From Michael Jackson in “Thriller” to Linda Blair in The Exorcist, see how average people became nightmare-fueling characters for iconic music videos, horror movie classics and some of the scariest shows on TV.
1. Taylor Swift becomes a zombie for “Look What You Made Me Do”
The singer shared a timelapse transformation of her new video’s most shocking look with Buzzfeed. “When you look this gross you just have no physical insecurities at all. Like, none. They’re gone. It’s really, it’s freeing. I encourage everyone to look like a corpse at least once,” she joked about the “straight-up dead” aesthetic.
2. Actors turn into red ghosts and for Crimson Peak
It wasn’t just CGI! Performers spent hours in the makeup chair becoming entirely-red creatures from the other side for the Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska-starring fantasy thriller. Watch to hear the actors discuss working opposite the red ghosts and to see an undead Hiddleston.
3. Linda Blair becomes a demon for The Exorcist
A then-13-year-old Blair camera tested a number of different demon looks before filmmakers settled on the iconic possessed face we all know and love (or love to hate). Check out some of the rejected scary looks, find out how they pulled off that unforgettable projectile vomiting, and get the scope on the 360-degree head turn in the video above.
4. The Walking Dead team creates one of its most memorable walkers
From the casting story to the makeup chair timelapse, see how the show’s experts created the pilot’s haunting half-corpse, which just might be one of their scariest zombies ever.
5. Bonnie Morgan becomes Samara for Rings
The actress breaks down the 45 appliances used to transform her into the beyond-the-watery-grave little girl from the horror sequel. Wait until you find out what they used to get that perpetually wet look.
6. Michael Jackson transforms into a “Thriller” werewolf
In this making-of featurette, the prince of pop goes through an intense makeup process to become a monster for his game-changing video. “I think the one thing Michael really wanted the most in ‘Thriller’ is to do the transformation. He wanted to change into a monster,” special effects artist Rick Baker says in the clip. “I actually was trying to talk him out of it. And he just wants to go through that — I don’t know why. I told him how horrible of an experience it’s going to be.”
7. The American Horror Story: Hotel team makes a complete creep
One brave model basically went through hell to turn into one of the hotel’s most terrifying residents. “In a nutshell the finished look of his head is based on a used condom,” designer David Anderson explained of the character. “It’s all sensory deprivation, he can’t really feel anything either. He’s in a completely concealed tomb. His skin doesn’t sense anything, his eyes aren’t sensing anything, he can’t talk.”
8. Javier Botet transforms into Mama‘s title monster
The freaky maternal figure was actually the product of a male actor spending hours having prosthetics applied to his face and body.
9. Barrie Gower creates all kinds of Game of Thrones horrors
Here, the prosthetic designer takes us through his process for creating the series’ scream-inducing characters, including the White Walkers and the Stone Men of Valyria. “It’s all quite a painstaking process from start to finish. We usually say on average, build time is about four weeks for a prosthetic character,” he says.
10. Josh Hartnett gets werewolf-ified for Penny Dreadful
“It’s about a 6-hour process of laying on a latex mask,” Hartnett says of his werewolf transformation for the show. “What takes a while is that they want it to sort of blend into my own face without it being just this giant mask, because they want me to be able to act while I wear it.”