“The Walking Dead” has never slouched in the zombie department, but in this week’s episode, “Cherokee Rose,” we were introduced to the most disgusting zombie yet: the bloated well walker.
Finding a flesh hungry monster at the bottom of a well would be terrifying enough as it is, but the results were all the more grotesque thanks to the stunning visual effects work of Greg Nicotero and his KNB EFX house. In a new video posted at AMC TV, viewers are invited behind the scenes to watch the making of the most thoroughly vile walker (or floater, more accurately) in “Walking Dead” history.
The man behind the well walker is Brian Hillard, a seemingly mild-mannered man who works for Nicotero and KNB. According to the video, the creature was created using a silicon head and body suit filled with water balloons under the belly to reflect all of the water he absorbed during his time in the well. Two sets of tubes were inserted in the head piece to gush fluid from the monster’s ears and make its eyeballs bulge and convulse. In an effort to further the gross factor — as if he wasn’t gross enough already — Hillard gulped up “a mouthful of gak” that he spat all over the place as he was dragged up from the well.
Once the walker’s backside was caught on the lip of the well, Nicotero and his team filled an artificial body with blood bags and a trip release so that the torso could be separated from the lower body on cue. The final stage involved T-Dog repeatedly smashing an axe into the walker’s face, a bloody effect that comes courtesy of an artificial face stuffed like a turkey with blood-soaked water balloons.
“My guys did a great job,” Nicotero summarizes in the video. “I think it’s going to be a really cool, creepy sequence. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, it goes one step further. The performances are fantastic. It’s another great zombie moment, I hope.”
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