Although the special make-up effects on Friday the 13th Part 2 are often attributed to Carl Fullerton, his assistant on the picture, John Caglione Jr., also played an important role in the creation of the various inventive set pieces (despite sadly being neutered by the MPAA). Following his work during the 1970s on Saturday Night Live, Caglione Jr.’s first break came with Paramount’s Friday the 13th Part 2, but it would be his subsequent career that he would receive the most acclaim for.
Having won his first Academy Award in 1991 for his work on Dick Tracy (alongside Doug Drexler), Caglione Jr. would win his second Oscar almost twenty years later for the Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight. Caglione Jr.’s other credits have included Fatal Attraction, Donnie Brasco and The Departed.
John Caglione Jr. comments about his work on Friday the 13th Part 2.
Was Friday the 13th Part 2 your first job as a make-up effects artist? How did you become involved and what exactly were you duties?
Yes, it was my first film job and I’m very proud to have been make-up lab assistant to whom I consider one of the greatest all round make-up artist in the biz, Carl Fullerton. I came into the make-up apprentice program at NBC TV NY 1976 after Carl left staff so we met there. If it wasn’t for Dick Smith, who stood behind me and recommended me to NBC, none of this would have happened. Carl is the one who really taught me prosthetic make-up and took a chance hiring me. I remember being very nervous because I looked up to him so much and still do.
How conscious were you and the effects department about upstaging Tom Savini’s work on the original movie, as his effects were mainly responsible for the film’s success?
Carl was the department head and he really designed everything and had it pretty much all figured out before I came on board. I’ll never forget my first day at Carl’s lab; he was finishing his sculpture of Jason on Warrington Gillette’s plaster head cast, I was so blown away and inspired. As far as topping Tom Savini, Carl or none of us ever considered that. I always felt honestly that Carl tries to top himself.
The MPAA were rather unforgiving with the movie, forcing drastic cuts to many of the effects. Which was your favourite murder in the movie, and which would you say was the most gruesome before you were forced to cut the effects?
Well, it was the ’70s and it was the period in film where the rating system started to figure it self out. It really was forced to with the splatter films in that time. My favorite blood effect in the film is where actor Russell Todd is snared by his feet upside and Jason takes a machete and slashes his throat. The back story is that Russell and I attended the same high school in upstate NY, Troy High School, and were good friends making student films together; me dreaming of becoming a film make-up man and Russ an actor and director. We did a little film in HS where, of course, Russell gets shot a few times in the chest by a hit man shot in Peckinpah style, slow mo. Only problem was I used wire rigged fire crackers under his shirt, so in slow mo you can see the wick fizzle and bang! Red paper explodes out of his shirt! Crazy kids.