Creature Effects Makeup: An Interview with Matt Rose and Chad Waters

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A re-creation of a Bernie Wrightson illustration on the set of "When Zombies Attack!!"
A re-creation of a Bernie Wrightson illustration on the set of "When Zombies Attack!!"
Photo courtesy Grimm Grotto Goods

HSW: So, you mentioned "Star Wars" earlier. Is that your favorite example of special effects makeup in a movie?

Matt Rose: Well, for me the "Planet of the Apes" is the one that got me going. I still think that's pretty good stuff- the original "Planet of the Apes." That one got me started. I don't know about you, Chad?

Chad Waters: I think with "Star Wars" it was more just movies in general. That was the first -- I was probably five when it came out. But it was the first time I was totally transplanted into another place. It was costumes, it was creatures, it was sets, it was everything ... That was probably the biggest hit over the head that way. But just as far as creatures and stuff go, there are so many breakthroughs in that time too ... when you're wowed. And that came from, most of it was Rick [Rick Baker of Cinovation]. Like the [movie] "America Werewolf in London." That was one of the greatest transformation werewolves ever done and it still holds up. And that stuff you see like "The Thing," the John Carpenter thing ... they just dropped everything that was expected of what people thought were aliens or monsters and just ran with it. Went crazy. That was one of those movies you'd watch and [say], "Whoa! How did they do that?" That's part of the draw ... it's kind of like watching a magician do their magic tricks. When I was a kid, whenever we saw a magician you kind of got distracted. You couldn't really enjoy the show because you were [wondering], "How did they do that?" 'Cause you know they're not actually doing it. I think that's what drives a lot of people in the business as well. You want to know how they do it and then do it yourself.

HSW: What's an example of a movie where you've just been blown away by the makeup?

Matt Rose: …the makeup on "Monster."

HSW: For Charlize Theron?

Matt Rose: That was not Charlize to me -- that was a lot of work and even design ... dentures ... the makeup effects -- that's like "Lord of the Rings" -- even the noses on that show are cool. What else? Anything that Kazu Tsuji [Kazuhiro Tsuji] is involved with, he works at Cinovation. He's the best makeup artist ... This guy does makeup effects that you can't believe. He even did one of the best makeups I ever saw. It was never used - for I think it was called "Steal This Movie" -- the Abbie Hoffman makeup on Vincent D'Onofrio.

Chad Waters: Yeah, that's right.

Matt Rose: It was incredible but they decided not to use it. But when I saw that in the shop I was just blown away -- it's just amazing.

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