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VFX Breakdown Reel: VFX Legion Enhances Bone-Chilling ‘Totally Killer’

The visual effects boutique delivers 170+ shots for Nahnatchka Khan’s horror-comedy, adding visceral impact with invisible effects including CG blood-covered knife blades and digital removal of blood-filled prosthetics; check out the breakdown reel – film now streaming on Prime Video.

VFX Legion has shared a breakdown reel of their work delivering 170+ visual effects shots for Totally Killer, director Nahnatchka Khan’s horror-comedy from Amazon, MGM Studios and Blumhouse Television. David Matalo, Sasha Perl-Raver, and Jen D'Angelo penned the screenplay from a story by Matalon and Perl-Raver for the Amazon Original film, which debuted worldwide October 6 on Prime Video.

The comedic time-traveling thriller follows Jamie (Kiernan Shipka/Mad Men), whose mom, Pam (Julie Bowen/Modern Family), is terrorized by the resurgence of the ‘Sweet Sixteen Killer’ — a masked maniac who slaughtered a group of girls in 1987 on Halloween. Jamie, her friend Amelia (Kelcey Mawema/ Superman and Lois), and the teen version of her mom (Olivia Holt/ Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger) travel back in time 35 years, determined to stop the would-be killer before the murder spree begins.

Legion seamlessly altered practical footage using invisible effects, including multiple greenscreens, crowd duplication, dynamics, extensions, enhanced camera movement, rig removal, tracking, painting, and composition. CG knife blades covered with blood, digital removal of blood-filled prosthetics, and enhanced wounds are among the effects that heighten the visceral impact of the most bone-chilling moments in the gory Halloween tale.

Artists helped create the authentic look and nostalgic vibe of the 1980s, digitally deleting and replacing objects captured by the camera. 3D tracking in SynthEyes enabled compositors to align elements with practical footage in Nuke.

Legion’s workload dramatically increased after shooting schedules were rearranged to accommodate actors unable to appear on set in the early days of the pandemic. DP Judd Overton and his crew continued the shoot without the talent and wrapped the production on schedule. As cast members recovered, Overton filmed the actors in front of greenscreens; artists replaced the backgrounds, matching the performances to align with the principal photography.

The volume of additional greenscreen effects nearly doubled Legion’s workload. Drawing from its international collective talent, the VFX studio scaled up its team, delivering all the final shots on the schedule.

Blake Anderson, Legion’s B.C.-based VFX supervisor, headed up the production, guiding the company’s international team of artists through the creative process. VFX producer Antonio Gallardo managed the project, which took advantage of British Columbia’s substantial tax incentives.

CEO and co-founder James David Hattin helmed the job from Legion’s flagship location in Burbank. Working closely with Khan provided Hattin with an understanding of the director’s vision, while ongoing communication with Anderson ensured that the team approached each shot with a clear creative direction.

Check out the VFX breakdown and see how Legion worked their VFX magic:

VFX Legion has a decade-long history with Blumhouse, creating effects for dozens of episodes of television shows and movies. Most recently, the award-winning production company brought Legion on board as the primary visual effects vendor for films including The Passenger, Black Phone, and original Amazon films Nocturne, Black Box, Evil Eye, Bingo Hell, The Manor, Madres, Black as Night, and A House on the Bayou created for the horror anthology, Welcome to Blumhouse.

Source: VFX Legion

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.