In Part 2 of our podcast, the Damn Dirty Geeks pick up right where we left off discussing JAWS with director/special effects master Greg Nicotero for a second hour of fun jokes and inside stories.
Greg and the DDG talk about the JAWS-inspired home movies made when we were younger, using everything from fiberglass wall-mounted sharks to Fisher Price toys, rubber sharks, piles of leaves and stop-motion action figures. Greg also shares his own geek origin story, being inspired by Universal classic monsters, TV shows like LOST IN SPACE and LAND OF THE LOST, and especially miniature-mashing disaster movies like THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE and THE TOWERING INFERNO.
But it was the mechanical sharks in JAWS that began Greg’s obsession to learn how such movie creatures were made, reading film magazines that turned a hobby into an eventual career. Fate intervened when local Pittsburgh filmmaker George Romero began production on his zombie sequel DAWN OF THE DEAD in 1978 that Greg finally connected with his destiny… via Greg’s uncle. Yet fascinatingly, Greg first met George Romero in Rome, Italy while the Nicoteros were on vacation! It’s a fun and amazing tale Greg shares in this episode.
This episode concludes with a lengthy discussion about how Tom Savini’s makeup effects in DAWN OF THE DEAD inspired Greg to practice his craft to position him to join Savini’s makeup team on DAY OF THE DEAD. We get elbow-deep into the gut wrenching gore effects of classic Romero zombie kills and how their artistry — seemingly primitive to today’s photorealistic CG visual effects — nonetheless hold up better and remain more horrifyingly convincing decades after their creation.
Jack and Frank raise a fascinating question to Greg: would he direct a remake of JAWS? Listen to learn Greg’s definitive answer, as well as his opinion on the impending reboot/remake of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON by Universal.
Buckle up for Part 2 of our supersize podcast with Greg Nicotero, whom we’ll definitely have back on the Damn Dirty Geeks podcast when his very busy schedule with THE WALKING DEAD and other films allows him to return to town.