George A Romero is often called the “Father of the Zombie Film”, and Day of the Dead is the perfect example of his signature style. Plenty of blood suspense and of course, plenty of zombies! This decapitated head movie prop and severed arm originally created by the legendary Tom Savini’s team were used in the scene where actor Taso N. Stavrakis meets his grizzly fate.
The foam latex and polyfoam arm and head were in fairly good condition given their age, so our focus was more on conservation. We focused on maintaining the look of the prop as it is now and helping it better stand up to the hands of time. The neck area of the head had some areas were material was missing and hanging freely, so we rebuilt some of the missing areas which help to stabilized the hanging pieces. We then painted the new areas of material to match the surrounding original foam latex. Both piece were then given a layer of clear sealer to help protect them.
For the display base our client wanted to create something that would feel cohesive with their preexisting displays. We designed a pair of wooden stands to mimic the look of stacked crates. Each box was then hand painted and distressed for an authentic grimy feel. As a nod to the original film we added a stenciled label for the Wampum Mines. It wouldn’t be a proper tribute to Romero’s films with out plenty of fake blood, and our resident blood spatter expert, Patrick, was happy to oblige. To finish up we added a custom made stand to support the head and added padding underneath the arm to protect them from direct contact with the painted base or faux blood paint. The themed base also serves an additional purpose as it hides the original cables which controlled the head in the shooting of the film!
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