosen few to take up arms and settle it once and for all.

There was a lot of work to do, and I was more focused on making the little character sprites and drawing as many unique monsters as possible. No damn palette swaps in my game.

BF game screenshot 7

Shout out to DJ Zombie.

BF game screenshot 8

It’s not all doom and gloom.

The game was more or less finished, except for the lack of original music and the fact that nobody really knew about it. James and Aaron gave it a spin, for a bit, but they didn’t have the 50+ hours of free time to explore the sequestered Pacoven islands and find all the secrets.

Maybe this would do well as a mobile game.

Anyway, I still wasn’t done with Bloodfest. Clearly not, as the whole lot is in the works in book form. By 2003, University time, I was dabbling in 3D animation.

Ace, Sidney and Tina Cast Artwork

But to hell with re-animating this whole series like a Pixar movie. I know from being a Freelance Animator how long it takes to create a 3 minute music video or a 30 second ident, usually flying solo. Bloodfest would be impossible on the big screen, at least from my little desk all on my own.

After that, Bloodfest as a creation stayed resting for awhile. Maybe life got in the way. It still resided though. It stayed around as an idea. I kept going back to add little details into the game – new character quirks, updated dialogue, new ideas for sub-plots. I came up with concepts for expanded stories, all through the experience of growing older.

Bloodfest has always been there, but I hardly ever spoke about it. See, part of the thing about being me, is that sometimes it is nice to stay in and just be creative. I do creative things. And when I do go out, I don’t talk about it. That’s how anxiety works. It makes you feel ashamed for having a voice. I love what I do, but I won’t tell anyone about it who doesn’t know me very, very well. It’s a bit of a conundrum. I have an entire world, several even; given that I have other ideas for creative works away from Bloodfest, but they stay inside me. I want to express myself, but it won’t come out.

It’s taken many years to get this far, from the tumultuous playgrounds, heaps of coursework and the dirge of working adult life. I’ve been through bouts of depression and bereavement, and my voice is slowly coming out of hibernation All it wants to do is tell you about zombies, and super soldiers, and Super Humans, and ancient prophecies and government conspiracies and magic spells, and a group of unsung underdog heroes; all suffering with their own hang-ups and issues, who eventually succeed and save the day.

And I want to tell you a whole lot more, once I get there.

What Is Bloodfest? (Part 1)

This is a story which begins in 1996, with very hazy origins.

The main thing I remember is building a Lego church, making a hill out of books draped over with the bare underside of a Subbuteo pitch, and then covering the lot with a horde of Plasticine zombies.

We filmed the establishing shot, and then the Plasticine army show up to save the day. Some of them were holding weapons ripped from Warhammer figures. These were not mine; they belonged to my friend James; he who is co-creator / co-inhibitor for this whole thing.

I used my parents’ camera and we filmed every scene with natural daylight. Lots of nice, jumping light levels between each shot. Hey, we were 11. The camera couldn’t even record animation stills.

The second camera, for our sequel, could do. That could record in stints as short as 1/4 of a second. Animation!

DSCN1038      DSCN1041Tonight our heroes will be played by The Muppets.

Let’s recoil a bit, in horror if you must. Bloodfest really started in the classroom, when I had already made a few little films and wanted to do a horror next. James wanted to do something with zombies, and so I started designing things, building sets and characters and creatures with what little I had, all stored in the corner of my bedroom.

His brother Aaron came up with the title. Originally the film was called ‘Eternal Torture’ but it seemed too long, and I suggested ‘Slugfest’ because of the constant struggle throughout. Aaron critiqued that as being “shit” and came up with the perfect name: ‘Bloodfest’.

I remember we had a spare note book used for drawing weapons – the most ridiculous weapons you could imagine. Every one knows what a double barrel shotgun is, but a triple barrel shotgun!? Scratch that, go a few steps up. Seven barrel shotgun. Now we’re talking.

We even had a gun so powerful that would kill a person if they used it. That’s how ridiculous the set up was, inspired by a cocktail of video games, movies and many different British comedies.

    DSCN1040     DSCN1039Proto Ace Mcdagger uses one of his team mates as a bridge.

Monsters created by bad science showed up later. The Super Human army; a massive, claw shredding, building leaping, cell regenerating step up from the bumbling zombies were a real threat to the waves of hapless fodder soldiers.

In the end only a few survived… the characters we just happened to base on ourselves and some of our friends… to take on the source of all evil: the Grim Reaper! A deathly shadow who wanted to do something or other with a vortex that could open all dimensions and… I have no idea any more.

The plot was never important. It was fun, and comcially gory, and over-brimming with ridiculousness. We made several sequels, usually stretching on for six hours long because there was so much we wanted to do.

But hardly anyone ever knew about these films. Maybe James and Aaron spoke about them, but I had my shyness. Years later it became apparent that this was probably more of a crippling teenage social anxiety than anything else. I enjoyed making the films, that was the main thing. Being at home and being creative was important to me. Bloodfest was one of many film projects I embarked on with different groups of friends, but this one somehow stood out above the others, maybe because we bloody well couldn’t stop making them.* And after school was done, and I started college, I tried a different approach to making Bloodfest a thing.

That is another post for another time. I have embarrassed myself enough for now.

But you lucky people can find What is Bloodfest? (Part 2) right here.

* The only other home made film I was proud of was called “Starship” , a Sci-fi comedy about a delivery company. We made that 1997. Unfortunately, it has been thoroughly trumped.

It Starts With An Introduction


If you have found this page then it was probably by accident or things are going well for the Bloodfest team.

Introductions are always fiddly, forced things. Sometimes it is best for facts to divulge over time. Sometimes they change along the way. I for one am an author named Ryan Grimbly. I am also a Freelance Digital Animator and a Run-Off Insurance Business Data Analyst.

I used to work in a factory, and once had a job being chase by satellites. At least they told me it was a real job. I had to wear a funny hat with an antenna linked to a GPS tracking device.

I’m sure some time in the future my job will have changed again. A job cannot define us; that’s why introductions can be hard. One of the first questions asked is usually ‘So, what do you do for a living?’

I live for a living. We all live for a living. I enjoy spending time with my girlfriend – we watch a lot of films and play old video games. Over this weekend we watched Jacob’s Ladder and then Mr Magoo. We played one of the newer Silent Hill games and almost had time for Dr Mario.

I’m 30 now. I used to do a lot of going out, but not so much anymore. We’re saving up for a house and talking about mortgage plans. That seems to be what happens when you grow up, but you still hold on to childhood dreams.

My dream was always Bloodfest.

Wait… ok that sounds a bit sinister. Bloodfest was a claymation zombie comedy film me and my friends spent hours working on after school. Lots of monsters popping out of the floor and chomping on people, and the army have to wipe them all out. We were 11 and thought it was hilarious. Looking at the modern age where zombies and zombie comedy seems to be a thing that comes and goes continuously, I know we aren’t the only ones.

That’s enough for the moment. I’ll post a follow up introduction getting to the heart of the matter soon. I’ve written books, three in total, for the revitalised series. Re-awoken, re-risen if you will. My dream is still Bloodfest… the characters, the plot, the creatures and entire world has stuck with me and evolved with me.

And I want to share it with everybody. I want everybody to know Bloodfest.