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Star Wars: The Sith Shoot
An exercise in authentic lighting and cosplay brilliance

Star Wars Sith shoot
Star Wars Sith shoot

Let's face it, everybody loves Star Wars. Even some of us horror guys love it. We grew up with it, feasted on it, were inspired and influenced by it. Star Wars is imprinted in human DNA by now.

Star Wars Sith shoot

We rounded up some fantastic cosplayers to come and do our Star Wars Sith shoot. We were very fortunate to find a truly stunning Darth Vader. The costume was screen-accurate down to the last stitch, and Paul (the guy who owns the costume) is a big guy and so wears the costume convincingly. I've seen many Vader cosplays where the helmet looks too big because the person wearing it isn't quite tall enough, or the outfit has a slight "home made" look about it. But not this one. Paul doesn't look like some guy in cosplay. He looks like Darth Vader. Darth actual Vader! The real deal.

Paul also had a Kylo Ren costume, and once again it was utter perfection, right down to the textured fabrics. His friend Dean supplied Boba Fett cosplay, complete with its famous chipped paint and worn amour. And Chantel, an enthusiastic cosplayer who moved to the UK from Virginia, gave us her beautifully realised Darth Talon, a Sith character from the expanded universe (Lucas era).

Star Wars Sith shoot
Star Wars Sith shoot
Star Wars Sith shoot


We also wanted to supply our own character for the shoot and so we brought in Phoenix, the model we last worked with on our 13 Ghosts "Angry Princess" shoot. In order to put an interesting twist into the shoot, Phoenix was body-painted and made up to look like a female version of Darth Maul and shot to a dramatic art nude standard.

But before I talk about the shoot too much, I need to cover a bit of back-story.

The idea behind the shoot was to show off some of the evil Sith characters (we know Boba Fett is a bounty hunter rather than a Sith, but he was just too cool not to include). For me personally, the challenge wasn't to simply shoot the characters but also to try and invoke a sense of the original films. I figured that this warranted building a backdrop depicting the Death Star environment. This backdrop was incredibly simple to do: Three 8ft x 4ft boards with a variety of yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, old plastic boxes, and whatever else I could find all hot-glued on and then painted grey. The detailing was all done with adhesive vinyl. The whole thing cost very little and was ridiculously simple. However, as a backdrop, with the right lighting, it looked almost perfect!

Star Wars Sith shoot
Star Wars Sith shoot

Aside from crafting a backdrop I also had to think about how to light the set in order to make it "feel" like authentic Star Wars. I shot with some blue and purple gels on some shots, and used an arc of front-lights on others. There had to be a top light to cast reflection on the helmet. It took a bit of figuring out but we got it. Some of the shots, particularly of Vader, standing against the backdrop, look like real Star Wars pictures. Other shots were done in the classic Horrify Me style against the dark background with smoke effects.

We had illuminated light saber props on the shoot but of course, making them look like movie light sabers required some Photoshop trickery.

Oh, and this shoot gave me a good excuse to fix my battered old R2D2 and get him involved.

Star Wars Sith shoot

This shoot was a big project for Horrify Me. As I said at the beginning, everybody loves Star Wars and in order to do justice to this popular franchise, we had to have the best of everything. Top rate costumes, good performers, great makeup and body paint, and perfect lighting. We were very fortunate that everything came together so well on the day. Our studio, which is normally full of gore and carnage, was just the coolest place you can imagine on Star Wars day, full of amazing costumes, light sabers, helmets, and of course those deliciously evil Sith. Horrify Me has truly joined the Dark Side...


Star Wars Sith shoot

Star Wars Sith shoot


Star Wars Sith Shoot Star Wars Sith Shoot Star Wars Sith Shoot



Thanks for reading folks. May the Force be with you!

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