CRAFT: SCANNERS | David Cronenberg: Virtual Exhibition


The famous exploding head, which we tried
different models of. We had a plaster one, if I can
remember correctly. We had a wax one. And then we
had the gelatin one. It was a Louis Del Grande
formed head. ‘Cause you can see it,
just before we… Just before it goes,
you can see it. it’s a little shiny, but, again, you
have to sell it in the editing. They filled the head with… with shell macaroni and vermicelli and
all blood. It was great. But, they couldn’t –
we did this test and… every time we put a squib in there,
you’d see the spark. When it exploded with the explosives,
there was a massive amount of smoke. It looked more like the
Death Star than, you know… a human head exploding.
(Chuckles) There were many, many tries. Probably, the one where it
sort of vaporized… would’ve been the most realistic,
but it didn’t look very good. So, what would we do? And Gary Zeller
was the effects coordinator. We were in this big warehouse. Gary
laid down on the floor with a shotgun, And Gary crawled underneath this…
the chair that this dummy was in, put a double-barrel shotgun
to the back of its head… STEPHAN DUPUIS: Pointed
it to the back of the head. We all headed for the hills
except for the camera guys. And he just shot it.
And it just like… It was fantastic.
It’s just like… the image was mind boggling. HEAD EXPLODES
PEOPLE SCREAM You see the teeth, the eyeballs
just shooting out and everything. All in, like, perfect detail.
(Chuckles) So, there you go. But ironically… Pierre David, who was well aware of
American culture as well as… the kind of the NC-17
version of what… Well, actually, in those days, it was
an X. He stood up in dailies and said, “It’s perfect. We’re screwed.” “We’ll get an X.
We have to re-shoot it.” And everybody was,
“What? No, no, no.” So, the next weekend we were back. And this dummy…
We had three dummies, as I recall. All made by the French Canadian
crew and Pierre was on their back. “Do this, do this, … .”
(Grunts) And… Alright, same deal. Everyone – turn on
their cameras and hide in the trucks. Gary pulls out his shotgun and blows
the scene and the first one is… solid plaster. Just like a marble head blew up. “OK, oh, c’est dommage. Let’s go
again. I’m sorry that didn’t work.” “Try the next one.” And, same deal: click, explosion. Filled with mint jelly. Bright green jelly flying
everywhere. (Chuckles) “Oh, I don’t know what happened there.
Let’s go again, we’ve got one more!” And the third one: filled with confetti.
(Explosion sound) So, they were trying to tell – none
too subtly – tried to tell Pierre, “We’re not going to this again.
We had it perfectly.” And that’s the one
that’s in the movie. And it didn’t get an X. RON SANDERS: I mean, it wasn’t
difficult to pick the right one, but it was performance. And, you know, we picked the one… And if you look at it in slow
motion, it’s quite amazing. The head, the face sort of
falls down like a flap. And the stuff comes out.
It’s really… I had the fourteen frames of it on my
cutting room bulletin board for years. I don’t know what happened
to that, I wish I still had it. I’ll have to find an old print
somewhere and cut those frames out… But I remember it was fourteen
frames, from beginning to end. Pretty cool fourteen frames.

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