I love making fake intestines and watching actress Kelly Kiorpes get entangled in them.
I am referring to the scene in my upcoming short film Massacre (The Musical), wherein Discordia (played by Kiorpes) gleefully disembowels her drunk would-be assailant, Hounddog (played by Nick Kaprelian), with a bottle opener and proceeds to wrench the intestines from his body in the Grand-Guignol tug-of-war that follows. Though the film's shooting script succinctly reads that Discordia "guts him and gets entangled in his intestines as she jerks them from his body," the scene took several hours to prepare and shoot.
We even shot a second version of the sequence with a fake stomach created with an empty five gallon soda bladder, three gallons of fake blood and a heck of a lot of fake intestines.
We attached the apparatus, which weighed approximately 25 pounds, to Kaprelian using electrical tape. The downside to using this bulky and somewhat unwieldy device was we were forced to shoot the action at an angle that effectively hid Kaprelian's added bulk. The upside was that the stomach was thick enough to sustain multiple, forceful attacks with a very real, very sharp bottle opener. Kiorpes did not need to pull her punches, which allowed her to unleash her inner Discordia.
How exactly does one make fake intestines? That's easy, just follow Marc Fratto's recipe. How exactly does one get an actor entangled in them? Well, you're on your own there, as I assume Kiorpes never again wants to see another drop of fake blood, let alone a bladder full of intestines, unless it's being dumped on yours truly.
The realism and gruesomeness of the guts largely depends upon the quality of the blood they're slathered in. I found it best to first soak them in one hue and then cover them in a fresh coat of thick, dark, arterial-colored blood right before filming.
I based my recipe for fake blood on the one published in If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell. The recipe is non-toxic, sticky and difficult to clean up, but it looks staggeringly real and is a good starting point for any gore hound in training. Campbell's recipe for fake blood reads as follows:
6 pints clear Karo Syrup
3 pints red food coloring
1 pint non-dairy creamer
1 drop blue food coloring
Large ceramic bowl
Medium sized bowl
The Karo Syrup is your foundation, the base of your blood. Pour syrup into a large ceramic bowl.
In the medium bowl, stir the non-dairy creamer until it turns into a nice paste. This will provide opacity.
Gradually fold the non-dairy paste into the syrup.
Stir in red food coloring. Add a drop of blue food coloring for density.
Test on white surface.
Coat aspiring actor from the top down.
To remove, place actor in hot shower, fully clothed, and let sit for 30 minutes or until clean.
Still, no single recipe works for all occasions, so don't be afraid to improvise.
Want thicker blood? Add liberal doses of flour to the mixture. Need your blood to be thinner? Just add milk. Is the blood not dark enough? Try adding green or black food coloring, one drop at a time.
Low budget filmmaking is all about creatively using what little you have. For example, pretend you walk into a room and see a thick piece of PVC pipe, 4 pounds of ground chuck and a pitcher of fake blood. What do you see? Me, I see a tunnel of gore -- a gouged-out eye cavity -- with the camera on one end looking through the dripping cavern of meat to the light on the other side.