Ted Nicolaou was an essential contributor to Charles Band’s Empire Pictures and Full Moon Entertainment studios, editing and directing many of their most iconic and popular films throughout the 1980s and 90s. His film TERRORVISION (which he can be seen directing the monster in the above photo) is a personal favorite. I was honored to chat with him recently about his prolific career.
Where did you grow up, and how did you become interested in filmmaking?
I was born in Poughkeepsie, New York and I grew up in Dallas, Texas. My dad used to take me to see science-fiction monster movies and stuff every Saturday afternoon. And I gained a real love of movies, especially fantasy films from that. Then I went to University of Texas, thinking I was going to be a doctor, and saw a couple of films that kind of changed my whole direction in life. A friend took me to see Fellini’s film, Juliet of the Spirits, and another film that I saw was Bergman’s Seventh Seal. Those two movies just kind of showed me what artistry could be in film. Because before that I had been kind of a writer and rock-and-roller. I loved writing music and writing stories, and from those two movies I saw that you could kind of combine all of those arts into one incredible storytelling medium.
Jennifer Aspinall is one of the most prolific and respected artists in the world of makeup. Her creations have been seen by millions, including her work on Saturday Night Live and her Emmy award winning work on MAD TV. To horror film fans, she’s best recognized for her inventively gruesome special makeup effects in the 1980s cult classics “The Toxic Avenger” and “Street Trash.”
Ms. Aspinall was kind enough to take time out for a chat about her life and career.
How did you become interested in makeup?
I was really really shy as a kid, and I liked to disguise myself. I found a book at the library called “Stage Makeup” by Richard Corson, this book is a makeup artist’s bible. It gives you pretty much all the basic information you’d ever need to know. So for me that book was amazingly inspiring. I got really into illusion. I would make myself up, and disguise myself, and be different people. This is about when I was nine years old. When I was ten my next door neighbor, who produced dinner theater and summer stock, took me to a professional makeup supplier in Philadelphia. By the time I was eleven, going into twelve, I started working for her doing theater productions. I celebrated my twelfth birthday onstage, doing a dinner theater production. And from that point on I just continued working.