Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 1:56PM
Cleve Hall, his family and friends and co-workers, manage SOTA FX, a special effects company in Hollywood, making monsters for everything from
Dreamworks to Devo!
It is a TV reality show, of a sorts. So unfortunately for us, at least half the show is spent dwelling on the interrelationship drama between, mostly Cleve and everyone else. The intro explains that a good number of the shop folk happen to be Cleve’s family, this includes his ex-wife and daughters, so interpersonal drama is kind of a given. I would just much rather concentrate on the monsters they’re building and who the monsters are for this week, but that’s me.
Cleve Hall is the main character (boy is he a character), this is true, but he’s also a grown man. Running around in goth ringmaster most of the time, rolling his eyes and ignoring his shop foreman (and everyone else) when they chide him for his timing. His daughter Constance is more often
involved in shop builds than her other sister, she does makeup jobs and faces/heads mostly, unless assigned otherwise by her dad. The other daughter Elora is dutifully in the shop, but she seems to be the main one who runs around in “normal” clothes and makeup, if you can believe that. Sonia Maddox-Hall is Cleve’s ex-wife, and while they do crack jokes about being formerly married and what a mess that was, it strikes me as interesting that the show presents that situation as Cleve being mature enough to be his ex-wife’s boss inside a Hollywood build shop. Roy Knyrim is Cleve’s business partner and co-owner, the show always has him running around complaining about Cleve’s timing and being the responsible one, while Cleve has fun. Cindy Miller is the other co-Boss, she’s not often featured in the show as a builder, but rather yet another person running yelling after Cleve. Johnnie Saiko and Hill Vinot are the other unrelated shop creators, and that’s the whole family of SOTA FX.
As far as the monsters and the jobs the work on, they’re not bad. On the one hand, you get to see how all these movie effects monsters are made, what it takes to make them, and even parts of how the monster is used in the video or whatever towards the end of the show. On the other hand, it
really takes away the mystery (if there was any for you) of the whole monster prop in the video deal. I mean, after seeing huge pieces of foam rubber turn into a werewolf man, it’s a little disenchanting. However, the shots of the monster being used in a film at the end of the show do make it worthwhile. Cleve and his crew have made alien 50’s bobble-heads for Jackass boys, a music video and entire concept for the famous band Devo, spider monsters that try and eat your head, and all sorts of other fun things! The show itself and the jobs they do seem to be a bit more low rent for Hollywood, but please bear in mind, the SyFy channel is somewhere in the medium range of popularity, as are most of their syndicated shows. I personally enjoyed FACE / OFF more, but Monster Man is worth a watch and a giggle or two.