Previously titled GirlfriendDracula inspired horror movie The invitation sinks their fangs in theaters in August 26, 2022.
jessica m thompson directed the contemporary horror film that reimagines classic literary characters from the world of Bram Stoker. Prior to The invitationin theaters, Bloody Disgusting spoke with Thompson and SFX’s prosthetics and makeup designer Ivan Poharnok (“The Witcher”, “The Terror”) about the vampires in the film.
Poharnok said of the design process: “In movies like this, which are a little bit smaller, we still have some creativity and some creative input that we can add to the project, which is very nice. That’s how it started. We have some designs that we develop, improve and send photos to Jessica. Then we send photos of makeup tests.”
Poharnok took a unique approach to a pivotal scene that involved an extensive prosthetic process.
“What was interesting was that we didn’t sculpt the makeup, we started with a 3D print.,” He explained. “We scanned the actor’s head, digitally sculpted the old age on his face, and 3D printed it. This is how we generate the molds to create this prosthetic makeup. It was a very high-tech method of doing like prosthetic makeup. I think we’re late to the actors. The nice thing about doing things digitally is that without having the final actors, I can still sculpt something digitally. Once they choose the actor, I can put his head on it and change my design, alter it and distort it a little bit on his face. I can save time because I don’t have to start from scratch. So, there’s the advantage of that.
“We did a lot of things digitally. I think I digitally sculpted all the nails and veining because we weren’t sure what pattern, size and thickness it needed to be. When we do it digitally, it’s very easy to change the depth and height, and we’re still printing different sizes of veins that we made the mold with. This is how we create prosthetic makeups from those molds.”
It wasn’t the fangs that were most difficult for Poharnok and his team, but the claws of the vampires.
The artist explained: “The biggest problem during the whole shoot was the nails because it seems so easy to do. But the problem is that, especially when there are several days with several characters, if it seems practical, whenever we put them on, they can’t eat, they can’t drink. They can’t go to the bathroom. Therefore, these have to be removable. The problem is that if they’re removable, it’s not like putting on a false nail because that’s permanent and they have to live with it. We didn’t want to do that.
“Also, if it’s a very strong glue that has to be removed every day, or not every day, but literally every hour. Because whenever you want to go somewhere, get dressed, put on a coat, take off a coat, these are long. It was a big problem figuring out how to do it. We ended up using these little finger cups with our nails on. That could slip to your fingertips. Every time they wanted to have a break, we just did it. They had a break, and then we retired them.
He continued, “We had three different lengths. Some also had toenails. We had to have spare parts, and we had to have some for the stunts. We had boxes and boxes of these. They all had to be custom fitted because they had to be tight, but they couldn’t be too tight. We have literally made hundreds of these, and all fingers were individually fitted to each finger.
Thompson explained his take on the film’s vampires, a new twist on a classic design.
“I wanted them to be punished. I wanted them to look similar to us, but slightly enlarged. I did not want to do the two classic fangs. I thought about making it a bit more animalistic and adding four tusks,” she told us. “Originally we had four upstairs and four downstairs, but the actors found it impossible to speak. It’s hard when you get used to talking with your teeth and then change them. They all had a lisp, and I was like, ‘well, we’re not going to do that.’ So we decided on the top four. The idea that when they transform when they’re angry, when they’re hyped up, they have these veins coming out.”
He added: “They’re not always in that state, but it’s something they do when their blood is boiling. But also, this idea that what remains [Dracula] young man is having these three girlfriends and being able to feast on them whenever… that’s the deviation from the original text and the original ideas. Then we see him get injured, not to reveal it, but that’s when Ivan really came into play incredibly because obviously, that transition is where Ivan shined in terms of prosthetics. That took four hours to put on every morning.”
The invitation opens only in theaters this weekend.