At the end of last year’s Boyd and Bouffard Halloween party we all voted on the theme for this year. And the winner was “Classic Hollywood Horror” movies. After my totally bogus Ballchinian mask for that year’s party, and the disappointment of my little friend Danny, I was determined to make up for it. So a couple of days after the party I found “The Fly” from 1958 and began what turned out to be 100+ hours of construction. Many thanks to Dan Reeder at Gourmet Paper Mache blog for the inspiration. Check out his dragons!
Since this was going to be a fairly large mask I constructed the framework using a fine wire mesh I found at Lowe’s. The basic shape of the head was built by wrapping the wire mesh around a very old Japanese float ball that Lynn’s Dad found many, many years ago. A side benefit of the wire mesh was that it added structure in the form of wrinkles where it was folded over. Once the frame was ready I added a couple of layers of paper mache, The eyes were from a paper mache ball cut in half. If I had been really smart I would have put a battery powered fan in each I eye to keep from drowning in sweat ’cause the damn thing was hot and I could only wear it for 10 minutes at a time.Once the eyes were on I added a cloth mache layer and started looking for paint and hairs. The “face” piece were you can see my eyes was made in the same way. I had thought I would take that off to eat and drink while leaving the head piece on but after seeing how hot it was I bagged that idea although it does have velcro fasteners.
The hardest part was making the shoulder piece that the head would be mounted on. As you can see in the pictures I used a piece of cardboard as well as the wire for this. I was really hoping to wear a shirt and tie like in the movie but I had to settle for the lab coat. In between the paper mache layer on the cloth mache the shape changed while it was drying and the fit wasn’t very good. In the end it worked but not as well as I would have liked and I’ve at least got some thoughts on the next one.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun and Lynn thinks it’s neat so I’m happy. Also won the overall costume prize for the 2nd time in 3 years. Can’t wait til next year ’cause I’ve got a great idea for the 1940’s theme that will also involve paper/cloth mache.