Ah, Rick Baker, where to begin? The man is an Oscar-winning special make-up effects legend. He was Dick Smith's assistant on The Exorcist, and learned from the very best. In 1981, to reflect the advances in movie-making technology, a new Oscar for Best Make-Up was introduced. The very first person to win it was some long-haired kid called Rick Baker. The movie? An American Werewolf in London, which has the most realistic, painful werewolf - or any type of monster, for that matter - transformation scene in movie history. Even today, it's still the best, and I never get tired of watching it. The pain David Naughton goes through, the noises, the screams; you can almost feel the bones in his body breaking and crunching into new formations.

Rick is a lot more well known than, for example, Rob Bottin and Greg Cannom - even though they both do amazing work, they seem to go for the edgier, more risky projects (check them out on the good old IMDB for lists way too long to list here). Rick's still the man, though.

Some things you may or may not know: Rick has been nominated for a Best Make-up Oscar 9 times, and won 6* (thanks to ThePope for correcting my shoddy research there :D - once I'd fixed this, I found that he was also nominated for Mighty Joe Young in 1998, but shared it under "Visual Effects")... Although Rick won the first Oscar for Best Make-Up, John Chambers won an honorary one in 1969 for Planet of the Apes (1968). Ironically**, Rick is now doing the make-up for the Apes remake... Remember the bit in Thriller, when that zombie staggers along the street, and his arm falls off? That was Rick. He did the make-up too...

Here are some of the films Rick did the make-up effects for:

An American Werewolf in London
Videodrome (fucking Videodrome!)
The Howling
Coming to America
Gorillas in the Mist
Ed Wood
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (The Grinch in the UK and Australia)
Harry and the Hendersons
Men In Black
The Frighteners
The Nutty Professor
Hellboy (admittedly, with Ron Perlman as your starting point, turning a human into Hellboy is easier, but still - damn!)

Brought to you by the "Dude! I can't believe nobody noded this yet!" crack squad of Old London Town

* Updated for 2001, with his win for How the Grinch Stole Christmas - well done that man.

** To my ironic softlinker: it's ironic because Rick was the first recipient of a "proper" Oscar for make-up, while John Chambers "only" got an honorary one. Ironically, now, Rick has done the make-up for the remake of Planet of the Apes - and will probably get another "proper" Oscar for it, in a strange kind of circular twist. But you know, you could have msg'd me instead of typing in something somebody else said.

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