by Staci Wilson
Here's an exclusive interview with the makeup and effects head artist on Raze, the upcoming horror and action film starring Zoe Bell and Rachel Nichols — it's a tough job making those two beautiful women look battered and bruised, but somehow Mario Torres muddles through. Read on, and find out how…
Staci Layne Wilson / Horror.com: How did you get this gig?
Mario Torres: I actually met Kenny and Bill and Andy probably back in 2010 early 2010. I had worked on the movie Your Highness and I was doing a voice over character on that movie and bill was at universal and I went to ADR and I met him and he told me about Cosmic Toast Studios and I went down and I talked to them. I loved the facility, love the guys there, a great collaborative group. And I've known him ever since And then Kenny told me probably sometime last year, like summer of last year that they were going to start getting ready and gearing up for Raze. [So] I built a fake silicone head of Rachel Nichols that had Zoe Bell punching it and it slowly starts to cave in. It was pretty cool to do.
Is this the bloodiest show you've ever been on, or are you specialize in horror makeups?
Mario Torres: Not really, but I'd say the two other bloodiest movies I've been on was Starship Troopers, that was really bloody. We did a bunch of fake bodies for that one and a lot of blood gags, guys getting shot in the head. We did full animatronic puppets, where the guys brain gets shot. And we had to reset it the guy gets his brains sucked out from a creature.
I was told that there is a lot of brutality and dead bodies. So can you give me a little insight as to what you’re day to day is on this show and what you do?
Mario Torres: There's a lot of bruising on some of the actresses that beat each other up, and I get to talk to Josh the director and Kenny and James the stunt coordinator guy that we can all discuss what amount of bruising. Because of certain fighting techniques there are different kinds of bruising I guess, and there's more like a fracture ones that are more red and then maybe after a few days or a week or whatever, It starts to kind of brown and turn blue and darker purple. So were going the whole range from very fresh to more intense bruising. And there's that we discussed like was the intensity that we want these girls to be looking like throughout the movie. The progression.
So… do they still look pretty, though? That's the marquee, after all.
Mario Torres: They still look beautiful. Yeah, of course, I mean… It is kind of funny to, because some of these girls are so beautiful that you can't make them look ugly, even if you put bruises on them.
Is there anyone who has to be in makeup for hours and hours every day or have you had any kind of experiences with that?
Mario Torres: I'd say probably the makeups take [less time than usual] the most intense is probably about an hour. It's not too bad. And that's with some prosthetic pieces that go on some of the actresses or actors. If I was gonna compare to anything out there he would be like Fight Club kind of stuff bruises and stuff and crashes in the face. But, it's not that intense. As far as I think what takes probably what's time-consuming is having four girls. Have them be put in makeup all at once. So that's where gets a little bit tricky, trying to stagger them is a little better. The makeups could take anywhere from half hour to an hour tops.
So, I understand you know Greg Nicoterro? Rick Baker, all the greats?
Mario Torres: Oh yeah, I've worked for all of them. I've been doing this for about 18 years and just kind of started in the shop kind of just learning everything that was basically my makeup school. But I've worked for Stan Winston studios Rick Baker, K and B., which is Gregory Nicoterro's and Howard Berger's company. Pretty much every shop in the Valley that out here. I've pretty much worked at and I've learned a lot from watching other artists and grown as an artist. I think because I don't think I could never know too much. I always learn different things every job.
Cameras and techniques have evolved and so you also have to also change probably what you do as far as the visual goes to accommodate high def and 3-D and stuff like that.
Mario Torres: Oh absolutely. And obviously the new thing that we have to deal with is visual effects, but what's great about Kenny and Josh and everybody here, and Robert is that they are so open to ideas. As far as what my background is and their background and everybody kind of talking about the idea of what's the best way to make this practical and is absolutely we need to do visual effect or additives that we do that. But these guys are really into doing everything mostly practical, which is probably like. I think what a lot of these fans, they like to see a guy in the werewolf makeup or a zombie in makeup, a physical character there in front of the camera as opposed to CG. I think that there is a time for that and the time not to use it and definitely for this movie, you need all practical stuff, which is a lot of fun to do. We're building fake heads as well, which is fun.
You need a Tom Savini head in there as well.
Mario Torres: I've met Tom, but I've never worked for him because he was based out of Pittsburgh. Mostly. But yeah he's a really great guy and I've been influenced by him a lot as well.
What would you say is your proudest moment in this film? (so far)
Mario Torres: It's funny you are asking that, because I got really excited today when, I don't know if we can mention the eye gouged thing. We did and I gouge on this girl these two girls are fighting and one of the characters digs her thumbs into the other girl’s eyes. And I applied the prosthetics that my partner and I, Julie Roscoe he's not here today, but we both worked on them together. And I applied them today. And this girl sticks her thumbs in her and at the same time, blood is just pouring out of her eyelids. So we built a prosthetic piece that we put on the actress. And when I heard everybody's reaction, it made me very happy. And I felt really giddy and even one of the actresses was like “look at him smiling, he's excited”. So yeah of course when an effect goes the way you want it to yeah I get super excited about that.