Friday, November 28, 2008

Grande Illusions

Tom Savini. One of the biggest names in horror, not just for his amazing make-up effects, but also for acting, stunt work, directing, and special effects supervising. The guy does it all.

His credits include the 1978 classic zombie film by George Romero, Dawn of the Dead, the 1985 follow-up,Day of the Dead, and Creepshow (1982). Who could ever forget the gun codpiece in the 1996 hit, From Dusk 'Till Dawn? And the list just keeps on going, because he has several projects in post-production right now.

The man is 62 years old, and he still can scare the crap out of us. In an age where Hollywood (and our culture) worships youth and throws away our most experienced workforce, the fact that he is still "allowed" to be active is a miracle. Thank goodness for miracles!
Tom Savini's passion for make-up effects sprung from the 1957 film, Man of a Thousand Faces. His 1983 book, Grande Illusions, a Learn-by Example Guide to The Art and Technique of Special Make-up Effects, is now in its sixth printing, and has introductory essays by both Stephen King and George Romero, and a forward by Savini, himself.

Savini takes you through ten of his movies and their makeup effects in a clear, step-by-step progression. Lots of pictures, each phase carefully laid out. Funny enough, the only book really out there at the time Savini started, was Dick Smith's book, which I blogged on here. Having come from a dental background and having mixed my share of alginate impressions, I particularly enjoyed the section about making fangs. Just remember to brush your teeth before you take impressions, because you would not believe how icky it is to see last night's dinner in an impression. (I'm a girl. I can say icky and still feel cool.)

For those who are interested, Tom has a sixteen-month make-up effects program here. Maybe you'll be inspired to be the next Tom Savini, and my blog will be about you.

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