Bruce Campbell's secret blood recipe and other horrible makeup
Bruce Campbell on the CNN Express bus at this year's San Diego Comic Con.
October 27th, 2011
03:29 PM ET

Bruce Campbell's secret blood recipe and other horrible makeup

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York City-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in 'paranormal pop culture,' has lectured at conventions across the country on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

Whether you prefer the shambling or sprinting camp, there’s no excuse to be a shoddy zombie at a Halloween party.

Sure, retail stores have stocked up on fake blood and latex applications this October, but those are the same pre-packaged apps anyone could buy and use. That’s not good enough for a dedicated nerd who wants to take their effects to the next level.

So we’ve assembled a few movie magic tips from makeup gurus who know how to make you look horribly awesome this Halloween.

Bruce Campbell (“Evil Dead” & “Burn Notice” actor and erstwhile low-budget filmmaker who had to work on his own effects)
Nobody has any excuse to not have a recipe for good makeup; it’s all online. All you have to do is Google ‘special effects makeup’ and you’ll probably get a dozen or more ‘how-tos.’

What you need to do is get into latex to make your skin look different. You need to get into some colors to make yourself not look normal. Derma Wax [also known as Mortician’s Wax] is good for bumps and lumps. Between latex, Derma Wax and clown white, you’re halfway there.

A good blood recipe is critical.

Most people don’t know how to do good blood. It’s a corn syrup base, the Karo corn syrup. Get the clear kind, not the dark kind. You mix everything in that bottle; you don’t even change the bottle. Take the lid off and pour in some coffee creamer that’s already been mixed up, like Coffee-Mate.

Blood is opaque, so you need a little bit of white opaque mixture in there. It could be milk, but it will go bad on you, so I say a non-dairy creamer. Mix that up, get the lumps out, pour a little of that in.

Then take one of those red food coloring things you get in the store – not the four pack, but a separate red food coloring and pour the whole thing in. Mix that up really well, and test it on a white surface like your sink or bathtub

You might need a drop of blue food coloring to keep it from getting too pink or too red. But don’t put in literally more than one or two drops because it will turn it to make it purple. Coloration is key. It will stay extremely sticky. A note to everybody: It will get on everything. Whatever you touch, it will get on it. Be judicious with it, or don’t care about it. Blood is one of the main things that if you get it wrong, you blew it.

McKenzie Westmore (“Face Off” host on Syfy, makeup and beauty expert, daughter of makeup effects artist Michael Westmore)
You can use egg whites on your skin. On the beauty side, it’s a little known secret that some women will put it on under their makeup because it’s an instant lift to the skin, and it tightens the skin.

But if it’s put on in a little bit more of an amount, it will crackle. If you put some red paint (like the devil makeup) over the skin, and put the egg white over it, it will crackle the makeup. It gives a really interesting texture to the skin [and works as an old man makeup]. There’s also black eyeliner on the lips. You can line your lips, fill it in, and make really great, scary-looking lips.

Use black and brown and blue eyeshadows to create really great colors under the eyes. But as far as really trying to make it look good, and pass as fairly decent makeup, I’ve done a lot better to go buy some simple pieces from a local Halloween store. The instructions that come with them are so simple and so easy to do now than they were way back when. You couldn’t even find this stuff … there’s so many stores now that do cater to that person wanting to take it to the next level. That would be my best advice to someone really wanting to make it look good. So many stores have come so far with what they sell.

Cleve Hall (Star of Syfy’s upcoming reality series “Monster Man,” Hollywood creature creator and makeup effects specialist)
The techniques go back to Godzilla days and making a creature out of foam rubber.  For that you usually work with anything from one inch – to one-half inch, depending on what you’re making – of a light mattress foam you get from an upholstery place.

The best way is to order it from a place that just sells that. And then get contact cement. It’s a similar process to clothing fabrication except you don’t have to sit there worrying about sewing or seams. You’re sculpting with the foam. It pulls its own shape when you bend it and curve … this is way of making a very simple creature body.

The texturing is a matter of finding latex – which is sold in any art store as a mold-making product – that you coat it with. Then you cut into foam and glue the edges, and pinch texture into it, or burn it in with a soldering iron.

But don’t breathe (the burning latex smoke), because it’s dangerous.  Or you can actually texture the surfaces with oatmeal, corn meal, stucco, all sorts of things.

For a simple gore effect, my favorite requires liquid latex, a large piece of glass or mirror or something smooth. Spread some colored latex – colored with a little bit of acrylic paint, red paint with spots of blue and kind of blend it – in an even, thin layer on the glass. Let the latex dry, and it will stick to itself when it dries. Put a piece of thick yarn in the center, and start on one edge and – kind of like a Fruit Roll-Up – roll it around that cord or yarn in the center.

You don’t have to be even with it because it looks more natural when it’s not. Just keep rolling until basically you’ve got a long pinkish, bluish, purplish rubber tube.

Then you force it against itself into a squiggly back-and-forth shape, and you’ve got perfect intestines. Dip those into some fake blood and it’s just awesome.

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soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Ettie Bickell

    Most important thing to be kept in mind when working with soldering iron is not to touch the tip of the iron as it is extremely hot. Soldering material used for the purpose is an alloy of tin and lead and is called flux. Before you put solder over the required area, heat up the surface to be soldered by touching the tip of the hot iron. Application of the solder is called "tinning"since percentage of tin is more in the flux. However, flux can be of various types depending upon the things to be soldered. ;

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    April 13, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  2. Darwin

    The new site is pretty neat Josh . Now all I need to do is beomce more computer literate ( ha. ha.) It's hard to teach old dogs new tricks but old dogs tend to remember after they crash and burn a few times.

    October 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  3. Judinaw Eutslerb

    Wow, thatis what I was searching for, what a information! existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this web page.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  4. Badonkadonk! my BOOM stick!!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  5. Jeanine G

    its Bruce passing on the recipe but Tom Sullivan who created it when Bruce, Tom and Sam Rami all worked on Evil Dead together. I know because I read If Chins Could Kill by Bruce years ago and spoke to Sullivan who expanded on it a bit for my then 13 yo son when he and his friends decided to make a movie and needed to make a batch....

    And it did get EVERYWHERE...but it looked great!

    November 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • Chris

      I think you mean Tom Savani...? He did the special effects in those movies, and still does them today for Tarantino's movies and I'm sure a good amount of others.

      November 8, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  6. T

    More Bruce Campbell ! Time for another Evil Dead movie ! Or at least, another Bruce Campbell book, I loved the last one !
    One of my Favorite BC movie is: Bubba Ho Tep !

    October 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  7. xxsevensxx

    Ah, Bruce Cambell's blood recipe. That brings back memories....of scrubbing that crap out of the back seat of my car.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  8. Deela

    I've loved Bruce since the beginning. He was Secksy then and he's even secksier now. I'd watch him doing nothing more than reading a phone book. Loooove his voice.

    October 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  9. j

    I LOVE Bruce Campbell! I don't care what age he is.

    October 28, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  10. Fosters

    Campbell's Soup is Mmm... Mmm... Good!

    October 27, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  11. Brandon


    October 27, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  12. Winston5

    "Hail to the king, baby!" (low bow...)

    October 27, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  13. DocCook

    Awsome actor. Bruce, if you are reading this – Now is the time for a full NO S&#T publicity campaign since you are probably the closest to the average dude out there. People can relate to you and you can relate to people. People don't really want to hear from the big names, but I guarantee they want to hear from you and you will get bigger because of it.

    October 27, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Martha C

      Agreed! Everyone wants to hear the words of Bruce Campbell! btw, great recipe for blood...I usually avoid the creamer a really clear look to the blood. 🙂

      October 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  14. Devin

    Shop smart. Shop S mart! His movies are all great.

    October 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  15. Andrea M

    Bruce brings a viable alternative to my usual blood recipe. Might have to play with that one.

    October 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  16. necronomicon

    Time for a Burn Notice spin-off called "AXED!!!" Bruce rules!

    October 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  17. Joe

    We Need more Bruce! I can't believe he isn't doing voice overs on animated films or something. He just rocks baby.

    October 27, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • David

      Bruce did a voice on Cars 2, "Rod 'Torque' Redline".

      October 27, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  18. Devin

    I'm thinking Bruce Campbell may be the only decent opponent Chuck Norris ever had...

    October 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Walker

      I concur! Bruce is the MFing man!

      October 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  19. Lila

    He was so hot when he was young.

    October 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      'When he was young'? Honey, he still looks good and has a great deal of charm. Guess what, Lila? The fortunate among us age. The unlucky die young.

      Which would you prefer to be?

      October 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
      • czerendipity must be a really old, insecure and bitter woman Chartreuxe.

        October 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
      • Deela@czerendipity

        Nah, it's mostly that you're young, scared and immature.

        October 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      Indeed. What I am is a survivor of *three* different cancer diagnoses. I'm very fortunate to be alive. Most women (like me) who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer die. The fatality rate is 75%.

      Considering the alternative (death), it's better to be walking around than a good-looking corpse. YMMV.

      October 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
      • Brandon

        Amen, sister. The hilarious thing about the young who successfully survive is they get older, and it happens so much faster than they expected. The years just roll past, faster and faster. Congrats on being a fighter!

        October 28, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Lila

      Talk about blowing words out of proportion. I'm 40 and had a huge crush on him when I was teen. That's it, no other meaning was implied.

      October 28, 2011 at 11:45 am |
      • peridot2

        He's still hot, Lila.

        July 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  20. Trollicus

    So When Is Sam Axe going to bring out his "BOOM STICK" ?

    October 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  21. Ensign Nerdley


    October 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  22. Ben

    Is there anything Bruce Campbell can't do?

    October 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Griffin

      He can't suck.

      October 27, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
      • Frank

        Good one 🙂

        October 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Winston5

      totally good one!

      October 27, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  23. GonzoG


    October 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm |