“She was like ‘this guy, he’s sat down and he’s doing this. And the second guy is a little bit taller than him, he’s on his knees and he’s doing this,’” Taylor says of his conversation with López. “We realized quickly that they were arranged in a wedge. Like a cheese wedge. Issa was very keen about making sure that they were all looking in the same direction.”
Taylor then did some brainstorming on the preferred aesthetics for the corpse models. He points to Belgian artist Berlinde de Bruyckere, whose “pretty nasty” cross-sections of animal and human bodies were a major inspiration. The works of American painter Phil Hale proved influential for Lopez. As was a more unexpected cinematic source.
“Issa really liked the face on the Japanese Ring, you know the dislocated jaw – the horror that comes with that,” Taylor says.
They also knew they would need their corpsicle to be roughly three meters long by two and a half meters high, and one and a half meters wide. With those specs and references in place, they began to get in touch with prop designers, eventually partnering with Dave and Lou Elsey’s Igor Studios.
“Dave and Lou got the actors to come over and life cast them, then filled that with silicon to create skin. The process is extraordinary. Eyebrow hairs are individually punched. The eyeballs were made and put in.”
While each corpse is a distinct prop, to create the corpsicle itself production had to add some other icy elements. This includes structures to support each body in its desired position, a silicon block of “ice,” some real snow salted into a slush, and liquid nitrogen. And since the point of having the corpsicle in the ice rink in the first place is to defrost it, the props had to be continually rearranged into different stages based on the size of the shrinking ice cube.