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Only click on this if you’re not squeamish! A horror make up artist reveals her secrets

PUBLISHED: 10:15 31 October 2018

Zombie by horrormakeupfx

Zombie by horrormakeupfx


Halloween is the busiest time of year when you’re a horror special effects make up artist. We speak to the woman behind horrormakeupfx to find out what the most popular bloodcurdling looks are this year.

Bullet wound by horrormakeupfxBullet wound by horrormakeupfx

Arabella Clarke, 37, of Mersea Island, Essex, has been fascinated by horror make up ever since she discovered a love of creative gore while working at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s theatre department.

“My fifth job as a freelance make up artist was for the BBC, working on an episode of Fairy Tales called True Story with the characters of Elizabeth Fry and Florence Nightingale. They joked that my make up was too scary!

The Nun by horrormakeupfxThe Nun by horrormakeupfx

“Over the years I’ve done a lot of make up for death metal bands, because I love the gory look.”

Each make up session lasts between 20 minutes and an hour, and all sorts of materials are applied, from gelatine, to sculpt gunshot wounds, to cotton wool, latec and silicone.

Slit throat by horrormakeupfxSlit throat by horrormakeupfx

“There’s a real art to it,” she says. “If you think of the face as a TV screen with lots of small pixels, you have to colour not in one block but blending the dots. The trick is to hide the edges and blend it well.”

Her celebrity clients have included Nick Moran from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, who she applied a bald cap to for a secret film project.

Zipper face by horrormakeupfxZipper face by horrormakeupfx

While during previous Halloweens, the Joker look was freakishly popular, this year, Miss Clarke reveals that she is now inundated with nun requests, thanks to The Nun movie which came out this year.

“That’s the look that terrifies me the most, I think because the freaky make up is such a contrast with the nun habit,” she admits. “Day of the Dead is also a popular look. But the trick to being an authentic zombie is really about how you move, not the make up.

Arabella Clarke of horrormakeupfxArabella Clarke of horrormakeupfx

“There’s also a bit of a craze this year for the zipper face - I’ve done three of those so far this week.”

Miss Clarke’s biggest tip for those applying make up this Halloween is to use a stipple sponge, which is a coarse sponge with holes in it that can be picked up from pro make up stores for under £1.

“It really helps fake blood to look more splattered over the face,” she said. “It’s really good for grazes too, if you run it diagonally over a raised area of the body really fast.”

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