October meant one thing – zombie time! After having such a great time at last year’s Beach of the Dead, my friends and I were really excited about attending this year. Our zombie wedding theme from 2010 was fun, but we saw a lot of zombie brides that day and wanted to try something a bit more original for 2011 and decided to go as the Zombie Village People.
As you can see from our lineup we were missing a couple of members. Organising a group theme is tricky and our Leather Man, G.I. and Traffic Cop ended up dropping out at the last minute. We were left with Laurie as the cowboy, Roisin as the Indian and myself as the Builder. Later in the day my friend Sam stood in as our Leather Man because she had a leather jacket on. Clearly some people aren’t as dedicated to zombieness as others, but we were determined to make the most of it and we still had a great day.
I put more work into my base coat this year. I used black face paint and purple tones from my bruise wheel to shade around my eyes, contour my cheeks and give my lips a cold dead blue tint. I then coated myself in a thick coat of white face paint and blended the colours together. I picked up some of the purple bruise wheel on my sponge as I layered the white, which created a nice grey blue hue.
In my camp builder outfit I was showing a lot more flesh than last year so I had to paint my neck, arms and legs too. You can see my short shorts in this photo. Thankfully the weather was great for October so I could survive being exposed to the elements for a few hours.
Once my base coat was complete I used my red eyeliner to give my eyes a sinister, unhealthy look, which contrasted really well against the blue and white. I decided to use less latex than last year and created lesions in the usual way by layering it up, ripping it open and then applying reds, purples and finishing up with fresh scab.
I used left over latex from last year and I think this was a mistake as it had a gloopy consistency and went a bit yellow when it dried. It wasn’t as sticky as usual and the finish was more uneven. This wasn’t so bad though as it added to the decaying look. I’ll be sure to use fresher latex next time though.
We had a new kind of viscous blood in our kit this year that was great. It partially dries but remains glossy. It created a great dripping blood effect as it would run off wherever you applied it and then dry in big dangling drips. You can see some of it on my face above and I also had some on my knee.
In November 2010 I worked on the short film Crossed Paths as a Make Up Artist and Art Director. The film was made by young people and was funded by Crawley Borough Council as part of an anti-extremism project. The story focuses on two young men, Aaron and Yusuf, whose combined fates are set in motion by an act of violence when Yusuf attacks Aaron in the street with a knife, landing himself in prison and Aaron in the hospital.
The action picks up some time later, when Yusef is released from prison. Aaron, meanwhile, is struggling to get back on his feet after the attack, which has left him permanently scarred. After a failed job interview he meets a member of the New English Movement, who blame the town’s multiculturalism for the lack of opportunities for young men like Aaron. Angry and disillusioned, Aaron gets swept up in the group’s dangerous ideology.
I created Aaron’s scar using On Skin Silicone and applied it with a Principality Dispensing Gun. The silicone comes in a range of skin tones which need to be powdered after they are dry in order to reduce the shine and blend into the surrounding skin.
As we filmed over several days, it was important to recreate the scar as accurately as possible on a daily basis, sometimes twice a day if it was knocked or peeling. I always take as many photos as possible so that I can keep a record of the look and to maintain continuity.
Yusuf goes through a lot of changes in prison and tries to overcome his violent past by becoming absorbed in his Islamic faith. However, this change is not necessarily for the better as it soon becomes clear that Yusuf has developed some extremist views and has been under the influence of some dangerous people. Yusuf takes to his renewed faith with a dangerous fervour and begins to recruit other community members to his cause.
Rishi, the actor playing Yusuf, was not permitted by his work to grow a beard for the role and so I had to apply a fake beard for him twice a day on location. This was my first time using beards and our schedule and budget didn’t allow for any practise time. I had to apply the beard for the first time on our first day of shooting with very little time to spare. It was a challenge, but I was pleased with the results.
I used a fake beard that was attached to a fine mesh net. The beard had to be glued on using spirit gum and then trimmed.
The action builds to a clash between various sectors of society as the New English Movement organises a march through a Muslim neighbourhood. A group of students stage a demonstration to show their opposition to the march and Yusuf organises a group to fight back against the N.E.M. As events spiral out of control, Yusuf and Aaron cross paths once again, with tragic results.
I’ll talk about my role as an Art Director on the production in my next post. In the meantime you can watch the full film below.
BEACH OF THE DEAD 2010
If you don’t know by now, I love zombies, so I jumped at the chance to take part in Brighton’s zombie crawl, Beach of the Dead. I’d had a lot of fun designing zombie looks for the short film Outbreak, but this was the chance to turn my makeup brush on myself as I descended on Brighton seafront with my zombie friends.
This was our first year at the zombie crawl as work and other commitments had kept me away in previous years. We opted for a zombie wedding theme. I was the groom (that’s me in the suit) and my bride and I were accompanied by a nun, a vicar and a bridesmaid. Getting ready in the hotel room was hilarious, by the time we were finished the bathroom looked like it belonged in the Bates Motel.
I love working with latex so I decided to go with the broken skin look that I developed on Outbreak, with the addition of some creepy white contact lenses. I also did the makeup for my friends Tam and Laurie, the vicar and nun after my makeup artist friend (and zombie bride) gave us a base coat of white with her airbrush kit.
I spent a lot of time thinking about creating the look for the day, and getting organised early in the morning. What I hadn’t really thought about was the parade aspect of the day. My friends and I were all quite taken aback by the amount of spectators that turned out to watch us zombie our way down to the seafront. It was a bit intimidating having so many people watching me and taking my picture. I’m usually the one behind the camera! Wearing so much makeup felt like a protective layer though, like hiding behind a mask. I got into character and just got on with it and was quite surprised to see pictures of myself popping up online after the event.
Here is one taken by Samuel Justice at the start of the day and another by Dogtemple, which was taken towards the end of the night after peeling had set in! Both photographers have been very kind in letting me repost their work here.