Photo by Joe Cronauer, WKYC-TV.
CRESTLINE, Ohio -- When it comes to special effects, Robert Kurtzman is an icon in the movie industry.
"As effects guys, we're known for the horror stuff, but we kinda do little of everything," Kurtzman explains.
Photos: Inside Robert Kurtzman's Creature Corps.
30 years ago, at the age of 19, Robert moved to Los Angeles to learn the art of special effects and makeup. It was there he got his start in the business, becoming one of the three brains behind the world-famous "KNB Effects" team alongside Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero.
Since then, he has worked on more than 400 movies -- six of which he's directed, including 1997's cult favorite horror flick "Wishmaster."
10 years ago he moved back to his little hometown of Crestline. But why?
"Well, 20 years in LA, uh, put it that way," he joked.
There's a big difference between the fast-paced life of Hollywood and the little town of Crestline.
"When you have a family, you wanna relax a little more, ride your bike and hit the country roads. So I moved it all back here."
What was once a bowling alley where Kurtzman would bowl as a child, is now his special effects factory -- and this is no small-town operation.
"This is the biggest effects studio outside of Los Angeles," Kurtzman continues. "I think probably the biggest on the east coast, as far as size and what we're able to do."
His work can be seen in "Oz: The Great and Powerful," "Dances with Wolves," "Pulp Fiction," all the "Spy Kids" films, "Scream," "City Slickers," "The Hulk," "Austin Powers in Goldmember," all three "From Dusk Till Dawn" flicks and countless other horror films.
One of his most well-known prosthetics famously appears at the end of "Boogie Nights" with Mark Wahlberg's character. If you've watched the movie, you know the scene.
Perhaps some of his proudest creations to come out of his Ohio studio are his students. Kurtzman has created the Robert Kurtzman Institute of Art and the Creature Corps. Special Makeup & Character Design Academy.
"We teach everything from sculpting, molding, making mechanical life replicas -- basically everything you need to know in the special effects arena."
Some of his fiendish friends in the gaggle of gorehounds at Creature Corps. include Beki Ingram and David "House" Greathouse, a couple who recently competed on SyFy's makeup reality show "Face Off."
Zombies, bellies, beards, eyebrows, heads, faces, statues -- you name it, Kurtzman can do it. But does anything gross out the master of gore?
"Yeah, real stuff grosses me out," Kurtzman laughs. "Fake stuff doesn't, real stuff does. I cut my finger, I get nauseous."
When he's not working on movies or working with makeup students in the lab, Kurtzman also creates costumes, masks and more for the haunted attraction industry.