With Halloween Horror Nights in full swing, the “Queen of Latin Pop” Gloria Estefan visited Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 22 and transformed into a “Queen of the Undead.” As a scareactor, she made guests scream and run at Halloween Horror Nights 22. [Read more…]
Article by Jimmy Strater
Last Saturday night Universal Orlando hosted their annual Halloween Horror Nights Media Boo Camp. What is Boo Camp? They take folks from the media and make them into scaractors. No that is not a typo. A scaractor is just that, a scare actor. Being a video producer for Orlando Attractions Magazine is super cool and a lot of fun, but I jumped at the chance to get out from behind the camera and into the unbelievably huge show that is Halloween Horror Nights. Here’s how my night went. [Read more…]
Ever since my first visit to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando in 1997, I have wanted to become a scareactor. A scareactor (pronounced like “character”) is derived from the words “scare” and “actor” (obviously) and is the name given to the actors that fill haunted houses and scare zones with the goal of filling park guests with fear. On and off for the past twelve years, I have repeatedly reminded myself to audition to become one of these actors as I couldn’t think of many jobs more fun than scaring the wits out of tourists and locals in a theme park.
Of course, in helping to launch and run Orlando Attractions Magazine over the past two years, my role as creative director and videographer has evolved into one of the most fun jobs on the planet, allowing me to frequent the best attractions in Orlando in an effort to share them with the world. As luck would have it, my current job and my previously-desired job became one in the same last week when Universal invited us to become Halloween Horror Nights scareactors for a night. So although I never did actually audition for the role as I had been telling myself to do for so many years, I was finally getting my chance to experience one of my favorite annual events from a whole new perspective and I was beyond excited to play my part (that’s me on the left in the above photo).
This is the third consecutive year that Universal Orlando has invited local media to take part in what they call “Boo Camp.” While becoming a scareactor ordinarily requires auditions and training, Universal allows reporters on one special night to hop into a make-up chair, get fitted with gory silicone prosthetics and some fake blood, put on a costume, and after only ten minutes of instructions, head out into a scare zone to try to frighten Halloween Horror Nights attendees.
For this year’s Boo Camp, we were to step into the world of the Containment scare zone. Before I offer my thoughts on how much fun becoming a scareactor was, here’s a video showing the whole transformation process as well as an explanation of the scare zone:
While I have watched numerous making-of features showing Hollywood actors getting made up with all kinds of intricate and gruesome make-up and appliances attached to their faces, this was the first time I had a chance to experience it for myself. The silicone prosthetic boils and pustules that were attached to our faces are made in-house at Universal Studios, allowing them to go through as many as they need each night. They are attached using a silicone gel and then painted with an airbrush using alcohol-based paint (which is quite cold when applied). After layers of red, orange, and white paint are added and mixed for realism, a final layer of KY gel keeps the prosthetics looking fresh and moist. The whole makeup process took around 10 minutes.
As you can see, the make-up style is designed to be somewhat over-the-top. It’s not quite the same as a Hollywood shoot where subtle make-up can go a long way. In a dark, foggy scare zone, the makeup needs to be instantly visible and obvious as each actor will generally interact with a park guests for a mere few seconds.
I found it interesting that the artist that applied applied my makeup has never been a scareactor. He told me that he prefers to stay behind-the-scenes, having been a Horror Nights makeup artist for six years.