Grandma Borg

Date: 27 December 1997.
Medium: Pencil on paper.

In December of 1997 MacAfee told me that I would be playing a part in his movie, A House in the Woods, at the end of the month ... and it required the character of Grandma Borg. We had developed her long before this, so the desire to include Grandma Borg in the film didn't come out of nowhere. While MacAfee was fine with using the old costume we built, I thought the movie needed a bigger more impressive outfit.

This sketch served only as a guide as I constructed the best Grandma Borg costume yet. Several planned details were deleted due to time constraints, most notably all the little gizmos I have labeled, which would have been solid chunks of electronics (made of foamboard and painted). The assimilation tubes came from a unit fashioned from clay and taped to my wrist and was painted only about an hour before I had to go film.

The suit took me nearly four hours to preassemble the night before and it then took me another hour to put it on. There was a string of Christmas lights that wove throughout the suit with a battery pack on my thigh, but I bent over while suiting up and broke the wire, so only a blue light on my hip worked (you can see it during the movie's night walk sequence). The outfit was incredibly uncomfortable, too: you couldn't sit down, there were wires jabbing the flesh underneath, the weight was cumbersome, and it was hot. But playing Grandma Borg was so much fun to do! In fact, I later revamped the costume and wore it for Halloween in 1999, though without the Grandma act. That one was a scaled down version of the movie suit, with no electronics involved.

A little movie trivia tidbit: This drawing appeared briefly in the film! In the scene where Detective Jakab is speaking with Mr. and Mrs. Mantwan, this was the top sheet on the clipboard that Jakab is writing on. That's where the "Josh?" at the top of the paper came from, as the gallant detective got right on the case, this sketch serving as the beginning of his investigation of the missing kids.

Updated 30 January 2002