“A Day in the Life” with Director and FX artist Steven Kostanski

As it is so often the case with the makers of movie monsters, Steven Kostanski has always had sympathy for the celluloid devil. Growing up during the golden age of saturday-morning superheroes, he was always more fascinated by the villainous, but pathetic persistence of Skeletor and Starscream than their blandly heroic and cocksured adversaries. This affinity inspired the budding filmmaker to start building his own bestiary of creatures and to bring them to life in a series of stop-motion animated phantasmagorias, which eventually culminated in an award-winning short film FANTASY BEYOND (2006).

The short caught the attention of other filmmakers in his hometown of Winnipeg – those who shared his appreciation for horror, sci-fi and fantasy, but particularly his penchant for sardonic subversion. They invited Steven to join in their newly founded filmmaking collective ASTRON-6 and together they embarked upon producing a prolific cycle of genre shorts. From GOREBLADE to LAZER GHOSTS 2, each pastiche upended the conventions of the media that had raised them, and each afforded Steven the opportunity to further temper his skills as both a filmmaker and make-up effects artist.

Steven made his official feature debut directing the ASTRON-6 production MANBORG, a $1000 send-up of the sci-fi movies. It was largely shot on cardboard sets within a basement beneath a store that sold blinds, but the film’s infectious ambition both endeared and impressed. Released in 2011, the film’s enthusiastic reception at film festivals earned it an international distribution deal and Steven a reputation within cult film circles as a promising talent.

Moving to Toronto in 2010, Steven divided his time between personal projects and working as a prosthetic make-up effects artist – a career he began as early as 17 in Winnipeg. As he mounted the horror feature, THE VOID, co-writing and co-directing with his ASTRON-6 cohort Jeremy Gillespie, Steven worked on the make-up effects teams behind major Hollywood productions, crafting monsters for Guillermo Del Toro’s PACIFIC RIM and CRIMSON PEAK. Following THE VOID’s release and embrace by the horror fan community, Steven also found himself suddenly entrusted by Hollywood to resurrect the LEPRECHAUN – a franchise monster he grew up with – and so he came to direct LEPRECHAUN RETURNS in 2018.

With nearly two decades of make-up effects experience behind him, as well as the support of an enthusiastic contingent of like-minded collaborators, Steven Kostanski’s most recent passion project is the saturday-morning adventure he always wanted to see. A tribute to the childhood that set him on his artistic ascent, PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN is an outrageous and irreverent cosmic horror-comedy where the heroes are both the misfits and the monsters.

I am confident he also hopes that the film will inspire a sweet line of toys – and a new generation of burgeoning monster makers.

-by Peter Kuplowsky

Helping slime up PG while on set for “PG: Psycho Goreman”
Helping slime up PG while on set for “PG: Psycho Goreman”
Spending the weekend painting suits, gloves and masks for “PG: Psycho Goreman” at Masters FX Toronto.
Spending the weekend painting suits, gloves and masks for “PG: Psycho Goreman” at Masters FX Toronto.
Testing out a poseable tentacle for Umbrella Academy while working at Masters FX Toronto.
Testing out a poseable tentacle for Umbrella Academy while working at Masters FX Toronto.
Hanging with my dogs, Thumbelina and Bebop!
Hanging with my dogs, Thumbelina and Bebop!
Getting ready to film in the back of a hearse for “Day of the Dead”
Getting ready to film in the back of a hearse for “Day of the Dead”
Painting monster masks for at Masters FX for “PG: Psycho Goreman”
Painting monster masks for at Masters FX for “PG: Psycho Goreman”
Putting the finishing touches on some miniatures for “PG: Psycho Goreman”
Putting the finishing touches on some miniatures for “PG: Psycho Goreman”
On set testing out the Tube-Man puppet made by Chris Nash for “PG: Psycho Goreman”.
On set testing out the Tube-Man puppet made by Chris Nash for “PG: Psycho Goreman”.

Which ‘hood are you in?

According to Google Maps I’m in Islington City-Centre West.

What do you do?

I’m a Film/TV director and a Prosthetics/Creature FX artist.

What are you currently working on?

My film Psycho Goreman releases across Canada (and US) on Jan 22; In the meantime I am currently working on Umbrella Academy and The Boys.

Where can we find your work?

I’m @kill_kostanski on Instagram.

 

 

 

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Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography