Eric Fox of Fox Effects Lab, is an independent special effects makeup artist based out of Riverside, California. Makeup is only a small part of what he does there. Eric also creates puppets, creatures, props, animatronics, and many other things. He has been in the industry for over 25 years.
His interest first sparked when he was younger. He grew up watching horror movies and always had an interest in them. In high school, he got into drama and appreciated the creative aspect behind it. He worked at a costume shop then and would spend all his time and money there. That was where he first got exposed to special effects makeup.
The 80’s era of horror was a huge inspiration for him. “I always had a fascination for makeup and what solidified it was watching the behind-the-scenes of Thriller, that was the first time I saw people being zombies and that it was actually someone’s job to do that,” says Fox.
He began to teach himself all about makeup. The 90’s were when he really got into it, however, before then he says “I was practicing on my friends and they would let me put plaster on their heads and do it completely wrong.” One day students from a nearby university came into the costume store where he worked. They were going to do special effects makeup for their film but had no idea how. They offered to pay him to help with their film. This eventually led to more student films which allowed him to build up his portfolio.
Fox ended up working in Los Angeles with Screaming Mad George but eventually went his own way and opened up his studio.
His favorite part about his work is taking other people’s concepts and creating them from nothing. “Someone will come in with an idea and tell us they want it within this timeframe and budget and we say, no problem! And from there we just figure it out and make it come to life.” This is also the most challenging part for him and his team. Many things he creates get sculpted in clay then are molded, cast, and detailed. They work with all different kinds of materials from plastic to fiberglass.
Fox has 2-3 other people that work consistently with him as well as his wife, who helps him run the studio. “I look at everything as a team effort and make sure that the crew gets credit. There’s a lot of hours and heart and passion that goes into what we do to make it look good within the time frame and we get to have fun while doing it through all the ridiculousness.”
He picks projects based on how interesting and creative they get to be. He claims there are a lot of projects that he has passed over the years because it was much of the same thing.
“I prefer independent projects over studio stuff because studio projects have a lot of regurgitation and the same things worked on. The independent stuff is where you get the creative new ideas.”
As well as working for films and music videos, Fox Effects Lab also works with the Riverside police department and the community. They have a wide variety of clientele which allows for interesting and diverse projects. He also competed on the show “Face-off” in a special effects makeup competition as well as hosted other competitions outside of the show.
He has worked in every genre- horror, fantasy, sci-fi, ‘cute stuff’, monsters, prosthetics, medical, etc. “I do a lot of prototyping, but my favorite things to do are puppets and creatures.” They do a lot of custom work and hope to get into theatre and stage prop creation.
Currently, he is working on a few movies and projects. In the future, he plans on directing a few extreme horror films, the first one coming up within a year.
Eric Fox and his team can make anything. They enjoy the diversity and love taking on challenging concepts, and working within budgets and time frames. “There’s high end and low end ways of taking to accomplish the same goals. We are always down for anything and don’t confine ourselves within boundaries.”