Saying Goodbye To Special FX/Indie Filmmaker Ryan Nicholson (1971-2019)

Acclaimed Canadian special effects artist and indie filmmaker Ryan Nicholson has passed away on October 8, 2019 after his fight with cancer. Born in 1971, Nicholson grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He was an amazing self taught effects artist who studied under Oscar nominated artist Adrien Morot (Pet Semetery 2019, Barney’s Vision 2010). He then opened an effects studio with his father, Roy, called Flesh And Fantasy. Nicholson contributed effects work on many big motion pictures, including Scary Movie, The Predator (2019), Ghost Rider, Dreamcatcher, 13th Warrior, Final Destination and many more.

Nicholson got his start in the nineties on a number of TV shows, including, Millenium, The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1 and Andromeda. He was nominated for 3 Gemini Awards in 2000-2003 and won one award for his work on Andromeda. I know of Ryan from his extreme underground indie films he started making in the early 2000s, such as Torched, Live Feed, Hanger, Gutterballs, Bleeding Lady, Collar, Famine, and The Good Wife just to name a few. His indie productions were controversial and filled with savage make up effects, sick humor and sexual violence. Nicholson released his films under his own label, Plotdigger Films.

His wife, Megan, is also a special effects artist, and the two were involved in many projects together, including a remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s infamous movie, Blood Feast. Unfortunately, Nicholson became tangled up in a botched campaign to make Gutterballs 2 and failed to release another film titled Big Fucking Monster which fans pre-ordered and paid for. This left contributors sore and out of the money they donated.

Nicholson then faced an even bigger personal challenge… he discovered he had a malignant tumor on his brain. He would undergo surgery and recover, going into remission, but the surprising news of his death comes as a shock to myself and many who believed he was doing well and cancer free.

I knew Nicholson briefly through social media, and he was a bright, energetic and enthusiastic individual in my encounters. He sent me screeners of the unreleased Gutterballs 2 and a short called The Good Wife which was to be part of an unreleased project featuring a collaboration of well known indie filmmakers titled The Profane Exhibit. He also had another unreleased film titled Cannibal Lipstick which hopefully will be released soon. Stephen Biro of Unearthed Films had been working with Nicholson behind the scenes and had acquired the rights to his projects. Unearthed Films have plans to release Gutterballs 2, Big Fucking Monster and more.

I am happy to hear that his legacy and name will continue to live on in a positive manner. My condolences to Ryan’s wife, Megan, his son and rest of his family. Cheers, and thanks for all the films and jaw dropping effects work. Rest easy, Ryan.

About Richard Taylor

Avid gore/horror/underground/brutal death metal/comic fiend. Got into the good stuff in the nineties by tape trading the likes of Violent Shit, Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Apocalypse, The Beyond, Guinea Pig series, Men Behind The Sun etc. Have written for a bunch of sites some now defunct and some still going such as Violent Maniacs Cage, ZFE Films With Attitude, Mortado's Pages Of Filth, Severed Cinema, Goregasmic Cinema, Extreme Horror Cinema and Twisted Minds.

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