You have never seen vinyl and paint turn to dead flesh and congealed blood like this. By the way, if you haven’t seen Hereditary or can’t stomach extreme gore, this is your last chance to turn away now.
Steve Newburn is nothing short of an SFX genius. The prosthetic makeup designer for AAFX Studio, who designed the most vomit-inducing elements of Ari Aster’s Hereditary (he was also the miniatures supervisor for those eerie dollhouse scenes), has now posted concept art and behind-the-scenes photos that will make you question reality. As in, you will really think you’re seeing decapitated heads from the morgue.
SPOILER WARNING: If you dare go beyond this point, you might find out things about the movie you’re better off not knowing.
Newburn’s Instagram has finally revealed what was lies behind Charlie’s head in its various states of decomposition after Milly Shapiro’s freakish telephone pole decapitation. He also unburies the concept art and process behind Toni Colette’s epic decapitation scene, which you might need some antacid to actually look at.
Getting it to appear as if a 13-year-old leaning out a window literally loses her head while gasping for air was one of the more challenging aspects of the film. Of course, Charlie is actually an animatronic puppet here, but the car she is riding in is very real. According to the Stan Winston School blog:
“Originally, the car Charlie would ride in was meant to be mounted on a track that would lead it and the animatronic puppet into the telephone pole. But changes meant that the effect would be performed by a fully operational vehicle driving at sixty miles an hour!”
So how did pseudo-Charlie's head detach itself from the rest of her body?
“For the gag, a collapsible inner skull was built. This skull was meant to mirror the damage created on another “Charlie” head that was built to represent the aftermath of the accident.”
This took some practice involving a baseball bat making way too much suspicious noise in the makeup shop, but when it was time for that scene to hit the road, it went off as smoothly as a teen’s death by cake and a telephone pole can go.
Click the Insta posts if you dare, but watch your head — and your stomach.