We have some spooky, startling objects in our collection, including hairwork jewelry and the bat hat, but nothing beats the Mordor Orc and the Lord of the Dead prosthetic heads. Can you imagine meeting this creature in the dark corners of our storage facility? And how would you feel if either of these fellows appeared on your doorstep this Halloween?
Based in New Zealand, award-winning Weta Workshops has designed and created weapons, props, chain maille, miniatures, creatures, prosthetics, and costumes for television and films including Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, District Nine, King Kong, Xena: Warrior Princess and many others. Founded in 1987, Weta Workshops achieved world-wide fame when The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001. Weta created eerie, uncanny, and downright frightening creatures for all three Lord of the Rings films, including thousands of Orcs. In the films, Orcs are aggressive, dangerous fighting machines, a continual hazard to the Hobbits and Elves. And as you can see from this mask, they're also ugly.
Made from soft foam coated with an outer, more rigid layer, this Orc has an oozing eye, boils, cauliflower ears, and misshapen, yellowed teeth. The teeth were hand-painted and the tangled, matted wig is made from human hair. To create the mottled skin-tone, the prosthetic was air-brushed with multiple pink and brown pigments. This Orc didn't appear in the Lord of the Rings films, but was generously donated by Weta Workshops for the 2004 exhibition of Hollywood costumes.
Keeping the Orc company is another prosthetic head: the King of the Dead. Appearing in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, the King of the Dead lives in the Paths of the Dead, an underground passage that must be traversed by the film's heroes. Leader of the Army of the Dead, the King and his subjects exist in ghostly limbo because of an unfulfilled oath. In the Return of the King, the Dead redeem themselves and are released from the curse, evaporating into peaceful rest.
Like the Orc head, this skeletal prosthetic was donated to the FIDM Museum by Weta Workshops. It's made from soft foam coated with a shiny layer to give the impression of exposed bone. Luminous, ghostly eyes, melting face, and aged teeth give this mask a creepy countenance. Would you want to meet this King in the dark?