With little more than two weeks before the opening of Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios Hollywood gave an upclose and first hand preview of the extravagant gore and other makeup effects that await this year’s scareseekers. Press were invited as actors and actresses went through all the steps to take them from an ordinary healthy human, into disfigured monstrosities with their faces torn off or brains exposed, an incarnation of Alice Cooper, the legendary La Llorona, among other Horror Nights specialties.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” creative director John Murdy said during his greetings. “I was up all night slitting someone’s throat.” He explained that the goal of Halloween Horror Nights was to create living horror movies, which the makeup presentation would help demonstrate. He paraphrased Henry Ford explaining, “We’re an assembly line of gore.”
In addition to watching the makeup process, members of the press were invited to check out costume designs, and were given the chance to have makeup done on themselves.
Makeup designer Larry Bones pointed out that the makeup for the La Llorona character as being this year’s most complex, with prosthetics on the face and hands, a wig and eyebrows, and other details. “She takes thirty to forty-five minutes (to complete),” he said, “which is twice as much time as the other characters.”
On any night, 14 actors and actresses will be made up as La Llorona, among hundreds of other scare actors. To have everyone ready, a crew of 30 makeup artists, all professionals from the TV and film industry, will work each of the 19 nights Halloween Horror Nights run.
For Bones, working on Halloween Horror Nights is a natural step in what has been a lifelong obsession with horror films and monster makeup. “I remember as a kid sneaking out of bed to watch TV without my parents knowing,” he said. “Mostly classic Universal horror, actually.”
“I’ve always loved horror films. When I saw an ad in Fangoria for a makeup school, a lightbulb went off in my head that I could do both.” Bones moved from Oregon to Los Angeles in 1993 to attend the Joe Blasco Makeup School, and started his own company two years later. In 2006, when Universal Studio’s Hollywood restarted Halloween Horror Night after a five year hiatus, Bones made some calls, and was hired. He says, “When I heard it was coming back, I knew it was something to do.” He’s returned every year since.
Check out the full gallery below to see masks, costumes, and makeup that will be featured throughout Halloween Horror Nights.