Suspiria featurette

Luca Guadagnino‘s polarizing Suspiria is chock-full of memorable (and often gruesome) make-up effects. Now that the film has been out for a bit, Amazon has released a new Suspiria featurette devoted to exploring the techniques used to create such authentic-looking special effect make-up. You’ve probably seen Suspiria by now if you wanted to, but if not, beware of spoilers.

Suspiria Featurette 

In the video above, Suspiria prosthetics artist Mark Coulier breaks down some of the film’s most memorable make-up moments. First up: he delves into one of the film’s most ghastly scenes, when Elena Fokina, playing dancer Olga Ivanova, has her body twisted up like a pretzel, tearing skin and snapping bone in the process. To create this moment, Coulier and his team created a prosthetic that looks like a broken jaw, a chest prosthetic with bones protruding just beneath the skin, and my personal favorite – an entire prosthetic arm that twists around the the actress’ neck (her real arm is covered in a green-screen sleeve). The same was done with one of her legs, as well. I think the most impressive reveal here is how practically this scene was done. Someone probably could’ve done all of this with digital effects, but Suspiria opted to make use of actual make-up and prosthetics as well.

The rest of the video focuses on the many gory, bloody effects where various characters meet unpleasant fates. They also highlight something I have to take issue with: the gaping, almost vaginal hole that opens up in Dakota Johnson‘s chest in the film. This video clearly confirms that prosthetics were used to create it, and the prosthetics here look great. But in the final film, CGI was added to the wound to enhance it, and the CGI makes it look annoyingly fake. I wish they had just left the CGI off completely, and used the make-up as-is.

In addition to all of this, Coulier speaks about the make-up effects used to turn Tilda Swinton in the ancient witch you see at the end of the movie. There’s no mention of the make-up used to create one of the other three characters Swinton plays –  Dr. Josef Klemperer  – but perhaps this video was made back when everyone was still pretending a fictional actor named Lutz Ebersdorf played the role.

I love featurettes like this. More horror films with make-up effects should release similar behind-the-scenes looks. I suppose the problem is that more often than not, actual make-up effects are sidelined for digital work instead.

Suspiria is now playing in theaters.

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