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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The July 2012 entrée: Doug Higley » » Mermaids, Worms and heads - oh, my! » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Steve Brooks
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So buddy,

A couple questions...

Where do you get your inspiration for some of these items? Movies? Books? Real-life?

And, is there any particular process you go thru to insure these items are authentic (as in the shrunken heads)?
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Doug Higley
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1942 - 2022
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Just out of my head in all cases. A lifetime of being a monster movie fan has added all kinds of influence I'm sure...but I never make anything from a picture or 'model'. No fun for me in that.
As to authentic...I've seen (and held) many 'authentic' shrunken heads BUT that's not what I try and replicate. I make them from my imagination and do not try to exactly recreate the tribal method any more than the essence.
Most 'Shrunky Heads' that I do are for performance use in magic routines I wrote and not legit museum display. Can I make them that way (authentic?)...yes of course, just not interested.. Picasso once re-created the front page of a newspaper complete with 'photos' just to prove he could. Not my 'thing' so to speak. I once interviewed B.B. King for my radio show and when asked about the style of 'Blues' he and others played, he responded that he didn't play the 'Blues'...he played B.B. King.
I liked that...so I make 'Higley's. To the general viewer, they look real. I suppose I could offer the authentic look...but others do that quite well these days. You can see what I do at http://shrunky.grindshow.com and read about them there. "Note: Higley's Shrunken Heads are NOT designed to actually replicate the Shuar Heads and are strictly products of Fantasy, Artistic License, Skill, Imagination and of course are legal and shippable world wide."
A real head can cost upwards of $7,000 (maybe more these days). Mine are under a hundred. Bottom line I guess is that I'm just not interested in copying the Shuar. I did once take one of my 'heads' to an anthropology museum and when the egg heads saw it, they believed it. Smile Magician Georges Roberts has that head now. No beads and feathers and macrame crap...just a little head that looked like it once had a thought.
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damien666
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canada
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Hi Mr. Higley,
I am a big fan of your creations!
I am a special effects artist for film (practical - not digital) and your work is very related to creating monsters.
Ever dabble in special effects make-up or monster effects?
Also, your web site claims no animal or human parts are used in the shrunken heads.. Does this include the hair/fur?
Thanks again for your amazing artistry!
Damien
http://www.puppetsandgore.com
Doug Higley
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1942 - 2022
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Hi there. Hair/Fur is also 'man made'...and VERY expensive. Same as is used in major FX films and creature costumes
(Chewbaca...Harry etc.) I was turned on to the company by my late friend Henry Alvarez (Master FX sculptor) and the stuff is wonderful and extremely realistic. +Henry saved the day for me as I had no clue what I'd do when my 'real' hair supply was used up. I originally used some hair from some HUGE animal whos skin I had bought at a Bizarre somewhere. Have no idea what kind of critter it was but it lasted through many heads and mermaids....a long time ago.

I have had a 'creature' prop appear in a (REALLY terrible) movie and while I like 'bad' movies this one shall remain NAMELELESS here to protect the guilty. Of course as a kid I made lots of monsters to film and use in stop motion as well as some 'things' for commercials over the years.

My first real MONSTER was a foam head piece I made and wore in a TV show (with a scary movie host) in Alaska.

I am always interested in and prefer 'practical' FX but never got the chance to really show my stuff. Maybe someday. My Werewolf trophy head mount (now in Switzerland) is the closest thing I've done to that level.

I have seen some of your projects and your work is fantastic!

Thanks for the kind words!!!
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damien666
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canada
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Thanks so much Mr. Higley for your kind words!
I would love to see the werewolf display you did! It sounds great.. And I too am a big fan of 'terrible' movies. Please re-consider divulging the name of the horrible movie you worked on with your props Smile
If you want to see a brilliant homage to bad 1950's scifi movies, If you haven't seen it -see 'The lost skeleton of cadavra' - it will make you howl!
Alvarez was an AMAZING artist.. I never met him personally, but some of my work was on display with his in a temporary special effects exhibit. He went far too soon.
I know the hair company you are referring to and I am a big fan of their products.. Their fake hair is better than the real stuff IMHO.
Thanks again for making yourself available in this forum! It has been fascinating!
Damien
Doug Higley
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1942 - 2022
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I think henry was the greatest sculptor of our time. His Wax figures and Bronzes are unsurpassed. Yes...passed way too soon. :-(
How cool though (wow!) to have been accepted shown by him!!! Good for you!

The Wolf head is on my site somewhere...http://grindshow.com

The title of the movie was 'In Search Of The Beast'...groan. Unwatchable. A really nice guy made it so I don't like to say anything. I dislike negative reviews and after many years of doing reviews (Radio, print and such) for the public, I only review and comment on those I like or have some merit.

I like 1950's movies not because they were 'bad'...but because they were COOL and not trying to be bad or campy.
Attack Of The Crab Monsters is just freakin COOL. Smile
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Jimeh
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Ottawa, Ontario
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I sat down and watched Attack Of The Crab Monsters yesterday evening, Doug. I liked it, right up my alley! Smile
Doug Higley
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1942 - 2022
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AOTCM Trivia: Rumor has it, that Jack Nicholson was under that Crab helping out. Smile Richard Garland was Beverly Garland's husband.
AOTCM double billed with the original Not Of This Earth which starred Beverly Garland.
Of courfse you reconized the Professor from Gilligan's Island and the coolest of all, the location is EXACTLY as it was when filmed at Malibu
and we could film a sequal with out alteration to the surroundings and it would match. (I'll put the photos on facebook.)
It's a good example of what could be done with a limited budget and when a silly premise is taken seriously. The Crabs are a hoot and at least an effort not to use live crabs magnified. Smile (big props always a plus) and I always loved the idea of the calustrophobic aspect of the 'Island' getting smaller and smaller with no place to run. Yeah...cool. Glad you 'got it'...Smile
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Jimeh
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Ottawa, Ontario
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Very cool stuff Doug! Rather than create another thread, what other 1950's movies of that type would you recommend I see??
Doug Higley
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AOTCM is my fav orite but

Invasion Of The Saucermen (Frank Gorshin!) Iconic in so many ways.

Definately 'The Giant Claw' Mostly for the hilarious monster bird which was made in Mexico...(the bird not the movie). Fun because it's all taken so seriously. It is said the actors were in shock when they saw the final result. Of course they werer acting to future FX shots and didn't see what they would be in supposedly terror of.

Tarantula and The Deadly Mantis are cool Universal entries. (I actually owned a car that was in Mantis. Smile )
It Came From Beneath The Sea (Harryhausen)

many more but it's time to eat...
Later
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
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