Movie Legends Addendum: The REAL Origin of the Ghostface Mask From Scream?

A while back, I wrote a Movie Legends Revealed about the amazing story of how the makers of the movie Scream discovered the Ghostface mask they used in the film.

scream

Among the people who read that initial article was a man named Loren Gitthens, who had a fascinating story to tell about the Ghostface mask that I figured it would be worth running as an addendum to that original piece.

Read on to learn his story!

Here’s Loren:

My name is Loren Gitthens. Back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, I was living in Los Angeles, working in the Special Makeup Effects industry. As was the case in the small community of Makeup Effects Artists, someone would host a Halloween Party each year. And, as I’m sure you can imagine, the costumes were pretty creative.

For the Halloween party of 1990, my idea was to do a take on the classic kid’s costume of using a bed sheet with eye holes to make a ghost. I wanted to expand on the idea by forming a ghostly face from buckram (a fabric that is dipped in water, shaped, and dries stiff). Then I integrated it with a bed sheet. The costumes went over well and were seen by many of the Makeup Effects Artists in the industry at that time.

original ghost face costume

The face design was inspired loosely by a mask I made in 1985 that I had called “Screamer Long Jaw.”

screamer longjaw

A few months after the Halloween party, I was working with Tony Gardner at his Alterian Studios. Tony wanted to start a mask company with me and another artist, Chet Zar. We called the company “The Ghost Factory.” While we were coming up with mask design ideas, I suggested we make a line of masks from my bed sheet ghost idea. We put together a kit that included a rigid, vacuform ghost face, glue, and paints. We called it “Ghost Maker.” The idea was that you would use your own bed sheet, then attach it and blend in the ghost face.

ghostmaker packaging art

Incidentally, we also used the face design in the Ghost Factory logo.

ghost factory logo

We put together packaging with artwork created by my childhood friend, and now well-known and respected Production Designer, Bill Boes.

Soon after, we took our Ghost Maker kits and the other masks we had made to a big Halloween Products Tradeshow in Chicago, where all of the costume and novelty companies, big and small, would try to get orders from retailers. We were a new, small, unknown company, so unfortunately we didn’t sell too many.

ghostmaker brochure

However, one of the companies at the tradeshow that was obviously interested in our masks was Fun World.

About a year later, tiring of trying to sell masks and work in the Makeup Effects business, I gave it all up and moved to Santa Cruz, CA to start a new life with my
wife there.

A year or two after moving to Santa Cruz, as the Halloween season was getting into full swing, I was in a drugstore and saw the Fun World’s cheap, mass-produced, knock-off version of my Ghost Maker face. But instead of being sold as a kit, it was a rigid face already attached to a small, head-sized sheet. Clearly, it appeared to be a direct rendering of my original creation.

I was a bit amused, but didn’t pursue looking into it any further as I had left that part of my life behind and was on to a new one. I don’t think the Fun World version sold all that well either. But then it was picked up by the makers of the Scream films. And, well, you know that story.

I don’t at all fault the makers of Scream; for all they knew, it was a mask designed and owned by Fun World. But what bothers me is that someone else is taking credit for my original design. I have been carrying this story with me for more than 20 years. Seeing your article compelled me to finally document the events as they actually happened. And now I’m sharing it with you.

And thank you for that, Loren!

I don’t think that this is ever going to be something that I can classify as “True” or “False,” as pretty much you just have to make up your own mind, but I thought that Loren’s story was still worth sharing with you all.

Be sure to check out my archive of Movie Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of films.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is [email protected]

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