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Hollywood's 20 Masters of Horror: The Twisted Talents Raising the Most Hell

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    Walk of Fame for Makeup Maestro
    Rick Baker
    The Makeup Maestro

    Watching old Frankenstein movies transformed Baker from a normal teen into an obsessive who made monster mask-molds in his mom’s oven. He so startlingly turned a man to a beast in 1981’s An American Werewolf in London that the Academy — which hates creating new categories — nonetheless started an Oscar for makeup and gave Baker the first.

    Baker, now 62, has said his tombstone will read, “This is the guy who did the American Werewolf in London makeup.” Or, more likely it will say, “This is the guy who got 12 Oscar nominations and seven wins” — so far. Since then, Baker has made Robert Downey Jr. black in Tropic Thunder, Eddie Murphy white in Coming to America and turned lots of people into monkeys for Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes.

    “The easiest makeups are gross, bloody makeups,” he says. “You can cover your mistakes with blood, and when something gross is onscreen people look away. Trying to duplicate something people see every day is really tough.”

    Baker’s latest challenge: Disney’s upcoming Maleficent, where he’ll make Angelina Jolie a proper fairy-tale villain. And now, with three intricate looks he created for MAC Cosmetics for Halloween, he knows the pressure is on for Oct. 31: “People expect a lot of me on Halloween.”

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