[This post contains images that are SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 7 premiere.]
The Walking Dead delivered an extra-gory, ultra-violent start to season 7 last week, sealing the fate not one but two major characters with the mighty swing of Negan’s bat. Despite some complaints about the extreme violence and the displeasure over having to wait several months following a contentious season 6 cliffhanger, the premiere, ‘The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,’ was a juggernaut, delivering some of the best ratings for AMC and the series in recent memory. And with devoted viewers and casual fans alike still discussing the brutal deaths of both Glenn and Abraham, the series has seen fit to provide a gruesome behind-the-scenes look at how extensive the makeup effects were and the level of detail that went into delivering the grisly answer to the question: Who is Negan’s victim?
Most viewers know the answer to that question by now, and with season 7 preparing to introduce The Kingdom and Ezekiel with its second episode, it’s starting to feel like the collective Walking Dead fan base has come to terms with the deaths of Glenn and Abraham. But executive producer Greg Nictoero knows there’s always a contingent of curious fans out there eager to see how the sausage is made. Thankfully, there are plenty of social media accounts for the EP to get that content to those fans.
Earlier in the week, it was Steven Yeun’s turn in the special effects spotlight. Glenn’s death was perhaps the more gruesome of the two, given that it features a prolonged look at the effect of Negan’s swing, and for added emphasis, a bulging eyeball that made it all the more difficult to watch. The image of Yeun in the makeup chair caught the attention of many fans across the internet; both for the crystal-clear view it provided of the gnarly wound and for the artistry involved in making the injury look so convincing. Now, Nicotero has gone one step further, offering curious viewers the chance to see Michael Cudlitz in full makeup and his lifelike doppelgänger revealing exactly what’s on its mind.
The ginger military man put on a wry smile to show off his newly tenderized scalp, as Kerrin Jackson makes sure Abraham’s hair is perfect when it comes time to yell action. As with the image of Yeun, seeing the injury without copious amounts of blood and under the full light of a makeup trailer is both better and worse. There’s a level of detail put into the makeup that sadly (or maybe mercifully) goes unseen in the final product, making these images worthwhile for anyone curious about FX work like this. Besides, the lack of context and the playfulness of Cudlitz mugging for the camera certainly assuages the horror of what the makeup is depicting.
In a sense, the same can be said for the image of the Cudlitz stand-in dummy with the shattered head. It’s definitely going to be the envy of everyone who goes overboard with their Halloween decorations, as the lifelike quality and gory detail of the thing puts your average $15 motion-activated zombie hand candy bowl to shame. They may not be appetizing or even remotely pleasant to look at, but there is something worth appreciating the construction of the makeup effects being shared by The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead continues with ‘The Well’ @9pm on AMC.
Source: Greg Nicotero