Graham Groff-Special Effects, Photographer
JP: Thanks for sitting down with me. Can you give a little background into yourself?
GG: Well for many years my working name has been Spookenstein. Honestly can't remember where that came from. It just kind of popped in there. At some point. I'm 40 years old. I've had a million different jobs over the years. About 13 or 14 years ago, I can't remember exactly, I decided to start a career in special effects and design. I went to the Tom Savini school and got some training. After that, I worked in the industry for six years and was doing anything I could get my hands on.
Photography has been a hobby of mine when I first got out of high school into college. It was just sort of a little side thing. It still is but, it got a little more specific as to what stuff I like to shoot. When I was working in the industry, I needed to make money outside of just film gigs when they would dry up and I started doing makeup for photographers. I started thinking, well, I could, do FX stuff and take the pictures myself. That eventually led to me a few years ago, coming up with the idea of doing this Book of Blood project that I've had going for a few years now.
JP: Do you ever keep in touch with the models for a certain costume idea that they have or you have a costume for them?
GG: I want input from the people I work with. I learned that from working on film sets, you have to have an open mind. If you're a photographer and you're somebody who's not giving any direction that can be detrimental. Then there's photographers that give too much direction and don't let the model leave it open to have the person put their input. You say, Okay, let's try it. If you're not having fun doing this, whether there's money involved or not, they’re doing it. I keep a real open forum with that. I try to meet with a person if I've never shot with them before and take some notes, what kind of concept they think you'd really like to try to do and we'll work it out.
JP: What influenced you or even brought you into the horror genre?
GG: Well I love every genre of film, I'm a film buff, I have been forever.
I've had a lot of inspirations over the years that make you think I've always been a Clive Barker fan.
JP: So growing up, what was your favorite costume that you had for Halloween?
GG: This wasn't one I did on myself. I did one on a friend of mine. It was one of my first experiences doing makeup. I said, I was gonna make somebody Pinhead. We made the entire costume from scratch. We went to Goodwill and found things. I went to like a beauty store with my sister one day and I stole a like, huge amount of pins. I have my buddy come over early in the morning then I started to do the makeup and I had applied every single pin on his head. I must have put a few hundred pins on his head. I mean, it was insane.
As far as anything I've ever worn. I dressed up as Leatherface when I was seven. There were no costumes for that. In the back of Fangoria magazine there was a massive ad for stuff like an Ed Gein Death Mask. So I got that and used it and pieced together stuff for the costume.
JP: Any future projects to look forward to that you can tell us about?
GG: I'm going to be in Florida for about a year. I'll be having a new shop where i will be working and we're going to try to develop a whole new product line of horror based stuff.
JP: This is the furniture you were talking about last night?
GG: Yeah. We're going to try to combine the country feel to the horror feel.
JP: So it’s Cracker Barrel meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I like it.
GG: We plan on using bones for furniture and stuff like that. There will be hunting season and a lot of taxidermy so we can get access to it. We plan on using master molds to do things like spines because you’re not getting 50 spines easily. Then you can have lightweight foam pieces that can be made into lamps, and anything else. It's easy to transport, easy to buy.
JP: So for people to find this, is there a site that you should plug?
GG: I would just follow on Instagram. We don't currently have anything right now.
JP: Sounds good. Alright, so everybody that wants to follow along and keep up with all the Book of Blood projects and and the future things make sure to follow along on Instagram then. Any parting words for the audience that you'd like to share?
GG: I would just tell everyone that whether you're genre is horror, sci fi or whatever,
follow what you love, follow what you think is creative and don't ever take no for an answer.
JP: Well, it’s been great talking to you. Glad I got to meet you. Love what you’ve done with Book of Blood. Thanks for letting us share your work in our magazine.