Back in September of last year, we reported on an upcoming stop-motion animated web series, called House of Monsters, which turned to Kickstarter in order to raise funding for its production. At the time, creator, producer, director and writer, Dawn Brown told us that the series still remained in the pre-production stage.
Over the course of the past 10 months, the series has continued to evolve, as production has finally wrapped up. They landed actor Christopher Lloyd, known for his role as Doc Brown in the “Back to the Future” series, as well as his part as Reverend Jim Ignatowski on “Taxi”, to play the main character in the film, Dr. Gaulstone. The series will premiere July 28 on Vimeo On Demand.
While the budget for the series was very minimal, having raised just a little over $20,000 on Kickstarter, 3D printing helped Dawn Brown keep the costs of production down, while still allowing for the creation of extremely detailed monsters and props.
“We printed all the characters’ skulls and the replacement faces that attach to those skulls,” Brown tells 3DPrint.com. “The skull and the faces were notched to fit together consistently, and they attach to each other with tiny magnets. The eyeballs are held in place with wax because they need to be able to easily move. We also printed many of the props, including the Resurrection Pod, Abbie’s vanity table, and the crest on The Count’s coffin.”
In all, there were over 300 faces 3D printed, with some of the “hero” characters, such as the doctor, the mummy and Frank having about 20 different faces each. The other “background” characters have about 3-5 different faces. In all, 450 individual pieces, including faces and props, were all 3D printed on a Form 1+ 3D printer, a machine which costs just $3299.
“It came to about $11 per piece, all costs considered,” Brown explained. “Previously, the same work would have cost over $30,000.”
The characters for the series were designed by a conceptual artist, named Warren Manser. He has worked previously on films such as Transformers 3 & 4, Man of Steel, Spider-Man 3, Thor, and dozens of other blockbusters, so his experience was a necessity for the production of this film.
“He used ZBrush to sculpt the heads,” Brown tells us. “We used the Formlabs Form1+ printer and their black resin to print the heads at 25 microns. After the heads were printed and rinsed in the IPA bath, they were primed with Krylon Fusion primer and then airbrushed with acrylic paints. The painted prints were sealed with Krylon matte finish. Sometimes if the pieces [were] still a little sticky, I post cured them in the sun for a few moments.”
Manser also played the role of producer and writer, alongside Brown. Other than being the one who created this film, Brown was also responsible for the majority of the production, including building the puppets, costumes, sets and props. She also did the stop-motion for the film, the film editing and the sound design. The majority of the work for the entire series was done by these two individuals, with the exception of Christopher Lloyd’s distinguished voice, and a few other helpers, including Scotty Hewitt, Jon Neill and Dianne Chadwick as well as Playback Recording Studio.
As for what you can expect from this unique stop-motion series, Brown summed it up best for us:
“House of Monsters is a new stop-motion animated web series starring Christopher Lloyd as Dr Gaulstone, the patriarch of a mischievous monster family that includes werewolves, mummies, zombies, and vampires. Best described as Nightmare Before Christmas meets Looney Tunes, House of Monsters follows these creatures and their friends through adventures in an ominous castle and it’s neighboring village.”
I know I will certainly be watching this series on July 28th. Priced at just $1.98 to rent the series for 48 hours or $3.98 to purchase it, there really is nothing to lose. Be sure to check it out via the Vimeo website, and let us know what you think. Discuss in the House of Monsters forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the trailer below, as well as some more photos from the filming and production.