Lords of Illusion

Under the Scenes

Naked on the Cutting Room Floor

Inside the Two and Two

Covering the Bases

Know When To Fold 'Em

Set Etiquette: 10 Simple Rules

Don't Snooze, Schmooze


Squib Safety Tipsy

Strap the squib –- a small condom loaded with stage blood that rests on top of a small explosive –- directly to the stuntman's body. Cover with a shirt.

Pad the stuntman to protect him from getting hurt when the charge goes off. Apply a layer of polystyrene, a protective aerosol spray, under the squib and then lay a thick leather pad on top.

Make sure you place the explosive inside a brass hit plate which is a small metallic disc. This provides a third layer of protection.

Turn all electronic devices, including cell phones, off. You don't want to accidentally detonate the charge.

The stuntman must keep his eyes closed at all times and turn away from the direction of the blast.

Bystanders should stand 10 feet away from the stunt man to avoid getting splattered with blood.






Lords of Illusion

By Matt Lang


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 in person.

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.

Performance 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 like January.

Ahee says as long as he's doing his job right, you can't tell it's not snow unless you're in it.

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.


[ Script to Screen ] [ Reel to Real ] [ Behind the Scenes ] [Inside the Industry ] [ Photo Gallery ] [ Extra Features ]