Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spotlight On: Rick Baker

This week's spotlight is one on of the greatest film makeup artists of all time, Rick Baker. He does amazing work in several genres, but I love him for his contributions to the horror and sci fi genres. He has won six academy awards, and is also nominated this year for his work in The Wolfman. Here are some of the films that showcase his amazing talents.

It's Alive

For the film It's Alive, Rick Baker made one of the scariest looking creatures ever, a tiny, veiny, sharp-toothed little baby. The movie is about a baby who, as soon as it's born, kills all of the doctors in the room then goes on a massive killing spree. Normally, I would think, people would not consider a baby to be a threat, but when it looks like this, I wouldn't want that thing to be crawling after me.

King Kong

Not only did Rick Baker create this gorilla suit, he was also the man inside of it. Quite a difference between the stop motion animation gorilla of 1933 and the CGI gorilla from a few years ago. This was the first of his many hairy creatures he made throughout the years.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Now onto what makes me think that Rick Baker is one of the coolest men on the planet. He was a makeup artist for the very first Star Wars movie!! The most well-known work that he did for A New Hope was create the look of Figrin D'an and his band the Modal Nodes. Even if you don't know them by name, you will certainly know them by the song that they play.

An American Werewolf in London

This is the movie that Rick Baker is probably identified with the most, and for good reason. This movie shows that practical effects and makeup kick CGI's ass everytime. Even for today, everything in this movie looks amazing. From the one guy who is in a different state of decay every time you see him to the werewolf himself, everything is so wonderfully done.


I suppose it's not everyday that a makeup artist has to do makeup effects on a TV, but if anyone can do it, it's Rick Baker. There are a lot of really cool effects in Videodrome including a TV turning into flesh, a man's belly opening up, and tons of ooky stuff like that. Here is a little featurette from Videodrome and the part with Rick Baker starts at about 3:41.


Do I seriously even have to talk about Thriller?  The greatest music video of all time, great makeup by the fabulous Rick Baker. 'Nuff said...


In 1994 Baker did more great werewolf makeup, except this time it was on Jack Nicholson.

Ed Wood

Rick Baker's makeup job in this movie is so good that you don't even notice it. In Ed Wood, Baker completely transformed Martin Landau into Bela Lugosi. In real life, Martin Landau looks nothing like Lugosi, but Baker's did such a great job that one time my mom walked in the living room in the middle of me watching it that she actually thought that he was Bela Lugosi.

Men In Black

All of the creatures in Men in Black look amazing! Bwith all of the fantastic looking aliens, my favorite makeup job has to be transforming Vincent D'Onofrio into a bug wearing human skin.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

God damn! In my opinion, it just does not get any cooler than this. When I look at this picture in no way do I see Jim Carrey there. I see nothing but the Grinch.

Planet of the Apes

You can say what you will about Tim Burton's remake of Planet of the Apes, but there is nothing bad to say about the makeup. I didn't even know that that was Helena Bonham Carter until like a year ago. I mean wow, all of the apes look fantastic. I am amazed that he didn't win a seventh Oscar for this movie.

The Ring

Rick Baker is responsible for one of the biggest scares in the movie. I don't know about y'all, but the short of Amber Tamblyn's character in the closet after seeing "the ring" freaked the hell out of me...


 Some more great prosthetics work here transforming Ron Perlman into a red demon with a right hand of doom.


Here is another example of how Rick Baker's excellent work fooled my mother. We were watching this movie one day, and my mom was convinced that that was a real woman, and not Eddie Murphy in a fat suit. She was being so stubborn and saying things like "there is no way that is fake!" and "that is a woman!" Nope, mother, that is not a woman, that is Eddie Murphy with great makeup done by the fantastic Rick Baker, who got his zillionth Oscar nom for this movie.

Tropic Thunder

Now instead of turning a man into a woman, he turns a white man into a black man. It's so funny because he's done all of these great prosthetics works and has made all of these creatures, and in this movie he is putting blackface on Robert Downey Jr...and it looks great!

The Wolfman

WOW!!! I remember being really excited when I heard that this mvoie was being made, but I was concerned about how the Wolfman would look. They, of course, chose the right person in Rick Baker who did an amazing job transforming Benicio Del Toro into this hairy beast. If he doesn't win the Oscar this year I will be very surprised!

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