View Full Version : Haunt Makeup article

09-15-2010, 04:22 PM
Over on the Fright Forum, while talking about our upcoming Halloween tour, I talked a bit about putting an article together about that most neglected aspect of the makeup industry, haunt makeup.

Unlike our fellows in the TV/movie industry and the theatre, we have some interesting challenges. Our makeup can't be finessed in post, it often has to go without touchup, and, it has to look real from inches away.

We have to hide edges and seams, have blood that looks as if it actuaslly came out of veins under any lighting--things like that. Often, we have to recreate things that only existed in movies.

I saw a thread yesterday about making edible organs---movies and TV can use tasty lookalikes, but, as was pointed out, if the stuff smells good when we do it, it ruins the illusion.

We definately have challenges that don't crop up in most of the rest of the makeup industry.

So, what are yours? How do you deal with them? As the season starts, you and I are going to have people in our chairs that we've got to turn into monsters.

We're hitting a least ten haunts on our tour--if not more. I'd like to talk to the artists, get pictures and stories, and put something together.

Thoughts? Ideas? Questions?

09-17-2010, 12:45 PM
Movie make-ups are still much more complicated than haunt make-ups. There was a time, and still is in many cases, where edges had to be hidden in movie make-ups. Most production companies aren't going to waste cash digitally fixing bad make-ups.

Most haunt make-ups look pretty bad. Haunts generally aren't about subtleties, most haunt make-ups are pretty theatrical at best. And really, much more than theatrical make-ups, when only seen for mere seconds under typical low light levels of haunts, would be overkill.

Haunt make-up touch-ups? Just add blood. Who would know the difference?

Haunts do not have to deal with continuity like movies do, haunts do not deal with extreme close-up like movies do, and haunt make-ups are not projected on 70 foot wide screens.

Edible organs ... what's wrong with chewing on foam rubber organs? You can't eat them, but why would you really need to? Foam rubber smells like bad eggs.

09-17-2010, 05:30 PM
I would say it’s a good idea to have this. As a former makeup artist for over 10 years at one of the top rated events in Illinois I can honestly say that information in our industry is easy and hard to come by. What that means is most makeup artists are very friendly and helpful with new people. But at the same time the job itself is actually kind of a b*!&#.

My biggest “value add” I think was actually talking the actors into being who they were. Not letting them see what they looked like while I talked them up, and then springing on them the change. Just making sure they walked out of the room with a “let’s go F()#” with someone” mindset. IN other words, making them feel like someone else.
I think just as easy to say my biggest mistake was not leaving my work, life, or inner haunt politics stress at the door some night. Makeup people might not realize it but we can also screw the crew for a night if we are sour in our role. So a good attitude and an ability to have a good working mindset is something makeup people must build.

I have not posted makeup tips here in a few years as I have spent the last two trying to get an event off the ground, unsuccessfully. I have to say just going through the issues of having and loosing property makes me feel a lot more for all the stress involved with ownership that you don’t get even as a very integral volunteer.

Anywho…………… since it also seemed you were looking for tips my favorite is still non-descript head wounds and lots of blood. Mix up a few colors of blood, thin some in a squirt bottle. Thicken some up and put it in a long nozzle hair color bottle. With that and some free form light and dark blood you can gore up about anyone, quick. Makes for fast and easy living dead, better for low budget black and white. My son is a theater major and I can still teach a group of college kids a thing or two about budget horror with that little tip.

09-18-2010, 02:10 PM
Having worked in film, I know a lot of the differences between the two types of makeup--the biggest one actually being something as simple as time. On a haunt, you generally don't get enough time with each actor.

But I gotta say, Sawdust, I think you're being pretty harsh.

We have quite a few actors who are seen for more than a few secons--in normal light. Line scares don't have the luxury of dim lighting.

And touch ups--what do you do when an actors facial appliance comes off? We normally don't have the luxury of understudies.

While continuity in haunts generally focuses more on continuing characters rather than between scenes, it is there. It's not the big thing that it is in film, but to denigrate it as a factor entirely is just wrong, y'know?

As for those short cuts and tricks--'just add blood'--that's kinda what I'm after. Ten years ago 'just add blood' might've worked, but modern hauntgoers are a bit more discriminating. They want things that are so real that the suspension of disbelief is a breeze.

Stppling appliance edges 'up', and wide allows edges to be hidden even while dealing with the heat of a haunt. Things like that.

Doc, that squeeze bottle idea is actually one I started putting into effect a couple years ago--for a mask, no less. I used thick latex and squeezebottled out a nasty looking leatherface mask that is still holding up. Since then it's come in real handy--and it's amazing what can be done with additives. A touch of latex will give you a blood that slowly congeals.

All ideas are welcome--and, besides tips, what kinda questions would be good to ask someone?


10-03-2010, 11:43 AM
So no one has any ideas? Or is everyone(hopefully) having a really busy season?

Thought of a few things--

Speed--how many actors does each artist make up each night, and how much time do they have, on average, for each one? We average about 5 per night with 10 artists, in an hour and a half--that gives us 18 minutes per actor. Light makeup, masks, and our few do-it-yourselfers can give us more time with heavy jobs, prosthetics and what-not.

My big speed saver is doing two or three at a time--getting an actors prosaid on and drying while putting a base down on another.


Hiding edges--the easy way is gobs of thick blood--and everyone uses this to some extent(even when it isn't needed, just for the gore factor. What other ways do you have?

I use stippling, lots and lots of stippling. Combined with uneven edges, it's what I think is the quickest way. The other way I've been experimenting with is appliances whose edges are the raised wound. Dangling flesh and torn up skin are supposed to look uneven.