The question of the day here at Dapper Cadaver was “How do you make fake human sashimi?”
It’s a familiar horror movie set up, knife wielding maniac slices some choice parts off their victim, nothing unusual there, but the part two of this gruesome torture involves slicing the bits and pieces thin. There will be close ups. And the budget is practically non existent.
If budget allows, pieces can be custom fabricated so there’s meat and bone looking material built right in, but budget didn’t allow this time so we need to go with off the shelf pieces.
One of the pieces getting cut off is the thumb. Now the detail on our thumbs is great, you can see the pores and even take a fingerprint. Add a nail, and you got a close up ready piece. Skin tone is going to be repainted to match their actor. The problem though is the thumb is hollow vinyl. How do you cut it thin without spoiling the illusion.
We came up with 2 possible solutions.
The first involves stuffing the thumb with meat and bone so you can cut into it and see the gore inside. It’s good because you can maintain a steady shot, but you’ll have to hold it carefully so the skin doesn’t slip and spoil the illusion.
The more classic effect is the old switcheroo. Knife maniac goes for actor and the first switch is pulling off the fake thumb for the real thumb. The maniac slams the thumb down on a table – close up on bloody thumb – then cut to close up of the knife coming down. Switch the fake thumb for a similar piece of meat, say a raw chicken wing, the fat part with the single bone inside and a thumbnail glued on, but don’t do a close up. The maniac starts cutting, you can go as thin as you want and it will look real because it is real. Leave the damaged nail for even more impact.
Here’s a tip, if your character is female, give her a noticeable nail polish, then match the nail polish on the fake finger. It keeps it clear whose parts your dealing with. Worked in The Big Lebowski.