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10 Groundbreaking Uses of Special Effects Makeup

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'American Werewolf in London' (1981)

Make-up artist Rick Baker attends 'Universal's Legacy Of Horror' in 2012 and meets up with a younger version of himself working on 'An American Werewolf in London.' Vincent Sandoval/FilmMagic
Make-up artist Rick Baker attends 'Universal's Legacy Of Horror' in 2012 and meets up with a younger version of himself working on 'An American Werewolf in London.' Vincent Sandoval/FilmMagic

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"American Werewolf" fascinated audiences in part because of the extensive close-ups that showed the protagonist's agonizing transmutation, as his body sprouted fur, his hands changed into paws, and his torso shifted excruciatingly from biped human to four-legged wolf. It's even more amazing to realize that this illusion was created in the movie without today's computer-generated special effects.

Instead, makeup virtuoso Rick Baker -- who once worked as an assistant to Dick Smith -- designed a series of transitional makeup jobs for star David Naughton. Thanks to a little film editing, they made it appear that the handsome actor was morphing into a hirsute man-beast. Baker ultimately won an Oscar for his work on the horror hit that inaugurated the yearly Academy Award for achievement in makeup and hairstyling [sources: Steiger, Hollywood.com].

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