Award-wining Hollywood special effects artist Todd Masters and his company, MASTERSFX, have announced that they will be bringing back to toy store shelves in time for Halloween 2016 Masters’ classicHalloween toyline, “The Oh Lantern Family,” which he first released 30 years ago (1986) to wildly popular consumer and media success, even appearing in TIME Magazine.
“The Oh Lantern Family” is comprised of a series of eight funny-faced, orange-colored foam rubber pumpkins, which intrigued people of all ages – and became a HUGE HIT in the late ’80s. The success ofMasters‘ toys was compared to the “Pet Rock” and “The Cabbage Patch Kids,” selling millions of copies over a period of two Halloween seasons.
Just starting out within the Visual Effects industry at age 19, Masters designed the orange-faced foam pumpkin heads, as a promotional piece for his start-up visual effects company. He says, “I mailed out 30 of these hand-made latex and foam pumpkins and oddly received 29 phone calls back – none offering me a Hollywood job – but instead, people asking ‘where can we get more of these PUMPKINS?'”
In addition to re-releasing the toyline,Masters is also currently in pre-production on an animated TV project “The Oh Lantern Family Halloween Special” which will be released to air Halloween 2016. The special will be a combination of the studio’s FX techniques: Practical puppet FX with a special CGI blend. Todd Mastershas also established an “Oh Lantern Family” crowd funding site to help raise funds for pre-production for this TV special, wherein he is presenting several one-of-a-kind offerings on the “Oh Lantern Family” Indigogo site, to entice fan’s support.
For that “Oh Lantern” TV special, Masters has already lined up the voice talents of such noted artists as: Comedian Charles Fleischer (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”),Seth Green (“Robot Chicken,” “Austin Powers”), Clare Grant, (“CSI”, “Walk the Line”), Tristan Risk (“American Mary,” “The Editor”), and Laurence Harvey (“Human Centipede”), and John Kassir (Voice Actor of “The Cryptkeeper” from HBO’s “Tales from the Crypt”).
Seth Green, a long-time supporter of “The Oh Lantern Family,” was one of the first to jump aboard. He said, “Todd’s pumpkin family has always been a good idea. I’m so excited for them to be back.”
Along with the Twisted Twins – acclaimed horror filmmakers Jen & Sylvia Soska(American Mary, Hellavator) – Masters announced, “YES, it’s true! We’re FINALLY bringing back ‘The Oh Lantern Family’ after a slight-hiatus of only 30 years.”
Director, writer, producer – and recently, Game Show Host for GSN’s Hellavatorseries, Jen Soska, says “Todd Masters and MASTERSFX are known for their incredible ability to bring creatures to life. ‘The Oh Lantern Family’ is in a lot of ways a crucial missing piece of Halloween. Every household is gonna want them.” Squeezing a foam ‘JACK’ pumpkin, she grins, “And it’s been too-long since we’ve last seen them! I cannot think of a better way to reintroduce a whole new generation, to ‘The Oh Lantern Family’ than a brand, spanking-new holiday TV special!“
Her equally talented, identical twin sister,Sylvia, adds, “The all star cast and astoundingly talented team we’ve already brought together for this special demonstrates just how truly unique this project will be. Next Halloween is sure to belong to ‘The Oh Lantern Family.‘”
For many years, Masters and his team have been restoring the original molds of ‘The Oh Lantern’ characters, in preparations for bringing them back to life for their 30th anniversary. “Between movie and TV FX projects – our artists and I have restored them, using the original molds from back in 1986! We’re creating new, fresh ‘Oh Lanterns’. It’s like Day 1, back at the foam pumpkin patch. And as exciting as it was, 30 years ago!“
Other well-known pumpkin-helpers are also behind the scenes on the TV project, including award-winning composer Scott Rockenfield, who is also a member of the band Queensryche. Rockenfield is creating the layered score for the project.
“When I heard that Todd was bringing back ‘The Oh Lantern Family’ – I got extremely excited. It had been a phenomenon years ago,” Rockenfield said from his recording studio in Seattle. “And for his team of creative talents to further develop new characters and present this fun story, is outta this world for me! As a composer, I cannot wait to dig in deep and really work to bring it to life with music.” And then, making his best ‘Oh face’, Rockenfield adds, “And hey, I’m also excited to be getting a brand new ‘Oh Lantern’ pumpkin!“
Also, best-selling author Martin Olson(Encyclopedia of Hell) has confirmed to Masters that he will write the theme song for the special.
“So many of my Hollywood friends have encouraged me to push hard, reviving ‘The Oh Lanterns,‘” says Masters, 48. “It’s made it really fun to do, even with the long hours. When Jen & Sylvia Soska jumped on board with all their gusto, and then Scott, and Seth, and everyone else – that brought revitalized energy for me and my team, to bring something new to television for nextHalloween season. We love Tim Burton and ‘The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,’ but now we’re developing a brand new look forHalloween.“
Founded in 1986 by Emmy Award winnerTodd Masters, MASTERSFX is a multi-award winning character and special FX house with studios in Vancouver, British Colombia, and Los Angeles. MASTERSFX’s creative teams produce a unique blend of practical and digital makeup and special FX, prosthetics and animatronics, through a process called dMFX, for hundreds of hit feature films, TV shows, and commercials.
Included among the TV projects to which MASTERSFX has contributed its work areTrue Blood, Six Feet Under, Tales from the Crypt and Fringe. Among the company’s film credits are RoboCop, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Haunting in Connecticut, Star Trek: First Contact, The Horse Whisperer, Slither, Snakes on a Plane, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Look Who’s Talking, and many more.
Todd Masters won an Emmy Award in 2003 for the 2001/2002 Season of Six Feet Under in the category “Best Special Effects Makeup.” MASTERSFX is also the winner of a 2006 “Saturn Award” for “Best MakeUp FX” for its work on the film Slither. See: http://www.mastersfx.com/