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Macabre makeup at MisCon workshop

Macabre makeup at MisCon workshop


By the end of an hour Alexa House was battered, bruised, scarred and shot. All with makeup, of course.

House was the live test subject for a workshop on prosthetics and special effects makeup at MisCon 33, held at the Holiday Inn Downtown.

Around 30 people watched House's "injuries" slowly become more and more severe as makeup artists Meagan Scruggs and Nina Alviar demonstrated their techniques.

“Now we have a nice little bloody bit here,” Scruggs said, gesturing at a completed burn scar on House’s arm. “Obviously, with burns, you have all the different kinds of reds in there.

“Now I’m going to carve into her.”

And out came scar wax and tools to create a scar shaped in the words “MisCon 33” above the burn.

The audience probed with questions like: How does one make their own blood?

Well, that’s a mix of Karo syrup, chocolate syrup, red and blue food coloring and a little flour, Alviar said.

“But it doesn’t look quite as good, and it stains,” she said. “So I buy mine.”

As Alviar often repeated, what’s best is not always very attainable for the home cosplayer. High-end prosthetic effects or fancy bloods can be spendy, but occasionally worth it.

She recommended a small pack of jars that would set one back $80, but “a little bit goes a long way.”

Prosthetics can be pricey up front, but easily replicable at home, Alviar said, bringing out a pair of pieces for a zombie film. She bought the original and kept making copies herself over the years.

Alviar has done much of her work on film sets — the recent Montana-filmed “Far Cry 5” companion movie and an upcoming “Braveheart” sequel titled “Robert the Bruce.”

She got into the business from working at a high-end makeup salon in Beverly Hills, before meeting a movie makeup artist who gave her her first position.

Now, her dream is to work on a show like “CSI.”

“Because I like making realistic body parts,” Alviar said.

(Scruggs’ project of choice would be a Rob Zombie film — think “House of 1000 Corpses.”)

Meanwhile, House sat still on a chair at the front of the room while Scruggs and Alviar continued applying bumps and bruises, sharing tips and tricks with the room.

If you want your bruise to look raised, for example, put the dark makeup on the outside, Alviar said.

Scruggs applied a circle of prosthetic flesh in between House’s eyes, complete with a bloody dot in the middle. After a few minutes, Scruggs had her put her head forward to show off the gunshot wound.

“Oh, my gosh,” came a gasp from the back of the crowd.

“I have to take it all off before my 10-year-old sees me,” House laughed.

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Arts and entertainment

arts reporter for the Missoulian.

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