‘Totally Killer’ Costume Designer Reveals How to Recreate the ’80s Slasher’s Look: Find the Fashion ‘You Can Splash Blood On’ – Horror Film School

‘Totally Killer’ Costume Designer Reveals How to Recreate the ’80s Slasher’s Look: Find the Fashion ‘You Can Splash Blood On’ – Horror Film School

Totally Killer

“Totally Killer” costume designer Patricia J. Henderson did a unique job of grooming the horror-comedy cast. In the film, Jamie (Kiernan Shipka) travels back in time to save her mother’s high school group from a serial killer. Although the film begins in modern times, Jamie spends most of his time in 1987 dealing with ancient technology, a lack of politically correct sensibilities, and an old fashion sense. But even though there are a lot of jokes in the film, it was important to Henderson not to overdo the ’80s fashion.

Horror Film School is a feature in which talent in front of and behind the camera share the ins and outs of creating the greatest scares on screen.

“There’s a fine line between creating a character and making someone a caricature,” she says. “I try not to cross that line. I’m going to date myself here, but I lived it and a lot of the references I pulled came straight from my high school yearbooks.

Henderson detailed her strategy for crafting the 80s-inspired cast for Variety, including how she was able to perfectly craft the film’s Sweet Sixteen killer, as well as how she Also shared the exclusive behind-the-scenes art of his process.

Henderson draws inspiration from many places, from her past to her favorite films.

“Whenever I’m out and about, I like to thrift and whenever I find old magazines,” she says. So I get them.” “I have a lot of Rolling Stone magazines, things like that because they tell what people are wearing. I also worked in a nightclub in 1986-87, so there were a lot of photo references from there. Of course, John Hughes’ films played a huge role for me – there were some of the looks that were iconic in his films.

She drew inspiration for Jamie’s signature vintage jackets from thrift stores as well as the cyclical trends of retail stores.

“I found a fringe leather jacket in black,” says Henderson. “I wanted the cut of Jamie’s white jacket to be similar. At the time we shot it, about a year and a half ago, Retail stores at that time were big into 80s and pastels. It wasn’t as big of a challenge as people might think, because we were able to buy things that fit well with the time period.

While Henderson liked the daring looks of ’80s trendsetters like David Bowie and Grace Jones, it wasn’t realistic compared to what average people wore. She stuck to basics like rugby shirts and polo shirts and authentic pieces that weren’t too over the top.

“What was happening in New York or Los Angeles in 1987 was not happening in small-town America,” she says. “It was much more laid back. We neither had money, nor did we have shops to go and buy all those trendy things. I did a little bit with the shoulder pads, but I didn’t want to hit it too hard because I think it was exaggerating the reality of the moment.

Henderson had some unconventional inspiration for what the Sweet Sixteen killer should wear.

“I looked back at James Dean,” she says. “You can see some raw denim with turned-up cuffs in there. I used Red Wing shoes that were always around. The jacket was very important because I didn’t want it to be just a flat black jacket that meets the back. So we chose navy and had some sparkle in it. There are moments when he runs and you can see a little bit of shine.

With the killer’s mask, which was designed by Henderson’s friend and collaborator, Tony Gardner of Alterian, the two wanted to explore “an iconic killer that some people would want to dress up as for Halloween.”

“We had to keep an element that spoke of the ’80s, and that came through in the T-shirts, which we did,” she says. “We went with a light gray shirt, and I made a Worked with the art department and graphic designers to create a logo that would be noticeable and memorable. It was loosely based on Don Johnson from ‘Miami Vice’. It spoke to that period, but it also gave us a palette where you could splatter blood on it and it appeared on the front. It’s all about texture. It’s about being authentic.”

Henderson believes the most important part of being a costume designer on any production is the collaborative spirit.

“Keep your mind open to everything that could happen,” she says. “Be extremely collaborative with your fellow filmmakers because it’s a team process. It’s not just about you and the costume.”

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