Special effects have come a long way since they were first presented to us on our screens.
What used to be a little bit of cotton wool, some wax, and some latex pieces, if you were lucky, is now full-blown custom-made prosthetics in immaculate detail, where you would have to see the piece removed to believe it wasn’t real.
If you are into special effects makeup, there is a good chance you also like theater, films, and other forms of entertainment where things are not quite what they seem. This piece will focus on films with some of the most iconic special effects makeup that every artist or actor interested should see for themselves.
If you are a fan of theater and film, then there is an excellent chance that you have already seen the cult masterpiece that is Beetle Juice.
An interesting fact about Beetle Juice was that it stayed true to original special effects makeup techniques in a time when digital CGI and alterations were beginning to make waves in the movie world. Ve Neill, the special effects makeup artist, created Beetle Juice’s famous look, and this was combined with puppetry and other practical effects. No digital manipulation in sight!
Death Becomes Her
Who can forget the iconic film Death Becomes Her? This film was also created when digital effects were being experimented with. It was decided that a mixture of prosthetics and CGI were to be used to achieve the desired look. Smith, the special effects artist, who also had a significant claim to The Exorcist’s disturbing appearance, worked with the film crew who created contortions, holes, and wounds in the characters while he utilized makeup to produce an aging effect. This became a pioneering combination for the following films in the 1990s.
Pans Labyrinth is another 1990s staple movie that captured the imagination by using special effects makeup. With a heavy focus on fantasy and magic, the special effects had to be extraordinary to make it believable. Otherwise, producers would have run the risk of the film looking like a children’s fever dream. Guillermo Del Toro, the assigned special effects makeup artist, put a lot of weight on the art of makeup over digital enhancements, and only small amounts of CGI were used. Mostly to complement his extraordinary work.
While Guillermo Del Toro has quite the reputation to live up to, practice makes perfect, and if you are interested in mastering this art form, get your hands on some quality special fx makeup products.
The Mask is a fantastic example of beautiful prosthetics and special effects makeup in perfect cohesion with the face and body they are on.
While the very title suggests that Jim Carrey’s character wore a mask, this look was created with a full face of theatrical makeup and some false teeth. Jim Carrey saved the film crew thousands on digital special effects due to his immaculate acting of ‘The Mask’ character.