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