FX Artist Tom Devlin Talks Full Moon Features’ Puppet Master Dolls – COLLECTION COMPLETE 3.7

FX Artist Tom Devlin Talks Full Moon Features’ Puppet Master Dolls – COLLECTION COMPLETE 3.7

My name’s Tom Devlin. I’m a makeup effects artist. I also own Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum in
Boulder City, Nevada, and I started as a collector. Since I was a little guy, I was super into
things like He-Man, Ninja Turtles, so I would set up my He-Man toys. I would set up my Toxic Crusaders, I would,
you know, use the play sets and whatever and the environment and then take pictures of
those said set-ups. When I was twelve we transplanted to a town
called East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and as we drove into town we passed a costume
shop called Frazetta’s Fantasy Corner, and I had no idea what that meant and what that
would mean to the rest of my life. In ninth grade, my art class, it was an advanced
2-D drawing, took us over to the store and we got to meet Bill Frazetta, who was Frank
Frazetta’s son. The coolest thing about growing up near the
Frazettas, is it was like a secret club. You know, everybody knows Frank Frazetta’s
artwork. I mean, he is a wildly famous fantasy artist. Nobody seemed to understand that we had a
local celebrity in town. At this time Frank was very ill, but Bill
owned the store Frazetta’s Fantasy Corner, and he told us all about his dad. We got to look through Frank’s sketchbooks,
and it was really, really cool. And at that moment I realized that his dad
created Conan the Barbarian. He had done a lot of the Edgar Rice Burroughs
covers, and that was where my influence was born. He had also been responsible for Heavy Metal
magazine, Glenn Danzig’s logos, and it was only us nerdy kids that actually seemed to
care about we having the godfather of fantasy art there. And without the Frazettas, I don’t know that
I would have found makeup effects. It all goes back to that ninth grade trip
to the Frazetta’s Fantasy Corner. As a teenager, myself and my girlfriend at
the time, we fiended for Puppet Master. We loved Puppet Master. We were video store kids. We would rent, go to Movies On the Move, and
rent every Puppet Master movie. Some of the greatest times of my adolescence
were hunting the action figures. The puppets, they didn’t play theatrical,
they went straight to video stores. And back then, it wasn’t a negative to be
direct to video, there was just, nobody did it except for Full Moon. Full Moon put movies to tape before going
to the theater, so we could get our hands on them. And at the end of the credits there was a
thing called Video Zone, and in the Video Zone it was like a video magazine. It was ‘special features’ before DVD. I could see, ‘Oh my god, that’s how you make
a silicone matrix mold.’ (Two life-sized mannequins played by real-life
actors are required for the ultimate surprise of Puppet Master II). We didn’t have Google, we didn’t have the
internet or Youtube, so I had Fangoria magazine, Gorezone which had more pictures than words,
and then the Video Zone, is how Iike started practicing all of this stuff as a kid. And then later in my career I got to take
over the Full Moon universe as a makeup effects artist. And I’ll never forget on my first Puppet Master
film, it was Puppet Master X: Axis Rising, they brought back the Video Zone. It was the first time in years, and they did
a Video Zone spotlight on me! The process of building the puppets from scratch
is a lot different than what see in the film. They are made to look as if they are wooden
and very rigid, but that is not the case. We sculpt them all out of clay from, you know,
the head up or the head to the toe. A lot of, all of their feet are different,
their hands are different, their heads are different. We’ve taken liberties to put the quality I
would have wanted to see as a fan into these characters into the film that we are making. So, that was a bigger deal than working on
the movie, ‘cuz it what like, without Video Zone I never would have started dabbling,
so it was, it was really cool to maybe think like, ‘Maybe this Video Zone will inspire
another generation.’ I even got the opportunity to build a line
of Tom Devlin original replicas, which are two to three-hundred dollar full scale replicas
for collectors. So, these guys right here are some of my remaining
collection from when I was a kid. Puppet Master figures were made by Charles
Band through Full Moon, so they weren’t put out by Kenner or Mattel or anything like that,
so you really had to go to comic book stories and kind of hunt down all of these variants. And then, later in life I get the responsibility
and the honor to create screen accurate replicas for Full Moon. Once again, Charlie Band doesn’t go through
other companies, he had me do these, and I poured them up from movie molds. So we would change small parts up, but for
the most part these guys were designed to look exactly like the ones from part one and
two. This was our Leech Woman. That was my original toy, and then this was
the prop replica. The coolest part about the Leech Woman prop
replica is that they had made other prop replicas before, but never an accurate one since this
toy. And then of course Mephisto! Mephisto being of course from part two, was
one of my favorite characters from one of my favorite movies, and also a super rare
action figure. So, to get to create Mephisto and have that
as my own, that was super special. At the end of the day I’m really proud to
have gotten to create something for collectors, when I started as a collector. Whenever you need that like, ‘Why am I doing
this? There’s no money! It’s just stress!’ You can look at those action figures and then
look at the big replicas behind them and go, ‘That’s why I do this!’ Because this is my childhood dream, and if
I didn’t, twelve-year old Tom would jump through a time portal and kick me in the nuts. About two years ago a book came out, and it’s
called, ‘It Came From the B Movie Aisle: The Story of Full Moon,’ and the first for chapters
are about all of my heroes: Rappaport, John Buechler, Gab Bartalos, like, people I looked
up to my whole life. And the, chapter four, five and six, it’s
Tom Devlin, and it’s like, WOAH! I was so busy chasing my dream for years I
didn’t realize I was living it. And right now we just started production last
week on Blade: The Iron Cross. I’m putting everything I have into this Blade
movie, and it will be my Child’s Play, my maximum opus. So, I got to hang out with one of my all time
favorite number one influences Jihn Carl Buechler. He’s an effects artist, he’s a director, and
so we were just having a great conversation and I just told him, man, I respect everything
he does, and did, but I don’t understand how he made a living. He said, ‘Tom, what you need to do, is you
need to come up with a way to use your art to make outside incomes so you can raise your
family and have a life.’ And when you come to a town like Boulder CIty,
I often describe it as the town that time forgot, and since I’ve been here, I’ve kind
of become once of the front runners of adding entertainment and roadside attractions in
this town. I also own a place called Tom Devlin’s DInosaur
Adventure, where you can ride animatronic dinosaurs, and here you can walk through the
history of filmmaking. In my mind, the museum is here to preserve
the art of art and history of practical effects.

6 thoughts on “FX Artist Tom Devlin Talks Full Moon Features’ Puppet Master Dolls – COLLECTION COMPLETE 3.7

  1. October is here! And to celebrate that and our 25th episode of Collection Complete, Gemr has teamed with Trick or Treat Studios in order to give away a life sized Billy Puppet inspired by the SAW series, personally signed by SAW series director Darren Lynn Bousman! Here’s how to enter: https://landing.gemr.com/SAWGiveaway

  2. What an impressive back story! Love when a passion becomes a reality for many! Thanks for sharing such wonderful footage. congratulations Devin!

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