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Haunting from Home with Howard Berger

by Natalie Wright
Haunting from Home with Howard Berger

As most of the world stays in lockdown throughout spooky season. We thought it might be fun to reminisce on Halloweens passed. We asked some of our favourite spooky fiends to share with us some of their most memorable Halloween experiences...

Academy Award Winning special effects makeup artist, monster maker & animatronic character creator, Howard Berger, grew up in Los Angeles loving movies, special effects makeup, monsters and Halloween.

In 1988, Howard co-founded KNB EFX Group, Inc. with Gregory Nicotero and former partner Robert Kurtzman, and over the past years, they have become one of the most prolific Special Makeup Effects and Character Creation studios in Hollywood.

Specializing in character prosthetics, animatronics, creature creation and replica animals, Howard has over 800 feature film and television credits including INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, The TRANSFORMERS Trilogy, KILL BILL 1 & 2, PREDATORS, SPLICE, THE MIST, VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, THE WALKING DEAD, THE GREEN MILE, and TREE OF LIFE to name a few.  

In 2006 Howard earned an Academy Award for Best Makeup for THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. He also won the British Academy Award and Saturn Award that same year for the film's prosthetic makeup.

What was your favourite Halloween outfit as a kid? 
I’d have to say Halloween is my most favorite holiday. My 2 favourite costumes were my homemade Winslow Leach from PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE and  then disco Chewy in 1977.
Howard Berger Disco Chewy
 You’re attending a Halloween party and time and money is no object what costume/look do you create? 
 One of the WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE costumes 
Conversely: You have ten dollars to make a costume, what do you buy/what do you go as?
Ping pong balls for eyes, mortician's was, construction paper and do a homage to Dick Smiths WEIRDO makeup from the 60’s .
Werid Oh Howard Berger Dick Smith Dick Smith Werid Oh
Is there a character/look you’ve seen in film/tv in the past year that you think would make a great costume
Robot from the Netflix LOST IN SPACE. By far the coolest thing on TV these days! 

Lost in Space robot  
(Original suit built by Spectral Motion) 
What’s your top tip for someone looking to do their own makeup this year, who maybe has never tried it before? 
Go big and just do it!  Worse case scenario it is a fail and then you try it again with the knowledge of what did not work and make it better the second time around 

What are your top 5 Halloween films?
- HALLOWEEN ( original)
- THE FOG (original)
    From Candy Corn to Caramel apples Halloween goes hand in hand with indulgence. Do you have a favourite Halloween treat?

    Do you have any Halloween traditions or rituals?
    Carving pumpkins is my fav! This year I sculpted my own scary pumpkins, molded them and ran them in latex and polyfoam as in LA the real pumpkins rot so quickly so I wanted them to last all of October.
    Howard Pumpkins  
    Some say that on Halloween, the spirits of the dead return to earth for one night. Whose spirit would you chose to spend your Halloween with?
    My Dad

    If you were to create your own HHN style haunted house, what would be your chosen theme? 
    Disneyland’s Haunt Mansion for sure!! 
    And finally do you have any Halloween plans for this year?
    In my neighborhood we do it big. We shut the streets down and every home is open for a Halloween street party. When I bought this house two years ago my first question was, “What is Halloween like here?”
    To say the least, we bought the house and it has not disappointed. 
    Howard and masks halloween
    Thank you Howard for being kind enough to share your Halloween highlights!