Ask any horror fan to name a makeup and special effects artist they adore, and chances are they will name the legend that is Rick Baker. He was the first artist to win an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for his shockingly good work on John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London.
The pair worked again the superb video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and over a career that’s spanned over forty years, Baker has continued to push genuine special effects brilliance, with care and attention to detail winning over rather than quick and cheap CGI. Baker has fought to continue with practical effects, but sadly it would seem that the CGI crazy world of today has gotten the best of him, and he has announced his plans to retire.
Baker has given so much to the horror genre, with the above named films and a endless list of greats including The Howling, The Funhouse, Altered States, Videodrome, The Frighteners, Wolf and The Ring being among his list, with many big budget films like Maleficent, Men in Black 3 and Tron: Legacy also in his resume.
For horror fans, all you had to do was see Baker’s name attached, and it would instantly be a reason to watch it, so hearing the news Baker is retiring is very sad indeed.
Here is his official statement:
“First of all, the CG stuff definitely took away the animatronics part of what I do. It’s also starting to take away the makeup part. The time is right, I am 64 years old, and the business is crazy right now. I like to do things right, and they wanted cheap and fast. That is not what I want to do, so I just decided it is basically time to get out. I would consider designing and consulting on something, but I don’t think I will have a huge working studio anymore.”
Thanks for everything Mr Baker, you will be missed dearly.