Beyond the Wound

Inside Zombie Special Effects with Karen Marie Artistry

How do you want to be killed?

This is the first question you’re asked by makeup artist Karen Reed. “Do you want a bullet wound? A black eye? A skewer up your nose?”

At this year’s Zombie Pub Crawl, be sure to come prepared with your killing of choice, because violent death is a la carte at Karen Marie Artistry. That’s right, as a growing makeup artist with a talent for special effects, Reed will let you choose your own death.

Photographer: Karen Reed

Photographer: Karen Reed

At the entrance of the crawl, located on 1st Ave. N. and N. 6th St., makeup artists tents will line the streets to help make your zombie costume really come alive— er, become more dead? At Karen Marie Artistry prices will range from $25 to $100, depending on just how detailed you want your death and resurrection to appear. Whether you come decked out in zombie-garb or you need the whole undead shebang, Reed has you covered.

Photographer: Karen Reed

Photographer: Karen Reed

Going on its eleventh year in Minneapolis, the Zombie Pub Crawl draws around 30,000 zombie fanatics, setting the record for “World’s Largest Gathering of Zombies.” With expert zombies staggering everywhere, don’t expect to get away with throwing on a ragged T-shirt and smearing on some ketchup-like fake blood all over yourself.

“You can’t really just have one thing,” Reed said. “If you’re going to have a bullet hole, or something through you, or a slash, you have to make the rest of your face look dead too. Don’t just focus on the wound.”

But with proper special effects makeup, pub crawlers can be turned into terrifyingly disgusting zombies in just twenty minutes.

“There’s a lot you can do with the concept of creating shadows and depth within your face,” Reed said. Hollow cheeks, shaded in eyes, and paler skin can go a long way. Even better, many of these techniques can be achieved by using the products you already have in your makeup bag, Reed said. Eye shadows make for good bruising, and if you’re desperate, a shiny lip gloss can be a good blood substitute.

If you’re more experienced, the liquid latex route may be a good option, allowing you to make detailed facial pieces out of latex and cotton rounds.

Photographer: Karen Reed

Photographer: Karen Reed

“The fun thing about using latex and cotton rounds is, if you know what you’re doing and if you have any sort of background in art, you can easily sculpt it and make it your own,” Reed said.

Photographer: Karen Reed

Photographer: Karen Reed

Yet if you do use latex, Reed advises removing it carefully and properly— which may prove to be difficult for drunken zombies. Just like you need to be careful with your skin, make sure you’re also cautious about putting any colored contacts in your eyes.

Lastly, it’s always a safe bet to plan your costume and test your makeup beforehand. Waiting until the last minute often results in lazy costumes.

Important questions to ask when ‘zombifying’ yourself: Do you want to look frighteningly real, perhaps like you’ve just wandered off the set of The Walking Dead? Or do you just want to look like you’re participating just enough in order to drink?

No matter your answers, be safe, be scary, be undead.