Not everyone talks about Rob Bottin (pron. Bo-teen) as much as they should. Other artists who came out of the golden age of practical effects, Rick Baker, Tom Savini, and the late Stan Winston are canonized in the world of movie makeup, but Bottin never seems to get the attention he deserves anymore. And he deserves a lot.
He is one of the most talented creators to emerge from that era when scares relied more on manipulating tangible materials rather than source code; when people said “the money is on the screen,” they were talking about the practical effects and not the star’s salary.
Figuring out how to create living fantasies from storyboard to screen meant solving a multitude of problems back in the day, it was a task that only a few in the business could do, Bottin being one of them.
Today’s special make-up effects artists seemingly have to compromise between what they can feel in their hands and what computer software can fill in for them. Movies and television shows are finding talented FX alchemists who use an alloy forged from latex and CGI.
Bottin didn’t have Movie Maker back then, because he was one.
Where is he now though? Does he believe in digital assistance?
The hirsute genius is still young. According to many sources, he is only 61-years-old; he just celebrated a birthday on April 1.
Some say Bottin is a recluse who doesn’t care much for social media or granting interviews. His last project according to IMDb was on Game of Thrones in 2014.
He wasn’t always this isolated. That’s because his high-profile projects back in the early 80s were of interest to genre journalists and industry peers who lived in awe of his special kind of talent, one that pushed envelopes by giving moviegoers something on-screen they had never seen before. This was never so evident as in his work for John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Just as Leonardo Da Vinci was mythologized for his Mona Lisa, Bottin’s skill on The Thing remains an industry masterwork, something legendary.
Always humble Bottin said in an interview for Fangoria back in 1982 that he’s really not the one responsible for creating the scares, instead he gives that honor to the writers and directors.
“The story is scary, and then the monster is just the period at the end of the sentence,” he said. “In other words, if The Thing is scary, it’s not the monsters that are scary, it’s the way John (Carpenter) builds suspense.”
As the story goes, due to his penchant for perfectionism and detail, Bottin would sadly suffer from exhaustion and other health issues after The Thing wrapped which is a testament to his dedication to the craft.
In another interview, Eric Brevig, Total Recall‘s visual effects supervisor who worked with Bottin on that film, says he rarely needed correction, it was one and done.
“One great thing about Rob’s work was that it didn’t need post fixing,” Brevig told FXGuide back in 2015. “He just worked with the tools he had until it looked great, and it was essentially an insert shoot when it was photographed. So we didn’t have a lot of hands-on participation in terms of what he was doing, except that we both collaborated where we would take it.”
For those who don’t know, Bottin is also the man responsible for the effects in classics such as The Fog (1980), Maniac (1980), Robocop, Se7en–the list goes on. In fact, the record of his artistry in film is so long and revered you should check out his IMDb profile, there are too many to list here.
You would think with such a large catalog of work he would be more in the public eye. But even though he is austere, his monsters are forever burned into celluloid so even if he never shows his face in public again, that’s where you can always find him.
So in honor of the man who made some of the scariest and most realistic prosthetics in horror film history, we are going to showcase some of his most notable works below. These are only a few but they represent a cross section of his talent that, if you were lucky enough to see first-hand, gave you nightmares. They are indelible in the archives of horror movie history.
And Mr. Bottin if you are reading this, we hope you are well and considering coming back to the silver screen with more ideas for a new generation of filmmakers and horror fans.
As a side note, for people who are fans of Rob Bottin, you can check out a Facebook page set up by a fan named Devon who noticed the artist and his work were missing from social media.
“I made this page back in 2010 because I wanted to give you, Rob’s fans, and myself (also a huge fan) an outlet or a place to share and revel in his work,” writes Devon. “I did this because I noticed there where all these pages for all the people: artists, creators, directors, etc – that had worked with him; but, not a single one for Rob. Ever since the beginning this page was only ever meant to be a fan page. Never did I think it would grow to be this big. For that, I’d like to say ‘Thank you’; hopefully, with your help perhaps we can get him to share a little bit more of his life with us. I know I would like that, but until that day – just a heads up, I am not the Rob Bottin. “
Below are some scenes in which Rob contributed, some are trailers, some are NSFW and many contain spoilers:
The Thing (1980)
The Fog (1980)
The Howling (1981)
Glenda Cleveland: The Woman Who Tried to Stop Jeffrey Dahmer
Glenda Cleveland tried to stop Jeffrey Dahmer’s killing spree, but police didn’t believe her. Subsequently, he was able to kill four more victims.
Ryan Murphy’s 10-episode Netflix series about Jeffery Dahmer, starring Evan Peters, is about to hit the streamer on September 21. It’s called Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, and it tells the story of the disturbed young man, including the neighbor who tried to stop him.
Played by Niecy Nash in the upcoming series, Cleveland lived next to Dahmer. In 1991 her daughter and niece spotted a male teenager fleeing from the killer in an alleyway. Reportedly, the women talked to the police but were ignored. After going home and telling Cleveland, she also tried contacting law enforcement.
But as before, the police didn’t do anything. Instead, they responded that the intoxicated boy was having a domestic dispute with Dahmer and dropped it.
The Phone Call
Here is the conversation taken from phone records, between Milwaukee police and Cleveland:
Cleveland: “Yeah, uh, what happened? I mean my daughter and my niece witnessed what was going on. Was anything done about the situation? Do you need their names or information or anything from them?”
Officer: “No, not at all.”
Cleveland: “You don’t?”
Officer: “Nope. It was an intoxicated boyfriend of another boyfriend.”
Cleveland: “Well, how old was this child?”
Officer: “It wasn’t a child. It was an adult.”
Cleveland: “Are you sure?”
Cleveland: “Are you positive? Because this child doesn’t even speak English.† My daughter had, you know, dealt with him before, seeing him on the street. You know, catching earthworms.”
Officer: Ma’am. Ma’am. I can’t make it any more clear. It’s all taken care of. He is with his boyfriend, in his boyfriend’s apartment, where he has his belongings also.”
Cleveland: “But what if he’s a child? Are you positive he is an adult?”
Officer: “Ma’am, like I explained to you, it’s all taken care of. It’s as positive as I can be. I can’t do anything about somebody’s sexual preference in life.”
Cleveland: “Well, no, I am not saying anything about that, but it appeared to have been a child. This is my concern.”
Officer: “No. No. He’s not.”
Cleveland: “He’s not a child?
Officer: “No, he’s not. OK? And it’s a boyfriend-boyfriend thing. And he’s got belongings at the house where he came from. He has very nice pictures of himself and his boyfriend and so forth.”
Cleveland: “OK, I am just, you know. It appeared to have been a child. That was my concern.”
Officer: “I understand. No, he is not. Nope.”
Cleveland: “Oh, OK. Thank you. Bye.”
That boy turned out to be 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone who became the 13th documented victim in Dahmer’s reign of terror. There would be four others Dahmer confessed to killing after him.
Cleveland became sort of a hero after Dahmer was caught. The press wouldn’t leave her alone. Even after Dahmer’s conviction, Cleveland continued to live in the neighborhood next to the Oxford Apartments where he did his killing, even after his conviction. The apartment building was eventually torn down in November of 1992
Her brother always asked, “Why don’t you move away from that house on haunted hill?”
Her reply? “I’m not going anywhere!”
Cleveland passed away on December 24, 2011, two decades after the gruesome discovery in Dahmer’s apartments. Her daughter Sandra says she and her mother never really talked about Dahmer and their encounter with him.
“I try not to think about it because it should have been different,” Smith said. “A lot of things could have been prevented. I try not to dwell on that.”
Nash’s role will be much bigger than that of other series on the subject. She and Murphy have worked together before on the series Scream Queens.
“My first introduction to Jeffrey Dahmer and his story was hearing something on the news and then hearing my parents talk,” says Nash. “Glenda was one of his victims too. And her story has been told the least.”
‘Sinphony’ Trailer Reveals a New Terrifying Anthology Experience
Sinphony: A Clubhouse Horror Anthology offers up nine new tales of horror all packed in a tense set. The stories range from a witch trying to protect her kids from a killer to mold spores that make you ravenous if inhaled.
The synopsis for Sinphony: A Clubhouse Horror Anthology goes like this:
Conceived and curated entirely on the popular, audio-based social media platform Clubhouse and produced by Screen Anthology, SINPHONY: A Clubhouse Horror Anthology features a group of international filmmakers each exploring a character dealing with tragedy caused by a supernatural entity.
The directors contributing segments to the film include a new who’s who of horror: Haley Bishop, Jason Ragosta, Sebastien Bazile & Michael Galvan, Mark Pritchard, Kimberley Elizabeth, Jason Wilkinson, Nichole Carlson, Steven Keller and Wes Driver.
SINPHONY’s shocking stories include: an innkeeper’s growing concern about his secretive new guests; a contractor who inhales mold spores that lead to murder; a couple confronting the fact that one of them is a ghost; a witch protecting her child from a killer; a dance craze that has dire consequences, and much more.
Sinphony’s directors include Jason Ragosta, Steven Keller, Haley Bishop, Wes Driver, Mark Pritchard, Kimberley Elizabeth, Jason Wilkinson, Nicole Carlson, Michael Galvan & Sebastien Bazile.
Sinphony arrives in theaters, on digital and in theaters beginning October 21.
‘Barbarian’ Passes $20 Million at Box Office
Barbarian has moved past the domestic $20 million mark at the box office. The insanely off-the-wall and hilariously fun film has had big success at the box office by way of word of mouth. In its second week alone, the film made an additional $6.3 million.
Barbarian is an absolute crowd-pleaser in every single way. It is also a film that somehow gives nothing away in its really well-formulated trailer.
The synopsis for Barbarian goes like this:
A young woman discovers the rental home she booked is already occupied by a stranger. Against her better judgment, she decides to spend the night but soon discovers there’s a lot more to fear than just an unexpected house guest.
Don’t miss Barbarian in theaters now! It is a serious treat and will surprise you in the best and most faithful grindhouse ways.