Frontlines

Fun and games on the terror set

Diane Francis July 9 1979
Frontlines

Fun and games on the terror set

Diane Francis July 9 1979

Fun and games on the terror set

Eight-year-old starlet Cindy Hinds had to stay at home with a sitter the night her film The Brood premiered in Toronto because the horror flick is restricted to over-18s. So did eight tiny gymnasts from Mississauga, Ontario, chosen by Canada’s guru of gore, David Cronenberg, to play his grotesque brood.

A child model since the age of four, Cindy earned $250 a day during filming last December for her portrayal of a tot snatched by the monsters and forced to ! witness several grisly murders. "I wouldn’t be scared watching it, because I was in all the creepy parts myself,” said a disappointed Cindy.

The girls cannot understand the censors’ concerns. To them, the movie was just a large-scale Halloween party—except some guests bobbed for Adam’s apples. "We had to go for Oliver Reed’s throat and face in the last scene while they kept pouring blood on us,” remembers eight-yearold brood creature Krista McRorie. "I strangled him by myself—it was fun.”

The movie’s last scene involved all the girls and was so realistic that Cindy’s mother, Lillian Dufresne, said she and two members of the crew "fell apart" while watching and wept. "With all Cindy’s screaming, I thought she had snapped for good,” she explained. But the second Cronenberg yelled cut, Cindy stopped. And the masked gymnasts walked off the set licking the blood (a mixture of corn syrup and food coloring) off their fingertips.

The gymnasts were chosen from a local

club because they were small for their ages, but old enough to sit still through makeup sessions lasting three hours. Artists glued membrane masks onto their faces and painted on pancake makeup to transform their features. Lower lips disappeared, replaced by bulbous uppers. They wore blue and yellow cotton pajamas with humps sewn inside the backs. The whole hideous look was topped off with white fright wigs.

Sometimes the masks were hot and itchy and the syrup sticky, but apart from the minor discomforts the two-day bloodbath didn’t appear to faze the girls. Only once were they sent off the set, when a model of one of their faces was blown apart by a detonator implanted inside the skull. But a mom said: "They immediately rushed back after the explosion to see what had happened and just took the gory sight in their stride." Diane Francis