Yagher, Kevin 1962-
YAGHER, Kevin 1962-
PERSONAL: Born June 23, 1962, in Decatur, IL; son of Charles, Jr. (an electrical engineer) and Carol Y. (a physician's assistant) Yagher; married Catherine Hicks (an actress), May 19, 1990; children: Caitlin M.
ADDRESSES: Office—Kevin Yagher Productions, Inc., 6615 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91406.
CAREER: Kevin Yagher Productions, Inc. (producers of special effects makeup for film and television), Van Nuys, CA, president, 1985—. Also works as film director, producer, and writer; special-effects creator and coproducer of film Sleepy Hollow, Paramount Pictures, 1999; also creator and designer of puppets Chucky and Tiffany for film Bride of Chucky; makeup designer for actor Johnny Depp in film Blow; creator of puppet torsos for sequels to film Matrix; creator and designer of makeup disguises for actor Dana Carvey in film Master of Disguise; creator of phantom makeup for film Phantom of the Opera, creature suits and other effects for Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, makeup effects for Freddy Krueger in sequels to Nightmare on Elm Street, and makeup effects for films, including Glory, Starship Troopers, Face/Off, The Fan, Man's Best Friend, Windtalkers, Cradle 2 the Grave, and numerous others. Creator and designer of Crypt-keeper character for television series and related films based on Tales from the Crypt and for music video "Crypt Jam;" also director of episodes of series Tales from the Crypt. Director of makeup effects for Aerosmith music video "Pink—1997" and "Weird Al" Yankovic video "Fat."
MEMBER: International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America.
AWARDS, HONORS: Emmy Award, outstanding direction, American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1992, for "World Championship Boxing," The Crypt Keeper; Film Award nomination (with others), achievement in special visual effects, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1999, and Hollywood Makeup and Hairstylist Guild Award, best character makeup in a motion picture, 2000, both for Sleepy Hollow.
(Author of story, with Andrew Kevin Walker) SleepyHollow (screenplay), Paramount Pictures, 1999.
(And illustrator) Heverly (picture book), North-South Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Coauthor and director, "Strung Along," episode of television series Tales from the Crypt, Home Box Office; coauthor, producer, and director, Road Hogs (television pilot), USA Network.
SIDELIGHTS: Kevin Yagher's Hollywood experience as a master of special effects and his long association with the fantasy/science-fiction film genre provided a solid foundation for his first book. Heverly is the story of an elf, Prince Eli, who has been exiled from his homeland of Heverly. When he learns that his father, the king, is dying and his evil uncle Thornshackle is plotting to steal the throne, Eli decides he must return to save the kingdom. Many perils await him in the Valley of the Skulls through which he must pass, including an evil witch and a three-headed serpent. Eli rides into danger on the tail of a dragonfly who has the power to protect the young prince. After much travail, Eli reaches the kingdom in time to receive forgiveness from his father and ultimately to end the evil threat to his home. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "the nonstop action generates genuine excitement."
The memorable achievement of Heverly may be its unique illustrations. Yagher's characters are tiny, meticulously detailed, three-dimensional models that he created and posed, set against equally realistic backdrops. Yagher's photography, enhanced by computerized effects, adds a cinematic element to the action of the plot, reviewers noted. The Publishers Weekly reviewer called it "creepily realistic," from the characters themselves to settings like the "magical tinderwater ice cavern." School Library Journal writer John Peters also praised the illustrations: "The tiny, strong-featured figurines are all exquisitely detailed, wonderfully heroic or icky as appropriate."
Yagher told CA: "As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with folk stories about little people and miniature creatures. As a child some of my favorite books were Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and the Motorcycle, E. B. White's Stuart Little, and Mary Norton's The Borrowers. Other stories that interested me were Irish folk tales of little people such as elves and leprechauns. As a young child I even had a make-believe friend that was only six inches tall. Ever since, I've wanted to write a story of my own that had characters who were small in size. My children's book, Heverly, was the outcome of that desire.
"I have made a living as a special-effects makeup and creature designer in the motion picture industry. I have worked on such films as Master of Disguise, Mission Impossible II, and Face/Off to name a few. I also directed television presentations, like episodes of the Home Box Office series Tales from the Crypt.
"The knowledge and artistic abilities that I have learned in the film industry helped me in illustrating my children's books. Most picture books are illustrated using paintings or pencil drawings. I decided to create three-dimensional models of my storybook characters and miniature sets to place them in. Once everything was completed, I used film lighting to illuminate each illustrated scene, and I photographed them.
"I continue to work in film, but I am currently pursuing what interests me the most … children's book projects."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2001, review of Heverly, p. 312.
School Library Journal, September, 2001, John Peters, review of Heverly, p. 209.
Kevin Yagher Productions Web site,http://kevinyagher.com/ (September 6, 2002).