Monsters, Makeup & Effects Volume I by Heather Wixson review

Given the horror genre’s affinity to practical and gory effects, it seems difficult to comprehend that no one has really chronicled some of the finest work into a digest for us devour – well until now.

Journalist Heather Wixson has put together the first volume of interviews she conducted with a slew of special makeup effects artists spanning the past 40 years plus across a number of genres. Basically, if you needed something done right, these are the people to talk to.

This book features 20 exhaustive interviews with well-known names such as Howard Berger, ‘Screaming Mad’ George, Tom Woodruff Jr. and Wayne Toth just to name a few. Wixson delves deep into these creators pasts, and talks about their origins, inspirations plus plenty of anecdotes from popular films such IT, The Lost Boys and the Alien series.

While the interviews are truly fantastic, Wixson has also added a plentiful supply of photographs of each artists’ work and some truly fascinating behind the scenes images to this book. Where else would you see Lance Anderson behind the scenes of the Crow with the late Brandon Lee?

Personal favourites include Tony Gardner, who has worked on the Child’s Play franchise across numerous sequels, Woodruff Jr. who has overseen work on Tremors and was even Pumpkinhead himself in the sole Stan Winston directorial effort. Oh, and of course, ‘Screaming Mad’ George who did some incredible work on Brian Yuzna’s Society plus the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

The only name I was hoping to see was Rob Bottin, who worked on The Thing but I know he has divorced himself from the industry in the intervening years – but who knows he could turn up in future volumes?

Monsters, Makeup & Effects Volume I is an essential read for any fans of creature features, monster movies or anything that features truly spellbinding practical effects.

Monsters, Makeup & Effects Volume I by Heather Wixson is available now in print and e-book formats.

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