Bloody Brilliance: Owensboro makeup artist brings life to 'Halloween Kills'

·5 min read

Oct. 14—Owensboro makeup artist Lisa Duvall had plans from an early age to do something larger than life.

"I've been doing makeup since I was a little girl," Duvall said. "I remember watching ('Halloween') when I was five years old, and I just loved it. I love scary movies, always have. As I got older and started doing makeup, I was like, 'I would love to work on that film.' "

Now, Duvall is part of the iconic franchise's family after wrapping up her stint as a special effects (SPFX) makeup assistant on the upcoming feature film "Halloween Kills," the twelfth installment of the "Halloween" movie series.

After winning a costume contest at Daviess County Public Library with her son in 2009, Duvall knew that she couldn't give up on her dream.

"That's what was important to me ... and that was my goal," Duvall said.

Since then, Duvall has been the "go-to" person for Halloween events and weddings, while also working on commercials for the Owensboro Zombie Run. However, Duvall was still keen on finding her way to work on movies, even though it didn't seem like a reality.

"I would watch 'Jaws' and be like, 'I wondered how they did that' ... but I never really knew how," Duvall said. "Every single day, I would create a new makeup. I would try to make some type of prosthetic. Then I would get into Halloween masks ..."

Being mostly self-taught, Duvall eventually took some courses at FX University (FXU) and Academy of Make Up Arts (AMUA) in Nashville to get more formal training and learn about the safety of the trade, such as applying body casting.

While Duvall was climbing up the ladder in her special effects and makeup career, it was a chance conversation with Dave Snyder, a makeup artist originally from Henderson who has worked on HBO's "Big Little Lies," Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood" and AMC's "The Walking Dead," that helped get Duvall's name in movie credits.

"(Dave) and I have a mutual friend out (in Henderson)," Duvall said. "Dave had called our mutual friend, asking if they knew anyone locally, because their crew was coming from California. So, he dropped my name, and I had a phone call that same day (from Dave). I was on the road in about two days (for 'The Devil Below')."

Since then, Snyder has been helping Duvall any chance he can, and Duvall has made sure to deliver.

"One of the things he told me (that) really sticks out is he was like, 'I need you to make me proud. This is a big deal,' and he always said that before any film he ever sent me out on," Duvall said. "And that's what I did. I went, (and) I worked hard. As I was there, I would have opportunities to meet new people, and it opened one door after another.

"(I've been) networking and just really putting myself out there. I just wanted to do more."

Duvall's hard work has paid off. Since 2015, she has been involved in a number of movies, including the sci-fi flick "Mail Order Monster," the Nicolas Cage led "Mom and Dad" and the Civil War-themed "Solider's Joy." Duvall also completed her first time as the makeup department head on the upcoming feature "Killer Hornets," which is in post-production.

But, Duvall admits that working on "Halloween Kills" tops everything she's done so far.

"It was surreal," Duvall said. "I wasn't really worth much that first day. I was just in awe of everything."

With a large fandom surrounding the slasher franchise, coupled with an A-list celebrity cast, Duvall felt some pressure going into it, but kept her focus on the task at hand even when faced with some doubts.

"I just did it," Duvall said. "I just went in acting like I knew what I was doing, and it didn't matter if I had no knowledge of it.

"Sometimes it's hard to have that confidence that you really, really need. It would be difficult at times, but I know it's there."

Duvall's positive experiences with the cast and crew assured her that she made the right decision to work on the film.

"Everybody made me feel comfortable," Duvall said. "I would have to say 100% — there (was) no particular person on set that was unpleasant. They were all very nice."

She also got to have some one-on-one time with leading lady and "scream queen" Jamie Lee Curtis.

"There were good times where (Jamie and I) would ride together," Duvall said. "We would be on set real close together and working together and ... feeding off each other."

Duvall will be celebrating the film's release in style at Malco Owensboro Cinema Grill and MXT at 6 p.m. tomorrow night, showcasing behind the scene photos, props that she created for the big screen, along with the movie's official script, broken jaw, full face and trauma prosthetic pieces.

Duvall will also be joined by the downtown Halloween business Ghostly Productions, which will be bringing along a life-sized Michael Myers display and selling halloween masks and T-shirts.

While the film will be showing in three theaters Friday, Duvall and company are inviting guests to watch the movie with them at 7 p.m. inside the ATMOS theater.

Duvall said that fans shouldn't be disappointed.

"There's going to be a lot of questions answered," Duvall said. "If they're looking for gore, this is the one. It starts from beginning to end. (Michael's) pretty angry."

Duvall plans to stick around all night in case some attendees want to see the movie before stopping by her set-up.

"If they want to wait and avoid any kind of spoilers, they can come and check it out after (the movie)," Duvall said. "Some may prefer to do (that)."

Tickets for showings of "Halloween Kills" are on sale now at malco.com.

Freddie Bourne, fbourne@mcleannews.com

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