This post was written by Andy Chen.

A lot of YouTube comments seem to either love or hate the idea of there being a horror version of everyone’s beloved Shrek.  While the original Shrek franchise was geared toward a younger audience, the actual concepts in the story would have been pretty terrifying if the movie wasn’t so lighthearted and computer animated.

The evil Lord Farquad, a grumpy ogre in a swamp, and the quest to save a cursed princess from a dragon-guarded castle—there’s so much material here that’s already dark. If the world and the characters were more grounded and portrayed realistically—it could be a scary movie. So that’s exactly what I decided to do.

Check out the trailer below.

The location

The idea came to me while I was talking to my friend about coming up with ideas to promote his new film studio. My buddy Aidan Hansen had just finished building some medieval standing sets at his new Los Angeles space, On Sight Studios. And when we decided to do this, it was the month before Halloween, so it made sense to make something scary.

My previous horror short, Close Your Eyes, had gone viral the year before, so I felt confident I could make something with the same level of quality. There were some Reddit theories floating online already about Princess Fiona being a cannibal, so with the ideas and location locked in place, the rest was history.

The transformation

The costumes and special effects make-up were the only things we had to spend money on. But with a set that looked as good as it did, I couldn’t cheap out on the costumes and make-up. I rented the knight armor from Global Effects Inc and our lead make-up and costume designer, Jay Quintana, created the Fiona looks from scratch. We bought cheap crowns and renaissance dresses from Amazon, and Jay added his own embellishments to make them match closer to Fiona’s iconic look. But he also made it different enough to have it stand out as its own. 

We had two versions of each costume—one for the normal Fiona and a grungier, darker, and messed up version for the Ogre Fiona. The Ogre Fiona dress also had to be bigger for us to fit our morph suit contraption underneath.

8y6a6207Credit: Cine Packs

Practical effects

The actual practical transformation of regular Fiona to Ogre Fiona is where it gets really fun. We did this scene first thing at the beginning of the day. We had duct taped a bunch of balloons underneath our actress Sof Puchley’s dress and fed plastic tubes to each one of them and on the other end of the tubes was a valve and an air compressor. I had this idea early on as a way to inflate the body parts of our actress, and luckily our production designer Alen Stubbs just so happened to have all the things to make it happen.

We tested a bunch and when it came to the day, it worked flawlessly!

Here are some behind-the-scenes videos and footage of our early tests for the morph suit.

16-9fdsCredit: Cine Packs

The final product

At the end of the day, it was a great experience and I’m grateful that I have so many passionate and talented filmmaking friends who are willing to help me make weird stuff. This couldn’t have happened without the help of everyone involved. We made it work with a shoestring budget, a lot of time, and passion, and I’m extremely proud of how it came out.

Check out the full film below and let me know what you think! 

I also have a ton more behind-the-scenes and other content on my Instagram page @locustgarden if you’re interested in learning more!