Everyone loves movies, from romance and drama to action and horror, we all have a certain thing we love from movies. I personally love the way each character, apart from the main characters, has its own personal story inside the movie; making it have a background that explains a certain way they act or even their whole personality, this is what makes movies magical to me, the story behind each character and also, obviously, special effects.
When it comes to living the magic directly from the movies there’s no better place than the Universal Orlando theme park, where you’re able to see all of these characters in person and enjoy the stages where all this magic comes to live. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to work as a makeup artist at Universal Studios in Orlando and I basically had the job to give this place the magic that made it so famous.
For me, the most amazing thing about this place was the fact that every actor was SO into their character, this being a requirement for the job and the reason why this place was so magical; from the moment they came into the makeup room until their working hours had been over and they went home, you wouldn’t be able to call anyone by their name, they all were transformed into some magical character.
Anyways, I recreated the same characters daily so by the time I had been working there for months it was more of a routine than exploring my creativity but there was a specific time of the year in which this routine changed: Halloween.
While most kids grew up celebrating Halloween, I came from an extremist Christian family that believed Halloween is the devil’s parade, and so they thought it should make Christians very sad that so many people wanted to celebrate a day which was meant to give glory to God’s enemy and hellish things. However, I have always felt curiosity regarding this Holiday even though I was raised in a different way and my parents weren’t proud of my job, I have always enjoyed it from the outside and this time I had the opportunity to be part of it.
For this year’s “Halloween Night of Horror” Universal’s theme was The Walking Dead, which meant I would be able to create zombies as I pleased making full use of my creativity and artistic capacities. As the day came closer, the makeup crew received orders from the management: we were meant to transform every single dancer, worker and actor of the park into a terrifying PG13+ zombie. I had been assigned all of the actors from the second act, and they were supposed to run around the park scaring people and giving them indications if they needed.
The day had finally came and each makeup artist had their own little studio/room to work in, where workers would go in as normal humans and explain what kind of zombie they wanted to be, and within 35 to 45 minutes they would be transformed into the ugliest, creepiest, most disgusting and most real zombies you could have ever seen. They then left through the back door and started working around the park.
This year’s Horror Night had been a blast; you could hear everyone talking about this amazing makeup artist who had made all the zombies look so real, the management even congratulated me for my amazing job and soon I only had one more zombie to go before I was free for the day. I was extremely proud of myself, my job had been done and everyone seemed to be happy with it; workers were running around as zombies, shouting and releasing blood, plus they went just perfectly with the decorations and that’s why everyone loved it so much, everything just looked so real, the blood on the floor, the monsters around, and the amazing makeup. You would be totally creeped out by the moment you saw anyone’s face, screaming and scaring everyone while the visitors were recording the parade.
I was sitting outside my studio watching all of my creations doing their thing, when suddenly a bunch of policemen burst into the act and started taking all of the zombies into stretchers with help from paramedics and everyone was just so amazed by the realism of the situation, until someone grabbed my arm tightly, pulled me away from my studio and got me near a patrol. I remember watching a woman from the management talking to the guy who had me leaned towards the car and asking him why were they ruining the parade and taking away one of their workers. This was when the policeman explained that there had been a few reports from “an amazing makeup artist that had been taking realism to a whole new level”. She then looked around and saw all the workers bleeding and shouting, but it wasn’t just great acting… These people had actually been defaced, had their lips sewed together, their blood and my glue had been mixed and extra skin had been put into the scratches that I’d created with my scalpel… The zippers sewed to their faces, their ears that had been cut and their eyes that had been pulled out… They weren’t acting, they were suffering.
She was horrified by what I had done but I wasn’t. Was it really a crime to make the sinners look like they seemingly wanted to? Wasn’t this just a small sample of the pain God felt watching his sons and daughters celebrating his betrayer year in year out?
My parents shall be proud now.