Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Countdown To Halloween--Day 4 (Make-Up!)

When I was a kid, way, way back in the 'Sixties, when the world was young and Shock Theater ruled the airwaves, when Forrest J Ackerman was nigh-on a god and Famous Monsters of Filmland was the Word and the Light, there one day appeared on the newsstands a special edition of FM, the...

And, oh! The World changed for many a Monster Kid! Now, instead of reading about monsters and thinking about monsters and dreaming of monsters, we could BECOME MONSTERS! At least, for a little while (though our parents might have disagreed).

Halloween would never be the same. The cheesy Collegeville costumes from the local five and dime? Forget 'em. Kid stuff. Let's raid mom's make-up table for eyebrow pencils and cold cream, figure out how to get our hands on some liquid latex and mortician's wax, appropriate ping pong balls, model paints, Karo syrup, food coloring, brushes and sponges and gauze and whatever, take over the bathroom and MAKE SOME MONSTERS! Rick Baker started out this way during his freshman year of high school, as a matter of fact.

Oh, it was great, messy, sometimes disappointing and sometimes surprising fun!

The Handbook stayed in print for some years, then eventually became a collector's item. Eventually, Imagine, Inc. acquired the rights and published it as a paperbound volume through five editions. It's currently out of print, but used copies are available all over the Intarwebs.

Better still, walt74 has made the pages of the original handbook available as a flickr set. If you're looking for a good introduction to fantasy make-up, if you need a few good ideas for this year's Halloween costume, if you're thinking about doing a Zombie Walk but don't know how to zombify yourself (and, especially, if you want to learn the secret to making gallons of stage quickly and cheaply), look no further!

The blogger in his decadent Super-8 youth, make-up and fx courtesy of JSam:


JSaM said...

Ah, memories! The original headpiece for "Frankenstein Xperiment" used the top of a styrofoam wig block covered with a piece of bed sheet and sculpted over with a lot of dad's SOS plumbing putty (did I mention that Helen worked in the SOS plant?). I remember hand-pressing those stitches in with mom's thread (what was I thinking of?). The design came from Dave Prowse's creature in "Horror of Frankenstein" (look it up), which I had recently seen. When we did the reshoot in Sept '72 I had redone it with latex from P&M office supplies (!). Remember that awful ammonia smell? The "Curse of Drac" face was cast in the early '80's reproduced in latex and burned in production reshoots. The fright wig was a blond wig from the St. John's rummage sale which I dyed black (I guess I didn't ruin moms washing machine). It got used in "Frankenstein Xperiment" (head on the table) and "Curse of Drac" and may still be around here!

G. W. Ferguson said...

Ah, "The Frankenstein Xperiment" make-up. I gained new respect for Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, and all those people who had to endure long prep times and painful appliances. That styrofoam began digging into my skull after about 15 min., leaving me with ferocious headaches. The putty brow, as you may recall, had a tendency to slip down into my eyes as it warmed up, starting out as uncomfortable, then becoming downright painful. And the latex? Talk about yer skin irritation. Still and all, it was great fun!

MonsterGuy95 said...

So that wss how you made a headpiece, styrofoam!