This prop will be featured in our film museum haunt this year. The theme of this particular prop is Hellraiser; the only thing missing at the moment are the meathooks and chains, wich will be attached as we're putting our haunt together.
I built this thing out of a fibreglass torso I found for only 4 euros at a thrift store. I had been looking for something like that for ages. Mannequin dolls, even damaged ones or simply parts, tend to be very expensive, so I was very happy when I found it!
Other stuff you need:
- PU spray foam
- Polyester putty
- House paint (any color is fine, doesn't have to be high quality)
- Acrylic caulk (not silicone!)
- Plastic primer (spray paint)
- Acrylic paints: raw sienna (spray paint), carmin, burnt umber, light flesh, blue (any kind of blue), neutral gray
- Dremel multitool
- Oscillating sander
- Dust mask
- Safety goggles
I can't stress enough about the safety gear, this is an absolute must!
Step 1: Mutilating the Torso!
The arms and head will be cut off, revealing gruesome, bloody wounds, and the entire abdomen will be sliced open to reveal a gigantic wound, with the organs missing. I first drew the cutting lines, and then used my Dremel with a grinding wheel. The torso is made of fibreglass, and was quite hard to cut. It creates a lot of dust, and from time to time, the grinding wheels can break and send shrapnel flying around. Again, safety goggles and dust mask!
The arms and head are simply cut off, nothing too fancy there. The cuts in the abdomen are shaped so it looks like they are ripped open with hooks. After cutting, the torso is filled with expanding foam. It helps to moisten the inside a bit. PU foam cures by reacting with moisture in the air, so a bit of water will help it set. Next, I waited a few days to make sure it had completely cured. Don't forget proper ventilation when using PU foam, and wear a respirator! Even if the foam has no smell, it gives off noxious fumes.
Step 2: Creating the Wounds
I focused on the largest wound here, but it works the same for all of them. I first cut a large cavity in the foam using my Dremel and a sanding bit. Next, I used polyester putty to create the torn edges, and to hide the seam between the foam and the fibreglass. When using polyester putty, mix only small batches at a time, because it cures fast. It takes a while to fully harden, but you have less than 10 minutes of working time. And, most important of all, wear a respirator! Uncured polyester resins give off very nasty fumes, and you definitely don't want to breathe in any of it!
After the resin had fully cured, I sanded the outside edges, where the resin meets the skin, so no seams are visible. Perhaps you'll need some additional putty to remove imperfections. The inside doesn't need any sanding, a jagged, torn look is just what you need there!
When I was satisfied with this, I did one more thing to conceal the spongy look of the foam. I mixed equal parts cheap house paint and acrylic caulk. Make sure it's acrylic caulk, the stuff you can paint over. Silicone won't mix with the paint. I used white paint, but added a bit of red so I could see when it was properly mixed. I painted the foam with this stuff, making sure every little bit was covered. It's a very thick mixture, so use an old paintbrush, because it will be ruined afterwards. It will take a couple of days to dry.
While I was waiting for it to dry, I used my engraving bits to make some extra cuts and wounds in the sides.
Step 3: Painting
The paint job starts with a primer! I sprayed the entire prop with a layer of flat gray plastic primer, followed by a layer of raw sienna. It looks very pink on the picture, but that has more to do with the light in my garage, it's actually a very good flesh color. The wounds got a base color using carmine.
The blood looked too brightly red. I wanted it to look darker, like it had dried a bit. A 50/50 mixture of carmine and burnt umber did nicely! I painted this over the wounds, with some of the base color still showing through. This looked just perfect!
Next up, I applied shading and bruises. For the shading, I mixed some burnt umber and light flesh color, and very thinly drybrushed this to create darker spots. If you're unfamiliar with drybrushing, it means you put some paint on a brush and then wipe most of it off again, so your brush is almost dry and leaves very little paint. It's a very usefull technique, but you don't want to use a new, expensive brush for this, because it will wear out very quickly.
The bruises are made with a mixture of blue and gray, with a brownish halo around the dark spot.
And finally, the most fun part: dripping blood! This is a 3/1 mixture of carmine and burnt umber, and enough water to give it a cream-like consistency. I applied large drops to the wounds, and then let gravity take its course. I also made some random blood splatters.
I'm quite satisfied with the result. This is definitely gonna give some people the creeps!