[Set Visit] Makeup Artist Chris Nelson Teases the Kills in ‘Halloween’; “A Couple Really Hardcore Ones”
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When we spoke to Academy Award winning makeup artist Christopher Nelson on the South Carolina set of Halloween back in February, the conversation focused primarily on Nelson’s new Michael Myers mask, an eerie, 40-years-later recreation of the mask from John Carpenter’s original classic. Nelson also touched upon the eye prosthetic being worn by our new Michael, James Jude Courtney, which depicts the wound “The Shape” sustained at the hands of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode (and a clothes hanger) all those years ago.
Of course, there will also be lots of other makeup effects in the film, as Michael is needless to say going to be slashing his way through a whole new group of victims. But just how bloody is David Gordon Green‘s Halloween going to be? Will it be more in line with Carpenter’s relatively bloodless film or Rob Zombie’s gorier massacre?
A little of both, it seems.
Nelson teased to us on set, “A lot of kills… there are certain things that happen to some of the characters… an actor can’t contort or achieve that so we’ve created some amazing super life-like dummies for a couple of the victims that are a little accentuated and stylized. We wanted all the effects and make-up effects to be postcards, something you’ll remember, something that when you watch the movie you’ll remember that victim, that guy. They’re all shot so beautifully and dark and moody. We wanted all those things to be stylized and postcard-like because that was the beauty of those movies in the seventies and especially Halloween: you remember those images. They’re images you can’t forget and that’s why they’ve lasted all these years. We wanted to try and do that.“
“Yeah, there’s blood and slashes and victims and a couple really hardcore ones that I’m not going to reveal,” Nelson added. “The original didn’t have a lot of blood in it, people think it does, they imagine it’s so bloody but it’s not at all. We’re trying to do an even balance of both of that, easing back on the blood but giving you the impression that there’s more of it.”
Nelson also touched upon two “elaborate” makeup gags that hadn’t yet been shot at the time of our set visit, suggesting a couple of standout kills that really go for it.
“We’re shooting the last week… two gags… I can’t elaborate but they’re pretty extensive,” Nelson teased. “It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before as far as writing goes in a film but we’re trying to do it in such a way that it’s a little different, a little more spectacular and graphic. So that has been challenging.”
Later on in the day, one of the reporters on set asked director David Gordon Green about the film’s approach to violence, and he echoed many of Nelson’s comments.
“[The gore] is something we’re really monitoring and playing with in production until we get into post production,” Gordon Green explained. “We’ve got Chris Nelson, who’s an incredible makeup and effects artist, so right now as we’re filming, we’re keeping in mind first and foremost tension and anxiety, which I think are the greatest elements this film can offer. The scene we’re working on today… we’ll do the takes where it’s less blood, more blood just to see as we unfold in the editing process.”
Gordon Green added, “For me, [Halloween] was my first horror film and it means a lot to me, just in terms of my enthusiasm for the genre. From a splatter/slasher film to a psychological thriller, I love all those elements so I’m learning every day, exploring every day. I’ll know a lot more in a couple of months when I start to put the footage together to see the degree of gore, but we are certainly in very capable artistic hands.”