I’ve filmed a few weddings in my time. When my awesome brother Colin got married to his lovely wife Nancy nearly eight years ago, I arranged discreet multi-camera coverage and cut that footage together like an epic. I’m a film guy, so people are never too surprised to see me turn up with a camera. Hell, I was even slightly too interested in the filming of my own wedding when I really should have been worrying about other things.
No amount of filming weddings, however, can prepare you for the nerve-shredding experience of filming a fake one. Particularly when there are a few additional ingredients in the mix; namely ghosts, gangsters, guns and gore. See, just because those elements are there too, the real problem is that the other things that you have to worry about with weddings don’t go away.
And thus was the experience of filming the finale to our movie Hellbride.
So, yes, you need to make sure that the blood sprays up the drapes in a particularly cinematic way when one of the ushers gets slaughtered by a monster with a weird beak-face, but you also need to make sure that the bride’s hair looks beautiful and that the flowers haven’t wilted since yesterday. Because whereas a real wedding takes place on just one incredibly intense day, a fake wedding for a horror movie can be stretched out into several. Each one presents their own continuity nightmares.
So, without further ado, here are some of the issues we experienced when filming the blood-drenched wedding finale to the movie, which has just been re-released on high definition VOD and can be purchased or rented from http://www.jinxmedia.co.uk and http://www.hellbride.co.uk
The first five issues we encountered, in reverse order:
Yes, white balloons full of helium are a nice way of ‘filling the space’ in the background of a shot. However, as the days pass whilst filming during a ridiculously hot summer, these balloons lose their lift. They droop. They sag. Some of them pop. And of all the millions of things that you remembered to get when prepping the set, spare balloons were NOT on the list.
We got around the droopy balloons by introducing them as a plot point. When the ghost appears, we cut away to the balloons dropping to the floor as if the atmospheric pressure change had caused this. Because we’re geniuses. But not genius enough to bring spare goddamn helium, obviously. Probably shouldn’t have inhaled so much of it.
Yes, even getting flowers for a fake wedding is extremely tough, because as soon as you say ‘wedding’ and ‘flowers’ the average florist adds a zero to the quote. We were shooting on a shoestring but needed this to look reasonably convincing. One of my amazing crew (can’t remember who, sorry folks) managed to convince a florist to give us some arrangements that were just about to wilt, and they looked amazing as the bride (the wonderful Rebecca Herod as Nicole Meadows) carried them down the aisle. Unfortunately, they looked a whole lot less wonderful on the second, third and fourth days of filming the sequence. See ‘Balloons’ for more information. Our solution was the same. Ghosts turn up, flowers rot. Because science.
8) Hair and make-up.
We had an amazing, unstoppable genius in the form of Beverly Chorlton sorting out our hair and make-up. Somewhere along the line, however, we sort of forgot that the wedding sequence would require far more ornate hair and make-up for all the female cast (not to mention a full makeover for our ghosts and monsters, too), yet Bev would only have the same amount of hours in every day. For us to be filming by 9am, Bev had to be onset with someone in her chair at some ungodly hour in the morning that shame has made me forget. Sorry, Bev. You were absolutely amazing.
7) Wedding dresses
We got our wedding dresses off eBay. This being a horror movie, they were all destined to get drenched in blood. Funnily enough, that’s a fairly drastic step to take with that particular item of wardrobe. Once a delicate wedding dress gets drenched in gore and bits of fake brain, you can probably forget about going back and getting pick-up shots.
Specfically, not enough of them. The wedding in Hellbride is attended by a lot of gangsters. All of these gangsters are meant to be armed. Our prop gun budget never stretched that far, so we ended up sharing a single gun between all of my cast. A quick-cut sequence of them pulling their guns out of their jackets? Same gun over and over, passed down the row as each shot was set up. Oh, the miracles of micro-budgets.
The final five problems of filming a gory fake wedding are heading your way soon. In the meantime, why not go and buy Hellbride? It’s available in glorious HD for the first time, for a stupidly small amount of money. Plus this time, for the first time ever, Jinx actually gets some of the money that you spend on buying the movie. Around a third of a million people have watched Hellbride in the past decade, yet the purchases made through this particular download are the first time ever that Jinx has ever seen any of the cash generated when people watch our film.
Hellbride – The Most Terrifying Romantic Comedy Ever! (2007, Pat Higgins)
We hope you enjoy it, and we’ll see you for the last five problems soon!