Advertisement

Advertisement

Main arrow Mausoleum arrow The Hardware arrow Genesis of the Spheres

Image



The sphere sequence in the original PHANTASM was created with very little money but a significant amount of ingenuity and craftsmanship. The sphere sequence in the original PHANTASM was created with very little money but a significant amount of ingenuity and craftsmanship.

The spheres themselves were constructed by the late Will Green, an experienced film effects craftsman who did a significant amount of effects work for television commercials. Green worked out of his own effects shop at 960 Vine Street, in Hollywood proper, named Turntable Rentals and Sales.

Don Coscarelli and Paul Pepperman, PHANTASM's Co-Producer, hired Green to create several working sphere models based on some crude, hand-drawn designs by Don. Green consented to build the devices as per the specifications given in his original invoice:

Design and construct Spherical Space Weapon special effects system as per instructions from Paul Pepperman & Don Coscarelli. Consisting of sphere, activating mechanisms, protective head guards, bleeding effect, guide harness. Loan of drill motor, speed control, pump. Total price $763.00.

Mr. Green ultimately built a "master sphere rig" or "guide harness" which had three interchangeable sphere faces which would allow filming from straight on, right profile and left profile, respectively. The hemisphere facings were made from molded plastic and then put through a vacuum-metalizing process which gave them the mirrored surface.

The "master sphere rig" contained the retractable blade system, the drilling system, and the blood pumping system. The chrome steel blades were extracted and retracted by a hand rod system. The chrome-plated drill bit was cable-connected to a power hand drill. The blood was pumped from a syringe, through a plastic tube to the interior of the sphere where it would flow onto the spinning drill bit and create the requisite splattering effect.

Green also built a hemisphere with the "blood expulsion port", a one inch diameter hole, which was attached to a plastic hose connected to a small pump motor. To film the blood spouting scenes, the plastic hose was run up through the actor, Ken Jones', costume. A bucket of stage blood was mixed up to the proper consistency and, on cue, the pump was engaged and propelled up through the hose and out the port.

When Coscarelli wrote the infamous sphere drilling scene, he never envisioned filming quite as much blood as ended up onscreen. During the shooting of the actual shot, the drilling rig was attached to Jones' head and the camera rolled. On the call of "Action", Pepperman started extracting the drill bit and it began spinning. As it touched the forehead of actor Jones, Coscarelli, watching through the camera eyepiece, cued Art Director David Brown to depress the blood-filled syringe. Brown pressed on the syringe, but a chunk of dried blood had jammed in the blood tube. As he witnessed the drill bit digging into the make-up of the actor, Coscarelli motioned frantically for Brown to engage the syringe. Brown desperately squeezed down with all his strength and suddenly the chunk gave way and a huge flow of blood spurted into the actor's forehead. Upon viewing the footage, Coscarelli was delighted and that "mistake" shot can be seen in the completed film to this day.

Unfortunately, Will Green passed away four months after the sphere sequence was shot, and never viewed the sequence so loved by fans the world over.

 
 

- Copyright © 2007 Silver Sphere Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Designed by PIXASCOPE