Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini (2015) [Digital]

On Demand and Digital for the First Time Ever on October 19th, “Smoke and Mirrors” is one of the many documentaries exploring the life and work of Tom Savini. For those unaware, Savini is a legendary make up artist that’s contributed to some of the most iconic horror movies of all time. Behind the man and his make up is the story of a man who has spent most of his life second guessing himself and considering himself the black sheep among his talented group of siblings.

Tom Savini grew up among a slew of talented and often gifted family members, all of whom made Savini feel somewhat inferior. This feeling prompted Savini to do as much as he could to master his passion for make up, and his love for horror. Along the way, Savini garnered a respect for horror filmmaking by examining true life horrors during his service in the Vietnam War.

While “Smoke and Mirrors” isn’t the best documentary about Tom Savini ever made, Jason Baker seems to try his best with the resources he’s given. Using a ton of archival interviews, and behind the scenes footage, he pieces together a solid biography of the man known as Tom Savini, and builds an impressive picture of a man who has accomplished so much in his life. Along with his family life, Savini discusses his service in the army, his unusual fascination with gore, his love for theatrics and magic, and how he realized his art form.

There’s a lot more to love here than to dislike, even though Baker seriously could have polished the documentary so much more. The theme music is bland, the captions feel amateur, and the whole movie could have used a strong voice over or narrator to bring us from point A to point B. We also don’t really learn anything new during the entire run time as Savini has had so many documentaries centered on him since the mid-eighties. That said, you could do a lot worse than “Smoke and Mirrors,” and hell, Tom Savini is just a fascinating son of a bitch.