Gory Gruesome & Grotesque: Memories

It was one of my favorite things at the theme park. Just the outside view of it seemed daunting, haunted, and so much fun.

I was a kid. I’m not sure what age. No more than nine or ten, I imagine. I was in Orlando, Florida. Land of the Vacationer. And that’s what I was doing there. My brother, sister, and parents were on a big leave for a week. Disney World, Medieval Times, Busch Gardens – all the fun things and places to go, we seemed to visit.

That is how I remember it, anyway. It was not just one year we vacationed in the Sunshine State. It was, I don’t know, seven or eight years (maybe more) of visiting and revisiting sites and attractions familiar to us. It became a tradition.

There were many things I remember making an impression on me. But it was Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show which touched – or slashed – me to the core.

Horror movies and their iconic characters were a part of my childhood. They followed me along through the awkward teen years – a horror movie in itself – and have continued on in my adulthood. Horror movies are so much fun. Whether they are bad, good, gory, or intelligent and introspective, a horror movie is just as American as hotdogs, big fireworks, or apple pie.

Jason Voorhees.

Freddy Kruger.

Chucky the Killer Doll.

Mike Myers.

Norman Bates.

The list can go on and on. These Horror Movie monsters and villains, also, do not seem to be fading away into the forgotten past. They are surviving. Not only surviving but evolving in the cinematic world.

I think I got hooked on the whole scary special effects and make-up after seeing John Carpenter’s 1980 spook film, The Fog. Once again, I do not remember how old I was, but the nerve-shock, eyes wide open attention looking at the television screen, wanting to see what terrible thing was in that fog changed something in me. I wanted more. More of that fun. Not to mention it is simply the “grown-up” version of my favorite Halloween cartoon, Garfield’s Halloween Adventure (1985).

It was late at night when I watched The Fog. It was the first in a line of scary movies I watched late at night when my siblings were asleep.

Universal Studios Orlando’s Horror Mae-Up Show opened my eyes to a unique form of art, inspired an interest, and made a lasting impression so strong, whenever I am in Florida, at Universal Studios, I make sure to catch a showing of what I consider one of the classic shows regarding movie making.

This live-action attraction opened its doors June 07, 1990, under the title The Phantom of the Opera Horror Makeup Show and then later to The Gory, Gruesome and Grotesque Horror Makeup Show. It is one of only two of the park’s original attractions still in operation.

Revealing some of the secrets and tricks of film makeup techniques, specifically, prosthetic makeup are revealed to an audience by two joking, somewhat oddball Special Effects professionals.

Fake blood.


A transportation device from The Fly (1986).

It was fun back when I was a kid. It was fun every time I went back. My interest in horror makeup is an amateurish, Halloween flight of fancy, now. But I will never forget waiting for October to arrive. All through my childhood, this one month out of the year, stores are stocked with ghoulish makeup, reminding me of times spent in Florida, awe-struck with a child’s fascination at the creepy-crawly corner of the movie industry.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s