Category: Special Effects & Props

The stuff that makes the claws, fur and fangs grow

The Wonderful Werewolves of Jim Bycznski

Jim Bycznski is a monster maker, and he’s really good at it. I have one of his pieces – the werewolf mask in this post’s featured image is mine – and like any collector of werewolf stuff, I always want more. Here’s the thing with Jim’s work: more are available, and it’s not just more of the same. He possesses a mastery of the different ways a werewolf or a wolfman can look, and his designs always have such astonishing character.

Check out the gallery of his recent werewolf work below (my thanks to him for sending the photos), and know that if you see anything you like… well, in Jim’s word, “All of the pieces attached are custom made and all available”. Some are wearable, some are display-only, and all of them make me very happy. To enquire, email him at bycznski at wowway dot com, or message him on Facebook. Tell him Angela sent you!

Postscript: I searched for Jim’s name to see if I’d written about him before, and it turns out yeah, I first posted about his werewolf work almost 11 years ago. What is time?

Rick Baker grooms his “American Werewolf” in 3D

Rick Baker’s Instagram is a great place to go if you want to get a peek at his workshop and his creature experiments, but you don’t have $300 to spend on his books. Lately, he’s been posting 3D renders of creature busts and maquettes that he’s scanned with his Einscan Pro 2X scanner, and most recently he’s turned his attention to his American Werewolf in London “Kesslerwolf”.

Here’s hoping he keeps working on this and sharing his efforts! The AWIL werewolf design as seen on-screen is not in my top 5 favourite werewolf “looks”, but this update is undeniably rad.

2020-04-16 update: Baker posted one more photo with some textural tweaks, and has called it good. Yeah, man, I agree with you: it’s very good!

The balance of monster & human is perfect in this Neal Harvey werewolf mask

Lurking in Facebook’s Latex Mask Central group continues to pay off. First I learned about Russ Turk’s “Hungry Werewolf” mask, and this week I discovered what may well be the best latex werewolf mask I’ve ever seen. Collector (and former werewolf mask maker, but more on that later) Paul Gill posted some photos of this snarling rat bastard of a lycanthrope, created by Neal Harvey of Rubber Gorilla. I contacted Paul privately and he was kind enough to provide more of his photos and some background on the mask.

Let me say right away that this is a werewolf mask that Neal makes and will sell to you, but you cannot succumb to poor impulse control and simply put it in an online shopping basket. According to Paul – who, may I remind you, figured out the secret because this is his mask you are looking at in this post – one can purchase this mask two ways: go to a convention where Neal is selling them, or ask him nicely through his Facebook page. I would be trying the latter approach if I hadn’t just made a purchase that depleted my monster acquisition funds for the next three years.

The monstrous mix of human and lupine features on this mask really appeals to me. Consider the long, lupine muzzle, the nearly-human ears, the incisors, and the blank eyes: a combination of features that underscore the werewolf’s subsumed, but still present – if vestigial – humanity. This is far more evocative to me than “a wolf’s head on a human body”, and I love seeing it executed so well.

Paul, by the way, is not just a collector – he used to make werewolves, too, under the name GDS-Fx, most famously for crowdsourced werewolf movie Bonehill Road, for which he crafted articulated werewolf heads. His site has many examples of his work, which I also quite like – his werewolf gloves, in particular, are something I would like to Have and Own – but he’s stopped selling his masks. He’s still obviously big into werewolves, though, and I’m grateful to him for sharing his time and these photos of his new Neal Harvey mask.

A closer look at the Falling In Reverse “Popular Monster” werewolf

American rock band Falling In Reverse released a new single earlier this week. The video for “Popular Monster” depicts vocalist and hoodie fan Ronnie Radke succumbing to his inner demons, transforming into a werewolf, and annihilating his attackers (and, as implied in other scenes, many bystanders).

The transformation is rendered with some so-so CGI, but the werewolf suit itself is all great practical work by christianmdesign, who posted about the job on Instagram.

The eyes in the non-set photos kind of threw me, but it looks like they were removed on set and added back in with some glowing effects in post. This is a truly monstrous werewolf, and I think it looks awesome in the video! Check it out here:

It’s a weird feeling, knowing that there’s a band popular enough to get 800,000 views on a video in two days, but I’ve never heard of them. It’s because I’m 38, and instead of being part of the zeitgeist, I get to do things like go to tax accountant appointments. Many thanks to the Werewolf News readers who keep me posted on things like this!

The werewolf queen of Chaos Costumes featured on Nice Content

You’ve almost certainly seen Blair Ondrla’s work online. Her incredible werewolf queen costume surfaces every so often on Twitter and in convention photos, and her cloven hoof shoes regularly make the rounds on Facebook – her self-described “hoof empire” has escaped the realms of cosplayers and furry and reached the world of the normies. She’s really, really good at what she does, so it’s no surprise she was the subject of a short feature on YouTube, which you can watch below.

There are plenty of how-to videos online, and I’m glad this wasn’t one of them. I enjoyed the close-up meditative shots of the resin and other materials, and it was cool to see her applying makeup and horn prosthetics in a manner that emphasized the artistry of the process. The video weirdly omits any direct links to Ondrla’s work, so allow me: Etsy, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! It’s too late to order anything for Halloween, but

Russ Turk’s “Hungry Werewolf” mask embodies the spirit of 80’s cartoon menace

This werewolf mask by Russ Turk is a real-world manifestation of what I loved about every werewolf I saw in 1980s Saturday morning cartoons. The wild fur, the beady yellow eyes, the big ol’ snout… this is precisely the kind of beast who menaced Egon and the boys in The Real Ghostbusters and ensured the werewolf’s place in my heart.

Before we go any further, yes, as of the time of this post, there’s one – and only one – left for sale. If you love the look of it as much as I do and you have $450 USD to spend, go, quickly!

When Russ first shared photos of this mask’s predecessors on the Latex Mask Central Facebook group back June, I immediately wanted to know more. Russ was kind enough to email me some more photos and some details about how each one is made.

This particular werewolf mask took 4 days to sculpt, one day to make the mold, 3 days for the latex to dry, and an afternoon to paint. The hair application took about 4 hours. The teeth were sculpted and molded separately and cast in resin. I glue them into the mouth of the mask after the mask is painted, but before the hair is applied.

Funny how menacing that grin looks, even without the fangs or fur.

There was no particular inspiration for the werewolf, it’s just a hodgepodge of werewolves I’ve seen in movies and magazine over the years. The main thing I wanted to portray was a scary expression on its face and a big mouth filled with sharp teeth.

I’d say the result is a success, and again, I’m delighted by how precisely it nails the vibe of “werewolf who kills people but who will be defeated by four teenagers and their dog in the third act”.

Russ is a genuine talent – he just won Best New Vendor at Maskfest 2019 – and I’m so happy that he’s using his abilities to create masks with such cartoonish character and real menace. You can see more of his work on Etsy and Instagram.

Nightmare Force’s DemonDawg Mask is a Real Monster

Looking like a cross between a classic short-muzzled wolfman, a scorched demon, and Rawhead Rex, the DemonDawg is a great option if you want a mask that says “I have just killed so, so, so many people who thought silver bullets would work, and you’re next” while repping a lycanthropic style. It’s available from Nightmare Force for a surprisingly modest fee in both “wearable” and “display” variants.

My thanks to collector Andrew James (nuclear.satan on Instagram) for making this mask known to me, and for taking the fantastic photo featured at the top of this post. The product photos on Nightmare Force’s site are adequate, but Andrew’s photo makes this mask look like it costs a hell of a lot more than $165 USD!

The product photos from Nightmare Force really show off that Rawhead Rex dome! (via Nightmare Force)

Jordu Schell Werewolf Mask

Another cool find from the Latex Mask Central Facebook group! A group member posted an unboxing video for a Jordu Schell werewolf mask, which immediately sent me into a panic as I tried to learn who is Jordu Schell and where can I get one of these masks?

Schell is a sculptor and concept artist who’s responsible for many iconic film creatures, including the distinctive Predator design from Predator 2 and the Na’vi from Avatar.

This fantastic wolfman-style werewolf mask was available from the Schell Sculpture Studio store at a sale price of $1,400 USD, but the limited edition run already sold out.

…Each mask was sculpted by Jordu Schell, and is painted by him personally, bringing his highly unique and individual sense of quality to every mask that is sold. Jordu’s passion for the craft is evident in the incredibly lifelike eyes, glistening fangs and singly-punched hairs that adorn these fine creations, making these pieces far more than a disposable Halloween novelty*, but singular works of art unmatched in their design, paintwork, finishing and overall quality.

*These masks are NOT wearable.

For me, the knowledge that this is a display-only mask takes the sting out of its sold-out status. I don’t currently have $1,400 USD laying around to spend on a functional creature mask, much less a collectable art object. Given the detail of the finished result and the sheer effort required to make each one, I think the price is more than fair, but if I can’t wear it, I’m happy to save some money and simply appreciate some JPGs of the incredible design. I’ve included a few below, and you can see many more on the Schell Sculpture Studio web site.

All images via Schell Sculpture Studio.

Made-to-order werewolf masks, cheap

My wife and I are members of Latex Mask Central, a Facebook group where mask-makers of all skill levels can show off their work, ask questions about techniques and processes, and do a little buy-and-sell. Most of the work posted there seems to reflect an interest in zombies and evil clowns, but last week I got tagged in a post that was nothin’ but werewolves. A mask-maker named Jamie Routley sculpted a mask inspired by The Howling and is now turning out made-to-order copies on Etsy, for $225 USD / $300 CAD. Here are the details:

This is a full size 1:1 scale Howling bust. Made from a thick pull latex with custom paint, hand laid fur, acrylic eyes and resin teeth, gums and tongue. Each one is made to order. Each bust can be made as a wearable mask.

A lineup of werewolf masks, ready to be shipped to their new victims

If you want your own made-to-order werewolf mask for less than the cost of a cheap mobile phone, it looks like Jamie has you covered!

Sculpting one of the many Immortal Masks werewolves

In the world of werewolf fandom, this is a widely agreed-upon pair of facts:

  1. you can never have too many werewolf masks
  2. the good werewolf masks cost more than a new computer

To wit: California’s Immortal Masks sells not one, not three, but five silicone werewolf masks of varying anatomy, coverage, and style. Each one starts in the Chromebook price range, and as you add options like fur and custom paint, the cost quickly ascends to MacBook territory.

Anyway, all of this preamble is just to set up my sharing this throwback photo from the Immortal Masks Instagram account, showing Andrew Freeman in the middle of sculpting the Immortal werewolf mask. Andrew popped into the comments to credit fellow creature sculptor Charlie Hernandez with “a lot of the heavy lifting”.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Immortal Masks and Immortal FX (@immortalmasks)

Paying four figures for a werewolf mask is a wild luxury, but I’m the owner of a custom painted and furred Hellhound mask and sleeves, and as someone who cares very much about detail and quality, the scrimping and saving and credit card debt was worth it to me.