How VFX artists created the zombie horse in ‘Army of the Dead’
Zack Snyder’s New Zombie Heist Action Army of the dead, features all kinds of awesome stunts and visuals, but one of the most memorable is this surprisingly compelling undead horse. In a new behind-the-scenes featurette from the Netflix Film Club YouTube channel, special effects makeup artist Gabe Bartalos explains exactly how they created this particular part of the film using fully practical effects.
“We knew it wouldn’t be slimy and dripping,” he says. “We looked at pictures of times when animals, especially deer and horses, are breaking down. The skin is starting to break down, and what is left are all the veins and arteries. It becomes this mesh of mess. So we used a lot of organic material suspended in latex., Infused into the skin. There is the sculpting of the muscles, the bones, the skin, the way I paint it, the way I overcome it. a horse’s challenge, the animal’s sheer speed, is a real thing to consider. “
Bartalos and his team designed a latex suit that would fit the horse’s body, onto which a series of sculpted and painted foam rubber pieces were attached to create the illusion of the horse’s body breaking down in real time. And because there was a very real, very living horse named Ace beneath all of those prosthetics, the production team also had to build a cooling tent so that it wouldn’t overheat during those long, hot days there in the desert.
“When working with animals, they can’t talk, they can’t communicate… so a lot of care has been taken and a lot of testing to make sure the suit is comfortable on him,” says Bartalos. “And really, at the end of the day, the more comfortable Ace is, the better it is for us because we have more filming time.”
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