Tales from the Darkside Lizzie Puppet Restoration

One of the most extensive restorations we’ve undertaken – rebuilding Tom Savini’s classic Lizzie puppet from Tales from the Dark Side!

Tom Savini’s special makeup effects books in the 80’s made him the “first makeup teacher” of so many young artists at the time (our company founder, Tom, was no exception!). We’ve been fortunate enough to work preserving some of Savini’s famous creations, including the amazing “Fluffy” the crate beast from Creepshow! When a private collector approached us about restoring an original prop Lizzie puppet from the Tales from the Darkside episode which Tom Savini directed, “Inside the Closet,” we were honored by the opportunity!

Lizzie, may have been in the most challenging condition of any movie or television prop that’s come our way, but we had that great fortune of having Greg Nicotero, who worked on the production, and Tom Savini himself on our side!  Lizzie’s underskull and mechanics were all intact, the skin for her face and chest were long gone, along with some of the skin from the fingers and toes. Luckily for us (and Lizzie!), Savini had saved his original stone molds for this foam creature all this time. Nicotero’s KNB Effects company used the molds to run us copies of Lizzie’s original face and arm skins in latex for use in the restoration of those areas.

Maria Teran was our lead restoration artist on this painstaking rebuild effort, along with Patrick Louie and several other artists at our studio who all helped bring Lizzie back to life. The work was a mix of traditional restoration of tears and cracks within the existing foam material and seamlessly blending on the new strips of latex skin for the face and chest.  For the areas like the fingers, we maintained all of the original material, only adding back on the small bits that were necessary to fill in gaps in the original puppet’s skin.  While the face was sculpted and cast in a fairly neutral pose, our client wanted to capture the broad grimacing smile as seen in the television episode. We carefully reshaped the mouth and cheeks to reflect that look and began the process of painting.

Throughout the entire process, we had lengthy conversations about the direction of the restoration with our client, and sought advice from Nicotero and Savini. When the time came to complete the work, the consensus was a rare one. Generally, we don’t repaint an entire piece as part of our work, but in this very rare case, the original creators of the prop and our client all requested just that. The original paintwork had discolored so badly over time, that a full repaint was considered necessary. Maria hand painted and Tom (Spina, not Savini!) followed with airbrush work to match the classic paintwork from 1984.

We’re all honored to have been a part of bringing Lizzie back from the beyond. We’re proud of the work we did, and thrilled with our client’s reaction, which you can read below!

Contact Us Today!

Have an original movie or television prop in need of restoration or a unique display? Email or call today and let’s discuss your project!

Share this page!

Ever wanted to learn about horror effects work?

Tom Savini's books are a great place to start!

Check out a video slideshow of this project!
A few words from our client…

Your company’s work on this project has far exceeded my wildest expectations. And this comes from a guy who’s already lavished superlatives on previous jobs you’ve done for me. I honestly don’t know how to describe how happy I am with Lizzie and a thesaurus isn’t going to help. Suffice to say that Tom Spina Designs has me smiling from ear to ear. I absolutely couldn’t be happier. Thank you so much to everyone! And a special thank you to you and Maria for all of the blood and sweat you put into this project. It was the furthest thing from easy and you guys simply killed it. I am a customer for life.  I’ve shown Tom Savini and he said, “Lizzie, like all my creations, is one of my children..and with the help of some dear friends…I’m thrilled to see her come back to life again.”

Kurt, Horror Prop Collector