28.10.2008

Scary monsters and super creeps: Contact lenses at Halloween

Scary monsters and super creeps: Contact lenses at Halloween

Coinciding with a major celebration on the pagan calendar, nowadays most people associate October 31st with gaggles of children dressing up as witches, vampires, horror film characters and other gruesome beasts and collecting "treats" from door to door.

Some families and friends also celebrate the date by throwing a Halloween party - the adults don"t seem to want to miss out of the apple-bobbing and dressing up either.

Costume parties are great fun and it"s not unusual for people to go to great lengths to create the perfect costume.

Many of these are inspired by the traditional impression of witches - such as black hats and cloaks - but the wonders of the film world have brought other Halloween role models to life.

Visit any costume or joke shop around now and Freddy Krueger (from Nightmare of Elm Street) and Jason (from Friday 13th) masks will grin down from the shelves.

But costumes can be enhanced more subtly and potentially more effectively with the use of contact lenses. In fact, a recent article from Optician Online noted coloured and patterned contact lenses are widely used to give characters an extra dimension.

This includes fantasy horror characters, such as the orcs in Lord of the Rings, as well as human characters - for example, Dame Judy Dench wore a pair of contacts in the recent film Iris, about the novelist Iris Murdoch.

"Think of films with fantastic scenarios and characters and the likelihood is that they will feature the use of contact lenses," the August edition of Opticians Online said.

"The orcs in the Lord of the Rings trilogy look all the more evil and warlike because of their glinting yellow and orange eyes.

"Sci-fi characters like Darth Maul, in the first Star Wars prequel, are able to capture an alien feel through eyes that really look like they are from a galaxy far, far away."

London-based optometrist Clive Kay fitted the soft lenses used in the recent French film the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. These were painted by a special effects specialist to make them appear bloodshot.

He commented that because of the long hours on set, actors sometimes found it difficult to wear these special lenses - although coloured contact lenses such as those made by Crazy Contact lenses can be worn for long periods without discomfort.

"Shooting films is extremely expensive and directors will sometimes pressure actors to continue when they are experiencing discomfort," said Mr Kay.

"In these circumstances I have no compunction of walking in front of the camera and putting a stop to proceedings."

Coloured contact lenses come in a variety of colours and patterns and can be made to a prescription or be used as a non-corrective visual effect for those who have good eyesight.

They come in blood red, wolf red, spiral black, white, fire, spiral red, black and wolf black, among others.

The lenses are monthly so they need cleaning and storing correctly and if they are only worn intermittently then they will last much longer than a month. For further information on proper cleaning and other safety issues, always consult the manufacturer"s guidelines.

They are bought in singles too - so an eerie feeling can be created by using different colours for each eye. Or for a slight diversion from the traditional Halloween themes of witches and warlocks, try a natural David Bowie look of looking eyes that are each different - using Expressions Colorblends, for example.

Bowie"s different coloured eyes were caused when he was punched in the eye as a boy - the condition is known as heterochromia.

Try Googling the album cover of Scary Monsters and Super Creeps to emulate Bowie"s clown costume and makeup for that extra special Halloween look this month - and while online, order those coloured contact lenses too.

by Alexa Kaczka


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