This top ten was definitely coming to my blog as this is where it all started for me. The whole reason I moved to Florida and went to makeup school was my dream of becoming a SPFX makeup artist. All these films and the makeup artists that produced their work in them was complete inspiration for me to set goals for myself to lead me to today.
I may not be in the industry now, but the lessons I’ve learned and the skills I’ve acquired were a direct result of the passion for the craft. I’ve tried to recreate some of the makeups here and plan to do a few more to satisfy the “itch” or craving to make it happen and help answer the inquiry…”How in the world did they do that?”
There’s definitely a re-occurring theme with the makeups I chose as they tend to be more on the gory or horror side, so I’ll fair warn you if you can’t stomach these kinds of images. Vampires are also shown as a few examples as I love the mystery behind their myth. So without any further delay, here we go with my top ten movie makeups:
#10 Sloth From Goonies
Chunk and Sloth from the 1985 classic Goonies
“Hey you guys!” This movie just missed the cut as a top ten film of mine, but here it is making it in the makeup’s list as number 10. Sloth has my heart as a character and has my appreciation for his grotesque yet cool deformity. This masterpiece from 1985 is from the work of special effects wizard Craig Reardon. Foam latex ruled the 80’s in SPFX makeup and this was no exception. Several piece latex head appliance with blinking droopy eye and wiggling ears that were radio controlled (servo motors).
#9 Skinless Julia From Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Skinless Julia from Hellbound: Hellraiser II
They say the most complex and most beautiful form is the human body (inside and out) and I definitely agree. I loved this makeup and look so much I tried to do my own version for my final project in the makeup school I attended in Florida. The shock value is quickly masked by the incredible attention to detail and the believability of how it looks to see the flesh without skin. There are plenty of references in anatomy books how it looks, but with lifeless, colorless cadaver photos. To see it alive and vibrant is stunning to say the least. There was a large makeup crew for this film, but the credit is under the guise of Bob Keen and Image Animation who is also responsible for just about any film by Clive Barker.
#8 Legend (1985)
Legend favorite makeups: Darkness, Meg and Princess Lili Black wedding dress
I may have been able to make this top ten list longer since I couldn’t quite settle on just one makeup from this film…so I lumped three into one. I absolutely love this movie because the visuals are better than anything I can imagine, which still holds up to todays standards of computer enhancement. No computer help here, just raw foam latex, paint and powder. Rob Bottin and his crew are credited for all the incredible makeup effects. I knew there was something about this film that proved to me it’s worthiness as an elite choice and that is that it is a Ridley Scott film as I’ve already credited him twice in my top ten favorite films (Blade Runner, and The Gladiator).
#7 Interview With The Vampire
Vampire makeup from Interview With The Vampire
Okay, so I did it again…a collage of makeups from the same movie. It just makes sense when the makeup artist (Stan Winston) shows a noteworthy design performance throughout. The subtle undead pale, veiny vampire look is wonderful here. Costume design also played a role with the success of the look, but this will be addressed in another top ten on favorite costumes.
#6 Se7en 1995 (Sloth)
Sloth from 1995’s Seven
Rob Bottin strikes again for me on this list of favorite makeups. The intense studying and imagination to bring this makeup to life is incredible. I saw this film on the big screen and when the cadaver comes to life all the sudden and takes a last gasp and struggle to stay alive seared that moment in my psyche to this day. This could pass as a perfect zombie makeup as well. Once again I choose what a human form could be like at any given stage of life. Just the most perfect engineered machine in all the universe (in my opinion). This makeup was created just as silicone appliances were making it’s way into the effects scene, leaving foam latex to be used less in the higher budget tier of film making. Silicone has an amazing translucent quality that allows for flesh painting to look more believable as skin tones aren’t opaque in real life.
#5 American Werewolf in London (Transformation Scene) 1981
American actor David Naughton on the set of An American Werewolf in London, written and directed by John Landis. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Innovation can always play a roll in catapulting a film or idea to the forefront and the transformation scene from man to werewolf done by Rick Baker put him and the film in the spotlight as something like this has never been done before. It still is considered an incredible effect and is studied by film makers and aspiring makeup f/x artists today. Such a fun movie with humor, a love story and tragedy that sells the makeup or is it the makeup that sells the film.
#4 Dracula’s Brides From Francis Ford Coppola’s Film Bram Stoker’s Dracula 1992
Brides of Dracula from Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula 1992
I made another attempt during makeup school to try and recreate an image that I loved inspired by this look. Beauty and hypnotizing seduction comes across wonderfully in these makeups with another costume enhancing factor to bring these characters to life (or undead). This film won an Oscar for best makeup in 1992 and receiving the award was Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke, and Matthew W. Mungle.
#3 Return of the Living Dead III, Julie Walker as a Zombie
The character Julie Walker as a zombie in Return of the Living Dead III
A tragic love story and cool concept as Julie is brought back to life by her boyfriend as she becomes a zombie and struggles to not eat him. The way she attempts to curb her hunger is to constantly cut, stab, poke and maim herself to make the cravings go away through pain. An incredible study with wound type makeup; and again this is a makeup I tried to recreate. I actually found a girl who looked like her that agreed to be my subject…Thanks Jen! Steve Johnson is the makeup guru for this film.
#2 The Bride from Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
1989 Bride of Re-Animator
This makeup has some of everything that I listed above to make it a favorite from lifelike anatomy, undead beauty makeup, costuming and prop enhancement and a story or idea that makes it a terrific concept. Splicing body parts and organs together to make a complete whole person is not a new concept as in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, but a cool idea that makes for great cinematic entertainment. The masters of KNB Effects were responsible for this epic makeup job.
#1 Borg Queen from Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Borg Queen from Star Trek: First Contact 1996
Surprise! Nothing like from above as a favorite, but just an all out absolutely gorgeous makeup. Imagination runs wild as you’re invited as a spectator and fan of the Trek series to try and understand how the Borg Queen is the way she is and not like the other Borgs that assimilate their subjects. When her upper quarter of her body with spine comes down and attaches to the torso, I was hooked. I’ve been staring at this makeup for years and just marveling at the paint job and clamp placement and effects. Michael and Monty Westmore known for the Star Trek Franchise and James MacKinnon and a host of others were the Makeup artists associated with this film.
My Makeup Tests From Favorite Film Makeups
Thanks for checking out another one of my “top ten” favorite lists. I definitely showed my age as the films I’ve chosen my favorite makeups are probably considered classics now, HA! Let me know what you think and comment below on some of your favorites.
Case molding as one example of the many different ways of preserving your masterpiece through molding
Molding 101: Preserving Your Creation
You may not realize this, but we deal with simple molding all the time in our daily lives, including the ice we put in our drinks which each piece of ice has been molded from the tray’s shape the water took as it was being frozen or to the cup cakes we eat that have been formed as the cake batter rose and fluffed in the oven inside it’s paper cup.
The mold process has been throughout history in human civilization with ancient weapons making when molten bronze was pored in a hollowed out sword shape out of stone; and even nature has produced some amazing natural molds with fossils embedded in rocks of extinct plants and animals.
Making a mold of your sculpture or object you need for your next project is the best way to preserve what you’ve captured and a way to be able to rapidly produce several pieces you need repeated multiple times over (i.e. scales, horns, spikes, or fake bullets).
I’ve used it as a way to be able to make armor out of a different/lighter material than what real metal armor would be or even to make what I need stronger and more durable than foam would be. And if any piece of a finished armor build breaks or doesn’t last, I have a mold to make another one without re-sculpting it.
Poor mold for Borg Glove by Damaris Degen of Mystique’s world of Cosplay
Poor molding can be one of the fastest and easiest ways of making molds of your artwork or object you need mass produced. Typically the material used as the mold substrate is a liquid rubber such as silicone and/or a urethane based rubber. The liquid rubber starts off runny and by adding and mixing a said amount of catalyst or hardener is what makes it eventually become hardened flexible rubber.
The decision to make a poor mold is based on how simple and or symmetrical the shape of what it is your trying to mold is. For instance, if it has a flat surface to it and isn’t too tall or complex, glue it to a board, build some dam walls around it, spray mold release on the piece and then poor the mold.
A poor mold can be a little more complicated as a two part mold, meaning there is two halves to it as the piece to be molded is shaped and detailed all around as you’ll see in the galleries below. There you’ll find some tools and knives that I’ve made molds of for movie props made to be safer for stunt use.
The advantage with a rubber type mold is the flexibility to facilitate releasing a finished piece out and the incredible amount of detail it accurately captures after hardening. There is always the pesky air bubbles, however, that manages to find its way to hinder the process which I’ll be addressing a little later down the article.
Tools and Materials Typically Needed for Poor Molding
Brush molding is for those projects that are just too big, round or uneven
Silicone brush mold for Skull Knight arm armor
shaped to be considered for a poor mold; whereas it would take way too much liquid rubber to complete a mold that was pored. Brush mold becomes smarter and more cost effective because of the control you have on where exactly the rubber goes and how thick.
There is one extra important step when building a brush mold where after the final layer of rubber is applied and hardened, and that is to make a hard (typically fiberglass) layer to the outside or on top of the last keyed rubber layer at the end to help hold/cradle the rubber to shape when the mold is empty. This is called a mother mold.
Tools and Materials Typically Needed for Brush Molding
Along with the tools used for poor molding, brush molding will add:
several disposable boar bristle chip brushes various sizes depending on scope of job – single use as each brush will harden as well
thickening agent for liquid rubber to help keep rubber in desired place and thickness to hinder drooping and “runny”
pre-made rubber keys to be added to last layer to help lock mother mold in place
It usually takes a minimum of three layers of brushed on mold material to acquire desired thickness. The first layer is brushed on as a skim coat without any thickening agent added so the thin material can get into any fine detail easily. The second, third, and any other layer has the added thickening agent mixed into the rubber to help hold the substrate in place without running off the piece.
Above, in the list, I mentioned keys to be apart of the last step in the liquid rubber phase of the mold. Keys are a button, or knob shaped mini protrusion from the mold to help locate exactly how the mother mold will fit every time the rubber is placed back into it’s cradle of the mother mold to define the shape as an empty mold.
keys are also a term used for a channel, button, or knob that will be part of the break wall if the mold is separated into two halves or more to help relocate exactly how the mold will fit back together again. The better the key system the less seam work to do on the casting.
Case molding is a more complicated way to make a mold, but done right will save on rubber material and give you better quality pulls with less finish work to the final casting. If done properly, it may preserve the mold longer and you can get more pieces out of it. It’s more complicated because of the many extra steps that are needed to complete the mold.
This type of molding has you working backwards a little where you actually finish the mother mold or outer shell first before any silicone is pored. Since this is just an introduction, I’ll just do a quick list of steps that are involved in making a case mold. I fully intend on doing a complete tutorial on how to make a successful case mold in the near future…but for now here’s a rundown:
Most important is make sure the original sculpture is fastened to the surface (pre-determined board) and NEVER MOVES THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE PROCESS.
Protect the sculpture with plastic wrap/foil to help keep any clay residue from getting on the sculpture. If the sculpture is made of clay, be careful not to press hard against it as you work on the mold so you don’t damage any detail. I usually spray a couple layers of high gloss clear over the sculpture to help give it a “candy coating” mini shell for added protection and smoother surface that will show up in the casting.
Wrap the protected sculpture with at least a 3/8 inch thick layer of modeling clay including any keys that will be represented and any poor funnels at the top. Also, if the mold will be a two part mother mold, have a dividing wall with it’s own type of keys represented along the split point of the piece. (see pics below)
Cover the board and clay with wax or a good mold release.
Lay up the first half (or all if only one full shell needed) of the mother mold over top of the clay as a medium to thick layer of fiberglass or desired hard strong substrate and allow to harden completely. Create a flange on the board as well.
Lay up the second half after removing the clay or whatever you used to represent the dividing wall and waxing the first side that has hardened already creating a flange on the board as you did with the first half.
After the shell is done and you’ve waited a good while for the mother mold to cure completely, drill some registration holes and screw the hard flange of the mother mold to the board the whole mold is built on. This step is VERY important so you know exactly how to put this shell back over the sculpture without any of the 3/8 inch thick clay added earlier.
Remove the mother mold and then remove the 3/8 inch thick clay that was added earlier. This clay was there to represent the shape and space the liquid rubber was going to take up during the poring process.
Before placing the shell back over the sculpture, drill tiny (1/16″) holes in several strategic spots on the mother mold as vents, so you can see the liquid rubber fill and push air out through the shell. Relocate and place the shell back over the sculpture, that hasn’t moved, and secure the mother mold down tight on the board and screw or bolt the wall flange together if it’s a two part mold.
Mix the liquid rubber substrate according to the specs of the product. It is highly recommended that the liquid rubber is put through the process of removing air out that was forced in during the mixing process before poring into the mold. This is done with a vacuum pump and chamber. This is optional but desired for a stronger, cleaner and better mold.
Poor the mold material slowly and push clay over the 1/16″ holes as they begin to have the liquid substrate begin to seep out. In fact you can use clay to cover up any areas that may not have been well secured to prevent loss of mold material.
After the mold is filled to at least half way up the funnel spout, wait a full 24 hours or however long the product specs suggests for curing time before demolding everything.
Take it all apart and you may have to cut a sizable slit along any inconspicuous areas (the back) of the rubber to help remove it from the original sculpture. Don’t worry about the cutting as the rubber will relocate exactly where it needs to be with only a minor line showing as it sits back in the mother mold. Easy clean-up or finishing on the casting.
Now that you have a mold you shouldn’t have to worry about saving the sculpture unless it was a hard sculpt that could withstand the demolding process. Cast your pieces however you’d like (i.e. fiberglass, roto-cast resin, etc…)
Skull Knight shield hard mold, gel-coat and fiberglass
Hard molds, if cared for properly, can last a long time and withstand several more parts pulled out of the stiffer and stronger mold then it’s counter part as a flexible rubber mold. The rubber will break down over time, whereas the hard mold could last as long or longer then the maker attends it to.
My personal choice of material and kind of hard mold is the fiberglass mold. My experience has led me to believe the fiberglass mold is the most versatile and more widely used type of hard mold to be had. It’s strength, when thick enough, is uncanny and has countless uses and sizes for differing mold applications.
One famous type of fiberglass hard mold is with the manufacturing of medium and large boat hull fabrication. The hard mold will always keep its shape with minimal shrinkage and will last multiple parts pulled without losing any integrity if a consistent release agent is used each time.
One very important factor to be taken into account when deciding on a hard mold is that the sculpture or piece to be molded CANNOT have any undercuts or difficult shapes that fold over to create a “lock” making it impossible to demold a rigid piece from the hard mold, as the two (mold and plug) lock together.
Tools and Materials Needed for a Fiberglass Hard Mold
See pictures below for examples of fiberglass hard molds I’ve made in the past.
Brush molding plaster of a clay sculpture
Plaster molds combine both the brush molding technique with the characteristic of a hard mold. It can also be pored as well, but most of my experience has been to brush mold to control air bubbles on the detailed surface for quality assurance.
Plaster molds are excellent for casting non-rigid materials in, like latex for mask making. The detail the plaster mold captures is remarkable and therefore transfers onto the casting for an amazing end product.
Tools and Materials Typically Used for Plaster Molds
burlap or long fiberglass strands – mixed in last layer for reinforcing and strengthening cement
disposable boar bristle chip brushes
large oven for baking finished mold to expel excess moisture
Vacuum forming example
Vacuum forming is probably the least type of method used for mass production at home since it requires a system and/or machine that just isn’t economical or reasonable for personal use. However, if I had the room and funds, it would be a top ten purchase for me as I would invent uses just to have one–cause it is a fun thing to do.
Vacuum forming is, as it says, forming a sheet of a thin plastic type of material over an object of desired shape by use of heat and suction. The simpler the shape with no undercuts or “locks” the better. So, I would say that this type of molding is opposite of what one is used to, as the part to be kept from the mold is made on the outside of the plug. More like taking a skin from the shape that is desired.
The first thing that comes to my mind as a popular use for vacuum forming is with clone trooper armor and storm trooper armor. And my own experience with vacuum forming is when I had to make lenses for the Viper helmets I was making during my time with commission work.
Quickie, “Down and Dirty”, Simple and Cheap
I confess that I’ve used this method more times than I’ve should, but it’s just as effective with results and gets the job done with little cost at all. You can call this the disposable mold method, where the mold is just a one time use only.
The disposable mold type I’ve used the most is the “press” method. The press method is when you push a shape into clay and make an impression of the object you use to create the desired negative…(i.e. bolt head, half round, etc). You can press the shape as many times as you want side by side and produce a gang mold of several of the same shape if you need many castings of the same thing.
A good tip to know also, as a cheap simple method, is the use of clear silicone caulking as a substitute molding substrate. All you need to do to speed up the hardening is a shallow bucket of soapy water and inject the desired amount of caulk in it and mix it up in the water and apply quickly to the plug or piece to be molded–mold is done, add mother mold if needed. I’ve even used this method as a casting material for a fake, soft rubbery brain that I made using a pre-made jello mold.
I know there are other mold types I haven’t discussed here, but these are the most popular and the ones that I’ve used the most–so I hope you can take advantage of these methods and stay posted as I will do more detailed and elaborate instructions for each type in the Tutorials section here on my website. Thanks for hanging out…so until next time, happy crafting!
Side by side comparison of Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel vs my Cosplay
Becoming The Man Of Steel
So it took me long enough (about ten years) of being a cosmaker for other people, to then converting my skills to do actual cosplays for myself, and I’m excited to do one of my favorite comic book characters as one of my firsts. I loved the newer Superman design that has been portrayed since the 2013 release of The Man of Steel with Henry Cavill as Superman. The colors, the chainmail texture, the metallic muscle shading undertone and the “no external underwear” appearance.
Now I know I just said applying my skills, but I’m here to tell you I was just introduced to the other side of cosplaying that doesn’t involve the armor building I’ve been accustomed to. The different techniques were in changing my appearance drastically with body building, growing my hair out, changing my hair color and removing the gray, shaving off my goatee, filling in my eyebrows, anti-wrinkle cream, and the list goes on…
Once I decided to make it happen, the research on the best suit that I liked was on the hunt. Since I have no experience with textiles and sewing, this would be a costume that I would have custom made to my size. And the best Super suit in my opinion is from YoungKnight Props Studio.
Receiving The Super-suit
Measuring chart for custom suit fabrication
After contacting the maker of the suit, they e-mailed me a list of instructions on what they needed from me (besides the money of course) before they would start the suit. One option was if I were to get a muscle suit to be underneath the super-suit. I opted out of this because the cost of adding a muscle suit was nearly doubling the cost for the whole job. It would have been worth it, but I couldn’t afford it at the time and I’ve seen some examples without the muscle suit that looked really good as well.
The most important thing I had to do was measure my body specifically according to a measuring chart they provided in the email. I was to give measurements in centimeters which gave me the clue this costume would be coming from overseas. I also had to provide how long the cape needed to be to end at my ankles from the base of the back of the neck.
The waiting time for arrival was promised at 6-8 weeks, but it took a little longer since I ordered the suit to arrive before Halloween. I understood the delay completely since this is the busiest time of year for any costume maker.
Unpacking the super suit from YoungKnight Props Studio
Christmas came early for me as I received the suit on a Monday the day before Halloween. So the suit did come right before Halloween, but I knew there was a lot of work to do before it can be worn complete. All the trim/armor pieces made of urethane were to be superglued to the suit and it had to be done as I was wearing the suit since I don’t have a mannequin of myself, yet. (I fully intend to make one for myself for future cosplays).
I recruited my friend Dave (Thanks Dave!) to glue down most of the trim pieces that I couldn’t reach. Since I didn’t get the muscle suit, the trim pieces were from a mold of a muscle suited costume and, therefore, were too big for my body so the pieces were strategically cut to fit. There was an important, specific process recommended to do when supergluing the urethane pieces on. The parts and suit where the piece would be laid had to be primed first with this and then glued down with this.
The suit did not come with a hard under sole for my feet, so I had to provide my own foot protection for walking around in wearing the costume. I chose a size 12 woman’s thin sandals to be cut apart for the sole. Since I wear a size 13, a woman’s 12 would stay hidden or undetected under my foot after painting it red. The red paint I used was Rustoleum Sunrise Red gloss spray paint. It’s important to note that the surface that was to be glued was masked off so as to not have the paint cover any of the area where the adhesive was applied.
The cape was probably the easiest thing to attach as all I did was locate the proper placement of the cape to the suit and added a Velcro system. The Velcro on the suit was superglued the same way as the urethane trim pieces and the corresponding Velcro piece was hot glued to the cape material.
Changing My Normal Appearance
As I am getting up there in age, and I’ve always kept my hair buzzed cut and maintained a goatee, just putting on the Man of Steel Super-suit wouldn’t pass as a recognizable Superman. So I made some drastic changes to pull off a successful, but far from perfect cosplay. This was a six month process as I had to grow my hair out and work out regularly to get in shape and lose some weight.
As it came time to don the suit and do a photoshoot I had planned with Vicarious Cosplay for my write up on her in the Featured Cosplayers section to this site, here’s a list of extra things I did for my appearance:
coloring my hair to remove the aging gray evidence with product Just For Men dark brown.
getting my hair styled similar to the film’s (my hair still wasn’t long enough, though)
filling in empty (or bald) spots on my head with the product Toppik dark brown
Fun comparison to comic book where Poison Ivy successfully seduces Superman; picture taken at Holiday Matsuri 2018 with the amazing Alyson Tabbitha
Soon after the photoshoot with Vicarious Cosplay I got the chance to debut and test out my Super-suit at Holiday Matsuri 2018 at the Orlando World Marriot Center and I had an amazing time. This became one of my favorite cons I’ve ever been to because of the excitement of the people, the many terrific cosplays there and the Holiday atmosphere cause it’s no secret I love Christmas! The Hotel was decked out perfect for the season and parking was a breeze. Maybe parking was easy because I went early on the first day, Friday, but the line to receive an entry pass was incredibly long…even if one pre-paid.
I met so many incredible people and Cosplayers there and took several pictures to preserve the memories. I particularly tried to find DC Cosplayers to have my picture taken along side for a fun instant collaboration. My biggest highlight was meeting the great and sweet Alyson Tabbitha as she was a special guest invited to be there. In fact my primary reason for a Friday appearance was because Alyson was showing up that day in her epic Cosplay of Uma Thurman‘s Poison Ivy from Batman and Robin. I had a plan to have her help me re-create a theme from the Superman comics where Poison Ivy actually seduces Superman for awhile. She truly is a wonderful person to her fans and all those who want to meet her! I, of course, sounded and acted like a nervous goofball when it was my turn to get a picture with her. Perhaps one day I’ll get the opportunity to do an interview with her here for my Featured Cosplayers page.
One drawback to this costume, especially if I’m alone as I was at Holmat with no handler or friend, is that the zipper is in the back to get in and out of the suit, and it’s tight and form fitting, so if I need to use the restroom I would need help. I anticipated this as I stayed away from beverages until half way through the day and didn’t eat anything until I was ready to leave. I also preemptively took some immodium pills just incase (if you know what I mean…lol)
Soon I will be taking my suit to do an outdoor photoshoot to include action shots and recognizable poses from the comics and movies. As soon as this happens and I get the pictures back I’ll be posting a gallery of photos here, so stay tuned and thanks for reading.
The Man of Steel Outdoor Photoshoot by Photographer Melissa Blyth
I am excited to introduce you to my next Featured Cosplayer here and she is no surprise to those who read my last write up on Khal of Atlantis. She is Victoria Amanda Bradley of Vicarious Cosplay and she is a true Gem! When meeting up with Pepe of Khal of Atlantis I was pleasantly surprised to find Victoria by his side as the two are a serious couple. And what a perfect match they make. More later on these two together, but for now I want to focus on the many wonderful attributes Victoria brings to the cosplay community.
Snow Buddies…Victoria in DC’s Killer Frost makeup with her “Fur-Baby” Kali
Let me just tell you right away that she loves what she does and has the biggest passion for the art of Cosplay more than anyone I have met before and I’ve been doing this for ten years now. Her zeal is infectious when being around her and I find myself wanting to do more and be more ambitious in the field just talking to her.
So you’ll be shocked to hear that she’s only been cosplaying for about a year and a half now from the time this article is published. I would have never guessed it by seeing the vast amount of quality, intelligent and fun examples of her work that she’s shared on her social media platforms and that I’ll be sharing here as well.
This girl is on fire and is non-stop, “pedal to the metal” achiever with plans I couldn’t ever imagine for myself. I’m sure it helps having a terrific cosplayer as a partner who she can feed off of, and as exciting as she is, I’m sure Pepe is getting motivated himself.
I’ve seen her passion first hand, not only by following her Instagram and Facebook pages, but when I invited Victoria and Pepe to dinner during my research on his interview. As I sat across the table from her, I watched as her eyes lit up whenever she told me about her experience at some of the Cons she went to and meeting and seeing some of the best influential cosplays like the incredible Lycans by @brenachs_props while she was sporting Selene from Underworld. And as she shared with me her future cosplays and upcoming events.
What can drive someone so much with this stuff?…’cause I love it, too, but I don’t have nearly the amount of energy and enthusiasm to cosplay as she does. Is it that it’s all brand new and exciting to learn for her or is it taking in all the many different worlds she imagines being in with a good cosplay? I do know one of the answers for sure and that’s the people she has gotten to meet and become dear friends with.
Friends That Cosplay Together…Stay Together
So I have a list of Cosplayers that I’ve compiled as the next ones I would like to feature here on my blog and the way I found them was by association with the previous Cosplayers I’ve wrote about here. The next few happen to be local for me here in Florida and they’ve all worked together before, which gave me the perfect opportunity to find out how special Victoria is to them or how they might know what makes her tick.
The common theme as these cosplayers answered me about her was how much of a Sweetheart she is and that they love how she totally gets into character especially with the little ones. I’ve also learned and seen for myself how she’s full of energy all the time and how much effort she puts into her costumes. Everyone I talked to also acknowledged how much charity work she does which is a way for her to give back and share the love.
I can tell you first hand how good of a friend she makes as she is genuinely interested in what and how I’m doing. She’s one of the only followers that responds to my stories on Instagram and cheers me on with what I’m working on.
Just Go To The Source
It kind of sounds like I’m making her out to be a mystery when all I have to do is…well…ask her why she loves Cosplay so much. And that’s just what I did in the question, “What has Cosplay done for you?” This is what she said:
“Wow, cosplay has done so much for me. Right before I started cosplaying I was going through a divorce. I was down, maybe not depressed, but down. It helped me through the almost year long process. I have built so many friendships and relationships. It has even brought my family closer to me. It has even made my little brother and I closer. He has even asked me to make his first cosplay for him. Not to mention I found my soul mate. Without cosplaying I don’t think any of these things would have happened.”
“Tailor Made” To Be A Cosmaker
I like to give attention to my Cosplayers’ skills in crafting, building and cosmaking their costumes since that is where I have spent most of my time in the field and, therefore, I have a great appreciation to what goes into making a good Cosplay. There is so much I still need to learn and everyone has something to offer. Like Victoria is a terrific seamstress and tailor, which I have almost zero knowledge in sewing, but would love to remedy that. Her grandmother is credited for teaching her how to sew among other wonderful traits as she was raised by her. It’s important to note that Victoria can do much more like makeup, styling wigs, prop making, sculpting and molding.
One question you’ll always find me asking as I add more of my favorite Cosplayers to my blog is what was in picking the alias or title name of your Cosplay persona? And Vicarious Cosplay is a real good one…here’s her explanation into why the name:
“I was having a hard time figuring out what I wanted my name to be and then I asked a couple friends what they thought and they gave me some suggestions and one of my friends stated that I should use vicarious, the reason being the definition of it is [experienced in the imagination through the feelings or actions of another person]. I thought this fit pretty well because it pretty much embodies what we do…as in Cosplay we pretty much divulge ourselves.”
So let’s get started with my favorite pics of Vicarious Cosplay put into multiple iconic categories:
DC Comics Cosplays
Marvel Comics Cosplays
Selene From Underworld Cosplay
More Favorites From Vicarious Cosplay
Power Cosplay Couple
Khal of Atlantis with his Darling Vicarious Cosplay as Disney’s Jafar and princess Ariel for Costumers With a Cause Fourth of July Parade event.
If you catch a glimpse of one of these two at a con, chances are the other half is right there with him/her and you’ll be witnessing an Epic couple themed cosplay. These two have won several awards already and they’ve only been at it for only a year now from the date this is published.
It’s important to note, however, that each one can stand on their own with incredible individual cosplays and artistic talents. It may be tempting not to be able to think of one without the other, but as I’ve come to know them and ask about each of their lives, they certainly are their own unique person…which happens to compliment the other in a wonderful relationship.
They met at a Con of course, Spooky Empire 2017, Pepe as Predator and Victoria as Greta from Gremlins 2. The funny thing is they have been at some of the same events and in pictures together without really knowing eachother, but being Facebook friends as just “following a good fellow cosplayer.” She was drawn to his cool skull bandoleer as part of his Predator costume and was talking to a man in a mask. Later that night while saying goodbyes to other friends she saw him without the mask and they ended up hanging out together the next con day. Clues on mutual interest were being dropped throughout the day and at the end of the event she was the one who had to nudge him and ask him, “so when are you going to ask me for my number?”
For Pepe’s interview I asked Victoria to say how important she is to him and since this is my writeup on Vicarious Cosplay I asked him to tell me why she is important to him. This is what he said:
“She means the world to me, since the moment I saw her I felt the connection with her that I’ve never felt before. And now that feeling evolved into something more deep than love. There is not a single moment of the day that I don’t think about her. There is nothing brighter in my life than the light that she shines. I can positively say that I never met anyone like her. And my love and feelings will always shine.”
Get a load of these two:
Out Of Cosplay?
Abby from NCIS Cosplay…Channeling her inner Abby at work.
It’s hard for me to think of her out of cosplay sometimes since she’s so in-tuned to it and that most of what we ever talked about had everything to do with the craft. Plus I know she’s thinking about it all the time, because I know I am and she is way more passionate about it then me.
Not only does she have the coolest hobby in Cosplay, but she also has one of the coolest jobs that I could imagine and that’s a crime scene technician. Many things begin to become clear after learning this fact, like why she was drawn to Pepe in his Predator costume by noticing his real animal skull bandoleer before even seeing his face and some of the way she approaches her cosmaking. Which led me to the question that revealed her career…”What do you do for a living and do you use any of your skills and knowledge from work that helps you at all in cosplay?” This is what she said:
“My official title is a crime scene technician. My duties are to observe, document, collect and preserve the evidence while also providing my testimony if needed in court. Funny enough, I am attempting to try to make a face mold with the plaster we used to collect shoe and tire impressions. This is something I’ve been looking forward to doing within the next month or so. I plan on taking sand and putting it in a bin and pretty much faceplanting [my head] into it, setting it with hairspray and then casting it with dental stone.”
I’m jealous of the toys, materials and techniques she gets to deal with on a daily bases. I of course asked the stupid question that I already kind of knew the answer to and that is “Is your job anything like it is on the CSI TV shows?” A chuckle and then a… “No, however we did get the firearms training, but never really use it unless we go to the range.”
Pepe, their dog Kali, horror movies, trips to the theme parks with family and friends and charity events are just some of her favorite things to do outside of cosplay even though some of those things she would go full costume in as well. These tidbits of her life I learned just by catching her stories on Instagram which is always a treat to watch following her and Pepe.
A Heart of Gold
Victoria Bradley from Vicarious Cosplay cosplaying Disney’s Ariel Princess for a Costumers With A Cause Fourth of July event for kids
As talented as she is I believe I found something she is better at and more experienced in than Cosplay, which is her extensive work for charitable groups and her appearances at events where she can show her full support for. Which being a terrific Cosplayer can be a bonus as a way to put a smile on the faces of those who could use some sunshine.
A true humanitarian was a common theme from her friends as I asked them about her and as I have noticed myself. Some people would not want the attention as a charitable host, and even though Victoria doesn’t need the acknowledgement, she would readily share her experiences only to bring awareness to the multiple causes she supports. She’s so passionate about it and infectious that I’ll be asking her how I can get involved.
“As a Cosplayer for Costumers With a Causes I have had the honor of working with Make-A-Wish Foundation to make kids dream come true, Nathaniel’s Hope, fundraise for many charity organizations and done hospital visits just for those who are there at the moment. As a person out of cosplay, I have done charity with Habitat for Humanities and Ronald McDonald’s House. I am also an advisor for the Young Explorers program at my agency which is to teach those at a young age about law enforcement in crime scene which I have done numerous guest speaking at elementary schools to college. Before Cosplaying and when I was in college I did several fundraising for my chapter 4 cancer as well as Cystic Fibrosis.”
So Much More To Vicarious Cosplay
I can go on forever about her…so I will. Maybe not forever but for at least another segment here. If I had to describe her in one word I would say Magnetic…because you can’t help but be drawn to her with her lively spirit and zeal for life and Cosplay inparticular. I know she’s thinking about cosplay a lot and wonder if sometimes she looks at strangers walking by and thinks to herself…”OOH, I bet he/she could do a great cosplay of __________…”
In her short time as a serious Cosplayer she has been invited to be a DC Bombshell Model as you’ve seen above with her Killer Frost, she’s made countless friends in the community and I am honored that she calls me a friend, she’s met her soul mate in Pepe, helped put smiles on the faces of many children, and has learned some new and wonderful techniques to help improve her skills.
I always ask my Cosplayers what their dream cosplay would be and hers is incredibly ambitious and can’t wait to see and watch it happen. That cosplay is the Queen Alien from Aliens. I actually have a dream cosplay for her that when we very first met I messaged her super early in the morning the next day excited to tell her. Somehow I can see her as doing an incredible Mavis from Hotel Transylvania. I hope she’ll do it so I can see first hand or at least prove that I’m right…lol.
Our Shared Photo Shoot With Premier Cosplay Photographer BriLan Imagery
Pumpkin carving is easily the most popular or most practiced tradition for Halloween in my opinion. At least it is for my family and throughout my lifetime. The aroma of the fresh pumpkin after cutting into one and pulling out the pulp and seeds always brings me back to exciting memories of Fall and Halloween growing up. My mother would wash and bake the seeds to be snacked on while we carved our classic jack-o-lantern designs, to then be placed outside on our front porch for the spooky season. I grew up in northern Ohio so the cool weather allowed for early October decoration with the pumpkin art to last all month. Now that I live in Florida, carving a pumpkin has to happen nearest to the October 31st date to ensure that the pumpkin will not rot in the heat. They also need to be kept inside the air conditioning until just before Trick or Treating happens and then the jack-0-lanterns can come out to greet the eager candy hunters.
The Progression of My Pumpkin Designs
I’ve only just recently documented the last several years of my pumpkin carving, but I felt there is just enough to fill a post here for the Halloween Traditions page.
As much fun as I have doing them and as important as I felt the design would be, I would begin researching ideas starting in August. Some of the designs ended up being what my daughter wanted it to be as a little girl.
So here is a gallery collection of past Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween:
3D Pumpkin Carving
I was always impressed with the 3D pumpkin carvings/sculptures and since I’ve done many clay and foam sculptures in the past, it was only natural that I would attempt one of my own. So this year I was ambitious enough to try my first 3D pumpkin carving for Halloween. I chose the classic skull design and thought it would be neat to make a time lapse video of the progression. My daughter had fun editing the video with spooky music and the 70’s style film filter. (see video below)
First here is a picture gallery of the steps taken to achieve the skull coming out of the pumpkin:
Thanks for the overwhelming response you all gave me with my first featured cosplayer I did on Mystique’s World of Cosplay. I’m happy to introduce you to the next pick I made of a talented artist to be highlighted here on my website. Say hello to Pepe Bozzo who is Khal of Atlantis.
I had always intended on being able to interview almost anybody I chose, anywhere, but I was pleasantly surprised to find local talent here in central Florida and quite abundantly, too. This provided me with the unique opportunity to meet Pepe and insert myself into his life and get to know the real person. I’m not a stalker…I swear…no, really. HA! After the interesting write up I did on Damaris, by knowing her, I still want to provide my readers that kind of realism. The best part is I made a new friend that shares many of the same passions as I do, especially with cosplay. Do I see a future group cosplay in the making?
I got to tell you one thing which isn’t very friendly on my part is that I’m jealous of him and of that face! The camera loves this guy and he looks like almost anybody he portrays, as you can see with just the few images shown so far. I do, of course, give him credit as a terrific artist and as an actor and costumer, which helps him enormously with his accurate depictions of characters he chooses.
So it wasn’t hard to figure out why he chose the name Khal of Atlantis as his cosplay alias since Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones and Aquaman from Atlantis in The Justice League are his two most well known Cosplays.
I’d like to start by giving a shout out to all the Berserk manga fans out there who probably knew or hoped this was coming. Pepe and I, before we knew each other, did the same cosplay which both got a lot of attention from the Berserk community. That cosplay is of Skull Knight and was a difficult one indeed. I did it the most time consuming and most expensive way, where Mr. Atlantis here absolutely nailed it under a time crunch and with familiar cosmaker methods of EVA Foam, Latex, paint and everything in between with a much lower budget.
When I asked him to hook me up with some WIP (work-in-progress) pics for this writeup he regrettably told me “I don’t have many, I need to start taking more pics of the process.” But as I scaled through his Instagram profile I found several well represented photos of cosplay builds in development that worked perfectly here. I told him I had the same problem with lack of pre-shots of a costume fabrication and we both agreed to make an effort to take more.
EVA Foam is his main choice of media to work with as is many other cospayers, but Pepe seems to take it to a whole other level. There were several cosplays I had to ask him what he used, and when he said EVA Foam I was surprised because the end result looked too perfect and I thought I should be able to tell, like his Iron Man and Iron Patriot full armor. His (and now mine) favorite EVA foam supplier is TNT Cosplay Supply. This is where most of the materials comes from to perform his magic.
An important part of a true cosplayer is the makeup test and wig fitting test that need to be done before a full reveal. This is where I found several WIP pics I could use from Pepe’s collection of photos. He understands the importance of knowing ahead of time exactly how to make a character happen by the multiple tests and fittings to get it right. Nothing is worse than a wardrobe malfunction while trying to be in character at a Con.
This Cosplayer’s Inspiration is Everything
Judge Dredd comes to life straight out of the comics…
What inspires this Peruvian the most is…well…everything. A good sign of a true artist is to take anything and everything he/she encounters or pursues in stride and being able to translate it all into their work. I’m all about the visual aspect to my reference point, but as you’ll see a little later here, Pepe is also a musician as well as a visual artist. I asked him where he get’s his reference from while planning and working on a cosplay and he told me “all of it”, from comics, to video games, manga, anime and movies. I also asked him if what he does for a living translates at all into his artwork and he emphatically replied, “No…” Work is the last thing he wants to think about while performing his mad skills in a cosplay project. As a computer technician, I would say that it does help him some, however. One needs to be smart and tech savvy, as he is, to know how to attempt to put a hinge, servo motors and other electronics for his Iron Man helmet’s face plate to open and close and have lights.
So, let’s get started with my chosen pics that I’d like to present to you here:
The Best of Khal of Atlantis Gallery of Photos
Khal Drogo of Game of Thrones
Aquaman from The Justice League
John Wick Cosplay
Geralt From The Witcher
Jafar From Disney’s Aladdin
Cyborg Raiden From Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Video Game
Judge Dredd Cosplay
Iron Man and Iron Patriot Full Costume Armor
Out of Cosplay
Pepe and his Husky Kali
Dog lover, metal head, musician, video gamer, movie goer and fitness guru are just a few things that occupies Pepe’s time when not planning or creating his next transformation. I know, however, he must always seem to be thinking about cosplay as good as he is with the craft.
But for now let’s talk about these things listed above that are important parts of his life, and one of the most important is his dog.
Not just any dog, but a sweet girl husky named Kali that he had since a puppy. Huskies are his favorite breed of dog and when I asked him why, he confirmed that they’re silly, fun, pack minded, and how great of pets they make. Huskies are always trying to be included in everything which makes them terrific play mates and pets. They’re bred to be sled dogs and bark the loudest to be noticed and get picked to be part of the pack that gets to pull the sled. I love huskies, too, as they remind me of a friend’s husky when I was a kid as it gave me my first impression of how a good dog can be as a loving pet.
If you follow Pepe it’s no secret about Kali as he shares pics of her a lot on his social media platforms. Kali get’s her own gallery of photos here too:)
His love for heavy metal music and him being a self taught musician combines two more out of cosplay attributes to his life. You gotta hear him rip on the bass and also even hammer on the drums! Multi-talented musician, indeed. Him and I discussed some of our favorite heavy metal bands, and I connected the most to the classic heavy metal bands from my day like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Ozzie, just to name a few. I couldn’t pinpoint his favorite band as he chuckled when I asked for him to tell me and he said, “…too many to count…” I did find that Ne Obliviscaris, Amon Amarth, Napalm Death and Wintersun are bands important enough to see live and share on his Instagram account.
Being a gamer was no surprise as you can see through his cosplays, as he brought to life some of his favorite characters in Geralt from The Witcher and Raiden from the game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Going online and playing games straight off his PC is a quick go to method to get his game on and he’s currently into MechWarrior and of course The Witcher for the 20th time.
Staying in shape by dieting and working out regularly at his gym is part of his weekly routine. Exercising is nothing different or new as he used to be a personal trainer before he got into cosplay. I’ll be picking his brain on how I can get into shape better, that’s for sure. Personal trainers don’t only give you a work-out plan, they also include what to take into your body for maximum health and performance. So our next meal outing together will need to be well thought out, especially if he’s getting in complete form and strength for an upcoming Con.
Near and Dear to His Heart
Pepe’s Sweetheart, photo from Mayhem Magazine
I could have mentioned her anytime during this article, but I feel she needed her own section because that is how important she is to Pepe. This is Victoria Bradley who happens to also be a wonderfully talented Cosplayer as well. Spoiler alert as to who my next Featured Cosplayer is going to be. Her alias is Vicarious Cosplay and her passion for the art is uncanny! These two make the perfect couple and have several couple’s cosplays to date and many more already in the works. I asked her to tell me something about Pepe that I can relay to you all here, and this is what she said…
“Pepe has sparked hope in me when we first met. He treasures our time together and makes me feel like a queen. When he loves he loves full heartedly. I always tell him he’s my weirdo, because we can laugh and do crazy things together. For example there is this moment when he was taking a picture (what I thought was a picture turned out to be a video) I had a dinosaur head on and went ‘AHHH’…so ever since then we ‘AHHH’ to each other. It’s these little moments that make me love him. On top of it I found a Cosplayer. His work is outstanding for being a procrastinator.” [I guess that means he loves the Con crunch being a procrastinator…Hee Hee]
Khal of Atlantis Popularity Rises
Mayhem Magazine cover September 2017
It was only a matter of time that a Cosplayer this good would get picked up and featured in several publications and media outlets.
Costumers With A Cause volunteer, where bringing hope to children in special circumstances is the primary focus
So Much More To Khal of Atlantis
Aquaman (Pepe) and Viper Pilot (me) at MegaCon Orlando 2018
I know I said earlier that I’m jealous of his face, but as you’ve seen with his Predator and Iron Man cosplays he has no problem covering his head up with a mask or helmet for an epic costume. Anything to get into character, because the best part of cosplay sometimes is playing a role that a terrific wardrobe helps facilitate. As fun and important as Cons are to attend, as an excuse to play, taking the time and expense for professional photo shoots are vital to a Cosplayers experience. I learned that from going through Pepe’s photos as many of them I chose were from planned pics with talented photographers. I’ll be taking lessons from Khal of Atlantis on how to get my name out there as a serious Cosplayer. He’s so good with every aspect of being a talented Cosplayer including the attitude of just having fun and relaxing with it. When you’ve done as many characters as he has, it should just come naturally like it does for him.
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite cosplay of his, but if I absolutely had to I would pick his John Wick portrayal. Something about the subtleness yet perfectly accurate job he did made it so effective. A totally cool character to pick as well. His poses and stern looks he gave for the camera were Keanu Reeves all the way!
One question I wanted to ask the most is what his dream cosplay would be and the answer was a good one and I think would be perfect for him…That cosplay is the dragon armor from Dracula Untold. He has to do this and I’ll be pestering him constantly ’till he at least starts building it…hehe.
Welcome to my second installment of “My Top Ten Favorites…” where I discuss my top ten favorite movie props. This was tough for me to compile as I love props and there were so many I left out to get to only ten. I had to come up with some guidelines to keep the list short like “no helmets” since I’ll probably do a list of favorite movie costumes and helmets are a main part of costuming. Also, as much as I love lightsabers from Star Wars, the actual prop is the handle and visual effects are what make the lightsaber work on screen, so no props that need extra help on film. I pretty much went with what I think looks really cool to me and works well for the purpose in the particular movie.
“That’s not a knife. This is a knife.” One of my favorite movie quotes where Dundee was talking about his famous knife that he always carries with him. He was being approached by a gang threatening him with a tiny switch blade knife when he spoke this line.
“The Dundee knife was created by an Australian gunsmith named John Bowring. He was approached by the studio that produced Crocodile Dundee film and asked to make an original knife for the Dundee character. Bowring agreed and produced the famous Dundee knife.” (Survival Knife Mary)
#9 Doc Brown’s DeLorean Time Machine
DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future Trilogy 1985-1990
Yes, a whole car made my favorite prop list. It probably helped that the DeLorean itself is one of my favorite cars anyway. But by adding all the “bells and whistles” as a time machine catapults this car as a prop icon I think everyone will love. The inside of the car with the “flux capacitor” and digital time display is an important memorable detail as well.
#8 LeMarchand’s Puzzle Box
LeMarchand’s Puzzle Box from Hellraiser films 1987-1996
The Hellraiser puzzle box is simple, but can also take on a complex shape when activated opening a gateway for Pinhead and the Cenobites to enter our world. I love the design and overall look to the cube and still aspire to having one of these in my prop collection one day.
#7 Wolverine’s Claws
Wolverine’s Claws from X-Men and Wolverine spin off movies 2000-2017
A spoiler about Wolverine, perhaps, if I do a list of favorite comic book characters is that he would be #1. Seeing his claws designed well as a workable esthetic prop on film is exciting for me. It’s a simple design that I’ve seen used in cosplay a lot but looks real and very cool as the Wolverine’s signature weapon.
#6 Hannibal Lecter’s Prison Mask
Hannibal Lecter’s prison transfer mask from Silence of the Lambs 1991
Another simple design of a prop, but makes a huge statement on film because of the character (and acting performance) that wields the power of it’s use. Hannibal “the cannibal” Lecter can’t bite anything but his own tongue wearing this. What sells this mask the most is seeing the whole shot of him wearing the classic straight jacket for an insane person strapped to a dolly, as well, as he’s being transferred.
#5 Ghostbusters Proton Pack
Ghostbuster Proton Backpack from the Ghostbusters films 1984-1989
“Who you gonna call…?” Such a cool concept piece especially as a whole with the gun and trap that is the perfect design for what it’s supposed to do on film. And there’s four of them, too! I loved the Ghostbusters and my favorite parts of the films is when the Ghostbusters show up trying to look tough and important in their jumpsuits and technical gear. I’d feel important too if I were wearing it all.
#4 Raiders of the Lost Ark Fertility Idol
Raiders of the Lost Ark Fertility Idol opening scene from Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981
We get an introduction to exactly how the character of Indiana Jones is going to be like through the entire franchise of Archeology films starring Harrison Ford with this opening scene–and the lengths he’ll go for a priceless artifact, particularly this first one, is incredibly exciting. I’ll never forget watching this film on the big screen as an eleven year old kid imagining being an archaeologist myself one day. Of course that didn’t happen, but my love for art, particularly 3D art, is portrayed with my love for prop making.
#3 Colonial Marines Pulse Rifle
Colonial Marines Pulse Rifle from Aliens 1986
I love this movie and I love this gun! Everything about this rifle is so cool…from the shape, the sound it makes on film, the badass marines who use it, it’s killing force against the aliens, and the digital countdown of ammunition. I especially love the scene when Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) cocks it with one arm and launches grenades into alien eggs when approaching the Queen alien’s lair. A close companion to the rifle is the scanner used alongside the rifle to detect movement when locating how close the aliens are. “Game over, man!”
#2 Ash’s Chainsaw Hand
Ash’s Chainsaw Hand from Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness 1987-1992
“Groovy!” How ironic that the very chainsaw used to cut off his hand becomes the extension to where his hand used to be. I hope that’s not too much of a spoiler because the events of this movie and the way Bruce Campbell plays the role of Ash is something NOT to be missed! The chainsaw is an iconic symbol for the Evil Dead series and rightfully so. The scene in the shed where Ash constructs his defense with the chainsaw and sawed off shotgun is a filming and editing masterpiece.
#1 T-800 Endo Skull
T-800 Endo Skull from The Terminator 1984
This is definitely a must have in my collection! So brilliant of a design and concept, and so awesome and cool to look at! I can totally see and imagine flesh overtop of the chrome to get to the face of Arnold Schwarzenagger as the cybernetic assassin. I list reasons why this is one of my favorite movies in my blog post on My Top Ten Favorite Movies, but I left out this one reason that the film houses my favorite prop. “I’ll be back.”
And I’ll be back with more top ten favorites soon on makeup and costuming in film. Let me know what you think so far with my favorites and comment here what some of your favorite movie props are.
Thanks again for hanging out and keep a look out for more content here with cosplay, prop and costume making.
So I thought it would be cool to do a series of my top ten favorites like my top ten favorite movie props, or my top ten favorite comic book characters, etc… I’ll start with my top ten favorite movies, which most of these are directly responsible in influencing my passion for makeup, cosplay and prop making. I know many of you will agree that these films are quite good if you’ve seen them, but I’ll also be revealing my age since several of these films impacted me as a young lad finding my place in the world. The countdown will start at #10 and work it’s way down to my #1 favorite movie of all time. One criteria that I went by, when choosing these films, is that I could watch these movies over and over again and never get tired of seeing them repeatedly, which I’ve already done time and time again.
#10 The Dark Crystal
The Dark Crystal 1982; directed by Jim Henson
I could no longer watch the muppets the same after seeing what I believe to be Jim Henson’s greatest masterpiece. Not only was the puppetry and special effects incredible, but the story line was well written and went along smoothly with the film’s intent. The gelflings in the movie were almost human or lifelike enough for me, as a kid watching, creeped me out so much that it hypnotized me and I couldn’t look away. Today when I watch it again and again, the skeksis are clearly the best part of the movie for me. The sculpting and work that went behind them must have been intense for such an amazing design. I am still in awe every time I watch it.
#9 Evil Dead 2
Evil Dead 2 1987; directed by Sam Raimi
There are several reasons this movie easily made the cut into my top ten and I’ll get to them in a second, but perhaps what stands out the most as the best part of this movie is simple…Bruce Campbell! This was my introduction to the genius of Bruce’s acting and humor and even though he was in the first one, Sam must have held him back then, no holds bar on this performance of Ash for Evil Dead 2. What a terrific treat. Sam Raimi’s vision on technical film style and camera angles gets my next kudos for this film. Several new and innovative shots were introduced here and we still see them today thanks to Sam Raimi. In a time when I was obsessed with horror films I remember after watching this one that I had to get into the industry somehow and I left for Florida soon after to become a makeup artist.
#8 True Romance
True Romance 1993; directed by Tony Scott
Acting is king in this film and the cast is unmatched…just look at them all! But perhaps the greatest performance, in my opinion, was Gary Oldman’s as Alabama’s pimp. In fact I remember making the decision that Gary Oldman would be (and still is) my favorite actor after watching True Romance. This film has everything from humor, elite acting performances, action, and best of all an amazing script. Here is where I found out about the one and only screenwriter Quentin Tarantino. Most of you know him from his work on Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Kill Bill. The man is brilliant and interesting dialogue is his specialty.
#7 Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back 1980; directed by Irvin Kershner
There are several Star Wars films that could have easily made the cut since I am a big Star Wars fan, but this is clearly my favorite and can represent the Star Wars saga for me. I picked The Empire Strikes Back mainly because of my childhood attachment to it. One of the first biggest Star Wars toys I had, other than the figures, was the T-47 snowspeeder from Hoth. I had countless hours playing the Hoth battle scene out with my friend who happen to have the large AT-AT introduced in the film as well. I also started collecting trading cards and I remember trying to find all the cards and stickers in the set. I’ve watched this movie the most out of all of them and I can say that even today I get excited and find new gems within the movie to admire. The reveal of Darth Vader’s and Luke Skywalker’s true identities propelled the plot exponentially.
#6 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001; directed by Peter Jackson
Where do I begin with this one? So many reasons why I love it, I can’t just name a few, but I will try for this entry. Peter Jackson‘s commitment to keep the film as accurate as possible to J.R.R. Tolkien‘s masterful work from The Lord of the Rings trilogy of books helped him recreate the story with visual perfection. Since the FOTR (fellowship of the ring) was the first one to see in Peter Jackson’s trilogy it would have the most impact in introducing the enormous undertaking of the project. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King were just as beautiful as the first. In fact these three movies were filmed at the same time over a period of three years! I love watching the making of these films on the DVD’s extras menu almost as much as the films. Props and SPFX makeup get me giddy here thanks to WETA Workshop. New Zealand’s beautiful diverse landscape was the perfect choice to film the many different lands in Middle Earth, so set design propels the film even further. If you’re a fantasy nerd like me and love stories and tales of medieval times J.R.R. Tolkien’s books are brilliant. But even if you haven’t read the books these films are the ultimate eye candy and will give you the greatest emotional roller coaster ride a movie can offer.
#5 The Terminator
The Terminator 1984; directed by James Cameron
The script to this film is absolutely brilliant, which is why it was able to be so successful and launch several more well made films in the franchise. When I tell folks why I love this movie I tell them about the story of the first time I saw it. To keep it short, the highlight of the story is that I had absolutely no idea what it was going to be about because I never seen a trailer for it. This is why, even today, I try to avoid too much pre-hype of a film and also try to avoid long trailers that give the film away. Watching this film for the first time and seeing two (what appears to be) hostiles from the future, at the beginning, pursuing an unsuspecting damsel is captivating. I’m sure most of you have seen this, but if not, I’ll stop there so I don’t spoil it, since not knowing about it wooed me. I’ll be doing a list soon of my top ten favorite movie props and if you read this, you’ll get a hint of one of my favorite props which is the T-800 endoskull.
#4 The Matrix
The Matrix 1999; directed by Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Kung Fu, computers, leather and shades…doesn’t get any better than that…OH, except when you add a mind blowing story to go along with them. The Matrix has an intense, brain-buster script similar to The Terminator, but, in my opinion, slightly better which is why it falls just one more closer to my favorite film of all time. Visual effects reins supreme as well for technological reasons. New techniques in cinematography were invented with multiple cameras and angles and editing that forever immortalized scenes in our heads…if you’ve scene it, you know what I’m talking about. Pure magic!
Manhunter 1986; directed by Michael Mann
Michael Mann is a master at creating the perfect mood and emotion using the soundtrack and composition of any scene. I loved this movie precisely because of it. I was a huge fan of Miami Vice TV show growing up and I was thrilled to see Michael Mann was involved with this film. Here is where we get our first glimpse of Dr. Hannibal Lecter portrayed by Brian Cox. Even though we remember Anthony Hopkins immediately for this role, Brian, who is just as much a high caliber actor as Anthony, played Hannibal first. This movie is based off the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. I don’t really know how convincing I can be and do the film justice, but it’s one you just have to trust me on and seeing is believing. A true Masterpiece!
Gladiator 2000; directed by Ridley Scott
Best “come back kid” revenge story ever! This movie is sensational! It has everything from being visually stunning, a captivating story, superior set and even beautiful costuming. The main character Maximus portrayed by Russell Crowe goes through an amazing journey at every stage of power to near death to being hated and then being loved, which keeps you emotionally attached throughout the entire film. Each action sequence is set up to be more anticipated and exponentially more exciting than the previous one. An absolute must see again and again!
…and the #1 favorite movie of mine is…
#1 Blade Runner
Blade Runner 1982; directed by Ridley Scott
So my top two favorite movies are directed by Ridley Scott. Coincidence?…I think not. The man is a genius. So, if I were to have a list of favorite directors, he’d be number one also. When I came up with the list and I was thinking of movies to consider in the top ten, Blade Runner and it’s position as number #1 was the only one I knew of right away. The movie is king of all of them and I have talked to a lot of people that agree with me that Blade Runner is their favorite movie also. (At least folks my age). Even though I’m a visual guy, my favorite part of this movie is the soundtrack by Vangelis. The soundtrack is a fluid merger of every stunning scene that solidifies the film emotionally. I still get chills and hold back awesomeness tears every time I watch it. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick is the novel that the film is based off of. This film has an elite cast including Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, Sean Young, and Daryl Hannah. The story takes place in the future (well…the future from 1982) and what is so alluring about it is that it seems like a future I believe could really happen to some extent.
I hope I haven’t given away any spoilers if you haven’t seen any of these and I want to believe I hyped these movies up enough that you want to make an effort to view them for yourself or even see again if they’re already part of your library.
This was a fun list to make and there were several movies I considered to be in the top ten, but didn’t make the cut. A quick list of these, and not in any particular order are:
Aliens 1986; directed by James Cameron
Goonies 1985; directed by Richard Donner
Labyrinth 1986; directed by Jim Henson
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens 2015; directed by J.J. Abrams
Blade Runner 2049 2017; directed by Denis Villeneuve
…just to name a few…
Thanks for takin’ a gander at my opinion in films and please leave a comment on what may be some of your own favorites and/or if you agree with any of these films as a possible contender as your own favorites.
To keep the project on a strict budget, it helps to have found a pair of welding or thick barbeque gloves that are used already. If you don’t have a pair, try finding some at a thrift store and/or garage sale.
Depending on the color the glove is, you may have to dye it a color that will help blend in with a steampunk look. I used dark brown to mask the blue that I started with. Follow directions on the dye bottle. It took three coats for my glove.
Dyed leather glove with accessories to be added
I was ambitious and thought I would fit everything on the glove you see in the photo, but once I saw it come together, I was able to weed out what I really needed to make it look proper. Sometimes less is more. Plan out what you want to use ahead of time and it’s okay to have a lot in mind to start with, because you can always decide otherwise.
Sections fabricated separately
To make this glove look more the part as a mechanical gauntlet, you’ll need to cover it with as much of the copper sheeting and fake rivets (paper fasteners) as possible. What made this a simple and effective build was making each section separately and then adding them on after. The simplicity was with not having to go through the thick glove with stitching, cutting, poking, or threading to the inside.
Measure how big of an individual section you want to address first and either mark the faux leather or cut a pattern and then transfer onto the faux leather the shape to be cut out. Cut it out of the material.
Next you’ll want to take the same shape of the copper sheeting, but smaller so the faux leather material has a boarder of 1/8″-1/4″ appearing behind the copper sheeting. You should have a thin enough gauge copper to be able to use scissors for cutting.
Center cut shape of copper sheeting over top of the faux leather material and plan, mark and space out where you want the rivets to appear along the boarder of the metal. It’s not necessary to glue the metal to the material because the rivets (paper fasteners) will go through and fasten together the two shapes together, but you can if you want so the two don’t move before the process is finished.
With the exacto blade, poke through and cut a small slit through both materials where the center of the rivet will be located. Then take a closed paper fastener and poke the shafts through the slit and then spread the shaft apart tightly against the back of the faux leather side. Repeat for all planned rivet spots. Try to plan the direction of where the feet of the paper fasteners will end after opening so they don’t stick out past the boarder of the faux leather material. If that happens though the fastener’s feet are thin enough to cut out of the way.
Sections added on with hot glue
Hot glue assembled sections in place, concentrating on the edges.
Begin finger wrap sections and test fit
The fingers are a little more involved since you’ll be making many sections. Each finger has at least two “rings” or copper wraps between each knuckle.
The same principle applies where you have a faux leather backing under copper sheeting strip with only 1/8″ boarder. You’ll need to measure each section of each finger because the length around and distance between each knuckle changes frequently. I did find, however, I was able to use the same measurements for some of the finger sections. Most fingers have only two rivets except the thumb, forefinger and pinky because three sides of the finger are exposed, so I put another rivet on the side for visual stimulus.
There should be at least an 1/8″ overlap where the two ends of the “ring” come together where you’ll need to poke the paper fastener through both ends (two layers of faux leather and two layers of copper sheeting). Once you make the wrap held in place by the paper fasteners, you can slide the “ring” in place on the finger. It’s good to have it a little loose with a gap between the glove and the wrap because once the finger is in place in the glove the space becomes filled. I put a dab of hot glue on the underside inside any gap to hold the “ring” in place.
Near completion, stiff enough to stand on its own
Repeat step 5 until all the digits are filled.
Finished glove with rub-n-buff colored gears add ons
Add any gears, gauges, or cool steampunk related props to the glove for more esthetic purposes. I like putting gears next to each other to give the impression that they are actually turning something. I was able to choose gears that were compatible to my paper fasteners so they actually spin freely.
I used Rub-N-Buff on anything that wasn’t metallic looking already which matches the steampunk theme. Follow directions on the package.
Happy Crafting! Let me know if you choose this method and comment below how you did…