Some Things Are Better Left Undead

alltherage-2007-04-bj interview03 copy
Some Things Are Better Left Undead
HORROR PROP ARTIST BJ WINSLOW DRIVES A HEARSE.
PRODUCTS ON HIS WEBSITE INCLUDE “DEAD HALFGIRL”,
“BABY ARMS” AND ”REUSABLE CASUALTY SIMULATION KIT”.
THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH HIM

How did you first get involved with this line of work?
Before I did film props I was designing toys, building carnival
games, and working in haunted houses. Ever since I was a little kid I
would hack up my toys, then glue them back together as mutants. I
was that evil evil kid in “Toy Story.” When I moved to LA I was
banging down the doors of prop houses until someone took a shot
on me. My job audition was practically a contest. Starting at 8pm I
was given 12 hours to produce a prop headstone that would impress
the set decorator at Disney. I was provided with styrofoam,
paint and glue, but no tools, so I spent the next 6 hours carving that
headstone with my fingernails. I painted it that night with a brush in
one hand and a hair dryer in the other. I finished at 6am and went
straight to my day job. At 9am I was hired.

Does anything you make give you the creeps?
It’s my business not to get creeped out by this stuff. Everyone
who comes in to my shop is weird, every custom job is strange. At
Dapper Cadaver it’s a constant barrage of odd calls. Pick up the
phone and before you can say “hello” you hear “This is going to
sound like an odd request…” Odd requests are our specialty. I’ve
made a life-like prosthetic penis for Margaret Cho, a realistic severed
pig head puppet that talks, cries and vomits blood for a
coming-of-age film, and the unfortunate “morning after” body for a
man-loves-werewolf show called “The Mating Dance of the Werewolf,” to name a few of my odd favourites. I had a roofer who
wouldn’t work on my shop because, quote, it would give him nightmares, end quote. But I’m at the other extreme. Someone says they need something that looks like someone who had their head blown off with a shotgun and dumped in the bay, then they washed up
after the body was waxy and bloated, and I say “sounds like fun”.

What kind of people have hired things from you?
You’d be surprised. There are obvious ones like horror movies,
crime shows and medical dramas — we’ve worked every Law & Order… (continued in Part 2)