For first generation Monster Kids in 1965, Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-up Handbook was the holy grail. There had never been anything like it before. Here, incredibly, was a step-by-step guide on how to turn yourself into a monster, written in simple language, easily understood, and published in an inexpensive magazine format by Famous Monsters!
I sent away for the book and would spend the next year or two experimenting with monster makeup. I hunted down the suggested ingredients, esoteric stuff like spirit gum, collodion and thick, smelly liquid latex. (…)
Amazingly, when Dick Smith wrote his Handbook in 1965, his best work was still ahead. Smith would go on to create the latex appliance methods still in use today. He introduced the use of bladders for breathing effects, spurting blood, and the crawling skin transformations seen in Altered States (1980). He created the ultimate “old man” makeup, still a reference, for Dustin Hoffman’s Big Little Man, a design also used on vampire Barnabas Collins in House of Dark Shadows, both made in 1966. Smith designed the gruesomely realistic effects of violence in Coppola’s Godfather pictures, Scorcese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and, in what is perhaps his masterpiece, he created the astounding makeup effects on display in The Exorcist (1973).
Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Makeup Handbook, in both its original Warren magazine format and an updated book edition from 1985, is an expensive collector’s item today. Still available is a 40-minute demonstration video, Monster Makeup Hosted by Dick Smith, directed by John Russo.