Horror Costumes of the Month – Exorcist Priests (Father Merrin & Father Karras)

Our August Costumes of the Month are Father Merrin and Father Karras from The Exorcist – brought to us by Mike McGowan and Scott Yuken. Check out their super sick (and we mean sick) costumes below!

GT: You guys were our disgustingly awesome highlight of Spooky Empire’s Mayhem. Tell us – why’d you go the route of Father Karras and Father Merrin?

Merrin (Mike McGowan): Thanks! I wanted to go Mayhem since I heard about it at last year’s Spooky Empire, and was trying to think of a great costume that I hadn’t seen before, paying homage to a horror classic. Scott said he wanted to go and we had a couple good ideas that would of worked great (keeping those under the hat for next time), but I really wanted on obscure reference that horror aficionados would appreciate. One of my favorite horror films is “the Exorcist” and I kept thinking I really wish we knew a girl who would go full-makeup as Regan, and then we could do an exorcist trio! And then my next thought was “ah-hah, but what if Karras and Merrin left Regan tied to the bed in the middle of the movie and visited Mayhem?” And I called Scott…

Karras (Scott Yuken): Well I was still brainstorming what I wanted to dress up as, to no avail and suddenly Mike came up with this idea. It was really simple, really gross, Karras and Merrin are characters that people know and are in grained within the horror pop culture scene, and most of all the idea was AWESOME.

GT: Okay we HAVE to know the super awesome secrets behind how you two pulled off the costumes so well. And we’re not talking about eating healthy and making sure we get our “exorcise.”

Karras (Scott): That triple expanding foam is amazing and perfect for the consistency of fresh chunky vomit. But the man behind the magic is Mike, he did all the vomit work. I just bought a really awesome coat…

Merrin (Mike): Once we studied the stills from the movie we started searching for costumes. The important thing to remember is when a costume is seen it’s viewed as a whole, so you can break it down in parts and fill in the pieces. Merrin wears a clergy robe which I had a choice between black graduation gown, priest costume, or magician’s robe… I opted for the priest costume due to the texture and it had a white collar. For Karras’s black coat we searched a couple of thrift stores until we found a black peacoat, white turtleneck, and black shirt. The rosary and cross we bought at Party City, and the bibles we bought from the Christian Store (and had no idea how many choices of testament there were!) I’ve used triple-expanding foam from Home Depot for lots of gory stuff so I knew it would work great; it can be used for tons of effects like burnt & charred bodies, bulbous skin, all sorts of effects. I highly recommend experimenting with it, just make sure it’s absolutely dry before you touch it or you’ll have residue on your hands for weeks and it doesn’t wash off. We applied a base coat of forest green with spray paint, and then added two lighter shades of greens with a paint brush to add to the perception of depth. I’ll add some before and after pictures. The vomit on our skin was three shades of green makeup, with white for highlight. Then I applied white clown makeup to my hair with a toothbrush, added glasses, and voila! For the icing on the cake we bought “Testa-mints” from the candy store to give to people after we blessed them.

Karras (Scott): At Mayhem I mostly tried to keep cool during Mayhem with rum in my flask. I was pretty trashed at the show but it really went with the character since Father Karras is a “whiskey priest.” But one of the best moments in the show was when we were walking around Mayhem and Gregory Nicotero looks at us, complete with this huge smile on his face and says “You guys look great.” That was pretty cool.

Merrin (Mike): The “best” moment for me was when we were watching this coffin simulator called “The Last Ride.” This precocious little 8 year old kid walked up to us and chastised us: “I saw The Exorcist and thought it was cheesy and poorly directed, I don’t know what the big deal was. The special effects sucked. I’ve seen it a dozen times, it’s boring. The priests didn’t wear black tennis shoes, you’re not representing the characters well.” I assured him Father Merrin and Karras both owned black tennis shoes in the Blatty novel, to which he shook his head and replied “uh-uh, no, incorrect…” I cried a little on the inside.

GT: So tell our readers a little about you two. When you’re not covered in vomit – what do you like to do? Favorite horror films?

Merrin (Mike): During the day I play Maximilian in the costume band “The Killer Robots”… we just released a trailer for our second feature film, check it out on facebook. My favorite horror films are The Exorcist, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and Poltergeist. Poltergeist traumatized me when I saw it as a kid – ironic that it’s PG-13!

Karras (Scott): Well I’m a full time college student and have about three seasonal jobs but when I’m not busy with school, work, or pretending to be an priest, I make short films. I shoot alot with my buddy Destin Dern who is a very prolific director/writer/editor/actor, you name it he does it. We try to make off the wall comedic shorts and I think we do a pretty decent job at it. If your interested check out our stuff at http://www.youtube.com/user/Destin777

If I was to recommend one short that we made to watch I would say “Directing Prefection” would be that movie. As far as favorite horror movie I’m have to say I’m a huge fan of the film “The Descent”. It’s a claustrophobic nightmare, a bunch of girls running around in a tight, slimy, bloody cave being chased by white cave monsters. That’s some scary stuff right there.

GT: Okay what-if time! Since remakes are all the rage – If you both could remake the original Exorcist – who would you cast as the main parts and why? And let’s hope it doesn’t turn out anything like The Exorcist II: The Heretic.

Karras (Scott): Now this is in a world where it had to be remade because I think The Exorcist is fine the way it is. I wouldn’t mind seeing Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” playing Father Merrin. I know this sounds like a really odd choice but the man is trained in classic opera he might actually surprise the audience with a stellar performance or he might just try and sell Ford trucks. I don’t know many young actresses but Elle Fanning did an amazing job in Super 8 and I could only imagine her as Regan would be amazing. As far as Karras, I think Eric Bana could totally play the ex-boxer/confused in his own religion priest, Eric is an amazing actor that sometimes gets some really shitty roles and I think he would be able to personifiy Karras to a T.

Merrin (Mike): Since a remake wouldn’t do any justice I’d say Arnold Schwarzenegger as Father Merrin and Sylvester Stallone as Father Karras, I’d pay good money to see that! If they were making a legitimate remake of The Exorcist, my vote would be Max Von Sydow (no old age make-up required) to reprise his role as Father Merrin or Michael Gambon. I think Christian Bale could pull off Father Karras well. My vote for Regan would also be Elle Fanning. As for director, my vote would be David Fincher, it’s due time for him to make a horror movie.

If you know a horror costume that’s beyond horrific and deserves some scare-time, send a submission including character name, costumer’s preferred moniker, a photo, and contact information to the MurderHers.

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Friday, August 13th, 2010 – serendipitously inspired by the day – five friends decided there just wasn’t enough fem-driven horror sites on the internet. So to amend that we formed GoresTruly.com, a web site dedicated to everything well - horror. Movies, conventions, costumes, literature, comics and more.