Demob Happy – Young and Numb – Behind the Scenes
An unusual one even for us, this video for demob happy was shot for the bare minimum, the smallest crew possible (two) and in the space of 2 days over a weekend in a tiny farm house in deepest darkest rural Wales. A huge thank you to Dylan Rogers, who played Michael Myers for the majority of the video and who helped set up and create most of these scenes.
Paying homage to as many of my favourite horror films as i could in a single music video, starting with a found footage scene reminiscent of blair witch project style films; Then there’s a shot for shot remake of the shower scene from psycho featuring Adam Godfrey, the guitarist; A gory Texas Chainsaw Massacre chase and death for Matthew Renforth, also a guitarist from the band; Thomas Armstrong the drummer gets the Dexter ‘kill room’ treatment; and finally Matthew Marcantonio, Bassist and front man gets the a modern cinematic escape scene into the bands infamous ‘Demobile’ Van.
Thankfully on the drive we weren’t pulled over, with a boot containing an axe, a shotgun (deactivated), a chainsaw, 50m of plastic sheets, a few rolls of duct tape and a Michael Myers mask. That would have been a tricky one to explain and i’m not sure the filming equipment would have helped justify everything or just made the situation worse…
After deciding the antagonist was going to be Michael Myers throughout all the different homages in the video, we found a cheap Michael myers mask for sale online. When it arrived it was all a bit clean white and pristine, so we set our art director Tom Palmer at it to weather it, distressing it and adding layers of waxes to darken it down and give the mask the old and used look and also make it look a bit of a mixture between the Mike Myers mask and Leather Face’s mask from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Close up on the final product.
The band were staying in this small farm house for a month to write their album ‘Dream Soda’ Which had its release recently. We got them to use a GoPro all the time they were there and film their travels and adventures so that it was as natural as possible and i could collect all the footage and go through it to create a ‘found footage’ type opening to the video. the only staged bit i asked them to do was to get some footage pretending to bully their engineer Christoph to set up the scooby-doo type reveal at the end.
Salting Christoph’s tea. Easily enough of a reason to make him go on a killing spree.
Playing with Aspect ratios, effects and colour grades we used relevant styles to the different genres and films we were trying to replicate. The found footage was put into a 4:3 aspect, the quality degraded, soft edges with the colours starting to separate around the edges. The psycho scene is more rectangular matching the more recent release of the film, there is an interesting article here on the discussion of Psycho’s aspect ratio, however it’s a bit more in depth than i needed to be for this project. For the Texas Chainsaw Massacre we wanted it to have a really trashy look, representing the early 70’s cheap film look that had been run through a projector a hundred times. A clean crisp and sharp look with a cool blue grade for the Dexter scene like the modern digital look the show has. The final scene having a full 2.35:1 cinematic crop that modern cinema often uses.
The beginning of the horror. Trying to match the amazing shot from Evil Dead that Sam Raimi created by running through the woods with the camera low to the ground, inferring the arrival of the evil ‘presence’. Which we achieved using a horrible piece of equipment that is a selfie stick for a GoPro.
In the internet free darkness of deep Wales we had printed out these screen shots on the right from the shower scene in Psycho, and matched them in the tiny cottage bathroom, using some of the left over plastic from the Dexter style kill room and some questionably unsafe lighting setups to create a see through curtain to recreate this classic scene.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre scene was a bit harder to replicate in an ideallic Welsh countryside.
Then, some tissue paper, a Stanley knife and a few bottles of fake blood and Matthew Renforth the drummer looked like a flawless Chainsaw Massacre Victim.
Sidenote: If you are on a quiet farm, with no one around but the farm owner, it would be wise to inform her of what you are doing before you dress a 6ft 6 man up in a boiler suit and Michael Myers mask, with a running chainsaw while a blood soaked guitarist screams at the top of his lungs. Otherwise she might hear from a distance and come running at full speed to turn a corner and discover that situation occurring without any context. If by any chance you read this i apologise again.
Moving much further into the future from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we set up the Dexter kill room. We were excited for this one, so simple to replicate with £10 worth of plastic decorating sheeting, 50 metres of cling film and a couple of hours later and it looked just how we wanted!
The pair of prop knives we made, modelled by Oscar.
A windscreen washer pump and a few metres of inexpensive tubing to recreating the iconic blood spread from Dexter.
Group shot with a happy chest stabbing victim.
The final scene is the only one that didn’t follow any particular reference, more an amalgamation of horror cliches and tropes. Matt happens to find shotgun shells convenient located in the kitchen draws, and even more conveniently placed shotgun on the guitar rack. Being the lead he looks hopeful, he is going to be the one to survive. Until the last moment, of course the killer is in the backseat, he had to be!
Some final Behind The Scenes photos from the shoot.
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