Making Up Monsters

Halloween Horror Nights breaks out the latex and faux blood.

Halloween Horror Nights? Universal Studios Hollywood's annual maze-and-attraction-laden wonderland? It isn't your classic carport haunt (though props to those, complete with their peeled grape eyeballs and black light effects; they're certainly the genesis for the larger, more elaborate mazes that get much of the glory).

Universal's terrifying to-do on the big side, for sure, but one of the major components of Halloween Horror Nights -- call it HHN, for short -- is how the actors look. A lot of care goes into the make-up and dress of each performer -- call them scareactors, for ease -- which is pretty amazing, when you figure that HHN is an event that takes place largely inside dark mazes at night.

Still, you see. Then you scream. Which is the point, right? The masterminds behind HHN love their movie-quality make-up and costuming. Wanting to show off their stuff, and get people just eensy bit scared, they recently presented a sneak peek at what's ahead for the 2011 event. 

Our visit started with the fangs station. Gotta love a good fangs station, right? An artist was carefully painting each pointy appliance yellow and nasty; rather than go directly into a scareactor's mouth, the teeth will sit in some werewolfian, beasty masks. Fang artist. Now that is an interesting job to talk about at a cocktail party.

Then we made for to the La Llorona booth, where the wraith herself was slowly appearing, courtesy of advanced prosthetics and one eerie veil. Even in the light of morning, shudders.

Finally we visited the man with his head open. Make-up for the head? It's sort of like a bald cap, but with a streak of serious sinister glee.

It's a major undertaking, the make-upping and fang-ing and veil-ing of hundreds of scareactors each and every fall. Bravo, Halloween Horror Nights. We notice, even in the dark, as we're running, and shrieking. We notice.

Halloween Horror Nights opens on Friday, Sept. 23.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
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