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MASTERSFX Creates Army of Dead For New SYFY Series "Day of the Dead":
- Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021
Executive Producer Todd Masters, Steve Kostanski, Jed Elinoff & Scott Thomas to Hold Instagram Live Preview Prior to Show's Debut on Oct. 15
Creative forces behind SYFY’s new upcoming “Day of the Dead” have turned to Emmy® Award winning makeup FX artist Todd Masters and his company MASTERSFX (MFX) to create all of the special zombie makeup FX for the show. In addition, “Day of the Dead” marks the first time that Todd Masters serves as an Executive Producer, for a TV series.
In the 10-episode series, set to premiere on October 15 at 10pm on SYFY and on CTV Sci-Fi in Canada, a normal day for the small town of Manihawken, Pennsylvania, takes a horrifying turn when the dead begin to rise – walking, chewing and tearing through anything in their wake. Masters and his Vancouver based character factory, MASTERSFX were tasked with filling each episode with dozens of shriveled and desiccated makeups and gooey FX.
On October 15 starting at 9:30pm Eastern Time/6:30pm Pacific Time, join Todd Masters, MFX artist Steve Kostanski, and fellow “Day of the Dead” executive producers Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas for an INSTAGRAM LIVE discussion on the making of “Day of the Dead” before the series premiere on SYFY. To WATCH this INSTAGRAM LIVE broadcast, fans can follow Todd’s official Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/masters.todd/?hl=en
Then, during the premiere of the show itself at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific on SYFY, Masters, Kostanski, Elinoff and Thomas will LIVE-TWEET during the course of the airing of that premiere episode to discuss how they developed the new series and created the amazing new zombies. To join the conversation, fans can tweet along using #DayoftheDead and follow Masters/Kostanski/Elinoff/Thomas at these Twitter handles: @ToddMasters (and) @JedElinoff (and) @ninjawhenever (and) for Steve Kostanski via Instagram: @kill_kostanski
“We started meeting and designing our makeup FX work for this project while we were still under Covid and government lockdown,” Masters add. “Literally, the moment we were allowed to re-open our shop, we did, and we hit the ground really rocking and rolling. We had a small army of our amazing artists start immediately throwing themselves into this huge project… there were zombies everywhere! At that time, due to the ongoing Covid situation, we still had no idea how we were going to safely work with the cast and other crew. We ended up devising several new techniques, like making monster dentures digitally, and, in some cases, integrating touchless scanning as opposed to face casting, to make actors’ head and facial impressions.”
The MFX team -- hot off their third Emmy® Award win for another project Masters helped produce, “Aliens Stole My Body” -- were primed for the task.
“I must say, I was a bit leery of the idea of doing dozens of prosthetics - that can only be applied to actors in close-contact - during Covid,” Masters explains. “But our team was professional and flawless. We handled crowds of zombie make-ups, all without incident of any kind.”
“Nearly every day of our work on this six-month odyssey was filled with multiple dead things,” Masters recalls. “There were numerous zombie prosthetics, rotten teeth, decayed torsos, hands and arms, along with dozens of FX, like hatches into heads, bullet wounds, cuts, gashes, etc. We also had armies of background zombies wearing slip-on masks, as well.”
Masters’ monumental assignment was made a bit easier by the fact that one of his co-workers - make-up FX artist Steve Kostanski, based in the MASTERSFX/Toronto studio - was onboard to direct four episodes, and also executive produce. Kostanski started with Masters on the 2009 film, “The Haunting in Connecticut” when he was just 21. Today, he is now a well-experienced director (“Leprechaun,” “Psycho Goreman,” “The Void.”)
“Steve was the perfect ingredient for ‘Day of the Dead’ - of course, for his experienced eye with the FX stuff, but also his ability to get great stuff in the can, quickly,” Masters says. “We were shooting everywhere and everything, to fill the screen with satisfying zombie gore. Steve even shot his own two-man-unit in the MFX parking lot, one bloody, rainy Sunday!”
“Our self-imposed goal for each episode was to try to top our previous, gory ‘kill’- and there certainly were plenty of those. We had a great crew, the FX team was solid, and the props, costumes, make-up and hair departments all really went for it,” Masters concludes.
"If you're going to do an homage to the godfather of all zombies, obviously the zombies are a huge deal,” says “Day of the Dead” showrunner Jed Elinoff. "Todd and his team worked miracles during a very tricky time to shoot. We asked for the world and the team at MastersFX gave it to us and then some. The kills, the gore and the all-out splatter in this show are nothing short of incredible. Todd and his team did Romero proud.”
Adds fellow “Day of the Dead” showrunner Scott Thomas, “We kept pushing Todd and his team to go bigger and gorier, and they were more than happy to oblige. We specifically wanted to showcase practical effects in this series, and we couldn’t have gone to a better effects studio. Every outrageous gag we came up with, MastersFX delivered. We couldn’t be more excited for viewers to see the messed-up, disgusting things Todd and his talented artists came up with.”
Adds Steve Kostanski, “The new ‘Day of the Dead’ series was an appealing project to me not just as a director but also as a horror fan, because it puts a fresh spin on the zombie subgenre, while remaining true to the spirit of the source material. I had a great experience collaborating with Todd Masters and the talented team at MastersFX on this bold reimagining of Romero’s classic film, which is packed with enough gore to satisfy even the most jaded splatter nut.”
About “DAY OF THE DEAD”
"Day of the Dead” is the intense story of six strangers trying to survive the first 24 hours of an undead invasion. This ode to George A. Romero’s famous flesh-eaters reminds us that sometimes all it takes to bring people together is a horde of hungry zombies trying to rip them apart. The series stars Keenan Tracey (“Bates Motel”), Daniel Doheny (“Alex Strangelove”), Natalie Malaika (“Fractured”), Kristy Dinsmore (“Vikings”), and newcomer Morgan Holmstrom.
Produced by Matt Drake for Abbott Street Films. In Association with The Cartel and HiTide Studios with Stan Spry, Jeff Holland and Drew Brown serving as executive producers for The Cartel, and James Dudelson, Robert Dudelson, and Jordan Kizwani serving as executive producers for HiTide Studios. Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas will serve as co-showrunners and executive producers. Todd Masters and Steven Kostanski will also serve as executive producers.
The 10-episode series premieres October 15 at 10pm on SYFY and on CTV Sci-Fi in Canada.
Founded in 1987 by two-time Emmy® Award winner Todd Masters, MASTERSFX (MFX) is a multi-award winning character and makeup FX company. MASTERSFX's creative teams produce a distinctive blend of practical and digital makeup FX, prosthetics and animatronics, through a process called “dMFX,” for hundreds of hit feature films, TV shows, and commercials, for nearly 35 years.
The company also supplies dummies and detailed FX props for studios to rent, and custom and stock temporary tattoos, as well as their unique, fast-apply prosthetic system, ProGASH.
Included among the TV projects to which MASTERSFX has contributed its work are “Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Magicians,” “The Good Doctor,” “The Umbrella Academy,” “The Expanse,” “Coroner,” “The Boys,” ““The Flash,” “This is Us,” “What We Do in the Shadows,” “True Blood,” “Six Feet Under,” “Tales from the Crypt,” “Fringe,” and many others. Among the company's film credits are “Child’s Play,” “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “The Perfection,” Disney’s “Timmy Failure,” the 2019 version of “Rabid,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “The Haunting in Connecticut,” “Star Trek: First Contact,” “The Horse Whisperer,” “Slither,” “Snakes on a Plane,” “Look Who's Talking,” and more.
Makeup and special FX artist Todd Masters is the winner of the 2021 Daytime Emmy® Award for “Outstanding Special Effects Costumes, Makeup” for his work on the Universal Studios/1440 produced TV movie "Aliens Stole My Body," the second entry in the young-adult, fantasy/sci-fi book series “Aliens Ate My Homework” by Bruce Coville. Masters is also the winner of a 2016 Daytime Emmy® and Leo Awards for “Outstanding Makeup” for the Netflix series, “Monsterville.” He is the winner of an Emmy Award in 2003 for the 2001/2002 Season of “Six Feet Under” in the category "Best Special Effects Makeup." And, in 2006, Masters won a "Saturn Award" for "Best Makeup FX" for his work on the film “Slither.”