Our love for horror movies took us to the top of the genre! Pyramid head & Claudia Wolf from “Silent Hill 2″ are impressive monsters and posed a challenge for this years creation. scaring children is so “yesterday”, we wanted to scare full grown adults!
my name is Chad, and i am wearing pyramid head this year. my wife Julie is wearing Claudia Wolf, my combatant in the movie “silent hill”.
Pyramid head is the manifestation of evil, who keeps balance in the world of “Silent Hill” destroying those who upset the balance, or are up to no good. he is believed to be a “split personality” of another character that is trapped in “Silent Hill” from the comics,& video games.
Claudia Wolf is mutated from ordinary human when she is challenged to show her “true colors” when confronted. she is hell bent on killing everyone first with lies & deceit, then by violence. her skin is burnt away, and metal blades pierce her head..causing her anger to be revealed on the outside. her attempts to kill the star of the movie are thwarted by Pyramid head, and an all out battle begins.
Having made a simple, silent hill costume last year, and the response we garnered…it was time to go full on! assembly of these 2 characters would take time, patience, and a whole lot of creativity.
Go For Height
Pyramid head starts with height. we went with snowboard boots from a local thrift store. this was important, I needed ankle structure and this gave me flexibility of bolting 2×4 blocks to the bottom. Now this was not as easy as it sounds. Just applying blocks gives you height, but no stability. We humans dont walk level. The attaching block, and the bottom block were formed with particular angles to give a standing balance, and conform to a pair of rubber crocs on the ground. trust me…just bolting them on (as is) was actually dangerous.
After spending time cruising around the house, dodging doorways and low flying ceiling lights, I decided to venture outdoors and traverse the curbs and sloped driveways. Tricky…to say the least, but not impossible. A walking staff will have to come into play, or serious hours getting the “hang” of them.
Since pyramid head drags a long blade around, this could become trouble in a room full of other people…I would have to improvise a better weapon.
Weapon, Helmet & Skin
The blade of (my) pyramid head is simple at first glance, but dont be fooled…I was modifying it even on the day of the show…never happy with the final product.
It began with a plastic sword our son used 5 years ago for a mortal combat character. 3′ tall and hollow plastic just wouldnt do. so the center smooth shaft met the trash can and got the broom handle upgrade. The pointed head that meets the ground got concrete poured into it for structure and weight.
Now that its strong enough to hold me up, the blade needed to go bigger!
Being a woodworker by trade, I had all the necessary tools and woods for the upgrade and chose 3/16″ masonite for its ridgid structure, light weight, and sandable material. Drew out what I think was an ample blade designs and made 2 sides. Using countertop glue, wood glue, and a boat load of screws & clamps, I forced it upon the old staff and waited.
After it was dry, it became very obvious the head was now too heavy for the shaft to handle. Reinforcements were mandatory! (this is what made me the least happy about the end design)
Attaching 3/4″ maple splints to each side made it very strong, and very ackward to hold. “if” i were 7’4″ tall, my hands would fit nicely around it. (but im not) so I made finger grooves around it, but I could only go so far before it would come apart. so I left it as is, and pondered another shape. (this would end up being final design) all other ideas came along, and were quickly discarded.
Now, on to the helmet. a good (engineer) friend of mine once told me,” if you want to build it twice…by all means..just start building! If you want to make it right…build a template first”.
So it all began using foam core poster board. (i use it for templates for staircase installations) good stuff! figuring the shape, length/width/height plus angles came together pretty fast. So off to the masonite I went! first building the baseplate, I needed my head opening, and view of the floor plus room to attach the tall angles. Once this was carved out, pine splints/pin nails/wood glue gave the framework to attaches the upper walls. But before you can do this…the walls need to be worked over to see through. Once on, the work would have been impossible to finish. Adding layers of masonite created the 3D look and gave it the proper inset for the bolts & viewing area. Using a bench top sander, I handmade a long dowel, and chopped it to 1 1/2″ pieces. then sanded each one to resemble bolt heads. ( 5 sided) drilled and screwed on to side plates then painted, I now needed somewhere to see forward. Using a 1″ spade bit, i drilled everywhere the wasnt a bolt. Covering the inside with sanding screen mesh, I could now see out, but no one could see in!
At this point, the base and 2 front panels were on, and it needed the back plates and decor to finish it off. Crank handle, and bolts were affixed, and the plates were trimmed to fit. A nail here, some glue there…its ready for final paint! weighing in around 8lbs. Its not totally out of hand, but its noticeable after a few hours. so i went for 2 bolts on the back that would run through the chest piece and attach to my belt to keep the pressure off the back of my neck. These appear to go into my skin, very similar to the actual character in the movie.
From here on out it was clothing and makeup. Using a piece of leather from fabric shop, we cut out a butcher smock, distressed it with wire brushes, paint, and some fake blood to give it the dingy look.
The pants were acquired from the thrift store, formerly known as an aviator jumpsuit, it was given extensions to cover the boots, and painted with Baer house paint. (yup…house paint) the original black cotton bled through giving it the perfect grimy, dingy, wasteland look. (they are crispy, and sound like old courderoy pants, but it worked great for the price!)
The upper body piece was a cheap padded muscle costume from the halloween store. This would give me the upper body size to go with my height and it kept me warm on the cold night! We took liquid latex, poured on to cookie sheets, and created skins to wrap the shirt with to create the torn body panels instead of the abs of steel it came with. Adding paint, and open wound latex panels, we had a final body!
Claudia Wolf Exposed
Claudia wolf is a bad character hell bent on killing everyone first with lies & deceit, then by violence when she is forced to expose her true colors. She is pure evil inside, and the torture blades are a representation of her anger and pain. This was achieved by using a white morph mask, and lots of patience.
Claudia’s head is the main focal point of her character, my wife has spent a few years working with liquid latex and decided to try this radical design.
Using liquid latex, we poured panels out on cookie sheets, glass panes, and our ping pong table and let it dry. Once ready, they were applied over the mask to remove all facial features. Small holes were cut for eyes and the framework for the noticeable eye sockets, and blade impressions were made using molding clay and coated in more latex. My wife then noticed that when she pulled it over her head, the clay pushed her eyes closed. (apparently she wanted to see..go figure) so we came up with using swimming goggles sans glass and once situated, it worked perfectly! She now had protruding cheekbones/eye sockets, the full use of her eyes, and provisions for the blades around her head.
I then began carving foam core posterboard blades to fit her head, once we got close to final shape by making micro changes, it was just right. I then made over sized masonite blades and used bolts/screws & washers to hold and tighten in place.
The rest of her outfit was slightly modified due to weather and a certain wife’s desire to stay clothed during the night out, so instead of bikini leather she opted for the leather corset & leather shorts. (she still froze, 40degrees out.)
We devised the hooks tearing flesh look with medical tape, run through round rings and taped to skin. Then applied the latex over the rings and attached chains to her collar. We then painted black centers and added blood on the outer edges to give the old wound look. This held extremely well, especially the thigh area. She might have ripped actual flesh if she caught it on anything!
Claudia wolf also had weapons! One being a hacking blade, and the other a sword kinda thing, both appearing to come out of her wrist bones in place of hands. So using the masonite again, I created center located handles inline with her arms, and reinforced them with maple for rigidity. Using leather strips, these blades were wound around her arms and the blade extensions to give a continuous look. (they lasted right up till she wanted to drink something…then they came off).
On to The Costume Party
Halloween saturday was an all out frenzy of costume finishing and final touches! by 6pm the costumes were going on, and latex layers were applied to cover seams and connect parts. By 9pm we were out the door to the casino costume contest! After assembling parts in the parking lot, we proceeded to the front doors. Before we even got out of the parking lot, we were photo grouped with several guests and we knew we had something going on!
The casino doors and the actual ballroom were quite a distance, and we felt like rock stars! Every 5 feet, it was another photo op with giddy guests and fellow costume participants (even some hotel stayers who were there on business were taken back). There was plenty of pawing, and groping as we made our way to the event. once inside, we headed to the bar, stopping along the way to allow more group shots. We were getting requests for “kill shots” where we would chop, grab, and eviscerate others for epic photos and posts to the favorite social media moments. by the time we had our first drink in hand, my wife had been notified we were nominated for best couple as a top 3 contestant!
Now we were giddy! this put us in the running for cash or a trip to Vegas or New Orleans. Yeowza! its all happening so fast!
About this point in the night we got our chance to survey the other costumes, and we must say, impressive! steampunks, 10’tall illuminated scarecrow, daft punk & dead mau5, house of cards, and a full fledged devil! the competition brought their game in full. This now made us nervous. butterflies had taken over!
After what felt like a million photos, we were called to the stage! the local radio station announce each of us and local crowd support screamed in their favorites and we were awarded 2nd place and $500 cash! the steampunks had won the trip to Vegas all travel expenses & $1,500 to spend. We both admit, they were impressive, handmade gears, guns and clothing they were truly the best couple from a builders standpoint.
But we nailed the horror! even the judges, who weren’t allowed to affect the crowd vote, claimed we were scariest they had seen in quite a while.
The event made us feel like true rock stars all night. My face ached from smiling under my helmet of pain, good thing they couldn’t see me…they might have docked points for that!
Our costumes were built from scrap items, used, and thrift store clothing.
Makeup & latex-$50
All it takes to have a great costume is a willingness to think things through, (and outside the box…so to speak), pay attention to the details, try your best and always have fun! (it helps to have woodworking tools too!)
We will be trying to go bigger next year..thinking “bioshock-big daddy” and my wife is on board for “marvin”-the depressed robot from “hitchhikers guide to the galaxy”
Now to figure out how to get through 3′ doors with those things on!