Daniel J. Mazikowski: Special Effects Makeup and Creature Fabrication
Daniel J. Mazikowski (“Maz”), a “Halloween Kid” from his earliest days who was always eager to decorate well in advance of the holiday or lead some hapless family member through the latest “spook house” he’d built in his bedroom, pegs his natural progression into SFX makeup as beginning around age 13 with a palm-sized blob of malleable wax. The “a-ha” moment of how it produced a rather convincing water blister, combined with his discovery of the iconic Dick Smith Monster Make-up kit released by Pressman Toys — all in the midst of the splatter-drenched creepfest of early-80′s horror cinema — began an exploration of prosthetic trickery that to this day shows no sign of abating.
Pursuing the craft off and on through the years (sometimes as a hobby, sometimes in the context of small productions of his own or of others, and of course in many a Halloween costume contest) eventually saw him ramping up into professional work during a ten-year stint in NYC — providing FX makeup and props for a number of shorts and student films [WHAT HAPPENED TO BRANSON’S EYE (2002), THE HORN MAN (2004), WARLORD (2005), THE ACCIDENT (2007)], music videos [Straylight Run’s “Big Shot (Hands In the Sky)” (2005), Damone’s “Out Here All Night” (2006), Sleepmask’s “Run” (2009)], and various feature films [THE MURDER GAME (2005), 20 YEARS AFTER (2006), DROWNING (2008)], with his most notable accomplishments coming together under the Scareflix banner of Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix [THE ROOST (2003), TRIGGER MAN (2006), I CAN SEE YOU (2006)] and for James Felix McKenney’s Monsterpants Films [AUTOMATONS (2005), SATAN HATES YOU (2008)].
It was during this time that Maz first worked with PAINKILLER director Jeremiah Kipp, who would in turn seek the contribution of his twisted visual style to the short film THE POD (2006) and again in CONTACT (2009) upon the eve of his departure from the greater NYC area. The survival of this working relationship beyond the distance, however, would soon lead to Maz being called back to join the fun on Jeremiah’s first feature THE SADIST (2014), which provided the invaluable opportunity to meet and work alongside legendary FX hero Tom Savini — an exciting completion of a twenty-plus-year loop for that kid goofing around with the wax.
Presently based in his home state of Alabama, Maz has continued to work in FX along with an expansion further into Art Department as well as some acting for various features [RAZOR DAYS (2012), HELL AND MR. FUDGE (2012), THE GHOST EXPERIMENT (post-production), REVELATION TRAIL (2013), SPACE WARRIORS] — and it’s with great admiration and gratitude that Maz finds himself called to the Kipp table once more to provide some essential shocks to the production of PAINKILLER. An instinctive understanding of Jeremiah’s particular approach to body horror themes — with the fruit of past collaborations being very much informed by and often compared to the early work of David Cronenberg — ensures that his gears have been churning feverishly since his first exposure to the script, and he looks forward to helping to bring writer Jerry Janda‘s original concept to life for audiences far and wide.
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