Emmy Award-Winning Special Effects Artist Reveals Her Favorite Horror Flick

Karlee Morse, Emmy award-winning special effects artist recently dished with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about what she views as horror film perfection.

American actor David Naughton on the set of An American Werewolf in London
American actor David Naughton on the set of An American Werewolf in London| Universal Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Morse, who worked on series like What We Do in the Shadows and Baroness Von Sketch Show shared that she truly appreciates the work done on An American Werewolf in London. “I’m not easily scared,” she admitted. But, “My favorite horror of all time is An American Werewolf in London.”

As a special effects artist, Morse understands the labor of love that comes from building a character using makeup and prosthesis. She said in some cases application can take anywhere from eight hours to several days depending upon the challenge.

‘An American Werewolf in London’ was the first film to win an Oscar for makeup

Special effects and makeup artist, Rick Baker was the first person to receive an Academy Award for makeup on the film.

“It’s so good, just because of the effects,” Morse said. The special effects, even by modern metrics are still a gold standard in film. An American Werewolf in London was released in 1981

David Naughton on the set of An American Werewolf in London
David Naughton on the set of An American Werewolf in London | Universal Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

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Baker discussed the transformation from man to beast during an era when high-tech tools weren’t readily available. “People always talk about the transformation, but I think the film was so ahead of its time in so many ways: the blend of horror and comedy and the way music was used,” Baker told IFC. “So much was innovative about that film. That’s probably why people still like it so much. But it was definitely a showcase for the kind of stuff I do and I was so thankful to have that opportunity.”

Morse spills the secrets behind the perfect fake blood

While Morse couldn’t go into detail about how to transform into a werewolf for Halloween, she did share how to make fake blood even more realistic. Her “blood recipe” includes corn syrup, cocoa powder, food coloring (red + yellow + blue), coffee whitener, and boiled/hot water. “To make it look really good, don’t just use red food coloring,” she advised. “You mix a little bit of blue and yellow as well.”

“So it’s mostly red,” she emphasized. “But then you add maybe like a tiny drop, a tiny drop of yellow. Then it’s not that like really bright red.” Also, the cocoa powder and corn syrup give it more of a viscous consistency.

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Morse also recently partnered with General Mills to create one-of-a-kind Monster Cereal busts based on beloved Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry cereals. Consumers can win one of these busts when they visit the General Mills’ Instagram account.  First, “like” the official sweepstakes post featuring the three monsters. Then name your favorite Monster Cereal in a comment. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MonsterCerealSweepstakes.