How Mask Makers Turn Silicone Into Glorious Guts and Gore

By Alissa Walker on at

If you're looking for ideas on how to transform yourself into a disease-ridden horned demon this month, you'll want to head behind-the-scenes at Immortal Masks. The Hollywood-based company designs high-end creature masks for special effects teams in film. Or anyone who wants to seriously scare the shit out of trick-or-treaters.

Most of the masks you'll see at party stores today are made from foam latex, which might be convincing under a blacklight, but it's not what the professionals wear. Silicone is kind of a magic mask-making material: Not only is it extremely realistic for sculpting and painting facial features, it's pliable, stretchable, and it won't tear with constant reuse. This is what also makes silicone the clear winner when it comes to movement—it easily replicates the facial expressions of the mask-wearer underneath.

The entire process is documented in this excellent video with plenty of bloody details: From casting the silicone in proprietary moulds to painting on the facial features with special silicone-based paint (because only silicone sticks to silicone). We also get a peek at the inspiration for the masks themselves—like how artists look at cadavers and crime scene photos for realistic depictions of fatal wounds.

In addition doing custom work for clients, Immortal Masks also has masks that you can buy. These ain't cheap; they run about $600 (£370), but after seeing the craftsmanship that goes into this, one of these looks like a pretty excellent Halloween investment. [Tested]