Continued from Bizarre Life Institute: The Trilogy — Part 1.
Images of Harconia:
In mid-January Undead Backbrain introduced you to the work of Peter Montgomery, specifically an ambitious project called the Bizarre Life Institute (B.L.I.) — three films set in an alternate history in which life on Earth has been twisted into monstrous forms and an organisation known as the B.L.I. is all that stands between humanity and utter annihilation. The setting is post-apocalyptic (the images above, for example, are of Harconia — the Land of the Strange) and the creatures are weird. Before continuing with this Part 2, make sure you’ve checked out Part 1, which provides synopses of all three films with copious illustrations by way of concept art, screen shots and film clips.
One of the remarkable things about these ambitious films is that the technical and directorial aspects of the film — as well as some of the acting — are the work of one man.
Born in Scotland in 1977, Peter Andrew Montgomery developed a passion for film-making early on. “I have had an interest in film since I was about four years old,” he told Undead Backbrain. “Having no camera then, of course, I entertained myself with the films and special effects of Ray Harryhausen. As I got older I copied his creatures from the Clash of the Titans movie in plasticine and brought them into school one day to show them to my enthusiastic classmates. I often got told off by teachers for drawing in my school maths books but continued to do it anyway.”
“Some years later, about 1989, I got my first camera a bulky VHS one and thus equipped I made a movie with a group of friends which I called Troll using the ‘rancour’ monster from Return of the Jedi as the main beast. We would take turns on camera and operating the plastic toy just in front of the lens to make it look massive.
“Over the years I taught myself my craft and I found more and more effective ways of shooting films and creating special effects. They got bigger and better and in 1997 I won an award for an animated short called ‘The Mine’ and got two broadcast credits for that film also. The films continued and began to look more and more professional as the years went on.”
Soon enough Montgomery found himself engrossed in the epic tale of the B.L.I.
“In 2002 I remade an old movie of mine called ‘Surreal Specimen’ and renamed it ‘The People from B.L.I.’ (The B.L.I. came in later as an established institute to form the foundation of these pictures, 3 in total — 2 in pre production) and rely on stop-motion with a motion blur effect that I discovered that produces astonishing results (see previous article). It took eight years to make as we shot it on very expensive 16mm film.
“I wrote, produced, directed, acted in and created the monsters from scratch using metal L brackets for the plates and chrome balls from shower caddies to create ball and socket joints and the build up technique to give them ‘skin’. Taxidermy was also used to give the bird creature or drone its look.”
The second the films — The People From the B.L.I. — is completed, with work ongoing on the others, B.L.I. 3 being the main focus (see previous article for a synopsis). “The People from the B.L.I. took eight years to make as we shot on 16mm film at £5000 on Technicolour processing costs. The rest of the film was entirely my work. I now use Adobe Premier Pro CS3 and After Effects after a dear friend and award winning film maker; Ronnie Goodwin convinced me of it’s advantages. I use it in conjunction with practical effects and shoot on HDV Canon HV-30 widescreen.”
Animatic of B.L.I. 3: B.L.I. Mission to the Black Mountains:
Montgomery comments on this sequence:
This illustrates the fight between the bipedal spider and the angler bull fish. The party have landed on the island and are trapped as the huge monsters battle one another. This is a section of storyboard I’ve computer animated as an animatic with full audio and camera motion to carry along what I’m going for in this sequence. The entire thing isn’t here, but you get the idea. The creatures will be created with stop-motion animation on a BIG miniature set and motion blur added for super realism. The cast will be composited into the footage with Keylight shot green-screen outdoors for the perfect, undetectable key.
Creepy monster sound effects are by Montgomery. Listen to them below.
Montgomery revealed that in an earlier plan Part 3 was going to be made using cell animation.
This was the intention initially: a cell animation of Part Three of the B.L.I. movies. The idea was scrapped as it was too far removed from the other films. [The images above and below] are some test cells mocked up of Brock and a new recruit after landing on the Black Mountain island. The design for the trees will remain the same in the live-action version still in design. So will the uniforms, which now include the B.L.I. shades complete with badges. Officers’ uniforms and a variation with large black flared trousers and berets have been designed for the Zeppelin’s crew.
What Montgomery is currently concentrating all his efforts on, however, is unrelated to the B.L.I. trilogy.
“The film I am working on at the moment,” he explained, “is called The Blood. It’s a Sci- Fi horror with animatronic zombies and visual effects all created by me. I am in that one as Mike Carter, an airline pilot. This film looks like it cost a few million to make but as usual we have next to no money for the budget. I would love to get any kind of deal for the BLI trilogy and the stand-alone The Blood. A possible sequel to the latter is already percolating in my thoughts.”
Montgomery shooting The Blood on location (Picture by Paul Hunter)
It’s quite a balancing act and must keep him busy.
(Montgomery is pictured above in a moment from The Blood — teetering on a girder.)
And So The Blood Flows…
The Blood (UK-2010; dir. Peter Montgomery)
Mike Carter, an airline pilot, awakens to a morning like any other. Or so he thought until an inhuman-looking man breaks into his house through a window. Carter flees and on leaving his home is dumbfounded by the sight of a city devastated by some disaster that has apparently occurred overnight. Fires burning out of control dictate the path he must take, until he meets Sergeant Paul Rhodes.
Rhodes is the only survivor of a ten-man battalion sent in to bring out other survivors. It soon becomes clear that a terrible virus is infecting the population. The virus takes the form of an intelligent blood that is passed on by vomit and acts instantly.
Rhodes and Carter head for a disused building way up the back of beyond that Rhodes has found. But on arrival they are surprised to find a giant electric fence aroun d the complex, and decide to investigate. Rhodes reveals that in 24 hours the Bomb will be dropped to cleanse the city. However they find that this megalith has horrors within far more challenging than the odds they have so far overcome. This place is the origin of the Blood…
The main cast of The Blood: From left: Paul Hunter; Brook Finch; Peter Montgomery
Jim C. Pettigrew is doing the musical score for The Blood and The People From the B.L.I.
Climactic Shoot Out: Clip
Says Montgomery: “Captain Rhodes with the M72 LAW rocket I built for the movie. It has spring up sights and extends. It works just like the real thing, but can’t fire, of course.”
Above: Full-sized animatronic robot head and body built by Montgomery. Below: Montgomery with his miniature stop-motion robot
Below: Carter and Rhodes in the Farm House
Below: Sand bag bunkers and guards
Below: The Blood River
As can be seen here, Montgomery’s plans are ambitious, but the trailer and the images suggest that the final product will be excellent and quite unique. Currently he has no distributor for his films. Hopefully, a distributor will pick up The Blood and the B.L.I. films and we’ll all be able to see them.
Check out Montgomery’s YouTube Channel for Making-Of videos, Behind-the-Scenes production moments, and more clips.
The Gallery below includes many more images beside the ones you’ve already seen.
- Source: Peter Montgomery via Avery.
- Note: all images and designs that are part of this and the earlier article are copyright © Peter Montgomery.