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Our Top 5 SFX Makeup Documentaries

by Natalie Wright
Our Top 5 SFX Makeup Documentaries
We are creative minds. Adapting and finding new ways to progress and succeed is what we do best.Take comfort in the fact we are all in this together. Keep busy, stay inspired and try not to dwell. 
Now, considering the current climate and the current government advise to stay indoors, there's no better time to get inspired!
So as a part of a continuing blog series we are listing some of our Top 5 SFX Makeup Documentaries, TV shows, Reference Books and even Magazines to keep y'all trucking. 

Fantastic Flesh 

This documentary delves into the art of make-up effects with industry legends Dick Smith, Rob Bottin, Tom Savini, John Landis, Frank Darabont, Joe Dante and many others with a strong focus on Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger of KNB Make-Up EFX. 

Why should I what it?

The film's strong point is the variety of ground it covers, from makeup to animatronics to computer generated effects. Also, a lot of amazing artists are interviewed and the story of how Nicotero met George A. Romero is covered which is great horror history!

Where can I watch it? 

Here's a link for ya! 

Don't say we don't do nothing for ya! 

Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini.

Why should I watch it?

In the wake of Tom Savini‘s segment of “Creepshow” airing recently, Shudder has announced today that the documentary Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini will now be available.

Special Makeup effects legend, actor, director and stuntman Tom Savini has redefined the horror genre with his arsenal of talents. But who is the man behind the “KING OF SPLATTER?” A great insight into Tom Savini, funny and heart warming. 

Where can I watch it? 

Shudder! It's a horror streaming service, but there's a 7 day free trial. 

Check out the trailer here - 

Stan Winston Studio: Behind the Scenes Vol. 1

Legendary Character Creator, Stan Winston, along with SWS "Lifers", John Rosengrant, Shane Mahan, and Richard Landon, pulls back the curtain on the history of the world-renowned Stan Winston Studio. Drawing from the studio's vast, never-before-seen archives, this documentary offers a rare glimpse at the wizardry behind the creation of some of cinema's most enduring and iconic fantasy characters.

Why should I watch it?

One of the preeminent pioneers in modern creature effects history, Stan Winston led the industry in embracing the Hybrid approach combining robotics, digitally-enhanced makeups, sophisticated puppetry, and CGI, to create fantasy characters that defied the imagination, and truly lived. Winston never professed a preference for any specific technique, rather, he'd insist on using whatever method was best for the shot, utilizing all the tools at the filmmakers disposal in his single-minded pursuit of creating totally believable characters.

Where can I watch it? 

It's available on DVD you can purchase the hard copy directly from Stan Winston Studios or you can grab it HERE on Amazon! 

Nightmare Factory

In 1989 Greg Nicotero quit medical school and headed for Hollywood to pursue a dream of making monsters. Together with gore masters Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman, Nicotero went on to create KNB EFX Group, one of the most prolific makeup effects studios in the world. 

Why should I watch it?

This gets right to the heart of horror effects. And all the mandatory people are here: Romero, Landis, Carpenter... and of course Nicotero and Berger themselves (but no Kurtzman, who left the team). Even a few unexpected guests... like Elijah Wood.

At first, a big focus seems to be "The Walking Dead" rather than a historical look at the team... but then we get the archive footage of "Evil Dead II" and other earlier works from the guys. Amazing stuff, and gives incredible insight into the horror movie magic.

Where can I watch it? ...


COMING SOON - Nightmares in the Makeup Chair 

Robert Englund is back in the Freddy Krueger makeup in the new documentary "NIGHTMARES IN THE MAKEUP CHAIR". Fans will enter the makeup room and see the entire process as special makeup effects artist Robert Kurtzman transforms Robert Englund into Freddy Krueger once again! Robert Englund takes fans on an exciting, funny, and emotional journey through his years as Freddy Krueger with stories and anecdotes, all while paying tribute to the legacy of Wes Craven.

Why should I watch it?

I haven't even seen it... But it sounds AWESOME and the trailer looks KILLA. 

Where can I watch it? 

Here's the trailer... Hopefully it will be available soon! 


More great documentaries to check out! 

John Carpenter's The Thing - Terror Takes Shape 
You're So Cool, Brewster: The Story of Fright Night 
Wolfman’s Got Nards 
The American Scream (less makeup, more passionate scratch building with a lot of character)