This is Doug Jones:
You might not recognize his face, but you probably know him from such roles as…
He also plays Baron Afanas on What We Do in the Shadows. I’ve raved before about how good his makeup is when we first see him, but it gets even better.
When we’re first introduced to Baron Afanas, he’s a looming figure– a terrifying, ancient vampire coming to check on the progress of Nandor and crew in conquering the New World for vampire-kind. When his coffin opens and we get a glimpse of the Baron, you’d swear you’re looking at a prop, not a person. When he moves, its a thing of beauty; the makeup and prosthetics move with him naturally. Although WWDitS is a comedic show, there’s nothing cheesy or jokey about how the Baron looks. It’s amazing to watch.
Later the Baron is burned by sunlight and apparently dies. The vampires bury him in the garden and move on. Weeks later they hear a voice coming from his grave, and dig up the very-much-alive Baron, although there’s not much of him left, and what is left is pretty crispy. The makeup is different, but just as good. He looks exactly what you’d expect a charred partial vampire to look like. I think the reason he always looks so good is because the focus is on practical effects and makeup instead of CGI. I wish more effects departments would do the same.
Finally the Baron is healed in time for Nandor’s wedding. Not only healed, but also rejuvenated– he’s back to looking like himself in peak condition (much to Nadja and Lazslo’s delight). The makeup is a lot lighter, but just as skilfully applied. The Baron looks creepy but also compelling. If you saw him on the street, you’d instantly know he was a vampire. I can’t wait to see what they do with him next.
Of course the Baron wouldn’t be half as interesting without Jones’s performance. He’s a talented and nuanced actor, and you know you’re going to get something good when you see his name in the credits.
Speaking of credits, here are the members of the makeup department, a group that too often go unnoticed (I copied it from IMDb; clicking on individual names will take you to their IMDb profiles):
|Daniel Curet||…||hair department head|
|Randy Daudlin||…||special makeup effects artist|
|Suzanne Diaz||…||makeup department head (as Suzy Diaz)|
|Emma-Lee Hilton||…||Prosthetic lab technician / prosthetic lab technician/artist|
|Chris Lyons||…||special effects teeth|
|Carol Mitchell||…||hair stylist|
|Lukas Press||…||assistant hair stylist|
|Luke Stalker-Switzer||…||make-up effects|
|Karlee Morse||…||prosthetic lab technician (uncredited)|
|Ken Niederbaumer||…||key makeup artist (uncredited)|
|Brad Proctor||…||special makeup effects technician (uncredited)|
This will probably be my last What We Do in the Shadows post, unless someone has a suggestion for a topic they’d like to see? Otherwise, let me know what you think of Baron Afanas, or any other vampire. Who do you think looks most authentic? Share in the comments…
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Aspasía S. Bissas