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10 Groundbreaking Uses of Special Effects Makeup

5

'Dawn of the Dead' (1978)

Instructor Shawn Ronzio of Tom Savini's Special Effects Program in Pittsburgh shares a laugh with student Alana Schiro at a sculpture class in 2010. Savini has run this program, which teaches movie make-up effects, since 2000. © Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/ZUMA Press/Corbis
Instructor Shawn Ronzio of Tom Savini's Special Effects Program in Pittsburgh shares a laugh with student Alana Schiro at a sculpture class in 2010. Savini has run this program, which teaches movie make-up effects, since 2000. © Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/ZUMA Press/Corbis

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Pittsburgh-based Tom Savini, who developed his knowledge of anatomy and wounds partly through his work as a combat photographer in Vietnam, created the iconic decaying, disheveled zombies for George Romero's low-budget classics, as well as the grisly ways in which they were dispatched.

Famous for working on the cheap, Savini created all the gory special effects for "Dawn of the Dead" for just $15,000 (including materials and his assistants' wages). For one of the film's most horrific moments, he painted a soda straw silver to make it look like a screwdriver being driven into a zombie's ear. Savini went on to work his magic on another horror classic "Friday the 13th" (parts 1 and IV) [source: Konow].

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