MONSTER MAKE-UP ARTIST
Monster Bash make-up artist Ron Chamberlain
with DRACULA (1931) actress
at the 1999 Monster
following interview can also be seen in the great Scary Monsters Magazine
Memories Yearbook 2000!" 130 Pages of Classic Monster Kid heaven....
Monster Bash's new Master Character
An interview with make-up
artist - Ron Chamberlain by Ron Adams
BASH: Where did it all
start for you?
RC: I have been interested
in make-up since I was about 12 years old. That's when I read articles
in Forry Ackerman's magazine about Jack Pierce. Saw all the photos of
Pierce making up Karloff as the monster and Chaney as The Wolf Man.
Lon Chaney Sr. too, of course! And, MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES, that movie
really had an impact. I loved that movie. Really did it for me.
BASH: You live in New
Jersey. Are you originally from from New Jersey?
RC: Yeah, close to New
BASH: Jack Pierce is
obviously your psychological mentor, any other favorite make-up artists?
RC: Besides Pierce and
Chaney Sr.....John Chambers. He was a great influence with his PLANET
OF THE APES movie make-ups! I wrote Chambers when I was a kid, he sent
me an autographed picture with him and Roddy McDowell. Wow, I was blown
away. I'm a big PLANET OF THE APES fan. Have most of the actors autographs....five
of Roddy McDowell! I was lucky enough to meet Roddy McDowell at a Fangoria
Convention in New York.
BASH: Tell us about your
make-up partner, Frank Rios, who is subjected to many of your make-ups.
Frank is from Venezuela. I met him where I work, a division of General
Porcelain. He had applied to be a painter. I'm a sculpter and painter
there. I ended up training him;
he's progressed and is a VERY good painter. When he found out I was
a monster movie fan, it was instant friendship. In Venezuela, he was
in a very small minority. Not many people there seem to be crazy about
monster movies and he was happy to find someone else who really loved
those movies. He was cool then, to be a model for my make-ups. Happy
to do it! Plus, in his country, he and his family are all great seamstresses.
He's amazing. So he makes most of the costumes and is frequently the
model; I do the make-up. Then we started winning local make-up/costume
contests....that expanded to the Chiller Theatre Convention...winning
contests there and then becoming the official Monster Bash Convention
BASH: Which make-up was
the most difficult?
RC: I'd say The Wolf Man.....glueing
of the hair...yeah, all that hair.
BASH: What are some highlights
over the years for you?
The tribute to Ron Chaney
at The Monster Bash. That was a REAL thrill for me....to be able to
do that for Ron. I can't express how much that meant to me.
That was incredible, thrill of a lifetime to surprise Ron Chaney in
his grandfather's Wolf Man make-up.
BASH: What are some currrent
projects? What are you getting
ready for now?
Big Haunted house. It's a local haunted house and I'm doing a lot of
the bodies, props, monsters and ALL the background paintings! That's
a lot of work every night. I'm making up a guy as Bram Stoker's Dracula
for promtion at a local theatre. It's to promote the haunted house.
And, I just did an visual demonstration of how to make a simple vampire
make-up in a halloween haunted house magazine. It's a demo, step-by-step
pictorial on a vampire make-up...a Buffy The Vampire kinda look.
BASH: Obviously, movies
seems inevitable...you're so talented. What would you like to see happen?
RC: I would like to work under a major studio and in the make-up department...anything
to get in there! I was wouldn't mind free lancing, but as part of a
make-up team at a studio....wow, that would be ideal. I have done free
lance for a movie called ADDICTED TO MURDER out on video...vampire film..it
was shot in New York, in Manhatten....few vampires 3 or 4 . One transfornation
was really eloborate. I have to mention my teacher, the great make-up
man Dick Smith. When I was twelve I wrote him in Hollywood, he wrote
me back and said "Hey, I'm really in New York City, we're neighbors."
He has always been so encouraging. Still a great help in feedback on
my make-ups...helping with...colors and stuff. I just recently sent
him pictures Pictures from the Monster Bash. He said how great the Frankenstein
monster was....I was really pleased! Hope this all isn't for nothing.
I so dearly love this...it's all I want to do and hope to turn it into
a full time thing. I love it. It's what I love to do, what I am! I'm
in heaven in my shop/studio everynight till midnight, or 1-2 in the
morning. Sculpting new creatures. I grew up the classics. I love this
Ron Chamberlain, in
his own right, a master character creator....a truly great make-up artist.
He lives in Bordentown, New Jersey with his suppportive wife, Lori,
wonderful son, Shawn and Golden Retreiver named, what else? --- Lon!
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