Photographers' Blog

Everyone has a dark side

October 30, 2013

Bottrop, Germany

By Ina Fassbender

I really don’t like splatter films, not even the films of ‘Saw’. But for this job I had to look at a sequence from Saw 1 on YouTube and after six minutes of this, I was curious about my performer Yvonne Nagel who wanted to perform as the Amanda Young character, who wakes up in a room with a “reverse bear trap” around her mouth and the key to her escape is in the stomach of her dead cellmate. Nice. Movie Park Germany engages every year some hundreds of people who run through the park to frighten visitors during the Halloween season.

So I met Yvonne, or ‘Amanda’, in person at the Movie Park.  It is her fourth season as a Halloween performer there. She was excited about my idea to picture her out of character, so we decided that I could visit her, at her office where she works as project manager, at Lenovo-Medion AG in Essen. When I arrived at the entrance of her company, I looked around and couldn’t see her. Then from a distance a business woman with somber black suit and high heels called my name. It was Yvonne. What a change. She looked like you and me. Dressed casually. Flowing long hair and very likeable.

We went to an exhibit room to take pictures. Wonderful, the contrast between her job and her performance for Halloween couldn’t be larger. Next, I visited her at home. Because they changed their house, it looked a little bit provincial.

She showed me her 4.5 kilogram home made metal bear-trap which she has to wear more than four hours on her head in the evening. A friend built it in more than three days. Having a coffee, she told me that she has so much fun, changing her outfits, meeting the other performers, and even more fun to scare the people.

Five hours before her appearance, we arrived at the dressing room of the Movie Park Germany. We had dinner.  Some of the performers knew me from the year before and screamed my name and asked for new pictures. I told them what a pity but only Yvonne was my main subject this year. A portrait of a business lady changing  to a splatter performer .

“We always meet twice. First wearing a fancy-dress costume and monster name and than in our normal look. Some people I know only as monsters and others as their normal look. And years later I combine, who is who” Yvonne explained me.

I know what she means, at the dressing room I watched the transformation of the performers. Like a film set, everybody figures out his own make-up, use latex milk, some cotton wool and blood.  After half an hour of make-up, I really couldn’t recognize Yvonne. She needed around two hours to get completely transformed to ‘Amanda’.  She looked unbelievable.  With 4.5 kilos on her head.

As it got later more people who performed there arrived at the dressing room. Nice looking students, 45 year-old looking housewives, pretty blond girls transformed themselves into bloody smeared butchers, monsters, mummies and undead. At 6pm the doors opened and all monsters entered the park. Children who want to see the performance should be older than 12 years, but some of them aren’t. So lots of them were screaming, everybody was scared from the real and accurate performance.

I followed ‘Amanda’ for more one hour and was surprised how far and fast she walked. some12 km at the end of the evening, she told me later. I would have died after one evening with that weight on my head. And not because of murdering monsters.

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