Lords of Illusion
MATT LANG GET SHOT, COURTESY OF PERFORMANCE SOLUTIONS!
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I headed out the door excited by the
prospect of being shot. I grabbed the most worn and
tattered clothing I could find. I knew my clothes would
soon be caked in blood.
Mark Ahee, special effects co-ordinator
for Performance Solutions, tested the D-80 explosives,
the central component of a squib, prior to my arrival.
A squib is a small condom loaded with stage blood. It's
detonated to simulate a bullet hit.
I greeted Ahee, my heart pounding in
my chest, and we made our way to the back of the effects
warehouse located in downtown Toronto. Ahee seemed amused
as he strapped me into all the necessary gear. My face
revealed my obvious apprehension. While preparing to
detonate my chest, Ahee placed bets with his coworkers
as to whether or not I would have a nervous breakdown.
I was directed to look up and straight
ahead, and put my arms at my sides. Ahee warned me to
stay completely still and make no sudden movements.
I followed his instructions to the letter. Nothing would've
deterred my focus. Petrified, I locked myself into position
and awaited the blast.
After what seemed like the longest
two minutes of my life, the charge went off. The small,
padded explosive strapped underneath my shirt detonated.
I heard a loud bang but felt nothing. I watched in shock
as stage blood and fabric jutted out from my chest.
I was highly impressed. It was amazing to see it done
For Ahee, this was merely an elementary
illusion. The nine-year effects veteran could've performed
it in his sleep.
Performance Solutions owns the largest
physical effects warehouse in Toronto. Ahee and his
crew have been involved in numerous productions including
NARC starring Ray Liotta, both X-Men movies
and the recent comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White
Castle to name a few.
Solutions can bring you winter in July. Using a device
called a Snow Foamer, Ahee and his crew can fire out
a water-based foam product that makes any scene look
Ahee says as long as he's doing his
job right, you can't tell it's not snow unless you're
If you want to jump through a window
without critically injuring yourself, Performance Solutions
has equipment for that effect too. Ahee creates a fake
window using a soft rubbery substance called knockers.
Knocker windows look just like glass but when an action
hero dives through the window, the knockers bounce harmlessly
off his skin. Ahee says this effect is safer than the
sugar-based windows some still use.