Cracking clay-like makeup for a statue

Hello everyone. I've been asked to create an sfx for a short film and I am having a bit of trouble figuring what approach should I use. 
The thing is, the "statue" is in fact a person covered with a thin layer of clay to make it look like a statue (same as in "a bucket of blood" by Roger Corman). Near the end of the story the statue comes "partially" to life (it's an undead person) so movement is kind of robotic, but movement anyway (she turns her head etc).
The problem I have is I can't figure out what material should I use to make this work, as I need to make a full head prosthetic to look like solid clay that slowly breaks apart (but does NOT fall apart) while the actress moves (clay must stay except for a little piece that falls to let us see the rotten skin beneath).
I don't like the idea of using actual clay (as used for beauty masks etc) because it will become cracked as soon as it dries and also I think it would look "cheesy". I would prefer something about 1 or 2 mm thick but nothing seems to suit my needs. I thought about wax, but I'm not sure if it would be reliable on set. 
I will start testing different materials this weekend but any help would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance!


  • Options
    Hi Alberto,

    This sounds like a real challenge.  One option would be to have sculpted prosthetics that look like cracked clay (either using texture stamps from actual cracked clay surfaces or hand sculpted), and then add small areas to the makeup where you apply and conceal actual clay that can crack/flake when needed for specific shots.   Another option would be to use digital effects to simulate cracks propagating and pieces flaking off.

    If you storyboard each shot in the sequence where you need to show a specific part of the character cracking you could address those as individual makeup applications and have between-stage makeups to fill in wider shots.

    For the flaking material I would try some tests using different mediums like dried clay, plaster, etc. to see how they might perform for the specific shots you need.

    Best of luck!

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