ADG Perspective

January-February 2021

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9 2 P E R S P E C T I V E | J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1 It's a rare moment when you discover that two of your lifelong obsessions, comic books and gothic horror, are going to merge within a single project. While reading the treatment for Marvel's Helstrom, I instantly saw its simple, everyday gloom and its quiet fury born of trauma. I saw its strange family history woven into every frame and its visceral jabs at old wounds. Its cold stone, burnt wood, and shards of iron and bone, all brimming with a macabre wit. Now I just had to convince the producers that I understood the tone and aesthetic they were seeking because Helstrom was to be Marvel Television's first foray into horror, requiring both a familiar approach and a unique visual style. The interview was set and I jumped into action, pulling imagery and assembling mood boards. But showrunner Paul Zbyszewski had a different approach to hiring his designer and did not want to see my mood boards, not just yet. He instead grilled me on the nature of horror. "What films do you think are the scariest ever made?" he asked almost immediately. "The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, The Shining and The Omen" I answered without hesitation. "Why?" he retorted. As a horror aficionado since childhood, this was a subject I'd thought about for many years. "Because there's nothing more terrifying than an evil within your own family. When the people you trust more than anyone turn on you, and you're forced to battle them for your own survival. To me, that's the scariest kind of story." He laughed and said, "Well, that's exactly the kind of story we're going to tell." In the 1970s, Marvel Comics writers ventured into horror territory with characters like Ghost Rider, Werewolf by Night and Dracula—successful monster titles that made the writers want to take on the biggest baddie of all: Satan himself. So, to avoid the potential backlash of depicting demons as heroes, Stan Lee suggested a more palatable H e l s t r o m T H E D E V I L' S I N T H E D E T A I L S B Y T O D D F J E L S T E D , P R O D U C T I O N D E S I G N E R A. SAINT TERESA'S CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH, EAST HALL. THE LAYOUT WAS DESIGNED WITH CONNECTING CORRIDORS TO ALLOW FOR WALK-AND- TALKS WITH DR. HASTINGS AND HER PATIENTS, AS WELL AS MULTIPLE STUNTS AND FX SCENES. SET PHOTO. A

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