Howard Berger Special Effects Character Creator Interview

Interview with Academy Award Winning Special Effects Makeup Artist, Monster Maker & Animatronic Character Creator, co-founder of KNB EFX Group

Sep 26, 2012


Today's monster maker interview features Academy Award winning character creator, Howard Berger, co-founder of KNB EFX GROUP. In our exclusive chat with Howard, he reveals his monster making origins, his history with mentor, Stan Winston, and his vision for the future of Creature FX.

CLICK on the video above to watch the FULL INTERVIEW.


Academy Award Winning special effects makeup artist, monster maker & animatronic character creator, Howard Berger, grew up in Los Angeles loving movies, special effects makeup and monsters. "I just grew up watching monster films and wanting to be a monster and loved monsters. I had a Dracula cape and would run around the neighborhood with just the Dracula cape and shorts and cowboy boots, and I had knocked out my front teeth and all I had were my canines, and I'd run around like Dracula all the time.”

Pictured above: Academy Award winning character creator, Howard Berger


He met his idol, the legendary character creator Stan Winston, when he was 13 years old. Winston promised to give Berger a job at Stan Winston Studio after he graduated high school with the understanding he maintain high grades and prove his attention to detail. Five years later, Winston lived up to his promise and hired Berger at 18 years old to work at Stan Winston Studio on PREDATOR, ALIENS and PUMPKINHEAD.

Pictured above: Budding Special Makeup and Creature Effects Maestro Howard Berger poses with some of his early character creations.


In 1988, Howard co-founded KNB EFX Group, Inc. with Gregory Nicotero and former partner Robert Kurtzman, and over the past 23 years, they have become one of the most prolific Special Makeup Effects and Character Creation studios in Hollywood. Specializing in character prosthetics, animatronics, creature creation and replica animals, Howard has over 800 feature film and television credits including INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, The TRANSFORMERS Trilogy, KILL BILL 1 & 2, PREDATORS, SPLICE, THE MIST, VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, THE WALKING DEAD, THE GREEN MILE, and TREE OF LIFE to name a few.

Pictured above: Character Creator Howard Berger gathers an army of KNB EFX Group creatures on the set of the Adam Sandler comedy, LITTLE NICKY


"I'm really looking forward to seeing what the next generation brings to the table. We can't do this forever. It's kinda like Willy Wonka, I can't live forever, I have to pass the Chocolate Factory to somebody. So I'm looking for that Charlie Bucket. And hopefully through the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, through excitement for monsters and movies that will happen.”

Pictured above: Special Effects Character Creator Howard Berger poses with two KNB EFX Group animatronic suit creature creations for CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.


Howard has 3 children Kelsey, Travis, and Jake. Travis Berger even makes a cameo as The Zombie in Howard’s lesson for the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, “How to Make a Zombie – Prosthetic 3D Transfer Makeup.”

Pictured above: Award Winning Special Effects Makeup Artist Howard Berger hangs out with his friends: Oscar, Emmy, Saturn, and the BAFTA award.


In 2006 Howard earned an Academy Award for Best Makeup for THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. He also won the British Academy Award and Saturn Award that same year for the film's prosthetic makeup. He's recently completed work on the remake of FRIGHT NIGHT with Colin Farrell, THE GREY with Liam Neeson and Disney's OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL.

Pictured above: KNB's Howard Berger touches up the animatronic face of the ruthless General of the White Witch's Army, Otmin (aka Shane Rangi).


For Howard it's all about educating the next generation of special makeup effects artists and character creators, and encouraging them to continue forward with their wildest dreams and hopes, as he has done. “We do need to pass the baton to keep this going, to keep the love we have for movies and monsters going. But it has to be to people who respect this industry, who love this industry, and want to make the coolest, most badass monsters ever seen on film. And utilize all forms of technology, be it practical, be it digital, and who knows what's ahead in the future. That's what I'm really looking forward to, is seeing what's on the horizon."

CLICK on the video at the top of the page to watch the FULL VIDEO INTERVIEW.