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In our March 2009 issue, we dressed our illustrious Editor-in-Chief up as a one of the ravenous antagonists from our Game of the Year, Valve’s Left 4 Dead.
The transformation from living human to decaying dead took almost two hours, though in the end it made for an amusing, but slightly horrifying, photo shoot. Read on to find out how we managed to turn this famed zombie slayer into one of his victims, or follow along to attempt your own zombie transformation.
It took a variety of ingredients to emulate the undead’s rotting flesh, including Mold Builder Liquid Latex, Vaseline, a roll of toilet paper, fake blood, and glycerin-based make-up pallets from Kryolan.
Before using the liquid latex, our makeup artist, Nick Katich, tested a bit of it on a fresh area of skin to make sure it wouldn’t cause an allergic reaction. Then, he prepared Will's face for zombification by greasing up the eyebrows and hairline with a wax stick and Vaseline, so that the latex could eventually tear off with a bit of ease.
To achieve the scaly texture of undead skin, Nick applied a thin, even layer of Mold Builder to the face and arms, and then strategically applied torn up pieces of tissue paper to the top of the latex. After fifteen minutes of waiting for the latex to dry, Will's skin was covered with a bluish-white base coat, on both the arms and face, to make him look as if he had just risen from his grave.
Next, the latex/paint combo was torn with fingers to imitate flesh-tear, and then separated it with a spatula, using the flat edge so as to not accidentally remove all the tissue. Then, we had to make the rotting flesh look believable. After applying red makeup base on the inside of the tissue paper and the top of the exposed skin, Nick dumped fake blood over those areas, making sure it looked like Will was covered in boils and cuts.
The transformation was finalized by dusting gray powder with a blush brush all over Will’s face so as to remove shininess and make him look truly lifeless.
At the end of the photo shoot, Will had a hard time taking off the latex from his arms, so remember to shave before attempting this gory feat.
Would you trust your children with this man?