“We pull from nature all the time. We’re pulling from pictures of animals and insects and sometimes crime scenes. You know, cadaver photos. Just to get the most realistic paint schemes that we can do.” So says the genial, Rocky III T-shirt-wearing artist George Frangadakis, who is one of the owners of Immortal Masks. This Hollywood-based company specializes in highly detailed silicone monster masks that are customized to the exacting specifications of connoisseurs unsatisfied with the bill of fare at the local Party City Halloween department. Tested.com, the same MythBusters-aligned folks responsible for documenting the Zoidberg Project back in May, recently paid a visit to the Immortal Masks workshop to see how these ghoulish disguises are made and posted a 20-minute tutorial about it to their website and YouTube.
The results are rather prosaic. First, some pinkish material with the consistency of chewed gum is injected into a mold. The mask is then taken to a second department, where a cadre of young ladies (all with dyed hair) smooth over the seams and patch up any imperfections. The mask is then ready for the painting process, where the aforementioned crime scene photos are used for reference to create what one artisan designates “wearable art.” The real fun here is seeing Frangadakis and Tested’s Norman Chan carry on an upbeat, cheerfully impersonal conversation amid rows and rows of hideously deformed faces. The mask maker gives his spiel about interacting with his client base (mainly cosplayers and collectors) in front of a mute audience of werewolves, aliens, zombies, and nightmare clowns.