If I may be frank, it's about fucking time that somebody honored Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger, and the entire KNB FX group for the work they've been doing in the horror genre since the mid-1980s. I won't even name the films of which they've been a part because we'd be here forever.
I had the opportunity to meet Greg several years back and he was kind enough to field a couple questions and pose for a photo, which I still have (somewhere). I even walked away with a copy of the prop newspaper he'd created for Day of the Dead. (Actually, I accidentally walked away with three. Sorry, Greg...)
Perhaps best known for the current pop culture atomic bomb that is "The Walking Dead," for which Greg both provides the grisly effects and periodically jumps behind the camera to direct an episode, Nightmare Factory starts at the very beginning of Greg's life to show this is something he'd always wanted to do. Like similar FX maestro Tom Savini (who would end up mentoring Nicotero in his youth) or Jack Pierce and Lon Chaney before him, Greg was a horror junkie from the earliest part of his life. Like a lot of us, the first part of his young life was rife with confusion regarding what he wanted to do. As I'm sure is the case in many families, there was an unspoken understanding that Greg would follow in the footsteps of his father and pursue medical school to become a doctor, and that was his path for a couple years while he pursued his love of creature effects on the side. Then came the fateful day when he realized the latter was all he wanted to do. So he and his two buddies, Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman, headed out to LA, bought a smelly house, filled it with smelly bodies, and went after their dream.
Three decades later, and following multiple awards (including an Oscar), a massive body of work, and the undying love of the horror community, Kurtzman-Nicotero-Berger's KNB is the leading special effects company in the industry. Working for all genres of the medium, and not just horror, KNB has provided effects for the very big (The Chronicles of Narnia), the very small (Splice), and the very art-house (Tree of Life).
Aided by fans, friends, and frequent clients John Carpenter, George Romero, and Frank Darabont (among others), the praises of KNB are rightfully sung in Nightmare Factory, and amusingly, a bit of fun is poked at the frustration that can sometimes occur on-set between impatient filmmakers and the gag that is failing to work the first time. (It's all part of showbiz, kids.)
We so often forget that folks like Greg Nicotero, or those aforementioned filmmakers whom we couldn't help but admire while growing up, were not always the cinema giants they would eventually become. Their place in cinema history didn't just come into being, nor were any of them spoon-fed the opportunities that afforded them the chance to claim that place. They struggled with choices, their fate, and life in general. If honor is having another filmmaker set out to create an examination of your professional and personal life, provided by your friends, colleagues, and peers, then nearly every one of our beloved horror figures has been honored. Nightmare Factory is the newest to honor a member of that crowd. One could say it was long-overdue, but another could argue it was perhaps premature, as KNB are just getting started.