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Benthos – Film Creature Costume / Mask

Project Info


Mark Potenza (Director)


April – May 2018


Mold-making, Casting, Painting, On-site Supervision

I was hired for this project as part of a student film at a local university. The director brought his rough monster sketches to us with descriptions of some of the scenes planned and criteria for fabrication. After negotiating and preparing the contract for the job, I started work with a talented physical sculptor on the production of a number of these masks.

I took comprehensive measurements of the actor to ensure a snug fit on the mask dimensions and roughed the sizes and shapes out onto a head mannequin. Working with the sculptor, I helped refine a clay master sculpt of the monster head that met the director’s approval. I assisted in the creation of a two-part plaster mold around the master sculpt. I cast multiple copies of the mask out of RD-407 rubber. The teeth were sculpted out of semi-transparent Sculpey and baked, then airbrushed around the base. They were firm but flexible in order to ensure the actor would not have any issues with wearing the larger fangs. They were installed with E6000 flexible adhesive into sculpted sockets along the jawline.

One mask was airbrushed with a mix of rubber cement, naptha, and oil paint, while the other was painted with a mix of Pros-Aide and acrylics. This was done as a test of both methods on the flexible latex, and also to afford the director a choice of finish and sheen on the mask to be used.

Due to the budgetary restrictions on this project, we needed to come up with a cheap and easy way to cover the rest of the actor. The director wanted a visible texture on the monster’s skin, so we agreed to try making a number of thin textured latex sheets. The physical sculptor I worked with produced a large 24″ x 24″ textured clay panel, which we molded in plaster. We then tinted and poured numerous thin layers of RD-407 rubber onto this plaster master, which we were able to peel off in large sheets. On the day of filming, the performer had these textured sheets affixed with body-safe Pros-Aide adhesive, which were then trimmed, seamed, painted and blended.

The final edit of the film isĀ available for you to enjoy on Vimeo: