In 1965, Forrest J. Ackerman hired legendary movie make-up artist Dick Smith to produce a Famous Monsters of Filmland Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook. Smith (1922-2014) was the guy who did the award-winning make-up for movies like The Exorcist, Little Big Man, The Godfather, Taxi Driver and Ken Russell’s Altered States. Smith’s special edition illustrated magazine presented a 100-page step-by-step guide on how to get the look for some of cinema’s best-known movie monsters. Using a range of everyday objects—from crepe paper and breadcrumbs to ping pong balls—Smith shared some of his best-kept secrets of the trade.
In his introduction to the handbook, Smith wrote:
Make-up is an exciting hobby, but it has been enjoyed by only a few young people because learning how to do it was very difficult. It was my hobby when I was a teenager, so I know both the difficulties and the excitement. I enjoyed make-up so much that I became a professional make-up artist, and after twenty years, I still love it.
What I want to do with this book is to provide you young amateurs with the information you’ll need to make it easy for you to understand and enjoy this art. The book begins with very simple make-ups and ends with some complicated ones.
Any kid who grew up on black & white Universal and RKO monster movies would have dug Smith’s book. Nearly every kid loves the thrill of making themselves into monsters and scaring the bejesus out of grown-ups. It’s all the fun of growing up. And Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook certainly offered the young and those old enough to know better that chance.
Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook is still available to buy as a paperback. But here’s a taste of how it looked when first published in Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1965.
Weird skin textures.
New Frankenstein Monster.
Via Collecting Classic Monsters and Monster Brains.
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Special FX horror makeup god Tom Savini profiled in new documentary
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