Fantastic Flesh The Art of Make-Up EFX Documentairy

there’s always been makeup effects in Malloy the other every time you see a trick of some sort on the screen like a monster somebody had to design it make it up make it work and throughout the years it’s evolved along the cinema creative people like to go beyond the real into the surreal and into the imaginative when you go beyond the real world and show an audience something beyond what they can imagine that’s a pretty exciting and fantastic thing there is an enormous power of a human being in a mask and it goes way back into our ancient history because the humanity is in there but you can’t quite tell what it’s feeling it has the shield against you I mean if you can find something that where you look in the mirror and you go oh that’s it you know I mean that’s the beauty of prosthetics growing up I was obsessed with makeup effects and in fact I remember and my bar mitzva I was sawed in half of the chainsaw you know I think a lot of people don’t think about the fact that when you watch mainstream movies there are makeup effects peppered throughout a lot of those films you have something as simple as out of the kit makeups you have prosthetics that can either age someone make them fat make them look like a creature then you also get into a whole other aspect which is fake bodies animatronics puppetry fake animals a fake beagle from underdog we’ve done everything from bodies being electrocuted in The Green Mile to a fat suit on Mike Myers for Austin Powers so every single film offers a different challenge and a new challenge I’ve been friends with Richard Taylor from Wetty forever and when they were doing Lord of the Rings I’d go and visit and they were so like immersed in that world you know what would happen was Richard Taylor had been approached about doing Narnia he was in the middle of King Kong and he said listen you should call K&B talked to Howard talked to Greg those guys would certainly be up for the challenge if nothing else we had six months to prep and I was off with a crude to New Zealand for nine months Narnia we were responsible for building an army actually two armies of warring creatures and I’ll tell you I’ve worked on a lot of big projects in the 25 years I’ve done this and nothing has been as big as Narnia nothing you deal with a movie like Chronicles of Narnia and there’s a hundred people in faun makeup sent our makeup Seder makeup it was such a daunting overwhelming task the genius of great makeup obviously is you don’t really guy you can’t really tell I mean my wife would come to set and like get really close to me and stare at it like she had never but she was looking at me for the first time she don’t know where it stops and where I started you really start to enter that Narnian world that fantasy world when you start putting on this armor and this makeup we had cast James really late in the game which was making me nervous I needed so I need an X amount of time to get James his makeup and design down and on so I was terrified like I was losing sleep up into that point it was the very first thing we shot when’s mr. Tumnus for us but finally once Andrew said that’s it we nailed I was like huh thank goodness give me to say that you’re a total relief my mum’s name is Helen yes but you are in fact human you know you shoot for nine months is sort of more commonplace to see somebody in makeup and see somebody not in makeup but it is funny being in the middle of a field in the Czech Republic with all these guys with like centaur hoods on and they lift it up and start smoking and it’s very fellini-esque I have three kids and they love the books and they were just excited the fact that I got called in to do this that was really Coca’s up until this point there’s nothing they could see that I’ve worked on at all which is kind of sad when you you know proud of the work you’re doing but you can really can’t sorry guys you can’t go see hostel the animals in Narnia just captured my heart you know and for for that to transcend that bridge of reality for us

so that we can relate to it on a heart level as another entity is I think amazing from that of course nominations for the BAFTAs and for the Oscars and we’re all that lend it just was the best experience I could ever wish for I really enjoy working with Michael he’s great visionary and I think that he’s he’s a demanding director as every other director that I’ve ever worked with is they want the best the challenge of Michael Bay is that he like to see as much stuff real in front of the cameras humanly possible we actually made I think about 160 bodies on that movie all told from the room where all the body is getting educated with all the different TV screens and then there was the pod room where we had 40 different bodies and different stages of development the idea really was where you’re growing human bodies so we wanted to be able to see how these bodies were created from the inside out and we had bodies that were literally just like a heart and a beating circulatory system in a human shape inside a sealed plastic bag filled with water and we made partially clear intestines hearts and things like that that we actually put inside that so you what you basically had was a completely see-through body and then the last minute we had to actually add in some movement which we couldn’t quite figure out how to do that in a sealed plastic bag but we ran stuff through the umbilicals to make it look like they were sucking their thumbs and things like that everything had to be lit from below you know if it was just lit from above you would have never seen any of the details like we wanted everything to look translucent the only way you can tell if it’s translucent is if there’s light shining through it so we have these plastic bins with lights in them and then we’d sit the bodies on them and then we’d have to fill the plastic containers with water so basically we’re submerging them and then we’d bleed all the air out and then screw the caps on then we’re the tube suck the rest of the air out so that we didn’t have bubbles in there’s like giant breast implants and bodies inside transformers what our assignment was and that was to come up with the frenzied puppet which had six different names before we started doing it because the script was half top-secret at the time and we had to figure out a way how to make this computer design puppet that when you design stuff in a computer it’s not really taken into account a lot of things for the real world so there are parts that would fold in on itself that would just disappear in the design and in the animatics that we had actually made function in real life so we started talking about it and I said well you know what if this is a big CGI movie anyway we could get a lot more life out of this puppet if we made it a rod puppet so basically you’re built you’re taking rods out of the corners of the elbows out of the back of the head so that you have puppeteers in the shot that can actually get more dramatic movement in a larger range of movement so we got on set Michael saw that it instantly was like wow I can shoot you use this for a lot more shots and I can shoot this and I can shoot that and I can do a lot more with it and it gave him a tool we had a remote-control cable operated frenzied puppet and they used it a lot in the film and it’s actually cut directly from CG shots to our puppet in there really ultimately our job is you got to provide the director with as many tools as you can you know the directors the directors the painter and you got to give him the paint and the brush and then maybe if you got a palette knife maybe felt this and all of a sudden if you’re giving the director more tools for him to do a better job then he can paint a better picture I know Darabont for years had been planning to do the mist he’d written the script and it was on again off again for at least 10 15 years initially the film was was a higher budgeted movie but a lot of studio people were concerned about the end of the film which was a very strong ending a very bold ending which a lot of people myself included respect Frank for sticking to his creative guns this was a movie he wanted to make and he finally got the chance to do it but it was on a very limited budget we shot that whole film in 36 days that was part of the pleasure of this particular exercise for me I said that as a goal as well which is doing an impossible schedule with that benefit of enormous funds rather than pretending you’re making a low-budget horror movie and spending a lot of money doing it let’s really make a low-budget horror movie I love that it’s got a 50 sensibility and it feels very timeless and yet it it’s supposed to take place today Frank had always had the intention that it was going to be a heavy CGI movie but that he wanted to augment with puppet pieces and have us design everything and build it and then the visual effects people would take their cue off of what we were designing and building we played with those ideas that that the tentacles would unfurl nity these little hooks hooks I’d

actually grab and pull the meat in and then there’s these little sea anenome now that would chew on everything the challenge where the effects were concerned because the effects on that were a combination of some can be practical stuff and a lot of really excellent CGI work from Caffe effects and and the real challenge there was mesh the practical effects and the computer effects in a in a happy way of my personal contributions to the best I think the most unusual contribution was I was what they called the green hand they painted my hand green and they put ingenious a little um cable ties that they cut at angles and my job was to you know simulate the tentacle coming in and then going right above the actors chest which had a big balloon of you know blood and I would grab it and pop it and pull all the flesh off and and that got replaced with the CGI tentacles everyone knew that it was blood time when I showed up with a big green arm you know walking around the mcconaughey blood today hi Shannon and arms green that means we’re gonna do some blood today and CDs wonderfulness the technology is fantastic and ever-growing but I think sometimes it’s overused and where it’s really good is where it just augments well what if what already exists I like the stuff in front of the camera I like it in camera which is becoming less used I’m like one of those people who actually love CGI III think it’s a great great tool I still do like animatronics but there’s a fine line with it because it’s it’s its capabilities are limited you know you can’t really have something flying down a supermarket aisle as an animatronic creature and have it really be believable you’re really much better off with computer graphics also – combining it with live-action creature effects is the best of both worlds because actually when you make a monster and it’s in the room in front of the camera it’s undeniably there and the audience actually oddly enough knows that – until CG becomes utterly convincing as a physical presence I think physical effects will always be better just because they have a presence and a solidity to them which CG as yet can’t quite duplicate I was on a set of a movie that was doing a comic book and they were doing it in motion capture so the actors will the stuff attached to them doing all this stuff and you’re seeing these cartoon characters you respond so I was talking to the director and he was saying he goes yeah you see a thing like this you can really do a graphic novel or a comic book exactly the way it was done like if you want to do braids right since Frankenstein you know you can do it and every shot will be Bernie Racing’s Frankenstein that’s never been done before he goes well Sin City kinda did it yeah almost it all right close to it and I didn’t contradict him but I’m thinking no since that he did it exactly what you’re talking about Sin City especially with the character of Marv would be the perfect candidate for a motion capture thing because it’s like oh who can play that but we could we can just draw that character and have a guy walk through it then it’ll be perfect except you wouldn’t have that make you work performance so Robert didn’t do that he actually cast an actor and turned him into Marv and Micky work was great and it’s why everyone remembers Sin City as great as it is it’s Mickey Rourke’s phenomenal performance that is the thing that’s like just blew us out of our socks of just grazed you got any beers around this place I remarried in the book again I just worked with Mickey in it a red book to see who could play Marvin I was looking at it again oh my god I know who this person is nikki is Marv but needed to make him look more like the comic and get more of the iconic features the first thing that was put down was okay we don’t want him wearing too much stuff because he’s got such a great face in such a great voice so let’s try just some minimal stuff so we did a couple little pieces just bridge of the nose things and we did a test and Mickey was here and Robert comes up and all sudden Frank Miller walked it behind him now they’re looking at now looking at it they’re looking at it and I said oh hey man you know here’s the wig and there’s dentures and you know we just we kept it kind of subtle because we didn’t want to go too crazy so the first shot we did on and just looked too baby smooth I was like even we make he takes off the Mickey has more character in his face when he’s got to make a bob than when he does on I said but we can go further if you want and Franklin really will you go further I said yeah yeah he said well here this is let me talk to you minute so he takes a piece of paper and he does the sketch ostrich and he was that’s Marv as soon as he did that I saw how the brow came out and how the nose came out and flattened and then the chin comes in and

I think I got it exactly so we do the makeup and he got the wife beater and the necklace with the cross and the black duster and walked in the set and Frank Miller literally backed away and it’s Frank up until that point had always just been he’s safe he’s on a page he can’t really hurt me and then you look up and he’s walking towards you and Frank literally was like we were so lucky because all the actors that we had to do makeups on Benicio del Toro and Nick Stahl and Mickey I mean these guys were so excited and so into the project I can’t imagine anyone other than Mickey Rourke wearing that marv makeup I mean I kind of look at that as the modern-day Frankenstein when I was a kid Frankenstein was real the Wolfman was real mummy and that’s why they scared the hell out of me I thought they were real I mean it’s only after I saw man of a thousand faces the story of lon chaney that movie was about somebody creating the monsters I realized oh yeah of course somebody creates the monsters I watch this movie when wow this is this is a real guy right my dad’s against lon chaney you know so he there happened to be a book out and he got me the book I looked through it and had all these amazing photos of all these makeups and just like that’s you know that’s what the real guy looked like it mrs. wet all the different characters amazing stuff that he came up and then you know the Phantom of the Opera makeup with the upturned nose one of the great makeups of all times Phantom of the Opera fishhooks and can help lord knows what he put himself through they would put pieces of wire in his eyes to pull his eyes down I mean talk about a guy who was doing whatever he could for the art of acting in the art of makeup and it that really inspired me you know and that’s where I did start to play with like really seeing what I could do as far as changing my face with with just household items a lot of people Stan Winston and Tom Savini all started out wanting to be actors I wanted to be Lon Chaney when I grew up so I decided I wanted to be the guy that creates the monsters before that I was a little tiny kid loafing on the corner and Little Italy and then that from that day on I was shining shoes to buy makeup I went to grade school with half my eyebrows missing nose putty in my hair then I realized I could make up my friends you know so I would you know burn the top of their heads off with makeup slice their throats of their wrists and they would go home and their parents would scream cuz they’re not a makeup bug they’re like what happened to my kid who did that Savini where you can’t play with him anymore I remember being very impressed with Jack Pierce’s work even before I knew who Jack Pierce was my mommy in the wolf man and Frankenstein are pretty indelible creations what’s amazing is how iconic those makeups are Jack Pierce creating a makeup on Karloff that is as classic as the Empire State Building it’s this like deco perfection there’s a reason why that Karloff Pierce the universal image is just you know and stamped in every even every kid born today they’ve seen that Frankenstein and that that’s the Frankenstein of their dreams that’s the Frankenstein of their nightmare with the bolts and the flat head that’s the frank light I mean junctures was doing incredible makeups with primitive materials he would build the makeup every day out of his kit with collodion and cotton Karloff would sit there for nine and a half hours while Jack would put layers of cotton to build up Karloff’s you know brows then his build his square head and then put the wig on from scratch every day that was a new creation there were no rubber pieces to glue on you know one of the reasons Jack Pierce was unceremoniously fired from Universal was that he took too long and by the 40s they wanted hurry up hurry up hurry up he was using primitive stuff but creating our classic monster and it all changes with the technology the ability to make latex pieces that would hold up for the time and to be able to be painted and it was just book you know was something that took three hours now took ten minutes you know Thomas of the down-and-dirty school of figuring it out you know a lot of well you know what if you just like I know it’ll works babe and he really was very innovative she’s got this amazing energy and had a tremendous influence on some of the stuff that we did I mean we could call on Tom to do anything Romero’s movies always held a fascination for me just because there was a kind of those this kind of slightly panic in the 80s about video nasties in the UK like our sensor sort of banned everything and a lot of good films got got taken off the shelves and so Dawn of the Dead was like this legendary movie that everyone talked

about I mean I had never seen a movie before that was just kill after kill after kill after kill at people getting shot in the head and heads explosion it was this beautiful orgy of on-screen makeup effects I remember the one picture of David M guy and Dawn of the Dead when he’s bitten zombified he’s got a big hole in his neck and he’s doing one of the best zombie performances in the in the history of the genre I think and looking at it and just thinking oh my god what is this when David M gives up the elevator shaft and he gets shot and his arm explodes into blood well I don’t have explosives licence then but I wanted to see an explosion of blood come out of him so you know I would just take a condom and split open tape it shut fill it with blood tie it around David’s arm under his clothes the hole was already in the clothing and I would have fish line attached to the tape so enjoyed and I’m up in the elevator shaft above him so that when George says action I yanked that tape which opens the rubber and blood just went he was just always coming up with these spontaneous things it was great I mean I could always call Tom up and say hey ma’am we’re gonna make another one you know start thinking of ways to kill zombie we all had a day to die which had nothing to do with the title of the movie but everybody’s dead scene they gave a day to because of the technical so I was the last death sting we reference that specifically in short of the dead with with Dylan’s character and it’s almost like a Romero staple as well the evisceration line you know it’s what you wait for and I love the way that you know you totally buy that somebody would just lie there and allow you to tell them in pieces without struggling I had already talked to George about having a wine now is worried about getting the line up because I when i walked in i said you know i don’t think roads is gonna is gonna just say nothing when he dies in george miss well let’s remember they tore your legs off and all you are is a torso what would you say and i would spurn in this ear choke on him choke on him great blood is like some unit escape and it was just a mess but everybody was like it was a great chat the shot was great you know particular kudos to joe for putting up with the stink of those entrails as well which were famously wrong i was very fortunate cuz it’s a real lovable death scene I’ve known Greg Nicotero since he was 14 used to come visit the set of creep shown we were on draw sketches for Chanel and invited us to his house would swim in his pool you know who’s just a great just a fun guy and we met totally coincidentally this is Greg was still I don’t know I can’t I don’t remember maybe twelve or fourteen something like that and they were in Italy vacationing and I was over there working with Dario Argento and we’re sitting at Alfredo’s restaurant in Rome and we walk in and you know was like I look there’s a Coliseum you know there’s the forum and I’m like yeah there’s George or my mean literally at the next table was George was George Romero all of a sudden his kid comes over to me and says I’m from Pittsburgh my name’s Greg Nicotero and I just really love horror movie Hasen so we chatted a little bit and I signed an autograph and all that and he said can I ever get to do anything like that do you think and I said well if you really want to you know someday I kept in touch with them I went visited the set of Creepshow a lot I think George Romero and Chris Rameau gave him the job on David ed you know some job and I took him as my assistant I always acknowledged and thanked George Romero for basically being the guy that opened the doors for me every movie I saw the Friday the 13th the movies like happy birthday to me and the Prowler the Prowler was a huge influence movie that I saw the Tom Savini did the makeup on I would go see when I wrote my first film cabin fever I very consciously wrote a makeup effects film I said I don’t I don’t want a movie that’s gonna be about CG it’s about the body deteriorating and we really have to see it and when people read the script it’s a while the effects had better be good you’re gonna use CG em no no no we’re we’re gonna use real practical makeup effects I suppose I thought that you know they were just gonna slap a bunch of blood on my face and some bruising and I don’t know I I thought it would be pretty simple but um you know they really created wounds and well you know you there was there was so much dimension to what they put on my face the moment we’re joined live rolls over and a face is all rotted out right before rider strong smashes are in head with a shovel I was really really pleased with that because we needed her to still be alive and it really looked like her skin had been peeled off I guess I was sort of an effects virgin before that but then I kind of got

hooked on the experience I love the blood and I love being covered in blood remember the leg shaving scene it was supposed to be the skin peeling off like a banana but in shipping the parts there was a freeze that happened that we weren’t expecting and a lot of the makeup effects that had been made got frozen they got destroyed in the freeze you know we sat there and we thought how are we gonna get this how are we gonna get her shave her legs with this whole makeup effects we planned and we thought okay what if you know we just do the full makeup on it and she’s slowly revealing it and I wanna being so much more effective and it gets a wild scream every time people see it that was an empowerment and he became really the centerpiece of the film this is the guy that created the Exorcist The Godfather Midnight Cowboy The Sentinel this was the guy he pioneered he invents all the techniques that all the guys used today I knew that in Hollywood when they did a transformation they would generally make it out of foam latex but all in one piece the problem with that was simple foam latex shrinks so when you try to put it on you will be fighting the smallness of the mask and I thought well why didn’t I make it in section what dick was doing was unlike anybody else you know just these multi-piece apply and says and and just the way things looked there’s they just really look real you just felt like if you could touch it it that would feel like real flesh there’s something dick had an eye for for creating the right form right wrinkled over this wrinkle and fold over this fold makeup artist wooden didn’t share their secrets you know competition whatever but not dick Smith you would call Dick Smith on the phone what why what is it I’m busy you scared because it’s Dick Smith you know then you would ask him a question an hour and a half later he’s still telling you how to do the formulas and then he would type it up in Xerox it in those days and Meletus he shared his secrets when I was a kid when I was six years old I saw The Exorcist and it traumatized me I thought it was completely real I thought you get possessed by the devil the intensity was so great that sitting in the theater National Theatre in Westwood sitting there when the lights went down everybody went yeah you know everyone was scared before it started the Linda make up the basic demonic faith was the toughest one we did a series of six different makeups right off to test and going crazy doing anything but they want to see you know every go whole hog and there was nothing in the first half dozen that pleased any of us and so I did another after but Billy then decides really freaking the director then decided that we should tone it all down make it as little as possible and I wasn’t too happy about that and then I think we went into more different tests and finally we started coming back in the other direction the makeup on her was just increasingly startling and weird did you remember that when she did the vomiting that a Hispanic woman stood up in the middle of the audience screaming and said yo smell just me when she ran up the aisle to screaming I mean teach did all the vomiting scenes and it’s easy to put the makeup on that went Linda war and there was a pretty good match they had to make a vomiting apparatus for the vomiting scene which was kind of like a a bit that went in your mouth and a teeny teeny tubes that ran under the makeup and of course I couldn’t I couldn’t walk I couldn’t talk and I you know I couldn’t eat and he invented like this little vacuum cleaner thing you know like nearing the dentist little thing went you know to get rid of that we originally thought we’d have to use her a lot because Linda had no training as an actress and but she learned very fast so Linda was used in practically everything except the extreme violence scenes I did the vomiting scene and b-but they called the abuse of the cross sequence which was dented the thighs and really joins the net bloody sponges on the thighs because everything but I always have to say is

nobody knew it was going to be the Exorcist we’re just working we’re just making a horrible we tried to duplicate reality and something Stan Winston said to me as a kid because I had sculpted this big monster hand he’s like that’s all fine and dandy sculpt the nose why don’t you sculpt the nose and mold it and run it and put and apply it and let’s see if it looks real if you can do that you can do anything I was like but that sounds easy just a now as you went now it’s not just a nose it’s dead center in your face so you’ve got to learn how to crawl before you can walk there’s nothing harder in this life then to convince you that somebody’s older than they are on film old-age makeup is the most diabolically difficult thing to really pull off it’s only ever been done twice in my estimation in a way that I completely believed both times were Dick Smith well you know when I saw the exercise which I wasn’t allowed to see but it was one of the films my dad brought home and I snuck a peek through the crack in the door watched everyone I kept going I don’t know why people are freaking out about it to me I was looking at it as a technical standpoint those makeups are amazing never did I ever think that Mac’s one slide I was wearing that wearing a makeup you know as he’s playing father man I seem to recall that he had trouble getting some work after that because everybody thought he was 75 years old and indeed he was not max was a young man max was 40 something would need to be exercised he was a young man working with Max who was in his early forties somewhere was really an easy job because he had a long kind of serious looking face his skin wrinkled easily enough I could add on small appliance to give him a waffle on his neck and use this what we call old-age stipple which is just a latex formulation that you stipple on the skin and stretch it and then when you let it go it makes the skin more leathery and therefore it wrinkles naturally the approach wasn’t that complex in theory actually executing it took took genius my own space would be I could look like a mummy in no time I put some of my face you know I don’t even think max Pence I don’t even looks at old today it’s probably that it is probably the best old-age make I’ve ever done it’s flawless and the other one was f Murray Abraham and Amadeus which is one of the great makeups of all time and you just completely believe it I mean dick really became the master of old-age makeup you know you follow the father Merrin makeup which to me is perfect all the way up to Hamid dais and so forth him and just really it’s just really beautiful subtle stuff his performance was truly wonderful and that’s that’s all part of it your makeup is worthless if the actor doesn’t use it look he’s deserved an Academy Award his whole life he finally gave it to him from a – that is a victory for me that I treasured still if they do the Hall of Fame of makeup effects artist he’ll be right at the top of the list rather like right next to Jack Pierce would be dick Smith I started working in the film business as a male boy 20th Century Fox Studios in 1967 and the head of the makeup department at Fox was John Chambers Johnny once applied to me before he got into the field for a job at NBC and at that point I had nothing that I could offer him Johnny headed west and became very successful he had been a guy in the military one of his jobs was picking up pieces of people after accidents and acts of war and he became fascinated by disfigurement and how you deal with it and he was my first exposure to a makeup artist I used to go into the makeup department all the time because I thought it was so cool they had you know shelves lined with sculptures and monsters and they were making all the foam appliances for the Planet of the Apes planet of the age your wildest dream I’m old enough to remember when Planet of the Apes came out and when an impact that had on my little nine-year-old brain did kind of his brain yo buddy battle you know of course every kid has to do a plan of the Apes makeup so I did a whole bunch of those as well and you know can count my face I cast my own face which was very difficult and uh ended up sculpting you know just looking at how they broke it down you know those photos so it was like the brow with the muzzle and then a lower chin and then

hairpieces on hand laid all this hair nothing the Planet of the Apes being really exciting and as a kid because of the and the idea and seeing the makeup and a strange an adventurous those were I remember my dad trying to bond my brother never say you know let’s go we’re going to you know college football game or sitting up in the nosebleeds those cold of all mad cuz I’m missing Planet of the Apes TV my custody for final disposition you realize what that means he won an Oscar he won the second honorary Oscar ever given to a makeup person before it was a category for plan of the Apes Rick Baker had a great love for gorillas and it was gorilla obsessed human being started with John Landis as schlock and then Kate did King Kong he always does good bro you’re getting soft limbo you normally hack off a limb well I was really excited when when Rick got hired to do playing the ape-like figure that’s gonna be great I mean I knew Rick stuff is gonna be great because of Rick’s interest and obsession with apes and and his inspiration by Planet of the Apes of all um I think that he always had a really unique vision in terms of how to translate those makeups saying how can we improve upon this how can we make this different how can we make it more interesting well listen you know let’s see we can do about adding lip movement I was the out of my mind out of my mind to make it up on volume what I loved about Rick’s makeups were you know the makeup you didn’t paul giamatti and the makeup on Tim Rob and they’re all so dramatically different all right get a load all we stopped Ameen I think Rick took a huge chance doing that film uh because it has so much love so you know within the world in the audience all of us it was astounding work definitely you know a tribute to to Rick’s vision in his his sort of updating you know the classic I was working on a picture called jaws three people zero at Universal which looked like it was never going to get made and my friend Mike Finnell was working on a project called the howling where the original director was apparently being let go when I came over to do that picture the idea was that there was going to be a werewolf transformation it was all going to be done on one take which was unusual for the time so we went to Rick Baker who was friend of ours and you know was I always wanted to do a werewolf picture but he had been working with John Landis on a picture called American werewolf and they had never really got financing never got off the ground I think was a little frustrated I gave Rick a screenplay I had written in 1969 called an American Werewolf in London and I said Rick figure this out because I want to show and I told him everything so he had a long time to think about it because no one would ever make that show and so when we asked him to do our picture he said sure then he had all these ideas which I guess he’d been planning to use on the other picture and he worked for us for about a week maybe they did a fabulous test and John’s project suddenly came to life I call him up and I go hey Rick I got the money we’re making we’re Wolfen he went oh hmmm what’s the matter she’s we remember that change-o head I showed you know yeah well I’m I’m doing a werewolf picture for joe don t reason you [ __ ] what you what so Rick had to some I reluctantly leave our movie and left us in the hands of rob rodeen who was his associate as much younger had worked with me on piranhas at the age of 18 so I already knew him so Rob poutine took over the picture and finished did the werewolves and Rick came in and did an American Werewolf in London Rick Baker’s American Werewolf in London when you watch that it’s happening right in front of you my stuff always was happening right in front of you there was something to that Rob came up with his own concept of you know how he wanted to do these transformations I had done a movie called airplane where I made a mechanical nose prosthetic for Leslie Nielsen it was like a Pinocchio nose and it grew on camera you know so I thought well wait a minute what if I use the same technology that I used for that nose and I used it to actually make the mechanical mask make its nose grow and make the make the lower jaw grow make the ears grow and make the teeth grow with the inspiration that Joe Dante wanted to see transformation done in one shot I then started thinking like well

would it be kind of interesting to actually make a replica of the actor and inside would be like an under skull and I thought well what if I I actually took the skull and and cut it up and actually got the bones to shift and whatnot that wasn’t learn-by-doing situation rob would do stuff we would shoot it we would look at it we would cut it we would discover that what looked like a mistake was actually good work for us if we put a sound effect on it rabo team was just he was really unbelievable on the Haley do you Wallace who had to do most of the reacting to the werewolf and had to look at nothing was a really good actor so could really get into the moment and you find that no matter how good your effects are if your cut away to the actors response isn’t convincing it negates the quality of the effect it was interesting hearing Joe going okay is getting taller what’s there comes his ears they know that there’s a level of visibility to the fact that you’re doing it so they have to take that into account and not break up well I love Robo team Robbo teen god you know what it’s like it’s like when a movie would come out by Robo teen or Rick Baker or Thicke Smith this is the latest exhibit from your favorite artist that’s what I would treat it you’re not going to just see this movie you’re going to see the latest artwork from when these people I mean look at total recall’ the woman’s head that’s a split boom boom boom boom and there’s Arnold when I was meeting with Paul and I was pitching him my different ideas for the movie this is the transition scene where where Arnold in essence is going to Mars and his adventure is beginning that wasn’t in the script no that was that wasn’t written somewhere he just contributed that get ready for the stuff that you respect I talked with a bunch of guys on the thing about how to do it a lot of influence at the time from alien face hugging and such rabo teen came in and said kind of gave me the secret to the movie creatively dramatically and and the effects wise he said look this is a chance of a lifetime because the thing can look like anything it’s not to look like one thing it changes constantly so you just go wild with it so I said to John wouldn’t it be neat if the guy’s ribcage Norris his ribcage just rips open and his ribs become like a big set of teeth and then Doc who isn’t expecting this of course falls in to the the chest cavity and the teeth closed and white docs arms on one of my favorite images of all time is you know Norris has had hitting the floor and sprouting the legs and kidding me I remember when I first saw the thing I went into a double feature of the thing in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and I thought of Fast Times was first and then was gonna go into thing and had the times all screwed ups when you got there this guy’s head was coming off the tables stretching them and calling it cause before any past time you know you felt like you were in the hands of lunatics who would stop at nothing to get the visceral effect now that is the masterpiece of splatter to me the thing nothing I’ve ever done I could say this is a masterpiece of splatter although they call me the king of splatter Robbo teams working the thing mister that’s that’s the masterpiece and what really is mind-blowing is those effects still hold up we’ve got a call out of the blue from Kevin Costner’s company and he was going to do this Western called Dances with Wolves first time he was going to direct so he called us in and he said well listen I saw the cadaverous we did for gross anatomy so he can do dead bodies you can definitely do dead buffalos obviously it’s illegal to to shoot and kill animals for motion pictures and they had some very specific things they wanted to do we need to make to mechanical buffalos for a buffalo hunt to simulate the actual arrows and and bullet hits that are going into the buffalo hides then there were the other buffalos I want to say 23 buffalos and they were made so that they are hides were removable during the construction I got a phone call from the production designer he said we’re using actual buffalo hides here and we understand you’re using artificial fur I said well of course we’re using artificial fur you know we don’t want to use actual animal hides and making these things and you know working with the skins and all that stuff would be very difficult for us and this will be easy well it’s never going to match it’s never going to match in a million years in that capacity well trust me so I don’t do a great job it’s gonna look nice you’ll see yeah I don’t believe you

so I said we’ll send me a buffalo hide and I’ll shoot pictures side-by-side so the buffalo hide came in the artificial fur came and I looked at the two and I went okay took and I used some some fabric paints and things that we use and I made it know painted a book about the same and I looked at him and I was but to put the labels on and I went huh and I reversed them I take a picture and sent it to the production designer well I got a call oh my god got artificial buffalo furl it’s terrible it’s not real as awful as that’s not the other thing I said I knew and say that I switched the tags and there was silence in the other in the phone and I said I’ll see you out in South Dakota I’m ready to go and that was that I never had another problem with it through a friend of mine Scottie Spiegel when the co-writers on evil dead too I met the kmb guys which was a Greg Nicotero and Bob Kurtzman and Howard Berger and we get to be friends when we’d all go see movies at like the Nuart you know and go see the killer I remember and standing around quitting and then afterwards we all go out and eat and all this so anyhow we knew that Quinton was a writer and Bob Kurtzman had this idea for this vampire gangster movie and had written a 25 page outline but wanted to have a real writer to write write script so he thought hey I can I could probably pay Quentin to do this this would be great and I said okay I’ll do it for $1,500 and I’ll do all that stuff and I was happy to do that but I but I threw a provision in there and I said look I’m gonna be making Reservoir Dogs coming up in this next year and a half and I want you to do the makeup effects on it for free and and Bob said okay so he wrote from dusk till dawn for Bob and Bob tried to get it going for quite a while nobody liked it everyone was saying you can’t go from having this gangster movie to this vampire movie and it’s easy it’s two different movies this is crazy who would ever make a film that’s two films in one that doesn’t make any sense it’ll never happen Quentin gave me a script to read he’d said here’s something you can do in Mexico it’s something that first row don’t have the rights to it anymore but uh check it out and I started reading it and it was terrific but like there’s stuff that he had already taken out of it like Ezekiel speech from pulp fiction was in that originally and there’s other gems that he had already been pulling out and I thought you know few more years don’t be anything left if you keep mining it we met her go shoot it quick while we can and then the next scene of the movie was being made because of a strike that was going on cuz we’re non-union actually we had to shoot the second half first so candy had to make all of the effects all the creatures and everything right away so that we could start with all that you know even think he was shooting out of order I mean shoot it in order so that you could have time to prepare all that shoot all your outdoor stuff first we had to start with interior crew stuff before we could go out and shoot the exteriors stuff so the whole second half was done first so first day was in the bar and by the first end of the first week we’re into vampires and creatures wouldn’t all of that I was so much fun it was like literally you’re talking about a bunch of guys that show up to work there’s a bunch of naked girls and blood and vampires in Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Keitel and Robert Rodriguez we were shooting downtown in an old lorries seat meat seasoning factory that had been closed down and it was hot as hell this was during the the summer no air conditioning we were all dying so we had a room that was actually at the meat locker that was off from the the soundstage where I set up the makeup room there are 12 of us and they’re doing hundreds of makeups all day long just churning churning churning you know my makeup took about three hours it was great getting the makeup on you know I’m getting the long thing I love the long fingers you know and we’re after makeups on an hour after it’s on I’m running on the hallway scaring people sneaking up behind Rodriguez you know they could be pretty drew Greg purposely gave me a penis nose look at my makeup and vessel gone it’s a penis nose because he’s my friend and he and it’s in there and every day we picked picked he’s like why what is why did you do this up until that point we had done little things for Quinton you know nothing big like Reservoir Dogs a great movie but for us it was this ear chop thing which is rather memorable and a lot of blood stuff but we really got to prove ourselves to him on that show and then I just kind of led into the next shows and you know the next gigantic enormous thing we did with Quinton was obviously killed bill where I think we proved ourselves for a lifetime with him I wanted to have the Japanese type of pyrotechnics like the way the blood would squirt out and all that kind of stuff I didn’t want to have that horror movie stuff even as far as like the color of the blood we tested all these different bloods we test a Chinese blood but what they use in Hong Kong and China for bloody scenes we tested Japanese blood for what they use in their movies and we tested American blood and so we

went with a Japanese blood it was great working with a Howard burger and he knew exactly what it is I wanted and and you know he’s great because there’s no excuses you know cuz there are things that don’t work yeah that’s they don’t work half the time actually but he’s never has an excuse about it just okay sorry we’re all waiting here we go try it again I don’t know what the problem is give me five minutes to figure it out in the last dozen years we’ve done every one of Roberts films grindhouse was the most fun I’ve ever had on the film for sure way to blast it was fun just being there I mean just being there one because of Robert trying to think what kind of zombies they’d be made sense that they would just be sort of a infection brought back from the war that it would be a viral infection and had my doctor show me real infection so I could kind of see how could you mix some of these together and have them get out of control and you said oh well I’ve got eyeballs Iraqi eyeballs and actually in my refrigerator you know mustard gas makes them all cloudy my doctor looked at about that I put him in the movie my doctor is the doctor in the movie that’s there with Josh Brolin it’s just obvious all these are horrible so I thought let’s just take these and multiply them and have them all happen at a very rapid rate it was no-holds-barred you know I mean that’s what Robert wanted was everything goes anything goes and everybody’s pretty serious about it except when you actually get out on the set you start doing your thing and you know the press pack in addition to bursting we love it and you’re like little kid it was months of doing the disease makeups on the actors plus all of the effects that we had in the filming that was a lot for the money in the time that we had basically because it was a double feature had to save money on mines that there’d be enough money for Quentin to make his it was funny because you know Robert uses a lot of CGI in his stuff and so I had never really used a GI before except maybe the razor wire so then I wrote a car crashing oh hey if I’m you CJ I’m gonna do something I’ve never seen before so I thought I would do this car crash people are getting torn apart simultaneously when I wrote it now Greg knows I can’t stand CGI so he just assumed that he was gonna have to build this and then when he started talking like that I you know of a sudden yeah let’s do it in camera forget yeah I didn’t tell him I was thinking about CG I was like yeah he’s right he actually thinks okay let’s do that let’s do it that way the real challenge was we had to create dummies of each of these girls that could act because the idea always was Quentin said I want this is like a crash-test dummy movie I want to see all this stuff in super slow motion so we did body scans and live casts of four principal actresses were in the car at the time of the crash I can’t believe they have this technology but they get they got me to get into a circle and make a DaVinci pose this ground unit comes around you slowly drops around you can’t move for 60 seconds you have to hold this position and it takes this perfect image of your body what Quentin wanted was very specific stuff you know to see a car tire rip through the roof of the car and peel the girl’s face off and to you know girl gets her leg ripped off he she goes flying out of the front window of the car and things like that there were very specific things so the actress has had to be cast in the exact positions they were sitting in in the car but then the armatures inside had to be articulated in such a way too that they moved like a real human body would move so we literally designed armatures that mimicked the human body in terms of skeleton you know we had joints that could only move a certain way if your arm can’t bend this way then the armatures and the then the puppets didn’t Bend that way so we built everything so that was all loose we did full silicone bodies they made these things look exactly like us we shot for three days pulling the bodies apart and ripping the leg off and shooting the dummies through the windshield and the last gag was the shot where Vanessa’s sitting in the backseat she’s the only one that sees the crash coming so she closes her eyes so as the wheel comes through and rips through it rips her face that’s one of the things I’m real proud about it is you know it’s all done in camera the dummies look really good and

you can’t tell and I’m pretty proud of that but that was all shot on the day nothing was added nothing was taken away that’s just you know we shot it on the set that way I like going to conventions where you’ll have a young kid that will come up and say oh man I loved Evil Dead too and I’m a big fan of the Romero movies and then you look at them and you go wow that was me one day and they’re influenced by movies and sequences that we’ve had a part in doing I mean to me that’s so exciting to be able to influence young filmmakers and young minds it’s that magical movie channel for that however that is defined it’s part of the magic that makes you want to do it you know when you’re a kid and makes you pursue it as an adult these guys love what they do any job on a movie is hard work in long hours but makeup effects guys are constantly working a lot longer than the shooting company is working your inspirations come from everything we all the great old movies you know all the great old comic books and then a good healthy dose of nightmares my generation and you know generations before us know who Lon Chaney is who know all these great makeup artists Jack Pierce Cecil Hall and they’re the basis of why we do this I am all for you know the growth of young people and if I’ve been able to I’ve helped them a little bit sometimes there are a number of makeup artists that have grown up this kind of second generation people and they have become really better and better until they’re now top artists and that I regard is terrific you you