Today I was a Zombie / by Heather Taylor

It’s not every day that you get to be in a zombie film. So when my friend put the word out that they needed two Zombies for a shoot in January, I was the first person to say yes. I, being me/ a girl/ an actor, asked what I had to wear and what I should do with my hair. In Canary Wharf, I’d imagine suits, in Archway, it’d be something entirely different I’m sure. I may have been over thinking this so I brought an array of outfits that were pretty middle of the road (but not TOO pretty in case they had to put blood on it).

On the day, I was the third zombie to be made up. Chris, my co-zombie, was a 4 week old Zombie while I was to be a two week old zombie. The main difference was due to how much skin was rotten by this point. So less rotten skin for me!

I changed before going into makeup and being told I was going to be ripped and bloodied, I put aside my “How to Kill Zombies t-shirt” (I thought it would be ironic) and put on leggings, t-shirt and a long sleeve shirt. Clothes I could live without (and unfortunately were also the least flattering clothing I owned).

Now I’m not sure if I’m supposed to share makeup secrets but I like knowing what goes on behind the scenes. I’m assuming you do too. So here goes. To give my face the crackled, pealing skin look, you take make-up liquid latex and thinly pat it all over the face with a make-up wedge. This type of latex is usually good for those with latex allergies as well. After the latex dries, power it and then apply another thin layer. Liquid foundation goes over top after some more powder. Mine was lightened to make me look more dead. Crackly old flaky skin effect done! Note: do not put too close to the eyes especially on the sensitive and thin under eye area or too close to your hairline. It hurts when you peel it off. Especially if you get the baby hairs in there.

he coolest part was creating the huge hole in my face. All you need alongside the liquid latex is a single layer of toilet paper or tissue. You work around the corners of the tissue with a brush so the edges blend in with the skin. Then you cover it all over with latex, powder and layer again with latex. To get the scar or hole, you cut into the latex in the centre of the tissue. It feels strange as the makeup artist cuts as it feels like they are lifting your skin and with each tug it twangs like a rubber band.

After the cutting is done, a special wound blood is put into the hole. This blood is thicker and is like a goo. The rest of my face was made up with purple and red under my eyes and a touch of red around the face wound. Last touch was to dirty the teeth. This is, I assume, because the undead (or as one clever sound guy called us, the “living challenged”) doesn’t brush their teeth. So out came the tooth enamel. In black. On it went and the only way to get it off would be to brush your teeth. (or in our case we used cucumber baby wipes and our fingernails)

It was fun jerkily running after our brain food or jumping out at the camera. I got so close I almost ate the lens. Well eating is an extreme but it did get fogged up AND had some of my spit on there. What could I do? I’m a zombie. In the end our clothes weren’t bloodied up so I could have worn my ironic t-shirt or something a bit nicer but I wasn’t there to be pretty. I was there to scare the bajeebers out of someone. I think I may have succeeded. The picture below doesn’t do my fear factor justice. Yes it’s a bit blurry but even more to the point, I appear to be doing the robot to keep warm. Maybe we should hold judgement til the film comes out.