Behind the Mask with Terry Lambert of Cemetery Gate Productions
*Please note that some time ago HorrorBid's Forum crashed and we lost many of our early interviews. Luckily someone saved this interview with Terry Lambert and recently sent it to us. This interview was conducted before Cemetery Gate Productions closed it's doors.
Question 1: How did you get started in the business of mask making?
Well I was in the Haunted Attraction business before I started CGP (Cemetery Gate Productions.)
I was a hired gun so to speak. I was paid to set up the attractions and act in them as well.
The problem that I ran into though, was masks for the actors. There were mass produced masks/props, but they were so poorly made.
That's when I started to make my own masks and props. It was a lot less expensive and I could make however many I needed.
After about 7 years of hearing people say "look ma'! It's Jason" when what they were actually seeing were drab green coveralls, a big knife and a white rubber mask (it's Michael Myers you d---- f---!!!)
I threw in the towel on the whole Haunted Attraction thing and CGP was born.
Question 2: Please describe in detail what led to your passion for the horror genre and or the Halloween holiday? Also, if you have any fond childhood memories or experiences that may have sparked your love for the hobby?
I was into ghost stories at an early age and I loved anything to do with Halloween.
I really don't why, maybe I watched to much Scooby-Doo back then...hehe...
I got into ghost-lore and started doing research on the subject when I was in high school (this was back around 1987-91.) I was running around looking for ghosts way back then before all the scripted ghost TV show hype. These days everyone claims to be an expert on the subject simply because they had some T-Shirts printed. It's laughable.
What's not to love about Halloween man? You get dress up like a freak and people give you candy! I remember at age 5 dressing up in old over sized cloths and cutting the bottom out of a Jack O Lantern and actually putting it over my head like a mask.
I would then lay on my porch by the door and wait for trick-or-treaters to come.
They had no idea I was a 'real' person, lol....
They'd knock on the door and I'd wait for just the right timing and BAM! I'd grab a girls ankle and they'd all run like hell...
I watched the Exorcist when I was around 5 or 6. That didn't help matters either... My hats off to Dick Smith.
Question 3: Who or whom was the biggest influence in your life (doesn't have to be mask related) and how did that effect who you are today?
He was Indiana's own ghoul that hosted a show every Friday night on channel 4.
Sammy Terry would run horror movies all night every Friday, during the 70's and 80's. He ruled...
I met him at the local movie theater in the late 70's and got his autograph.
I remember when I met him, he asked me who to sign the autograph to and I said of course "Terry."
Then he let out his signature laugh, which he was famous for and said that he knew someone with the same name.....
He really inspired my love of horror movies.
The other influence would have to be my Mom.
She was always buying me vampire teeth, fake blood and that scar stuff in the grocery stores....
She took me to a movie theater for the first time when I was 5 and JAWS was playing and it blew my mind!
JAWS is still to this day my favorite movie.
When she told me the Shark wasn't real, that really blew my mind and I've been interested in movie special effects and the like ever since.
Question 4: What do you do in your spare time when you are not making masks or doing something work related.
Spare time? What's that?
I watch a lot movies and shows on dvd while I work. Everything from the classic Universal Monster movies to Dave Chappelle
I like mostly horror films though;
Jaws, Return of the Living Dead, the Halloween series, anything with Bruce Campbell in it, Christine, old Hammer films, the Twilight Zone (the original series), Hitchcock films, An American Werewolf in London, it's a never ending list really. Needless to say I own a lot of dvd's.
I read a lot, the Bible, old EC comics, folklore/ghost books and Rue Morgue magazine.
The only sport I'm really an avid fan of and actually watch is Nascar.... I won't say who I'm a fan of though. I don't need my inbox blasted with emails, lol....
Other than work I spend my time mostly with family and friends. I love to cook, so I'm usually whipping up something on the grill or in the wok...
Question 5: What was your first sculpt and or mask making experience? Were you a natural or did it take time to hone your skills? How much have you learned since then?
A zombie mask.... It didn't look that great either, lol...
Honestly, I think everyone needs time to hone their skills. I really can't name one person, famous or unknown, who got some clay and created a master piece on their first try. Some get better faster than others though.
I think my best abilities are in problem solving and fabrication. "How do we get there from here" you know.
I've learned a great deal just being faced with problems and just paying attention to the problem.
I don't get to sculpt enough though. Mask production see's to that.
Question 6: How has being a husband, father, or being in a relationship affected your work and are they supportive of what you do?
She thinks I work too much. Nuff said....
Question 7: What projects have you accomplished in your career that you feel really cemented your legacy in the business. Was there a point where you took a step back and said, "Wow, how am I going to get all these orders filled"?
Well that would no doubt be the Warlock mask and working with Dick Warlock.
A friend/customer of mine and a friend of Dick's got us together on that project actually.
I showed Dick some of pictures of the sculpture and his next words to me were; "Wow, you did it man!" He said he'd like to be a part of the mask project and to me that was like the ultimate compliment... It was very cool.
And yes I was busy!!!!
I never actually hired a crew or anything. CGP has always been a one man show up until the past couple of years.
I used to get a little nervous with 150 + orders in, but that's not the case now. The pressure can be used to your advantage.
I've seen mask makers come and go for that very reason. They'll pop up on the scene and have good design, but then they get slammed with orders and can't handle the pressure of it.
I hate seeing that because it's those "mask makers" that give the legit mask makers a bad name. They end up taking people's money and simply flake out and don't deliver.
So to the new collector out there, do your homework before you drop $200+ on a piece!
Question 8: What were some low points in your career (if any) when you had to take time to reflect and ask yourself if this business isn't right for you?
That's easy.... September 17, 2005: I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. You don't forget dates like that.
I was in a video rental store and just fell over (into the horror section, yeah no shit) and started having seizures.
Luckily my girlfriend at the time was there and she was a registered nurse.
From that point on, the next few days were just a blur of tests and MRI scans in a local hospital.
To make a long story as short as possible, I got the tumor removed on October 20th the same year. The tumor was so big (size of my fist) that in order to remove it there would no doubt be damage to my brain.
I had a great team of surgeons though. In fact they were the same surgeon's that preformed Lance Armstrong's surgery.
I felt like I was literally trapped under ice when I woke up from surgery.
People were talking to me and I understood them, but I couldn't communicate anything back to them. I had to learn to talk, walk and read again. I made full recovery with the exception of my right arm and hand.
My right arm has limited movement and my right hand is paralyzed. I'm really blessed to be alive (thanks God.)
So I thought CGP was done for at this point. I was right handed before, so that meant having to learn to do everything with my left hand.
I've adjusted though and hired in Dusty Crosley (friend of 30 yrs) as my evil assistant. He's my right hand man, no pun intended, hehe.
So CGP is back on track and is getting better than ever...
Question 9: What upcoming project can you share with us? Any surprises on the horizon?
Well the Kiss Fan mask is one that I'm really excited about right now. It's going to kill em'....
We have a new Halloween 1 mask in the works and a project that will blow peoples minds scheduled for early fall 2008 .......