Skulls, skeletons and severed body parts – they are staples of horror movies. A Los Angeles company has found success making and marketing ghastly props for Hollywood studios and lovers of ghost stories.
Workers pour liquid foam rubber into molds to create the grisly products, including hands, heads and bloodied legs, says B. J. Winslow of the Hollywood business called Dapper Cadaver.
“You can come right in and grab body parts right off the shelf. Or we can do custom projects, custom fabrication for you,” said Winslow.
Major movies, including the sequel to the adventure film “X-Men,” used these props. So did the original and the sequel of the fantasy film “300.”
Dapper Cadaver also works with TV shows about crime, medicine and forensic science. It rents skulls and skeletons and scientific specimens in jars. But it specializes in rubber body parts.
“We work with pretty much anybody who needs a dead body. It doesn’t really matter. We do a lot of stuff for film and television shows, stunt bodies, victims, stuff like that. We also work with Halloween parties and events, haunted houses,” said Winslow.
It takes about three days to produce a full body, after the cast is made.
“A lot of times, we’ll be working with a crime show where they’ll send us very specific causes of death and we’ve got to do our gruesome research. And some stuff is more just for fun,” he said.
A rough – cut arm or leg, hacked off by a chain saw. That could cost $40 or $50. A more realistic head with a grimacing mouth will cost $100. One popular version is cast from the face of a real-life customer. Rubber hatchets and hammers provide a grisly arsenal for Hollywood’s on-screen perpetrators, and police crime tape to cordon off the scene of an imaginary murder.
Headstones and caskets are also for rent or sale, and orders are sent around the United States, Europe and Asia.
It’s all Hollywood illusion, and Winslow says it fills a narrow but bloody important niche in the entertainment business.