Thursday, July 17, 2008

One of my Insane Hobbies - Part II


BELA LUGOSI - DRACULA

Interesting timing for this post. I just returned from a section of Intro to Film at the University where I teach. When doing the unit on acting, I find that Tim Burton's Ed Wood (1994) is an exceptionally perfect film to show in support of the concepts on that unit. Not only is it one of my favorite films (A major GONE TO BED entry), but it is also a perfect text for self-reflexivity and the politics of taste. Ed Wood showcases the Hollywood Star System, the waning (basically dead) matinee idol capital of Lugosi's stardom, the dangers of being type-cast, the "use value" of a star, drug addiction, the original celebrity rehab icon, and the sad sad irony of Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi reaching unheard of levels of fan appreciation AFTER they had died. Not to mention that Martin Landau won an Academy Award for his amazing portrayal of Lugosi. This is especially paradoxical as Lugosi never received that type of Academy recognition. The film takes many many factual liberties - but nonetheless succeeds in its ambitions to alert new generations to the works of Lugosi, Wood, and other independent filmmakers whose ingenuity outweighed their talent!

Bela Lugosi is my favorite male movie icon/actor of all time. I have many others (and you all know that Natalie Wood is my favorite actress), but Lugosi is number one. So, I had to have a very good Lugosi kit for this hobby. Fortunately, there are several. I decided on this bust.

I bought this kit (sculpted by Tony Mcvey and also available as a MASSIVE full size kit too) at Creature Features which was on Olive in Burbank, CA (greater Los Angeles area). I don't know if it is still there or not - but it was a GREAT store. About three times the size of House of Monsters in Chicago. Loved that place. It was also very close to Dark Delicacies - a GREAT book store. I just missed Richard Matheson who was there for a signing the day before - ouch!

This is the kit unprimed and unpainted.


And here a couple of Profile shots:


The Gargoyle base is coated in many blacks, grays, whites - etc. Heavily drybrushed to add texture to the stone. Bela's flesh tones were airbrushed, working from dark to light and then adding washes under the eyes and rosiness to his ears - as if he had recently dined on a strapping young gal! The tuxedo is in a metallic black to add a satin-like shine. The Cloak is in a matte black as a subsidiary contrast. This shirt is off white and the vest is a sort of ivory - I airbrushed shadows where the best and shirt meet. That's about it. The hair was the only tough part. There was not a lot of texture to it - so it was difficult to do it in anything other than a slicked back black.

Just as my previous post about Peter Cushing representing the only "real" Van Helsing I ever knew, I can also say that Lugosi will always be the only "real" Dracula to me. Many wonderful actors have made this part their own, Chistopher Lee, Frank Langella, Gary Oldman, Jack Palance, and many others - but Lugosi forever defined the part. And his story, is, quite sad.

1/3 Scale (about 10 inches tall) and it is a VINYL kit - not resin.
Purchased: Los Angeles - in 2002
Completed: I'd say fall/winter of 2003
Acrylic paints - various brushes and I used an airbrush for all of the flesh tones.

In the next post I will discuss more about the hobby and how kits are manufactured and then assembled and painted. It's fairly complex. Sometimes it's great just to do a one piece bust as opposed to a 16-20 piece kit. If I remember correctly, the Mad Monster Party was 17 pieces.

Part III coming shortly.

2 comments:

gilligan said...

I know absolutely nothing about your "insane hobby" so I'll simply say that true creative outlets are almost never "sane" by societal standards.

Anyway, I have to comment to your post to express my utter amazement and envy at your course of study...Ed Wood! My degree is in molecular biology and have been in the science field for some time. Pursuing interests like Ed Wood films has had to be a sideline to say the least (ever seen Office Space? I'm Peter Gibbons 100%).

I'm sure your academics are rigorous as hell (and thus the joy probably get sucked out of it from time to time), but consider yourself fortuneate for being able to pursue your passion. Danse Macabre is one of my favorite books, and to study that area of literature and film sounds wonderful... but I digress. Keep the great posts coming!

Chick Young said...

Hey Gilligan,

Thanks man. Truly appreciate your feedback. On your note about my profession - well - yeah, absolutely. When things do get tough as a professor and they very often do (academia has its pros and cons like anything) I remember that my dissertation is about Spanish Horror and that I have been teaching film history, appreciation, production, mass media crit, television studies for four years now and am grateful and happy to be doing it. I had my share of shit jobs and my share of corporate gigs (Yes, Office Space is major favorite) and I am most happy to do what i do. Took a lot of hard work but things worthwhile always do!

Molecular Biology? See, now I find that utterly fascinating!! The grass is always greener... Your blog is consistenly blowing me away. I want to make a few comments on your 1980 line up! Gawd I wish I had those damn BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS on dvd. I LOVED looking at my favorite women in their bathing suits! Seems like frickin' Chachi Baio always beat everybody. But, I seem to remember Tom Selleck kicking his ass at something - don't remember what.