Fangs for the memories

Posted on October 17th, 2013 by Gina

DraculaBela Lugosi taught me about my libido.  There, I’ve said it, and I wasn’t on a psychiatrist’s couch.  I was pre-adolescent the first time I saw one of the Dracula movies.  My cousin Dianne and I sat close in our darkened living room and held hands as we watched him glide into the beautiful woman’s bedroom, she in her virginal sleep, the Count in predatory black cape.  We were terrified, but there was something else, a feeling lower in my body than the chest I tightly clutched.  And I wanted that woman to be bitten.  I wanted to BE bitten!  I squealed with both delight and fright as he fell upon her, her silk gown slipping to expose her bare shoulders and neck…

Whew! Well, you know the rest.

Vampires have always been about sex, and Halloween should not be their holiday.  Jack Pierce was hired as the makeup artist for the first Dracula movie in 1931, but Lugosi insisted on doing his own face.  Pierce had been the makeup man for Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein that same year and Lugosi understood that Dracula was not monstrous in his appearance.  He was sexy, mysterious and intense.  Perhaps a little pale, but seductive when you stared into his deep, dark eyes.

The vampires of today are every bit as lustful looking, but in the movie business they’ve learned a bit more about sex appeal and cosmetic effects.  The Head Makeup Artist for the first Twilight movie was Jeanne Van Phue of M.A.C. cosmetics, who published tips on which M.A.C. products to use to achieve that “follow me into the woods” look of Robert Pattinson.  HBO’s True Blood, where vampires are not only sexy, they can DO IT (and do, on nearly every show), uses makeup artist Brigette A. Myre, known for TV shows like the revival of 90210 (2008), True Beauty (2009), Big Shots (2007) and Mad Men.  No monsters on her resume.

Michele Burke, two-time Academy Award winning makeup artist, has given modern motion pictures three of the best-looking, “you can bite me whenever you want” vampires.  He supervised all the seductive looks of Gary Oldman’s demon as well as the debonnaire look of the vampires Lestat (Tom Cruise) and Louis (Brad Pitt) in 1997’s Interview with a Vampire. (Burke must follow Cruise around.  His credits also include Jerry Maguire (1996), Vanilla Sky (2001) and Mission Impossible III – all Cruise spectaculars.)

Three makeup artists take credit for what many consider the sexiest Dracula in cinema – Frank Langella’s portrayal of the tormented fiend in the 1979 movie of the same name.   Eric Allwright, Peter Robb-King and Jane Royle don’t seem to have many credits since then, but they may have spent themselves in that consummate effort.

So, if this Halloween is all about fright – dress up as Jon Gosselin or Amy Winehouse.  But if you’re looking to get someone to follow you into the darkness, take a tip from the “master’s” playbook – a little ashy face powder, maybe some lavender eye shadow, perhaps a dark shade of lip gloss and voila – you’re a hundred years old and hotter than ever.

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.