[R.I.P.] ‘Zombie’ and ‘High Tension’ Makeup Effects Artist Giannetto De Rossi Has Passed Away

A true legend in the world of makeup effects, we’ve learned the sad news this week that Italian artist Giannetto De Rossi has passed away. The makeup master was 79 years old.

Born August 8, 1942, Giannetto De Rossi began his career as a special makeup effects artist with the 1963 movie The Hours of Love, subsequently working on 1960s films including The Little Nuns, Corpse for the Lady, The Possessed, Wake Up and Die, The Taming of the Shrew, Doctor Faustus, Day of Anger, and Sergio Leone’s classic Once Upon a Time in the West.

But it was during the 1970s and 1980s that De Rossi firmly established himself as an icon in the eyes of horror fans with contributions to Emmanuelle in America, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, and Lucio Fulci’s Zombie, the latter film’s gruesome brutality making De Rossi a legend in the horror space. De Rossi was responsible for the creation of the zombies and various scenes of carnage throughout the movie, using everything from mortician’s wax, egg whites and even a real-life shark to bring to the screen some of the genre’s most memorably brutal moments.

De Rossi subsequently reunited with Fulci for The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery.

Giannetto De Rossi spent the remainder of the ’80s and ’90s working on big productions including Conan the Destroyer, Dune, King Kong Lives, Rambo III, Kull the Conqueror and The Man in the Iron Mask, and he returned to the horror genre in 2003 with Alexandra Aja’s High Tension, bringing his brand of graphic violence to a new generation of fans.

Giannetto De Rossi also wrote and directed three films throughout his career: 1989’s Cy Warrior, 1990’s creature feature horror movie Killer Crocodile 2, and 1995’s Tummy.

A legend whose incredible work will live on forever. Rest in Peace, Giannetto.

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