An interview with John R Renna, makeup man, writer, actor, director and horror movie fan. He is currently in preproduction for Slime City Massacre.
How did you get interested in doing effects makeup?
My mother made the greatest costumes when I was a kid and as i got older my tastes changed and I had my mother get the boxed werewolf costume. We started applying spirit gum and hair and makeup and I started running around scaring people, I was hooked. The next year I got the melted gelatin face. That one was the greatest costume ever! I heated up the gelatin and my mom poured it on my face then I shaped it in the mirror and put on some nasty clothes. All the kids on the strret loved it, the moms were grossed out and I got better and better every year.
Any heroes in the field? People that you looked up to and wanted to be like that?
My heroes were Savini, and later I added Nicotero to the list EVIL DEAD 1&2 really changed my life. All the other greats I appreciate, and am fans of their work, but these two made some of my favorite effects ever! I also have my favorite team ever assembled for a film. The effects staff for ROBOCOP.The supervisor Dale Martin and the creator, designer of ROBOCOP and make up effects artist Rob Bottin and their team.
What makeup effect or effects had the strongest impact on you when you were growing up?
When I was five years old my father got me into a lot of the great old horror, sci fi, and action films of his era, then about two or three years later I watched the first of the totally uncut videos ROBOCOP. One of my absolute favorite movies of all time, and by the way the most brutal effects I have ever seen! The first scene in the movie include the first of about a thousand huge chunky bloody explosions for bullet hits.n I looked at my dad and he looked at me. My dad; “WHOA! This should be GOOD!!” Me; “HOLY COW!!!” It was over from there on out. I love gore!
How have you learned to be an effects artist?
I read a lot of books, and watch a lot of behind the scenes featurettes. The effects biz is always changing. There is new and exciting materials and techniques always hitting the scene. To answer the question I am self taught, but my feelings on the effects artist is you are never done learning.
What is your personal favorite effect you have done?
My favorite so far is the Manlike character from my movie It’s In Back. The reason isn’t because I want to promote my film, It is because I had the Idea for the character for several years and I finally got to become the character, and see it live on camera. It was birthing a creation, letting my imagination see light for a few weeks. 32 degrees, wearing a dress shirt and a full head silicone appliance with a gallon of methylcelluose based blood,it was an incredible and trying time.
What are some of the movies you have done effects for?
I have done years of effects in Buffalo New Yorks Haunted Houses, but my film debut was in Jason Magers The Pigman. Then I had a lot of fun making things dead in Adam Steigert and Stephanie Wlosinski’s low budget featureBitez. I then lent a hand on Bob Lingle’s Trailer for his filmThe Alias Men followed closely by John R Renna’s It’s In Back. I helped Rod Durick of Zombified Studios, and Arick Szymecki bring my dark tale to life.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on Jays second film Born to Die I play a character, associate produce and am an effects artist and Adam and Steph’s new film Where I am playing dual roles a detective and the killer known as Gore. I am the effects supervisor as well as a producer.
What should we look for next from John Renna?
After these two wrap I am working on a lil effects for Emil Novaks Decayed and then I am working on Greg Lamberson’s long awaited prequel/sequel Slime City Massacre. I am the Production Manager, I am running Craft Services, I am building the costumes for the Cannibals, and I am sculpting the appliance for Lee Perkins character Mason. Lets face it I am going to be getting my hands as dirty as possible on this film. One of the things I am very proud of is I will be playing the Mayor of Slime City! 22 years later, the Slime is back!
Any last words or web sites our readers can check to keep up with your work?
I am currently working on some personal projects but am available for work starting in September! If interested in contacting me for work or classes you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can check out my work at Fearzone.com in the Gallery, add me on Facebook John R Renna Buffalo NY, www.zombifiedstudios.com and www.DefTonepicturesstudios.com. Also keep an eye out for J.F.R. Productions to put up a website, I am just very busy! Which is good right!? Remember, J.F.R. Productions From Idea to Reality… We’re By Your Side.