Cleve Hall
(Special Effects Artist - Monster Man; Troll; Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force; TerrorVision; Ghoulies)
Cleve HallOkay, my story so far!

… I was born in the house my father built… (1st Lie!). My parents were both nut jobs but my, because dad was WAY more obvious, mom was demoted to “kinda eccentric”. She loved Horror Movies and I hated babysitters, which resulted in her taking me to a lot of movies featuring grotesque abominations complete with with zippers in the back. My 1st Monster Movie Experience was in 1962 when I was 2 years old… MOTHRA!

It was in 1964, however, that my life was forever changed and my future path revealed to me. Mom took me to see GODZILLA vs. THE THING! Seeing Godzilla on the big screen the 1st time was the cinematic equivalent of a religious experience for me!

From that time my career path was set… I wanted to grow up to be GODZILLA! (This finally became reality in 1985 when I created the suit and played Godzilla in PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE.) Mom took me to every subsequent release of any Godzilla film along with other Japanese Giants.

Since she loved animals and preferred their company to human beings, she would actually get mad that the military was trying to kill Godzilla, despite the fact he was causing wholesale destruction and death. This preference was the reason we lived in a mostly rural area, with 5 acres of ponies, dogs and cats surrounded by 6’ high fencing. The only property near us was the huge cemetery my family owned where I spent most of my outdoor life riding my bike and thinking of monsters.

My mother, who was very artistic, encouraged me to pursue my goals by buying me clay and not getting too mad at me when my teachers would call her to rat me out for filling my notebooks with drawings of monsters and not much schoolwork.

After being asked to leave Catholic school in 8th grade for carrying around my well read copy of Anton LaVey’s SATANIC BIBLE, I switched to public school where I could let my hair grow past my collar without fear of the paddle. It was here I met Steve Sleap, a kid who was as much into monsters as I was! A partnership was formed and lasted until his untimely death from AIDS in 1998. We spent every afternoon in his garage building creatures with wire skeletons which we painstakingly animated one frame at a time in our Super 8mm cameras. In 1976 we decided to experiment and build a full size costume using the foam and rubber techniques we developed for our animation models. The costume: GODZILLA!

Pee Wee’s Godzilla!

With help from other local monster fans we built the suit in a month. My mom loaded it in her station wagon and took me to a monster convention in Houston TX where I won 1st Place in their costume contest. Someone from Six Flags saw it and contracted me to make one for them. That, while still a Junior in High School, was my 1st professional build and the start of my career.

With Steve and my friends Marc Tyler, Tim Lawrence (both of whom have had very successful careers in FX also) and Richard Sykes, I formed IMAGINATION PRODUCTIONS which created all kinds of creatures for stage and commercials in North FL for several years.

In 1980 I found myself drawn to the creative and outrageous style of the Punk Rock scene and began to transform into a dark vampiric expression of this. A couple of years later I moved to the West Coast and in Los Angles discovered that I was not alone. The DEATH ROCK scene, which later became known as the GOTH Culture, emerged and I was in the forefront, designing and creating bizarre art for the earliest Goth Clubs.

I also formed the band EXQUISITE CORPSE and now divided my energy between my film monsters and my music. I never expected the Goth Culture to grow like it has and am, to this day, a part of it.

I realized my goal of owning a hearse in 1999 and, despite the fact it only gets 7mpg on a good day, will never let go of my beloved money pit.

The 80’s was an amazing decade for monster films with the introduction of Made for Video features… often low budget but never limited by imagination I created creatures for films in the US and in Italy for several years, during which time I married Sonia Hall and raised my daughters Constance and Elora. Not sure why Sonia was thinking White Picket Fence when she met me, her efforts to change me proved futile so we divorced… But my daughters found my eccentric style rather cool and followed in my footsteps into the monster world.

In the 90’s, with the advent of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) the world of Creature FX changed forever. Many shops closed as most of the hands on Makeup FX were now produced digitally. Some of us, however, never felt that these creatures looked real and continued to create Monsters of Flesh (Rubber) and Blood (Karo Syrup).

With less films using physical FX, I expanded my client base to include Kid Shows for television such as YO GABBA GABBA, for which I received an Emmy Nomination. I also worked with Rock Bands such as KISS, creating Gene Simmons’ Demon Armor for each tour. Other bands include Insane Clown Posse, Alice Cooper, Tenacious D and DEVO.

My daughters grew to be incredibly talented and indispensable to my work, and my newest arrival, 3 year old Zoe Stardust Hall, looks like she will be next in line as part of my MONSTER DYNASTY!
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