The Perfect Killing Stroke


By Cat Taylor


Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

It’s early evening, and we are just getting set up for a night of action-packed filming. Later, a well-known character will die. The stunt guys are practicing killing each other, while the camera department lays track for the dolly.

A small group is gathered around a body lying on the wet grass. A few feet away Tommy Dunne, the weapons master (and how badly do you want THAT title on your business card) hands a sword to a soldier.

Everybody inches forward a bit. Nobody wants to miss the moment that the blade presses against the jugular and splits the skin. The soldier checks with Tommy, who adjusts his grip slightly and then slides the blade forward. The blood starts to seep out around the wound and as the soldier pulls back, the blood gushes out in a pulsing spray, spurting out and down all over the body. Then the group starts to chat.

Are we happy with the blood?

How was the flow? Does it look right?

All agreed?

Everyone is pleased with the kill. Looks good, blood is the right sort of red and just thick enough. I’m still feeling a bit squeamish when the corpse leaps up and smiles. He shakes a few hands and waves before heading off to the prosthetics truck with the team.

Now that’s dedication. It’s not everyone who will rise from the dead to work nights.