Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Arts & Culture

Help Bring Death To Life For FX Artist Hiroshi Katagiri

Creature creator Hiroshi Katagiri and Doug Jones showing off their creation for "Gehenna," a film in the final days of its Kickstarter campaign.
Hiroshi Katagiri
Creature creator Hiroshi Katagiri and Doug Jones showing off their creation for "Gehenna," a film in the final days of its Kickstarter campaign.

Creature creator and make up FX artist is in final days of Kickstarter

Hiroshi Katagiri Talks About His Kickstarter For ‘Gehenna’

Crowdfunding is a mixed bag. You may feel inundated with people pitching you with projects that you couldn’t care less about, but on the other hand it’s a blessing for filmmakers working outside the mainstream.

Special make up effects artist and creature creator Hiroshi Katagiri is in the final days of trying to fund his dream project “Gehenna — Where Death Lives” through Kickstarter.

The wildly talented Katagiri Katagiri has worked with Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and the legendary creature creator Stan Winston. If you have seen “A.I.,” “Pacific Rim,” “Jurassic Park III,” or “Cabin in the Woods,” then you have enjoyed his work.


He sculpted the main robot for “Pacific Rim” and the Merman for “Cabin in the Woods” — both memorable creations. But now Katagiri wants to direct a project of his own and maintain control of the practical effects. So he launched a Kickstarter earlier this year to raise $220,000 for a film called “Gehenna — Where Death Lives.”

The Kickstarter campaign promises, “Gehenna - Where Death Lives - is a high-quality independent horror film, co-written, directed, and produced by longtime special makeup effects artist, acclaimed sculptor and creature-creator Hiroshi Katagiri. It is his feature film debut and it will scare the &%$^#@% out of you.”

And based on the amazing demo footage posted, it looks like it will make good on its promise.

Crowdfunding allows gifted artists like Katagiri a means by which to make a dream project and keep control over it. Katagiri’s skills are widely recognized and indisputable but I was surprised by how smart and savvy he is too. He created “Gehenna” fully aware of the budget restraints he’d be under and carefully crafted a script that would use essentially a single location and a small cast.

Here’s how the film’s story is described:

“Paulina and Tyler visit Saipan to scout locations for their company's newest resort. They find a perfect location. But there's some sort of hidden cave-like structure on the property, so they decide to explore it, enlisting the help of Alan (their location coordinator) and his assistant Pepe.

“The cave turns out to be a long-abandoned Japanese military installation. It dates back to WW2. As they move underground through the cave, they encounter dried up corpses. Though it shocks them, they continue undaunted - their curiosity outweighing their fear. (This would not continue for long.)

“Emerging from the darkness is an elderly man, alive, barely recognizable as human, deformed, ravaged by time. His frail body, with its loose hanging skin, makes the group surmise he's been living in the cave for decades, or maybe his entire life. The old man gets too close to Alan, and Alan panics. He pushes the old man backward, sending him crashing into the wall with sufficient force to end his life.”
As a fan of horror, I can’t wait to see what Katagiri will be able to create. Katagiri has the added bonus of actor Doug Jones lending his phenomenal skills as a character performer to the film.

You can pledge as little as $6 and receive a screensaver as a perk, or $10,000 to get a screen credit as executive producer. But whatever level you may choose to give at, you can feel certain that you are helping an artist achieve his dream and make a work of art that he will have control over. I know this is something I want to see made because Katagiri understands what makes a good horror film — it's not gore and jump scares but rather a good story and strong characters.

Plus the update videos are hilarious!