Local special effects artist shows off his talent for Halloween

Horror Film - Inside Jax - Makeup SideFreddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers. They have become household names in the film industry.

Horror movies have been terrorizing it’s viewers for decades, and we love it. In fact, horror has become one of the most profitable genres in Hollywood-making over 250 million dollars last year alone. But why do we enjoy being scared so much? Professor Stephen Boka explains the psychology behind horror films.

“Generally speaking horror just works because it’s something we all understand. It’s don’t get eaten alive,” says Boka, “you don’t have to say anything if something is coming after you, you run, you drive to survive instinctively.”

Sometimes that love for horror films is greater in certain individuals. New and talented actors, producers and writers are working on their craft everyday in hopes of getting better and making it big. Jacksonville is home to many budding talents.

Ben Howard, a University of North Florida student, enjoys writing horror movie scripts. He lives and breathes horror. Understanding how popular and loved these horror movie characters are helps Ben write better, memorable individuals.

“That’s the great thing about horror films is that they’re actually pretty complex characters … even more interesting than the heroes. Because can you even remember any of the names from Michael Meyers victims? No,” says Howard, “we don’t because they’re just there to be butchered.

One hidden horror gem in Jacksonville is Jay Woodley of Woodley Special Effects. Jay is the only licensed special effects artist in Jacksonville. His job is to make monsters come alive, on and off the big screen. To him, Halloween is just another day out of the year.

“The best way I can say it is, it’s kind of like being addicted to drugs,” says Woodley, “If I’m not making monsters, if I’m not making something scary, I feed for it, I have to have it, I have withdrawals, I go crazy.”

Woodley has worked on indie films, local haunted houses and even children’s plays. He is also only one of five special effects consultants for the United States military. He says he’d rather make monsters here in Jacksonville because of its rich film history – The Creature of the Black Lagoon was shot here in 1954.

“So horror culture, I think, is really black and white. It’s not so much of a culture as it really is a way of life,” says Woodley.

To him, this city holds many opportunities for horror film fans and he’s hoping the next Freddy or Jason just might be created right here in Jacksonville.