I am always one for a challenge when it comes to doing what I love. Not only challenges against other people but myself. Maybe 2 months ago or so ago Scare Factor ( https://www.thescarefactor.com/ ) was looking for a team to sponsor for a Monster Make-Off competition ( https://www.ohiohalloweenandhauntersconvention.com/monster-make-off/ ). I didn't really have much more information than that when I threw my teams hat into the ring. I later found out we won the sponsorship so then I had to build a team and come up with a concept. I also had to secure some more sponsors because it was going to be an expense we had not anticipated. Luckily our haunt the Devil's Attic ( http://thedevilsattic.com/darknessfalls/ ) and the contact company I'm partnered with, Primal ( https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/ ) came through for us.
I keep saying us but I haven't mentioned the team. Mary Proctor would be my second makeup artist on this challenge and we had a model. Once we got the theme which was Classic Horror with a modern twist I made the choice to do a Lizard Alien kind of based off the 80's television series "V". I had a beautiful female lizard facial prosthetic that would have been perfect from Woochie ( https://www.woochie.com/ ). The idea was that they were on our planet in search of water. We had plans of putting together a post apocalyptic space suit and it was going to be very cool. I'm using past tense because we had to change course.
After reading the rules a bit more it said that full facial prosthetics were not allowed. I toyed with the idea of trimming the lizard prosthetic down but I didn't want to destroy such a cool piece. That said I also had a furrowed brow prosthetic also from Woochie. From there I decided we would do a vampire in the vein of the lost boys and or buffy. With the theme being classic horror, it doesn't get much more classic than vampires. I threw the idea out to the team, asking how we were going to dress our vampire especially since I knew they were judging on costuming.
Just to get things rolling I threw out some ideas to the team; Victorian, Punk Rock Lost Boys Style, Modern and Classy like the Vampires in Underworld, or Maybe Elizabeth Bathory with no costume but bathed in blood. Without much hesitation our Model chose Bathory. I knew doing a pretty much nude character would be a risk for a couple reasons. Firstly I knew they were judging costuming and we would have none. Secondly I knew it meant a lot more makeup to do and skin to cover. I like the idea of the challenge of doing a full body makeup so we decided to just go for it.
About two weeks from the competition I got a message from our model saying she had to back out. This created a problem for several reasons. I then had to find a model that was willing to travel with us, be put in monster makeup, be willing to be pretty much nude and have little to no tattoos. Luckily we were able to find Halle Brandt from Nashville. She fit the criteria and look for what we had planned and she was down for anything. Standing at 5'9 I knew once we had heals and tall wig styled by Matthew Tyldsley that she would be an imposing presence.
Unfortunately I read the itinerary wrong and instead of leaving at 6am which was already early we would have to leave at 3am. Halle having driven from Nashville the day before slept in the back seat while Mary kept me awake. The competition was at the Mansfield Reformatory which is a historic old prison that is now shut down. It is also where they filmed Shawshank Redemption. The building was amazing and so cool to be in. We quickly hauled in our gear and got set up.
When we tested our airbrushes I had a minor heart attack because my compressor wasn't working. Having a compressor go down on me before I thought it had happened again and while I had a spare it wasn't as good. Turns out there was no power, for anyone. With it being such an old building the breaker wasn't built to power all those air compressors and hair dryers at once. We waited over and hour and a half not knowing when they were going to call for us to start. While it was stressful it gave us an opportunity to meet and talk with our fellow artists which was nice. When they finally called for us to start we were more than ready to go.
With only and hour and forty five minutes Mary and I decided I would focus on the face and chest while she did the hands and the rest. They let us put in our contacts before the time started for sanitation reasons and they were the perfect look for this. I wanted her to look scary but also beautiful. about forty minutes in the fire alarm went off and our MC started calling for us to vacate. Luckily someone came in and stopped us and we were able to continue. Mary did a great job on the hands and once we got everything mottled out we were able to start on contouring and highlights.
Two days before the competition I was asked to write a bio for our character. I thought it was for the other contestants to read and I didn't really want anyone to know what we were doing so I made it super long, thinking it would turn people off from reading it. With Bathory being an actual historic figure I also wanted it to read like a wiki article. Little did I know that the MC, "Crazy Bob" would be reading them off during the time we all had for makeup. Sorry about that Bob, below is what he had to read.
Countess Elizabeth Báthory
(August 7th 1560 – Present Day) is a Hungarian noblewoman and “serial killer” from the noble family of Báthory. She has been labeled by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female murderer. The highest number of victims cited during Báthory's trial was 650. Despite the evidence against Elizabeth, her family's influence kept her from facing trial. She was imprisoned in December 1610 within Čachtice Castle in Upper Hungary (now Slovakia) and held in solitary confinement in a windowless room until what was thought to be her death four years later.
The stories of her sadistic serial murders are verified by the testimony of more than 300 witnesses and survivors as well as physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying, and imprisoned girls found at the time of her arrest. Stories describing her vampire-like tendencies (most famously the tale that she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth) were recorded years after her death. Some insist she inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula though there is no evidence to support this hypothesis. Nicknames and literary epithets attributed to her include “The Blood Countess” and “Countess Dracula”.
Elizabeth had a couple of loyal followers, Anna Pap and Borbala Vadas, whom believed the tales of her being a vampire and the women exhumed Báthory’s body weeks after her death. These women desired to become vampires after having heard the remarkable stories of Báthory’s ritual involving bathing in virgin blood to maintain a beautiful youth look. However, the women knew they couldn’t do this without guidance of an existing vampire. Pap and Vadas believed that she died from being starved of blood and took it upon themselves to revive Báthory. According to Pap’s diary, the two placed the body in a tub and poured in the blood of 4 virgins allowing the body to soak in hopes of reviving their beloved noblewoman. After a day or so, fear of being caught for the murder of four women overpowered their wants to bring Báthory back to the world of the living and they fled Upper Hungary. Soon after, Anna Pap was found dead by authorities having been drained of all blood with 2 puncture wounds on her inner thigh. Borbala Vadas was never seen or heard from again. Authorities never found the body of Elizabeth Báthory and kept it secret to not scare the public.
Elizabeth Báthory is alive (undead) and well. Though still feeding and bathing in the blood of her victims, she has maintained a low profile. To mask her murders she often times mimics serial killers such as Fritz Haarmann, Tsutomu Miyazaki, Richard Chase, and Andrei Chikatilo to name a few. She rarely, if ever, uses her fangs as to not give proof to vampire existence. She has been known to leave behind bodies from time to time with the trademark puncture wounds on the inner thighs. Many cold cases of gruesome murders and missing persons can be attributed to her. With virgins being harder to come by in our society she often times settles for “spoiled” flesh which has brought out a more vampiric look and tendencies in her. She still seeks out virgins so the innocent should beware. Vampires are real and Countess Elizabeth Báthory is the mother of all.
When they called for twenty minutes left I had to start on the pretty aspect of the makeup in the eyes, highlights, lips and adding gold flake for some over the top beauty. Mary took iced gold shimmer powder and dusted her body with it to give her some glints. with 10 minutes left we started applying blood but at the same time we were struggling with not covering up our hard work. That said with it being Elizabeth Bathory, covering her in blood was needed. Then we topped it all off with some awesome jewelry and our wig.
I usually like to give the people involved with projects I write blogs about a chance to weigh in on their experience. Since it was Halle's first time doing something like this I definitely wanted to know what she thought. When I asked all she had to say was, "I can’t think of what I’d say for the blog other than that it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do." I will take that as a good thing.
Some people had done a lot of big costuming incorporating lights and other things. We took a huge risk and just focused on makeup. We knew it would be an uphill battle and that we wouldn't place and we were right. There were three judges, two f which were makeup artists and one was a layman. While we didn't win the two makeup artists judges gave us near perfect scores which I considered a win. We met a lot of cool people and got to do a makeup and character we were all very proud of. We hope to do more of these and create more characters.