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A Shivers Interview by Joe Nazzaro

WE VISIT THE STUDIOS OF OPTIC NERVE WHO CREATE THE MONSTROUS FOES FOR BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

ONE of the surprises of last year's US television season was writer/producer Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer, a well-crafted combination of Horror, comedy and teen drama. Loosely based on Whedon's 1992 feature film, about a high school cheerleader who spends her nights slaying vampires, the vastly superior TV version has become must-see viewing among discerning genre fans.
Among the many factors that contribute to Buffy's appeal is the grotesque assortment of creatures that populate the series. Vampires are the main stock-in-trade, but other episodes feature demons, mummies, snake-creatures and killer robots. To create this monstrous menagerie, the producers turned to Optic Nerve Studios, whose alien make-ups for Babylon 5 earned the company an Emmy Award.

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According to Optic Nerve co-founder John Vulich, the opportunity to work on Buffy was too good to pass up. "We had a couple of friends with the production that recommended us," recalls Vulich, "and like any job, I called them a couple of times and they were somewhat interested. Through another friend, I heard there was a preying mantis in one of the episodes, so I sent them a package and called them up a third time and said, 'Look, on page four of our press kit, there's a preying mantis suit, and from what I understand, you have one in your third or fourth episode', so they looked at it and said, 'Come in tomorrow'. I went in and had a meeting with the producers and that went well. We saw eye- to-eye on the concept and how to approach it, so we had a good rapport right off the bat."