Filmmaker and special make-up effects artist Sandy Collora launched a Kickstarter campaign Sept. 1 that could break records for the crowd-funding website.

“This $550,000 campaign is the biggest attempted raise for a horror film in Kickstarter history,” said Collora in a recent statement.

His new film, Shallow Water, will feature practical effects and a new movie monster Collora hopes will become iconic. On the campaign page, he describes the film as “a gritty, moody and terrifying horror film about the dangers of abusing our environment.” Collora hopes to create a franchise from this film.

He drew inspiration from classic creatures.

“There’s a lot of Gamera in there. The Sleestak from Land of the Lost and a bit of the Creature from the Black Lagoon in the body. All of my favorite monsters, really. I draw a lot from nature as well. There’s a heavy snapping turtle influence to it. Some crocodile in there as well. But I think the design is different in and of itself. It stands on its own. It’s unique,” Collora told Make-Up Artist.

Sandy Collora sculpts the Shallow Water creature | Photo courtesy of Sandy Collora
Sandy Collora sculpts the Shallow Water creature | Photo courtesy of Sandy Collora

Patrick Magee of Magee FX (AVP: Alien vs. Predator, Men in Black 3) is Collora’s chief collaborator on creating the practical make-up effects. Collora said there is a team of other great artists; Jordu Schell worked with Collora to create a reference maquette of the creature.

“Keeping talented people around you is of the utmost importance when making a film. You’re only as good as your crew. There are so many good people out there now. I wish I could work with them all,” said Collora.

He enjoys the collaborative atmosphere and creative freedom that a Kickstarter campaign affords. This is his fourth Kickstarter project: He launched the books The Art of Creature and Character Design (volumes 1 and 2) and the documentary Behind the Mask: The Batman Dead End Story through Kickstarter funding. The deadline for funding is Oct. 15.

“It’s exciting, nerve racking and quite the rush,” said Collora about crowd-funding a project. “You see everything happen right there in front of you, in real time. There’s really nothing like it.”

Other team members for Shallow Water include actor/fitness professional Clark Bartram, editor Eric S. Dow, producer Dale Pearson and cinematographer Felipe Perez Burchard.

During his more than 25 years working in the industry—as a creature effects designer, sculptor and concept artist on films such as  Leviathan, The Abyss, Robocop II and Men in Black—Collora learned what was needed to become a filmmaker.

Final Shallow Water creature | Image courtesy of Sandy Collora
Final Shallow Water creature | Image courtesy of Sandy Col

“I learned a lot about how to light and shoot rubber, make things look even more real and organic,” he said. “I paid attention on set. Learned as much as I could from everyone; the DP, the gaffer, the camera operators, costume people, etc. … I’m enamored with every job it takes to make a film. The entire process. I think this never-ending search for knowledge about the craft and the language is what makes you a better filmmaker.”

For more on the Shallow Water Kickstarter campaign, and to pledge, visit kickstarter.com/projects/292967578/shallow-water-terror-runs-deep.