Interview and Photos

Excerpts from a Super 8/Video Piece

Super 8 Filmmaking:

Other Film Sites To Check Out

image by katya crawford

tim ... photo by sadie

san francisco
spring 1996

sitting in the bathroom, drinking beer, Sadie's just beginning to apply fake skin to Sarah's throat...

Bridget : So Sadie, how did you get started making films? You also do photography, right?

Sadie Shaw : I took a year of photography and I knew I really loved photography, but I didn't know what I wanted to take pictures of and taking pictures of my friends are boring. We had this big final assignment in photography class and I was talking to my friend, Tina, about what I could do and I was telling her how much I hated everyone in the class and I wished I could kill all of them and to make it a photo session.
So we talked about that and decided I should just do one where I just fuckin slaughter a room full of people and turn that in as my project so they could all see I thought they were fucking evil...
I couldn't work that out so I killed Tina, in 3 different ways.
I had this guy come in who had never taken a class but knew all these special effects and showed me all these tricks and he got me super into it. I loved the pictures. I got more pumped up printing them than I'd ever been with any of the portrait things I'd done before.
(To Sarah) Chin up.

B : What is this that you're working on now?

Sadie : I'm making it look like an explosion in the front of her neck, like she got shot in the back of her head and it came out in the front of her neck. So, it's like ... a bullet but not a bullet wound because it's exploding out of her neck.

B : So as far as the subject matter of your latest films, as well as your photography - how did you come to work in gore?

Sadie : In the films?

B : Uh huh.

Sadie : My first ones, I would think of the wounds and the gore I wanted to do and I would think about what kind of plot I could create where I could do that certain effect. So everything was basically around what effect I wanted to do, it was never really about a theme. (To Sarah) Is it hard to swallow?
And then, after awhile, it kind of turned into ... my most recent one had little effects and more theme, but basically it started out with just the effects, and then I would try to create a storyline. But as of lately, I've been doing a lot of revenge movies, like people taking revenge on stalkers. Before, they were just slash movies.

PHOTOS : behind the scenes of "the stalker"

scott larsen & sadie shaw ... photo by bridget irish

B : Did you consciously come to... like you say that people will attack their stalker and it turns out to be a man stalking a woman and the woman comes out really strong, as being able to defend herself - was that a conscious decision?

Sadie : Well, yeah. I'm a big fan of horror movies. I love watching horror movies and being really scared, but unfortunately, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a lot of the classics, they're always really misogynous and there's always women just getting fucking raped and beaten.
I mean, I guess it's turned into some kind of backlash, but I'm just sick of seeing it and so it's funner for me to have the women attacking the men, the creepy men, exploiting their creepiness.

sarah reed & scott ... photo by bridget irish

Sarah Reed : Have you seen True Romance?

Sadie : Yep.

Sarah : There's that scene in True Romance that that reminds me of, where the girl is getting totally beaten and slashed and in the end she gets the guy so good.

B : Yeah, that scene's amazing, the way she finally takes control and starts fuckin - the way she's screaming as she's shooting him - it's so intense.

Sarah : And also the way the effects in that are so amazing - you're watching her getting beaten up and you're just going, ugh ugh, no, the whole time.
(About the makeup on her throat) It smells like Compound W.

sarah, scott & sadie ... photo by bridget irish

Sarah : (To Sadie) So, you should tell her about the blood, what it's made out of.

Sadie : Well, the blood is made out of corn syrup - for one cup of corn syrup, I put one teaspoon of red and a half teaspoon of yellow. Then depending on how much I want it to flow, I add water and a wetting agent called photoflo.
Everything I use is really cheap, I buy cheap fake skin -

B : From the House of Magic? (In San Francisco)

Sadie : Yep. And my own grease paint and some of my food colors and the blood - everything's really really cheap and easy to use.

B : Were you experimenting with other stuff before and found what worked better?

Sadie : Kind of. It's funny, the more expensive stuff is harder to use, it's really complicated. I always end up shying away from it because the molding wax never gets moldable. It might be because I've never really had a class and I don't know what I'm doing ... but the easy stuff, like Halloween makeup, is the easiest to use and it's the funnest for me to use.

PHOTOS : scenes from "the dinner party"

bert, bridget & scott ... photo by sara lund

Sadie : Why I love horror movies is that feeling in your gut, like when you're on a roller coaster and you're totally freaked out and it's super scary and you just wanna hide under the pillow and you can't leave the room, there's no way you can leave it.

Sarah : I think The Shining is the scariest movie for me. It's the one of the only movies I can't watch alone. I start to like, fuckin, you know... you can't scream when you're in a room by yourself. It's one of those movies where I want to scream.

Sadie : The Exorcist is for me. Just so horrifying. But lately what I've been liking, even more than pure horror, is that 70s really bright colors, really really fucking bad acting, even tacky makeup I like a lot.

aaron filming, tim & scott ... photo by sara lund

B : What kind of movies?

Sadie : My favorite lately is The Omen, and Amityville, which is all Satanic and I've never done any movie with supernatural shit, it's always just people killing people. I'd like to do a feature-length movie with some supernatural elements. The Omen is the best, it's got such bright -

Sarah : I think of The Omen as being really really high-budget, as opposed to, like, Amityville, you know, like the acting in The Omen, except for Omen III, is really good.

Sadie : Right.

Sarah : And it looks like it cost a lot of money to make the film.
There's a crow trainer.

B : For which Omen?

Sarah : In Omen II, because there's this scene where a crow attacks a lady, gouges her eyeballs out -

Sadie : It's the best scene in the world, and she gets hit by a semi.

B : Have you seen The Birds?

Sadie : Yeah, I love Alfred Hitchcock.

Sarah : They probably had a bird trainer too.
But the scene in Omen II, she's this black-haired lady, wearing a red dress, walking down this misty street in the middle of nowhere, because, I can't remember why she stops her car, but she's really scared because she thinks Satan knows she's out to stop him.
She gets out of her car and this crow starts attacking her. Her eyes are all gouged out, so it's her red blood, the misty background and the red dress and her black hair and this crow attacking her - it's so cool looking.
And then she, I don't mean to blow the plot for anyone who hasn't seen it, but she walks into the street and right then this truck comes and hits her and she flies against the top of the truck. It's so fucking gnarly.

Sadie : It's beautiful. It's the best-looking scene in any horror movie. It's just so thrilling. It's not the same as The Exorcist, where you're petrified and you just wanna run, but it's just so beautiful, cool looking.

to be continued...

Sadie Shaw lives and works in San Francisco.
She [was] also a working member of the
Artists' Television Access*,
one of many great media organizations in the city,
where one may volunteer time and skills and earn use of equipment and facilities,
as well as screen work and see work by others.

(*Original link for ATA in 1990s was:


"Home-Made Optical Printing"

(I learned aspects of this technique from my friends Chris Willging and Rex Ritter)

At the college I graduated from, Evergreen, we had access to some really cool film equipment, such as an Oxberry Animation Stand and a J.K. Optical Printer. The former is that which I aim to replicate here, home-made and small budget style.

what you'll need...

2 or more Super 8 Projectors, preferably the same make and model, with options for still frame, and different running speeds.

Rear Projection Screen (can get at a video/photography supply store for about $30)

Super 8 Camera with Macro Lens, with or without Single Frame Capability
(My camera doesn't have single frame, so I just shoot in tiny bursts to simulate this feature)

Tripod (Or something sturdy you can attach, or duct tape, the camera to)

Kodachrome 40 or Ektachrome 160 Super 8 Film

results you can achieve...

Using one projector, reshoot footage for closer shots

or in slow motion should you have that option on your projector.

With two projectors, create superimpositions.

Experiment with various footage, speeds, distance between projectors, screen and camera.

(Please let me know if I should simplify or clarify the diagram)

(NOTE: As this page was created in 1995, many of the links listed are now defunct)

small movies
regular, super 8, 16...this site's got a kick-ass optical printer plan; gorgeous


The Super 8 Home Page
at home b/w processing, easy to read and navigate, loads of great info!

Interformat Home Page
located in San Francisco, this is one place where you can get Super 8 blown-up to 16mm
2013 NOTE: Interformat has partnered with Monaco Digital Film Labs

Feminist Film Reviews
reviews ranging from art films/independents to Hollywood-size

Censorship: Archive of Cases
in moving image and many other mediums
(defunct... http://fileroom,

Audrey Hepburn
ooo la la

Back to Top

Return to Main Page/Index

Film and Destroy

Thanks so much for visiting!

The website version of FILM AND DESTROY (.org) was originally created
and published online in 1995 by multi-disciplinary artist Bridget Irish.

Last checked (for defunct links, etc) in 2013.

Olympia 1995-1996
San Francisco 1996-1999
Olympia 1999-Present