This Halloween instead of doing a traditional horror movie costume character via a mask, I decided I wanted to go hardcore and put the make up effects I had learned working on Wombs and various other indie projects to the test. So I decided to try my hand at recreating one of the most important cinema characters in the world on my face: The Terminator.

Terminator Arnold Red Eye

Terminator, Prosthetic, Make Up, Stan Winston

Terminator 2, Stan Winston Terminator FX

This is a blend between the original and T2 incarnation, with the eye socket destruction mostly based off of the T1 effects, and the random bullet holes based on the battle damaged post-Cyberdyne shootout.

In order to make the effect, I simply bought an effect prosthetic called “Socket To Ya”, what is supposed to look like the average “someone ripped out my eyeball with an ice-cream scoop” sorta make up effect. From there, I painted the socket with a blend of silver and black acrylic paint, giving it a gunmetal sort of flavor, approved by Stage Armament Solution’s master Brian Dettling as “authentic enough.”

Make FX Prosthetic for Terminator

No paint applied yet. Socket-to-Me prosthetic

The cherry on top to modify the effect was gonna be tricky…but my years of impoverished ingenuity came to the rescue: for the high-tech RED ROBOT EYE of doom, I simply bought a small red rubber bouncy ball, and shaved and cut it to match the size I wanted it to be for the socket, and then painted the edges the gun metal mix to make it look like it had a metallic dome around it. Close up it wouldn’t look like much, but from a distance, a small detail like this could add a lot to the depth of the visual I was going for- by that I mean making it look like the eye was a separate but attached mechanical part of the socket.

With all that done, I had a fully “functioning” terminator/Kano prosthetic in just a few hours work. Not bad considering one influenced the other. So now I could just paste this on to my face and most people would “get it” (or think I was trying to bring back MK).

Terminator FX, Make Up, Prosthetic

What? A scratch? What scratch? NO-I ALWAYS wear my sunglasses at night!

But that wasn’t enough for me. Most consumers who buy make up effects like this at local party stores just slap on some spirit gum and call it a day. I spent a good 30 minutes in front of a mirror applying some very small amounts of liquid latex, and painting black and silver into the creases for shading. Again, depth and detail to help create a basic contour that molded better to my face, prevented the “skin” from flapping off at the edges, and allowed for more blood to drip down rather than just smear on.

Oh right, the blood was a HUGE part of the blending process. Simply put- in order to make yourself look like living tissue over metal combat chassis (or endoskeleton), one MUST add some “living tissue” to the equation. Filling in various cracks and crevices with fresh stage blood out of a bottle was a cheap and easy solution to my lack of a giant JAR of latex. And it worked fast. The gravity pull of liquid blood will ALWAYS look natural if you just dab a bit and let it run, so never go into smearing it unless that’s part of the effect.

Terminator 2, Bullet Hole Make Up, Prosthetics

Imagine having to pick THESE in high school!

Finally, I wanted to add the tiny little BULLET HOLES in the terminator face. Well, this would have been hard, considering I didn’t have anymore prosthetic to paint under. Instead I opted to make it look like I had “bullet smashes” to show the battle damage, and that my “skin” was slowly being beaten in to reveal metal alloy. Probably not the most effective part of the costume, and certainly not film material, but good enough to add as an extra detail to the rest of my face so it didn’t have that isolated Kano effect I was worried about.

And yet I still got referred to as an angry Australian cop-killing arms dealer by one guy at a party…even with the Robot Hand!

Terminator 2, Stan Winston, Cyborg, FX

It’s a proven fact: Terminators are great friends with Gregorian Monks…Not so much with Lutheran.

Yep, a cheap children’s toy I’ve had since I was six was the piece de resistance (or however it’s spelled) to my costume, hidden snugly under the sleeve of my black leather jacket. Oh, and you ever wonder what a Terminator likes to drink when he parties?

Halloween, Terminator, Make Up Effects, Prosthetic

I don’t always drink when I’m terminating…but when I do…I drink…Blue Moon!

So there ya go kids. Gel up your hair and tuss it about, because as we all know killer robot’s don’t have perfect hair to match their perfect programming, especially after minigun shootouts, and voila! You have yourself a simple but effective terminator costume for under 30 dollars!

Definitely the best costume I’ve made in years…but I don’t have a picture of my other Schwarzenneger inspired costume: Dutch from Predator!

Terminator, Gun, Make Up Effects

Rule of thumb: Don’t Go to a Halloween Party as Sarah Connor, unless you feel like filing a restraining order the next day…

Coming up this month will be some special anniversary SAP articles, so be on the look out for some guest blogging!

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  • Graypheonix

    Hmm, impressive.  Its attention to detail (and the OCD we all keep locked up for emergencies) that makes something like this turn out pretty awesome. 

  • Haha, that is pretty good.