DERRY — Zombies were running rampant at Pinkerton Academy last week.
It wasn't a simple attack of some gory monsters, but more a lesson on how to film a video and make it look as ghoulish as possible.
Pinkerton film/video students got a taste of what professional theatrical makeup looks like, thanks to Derry special effects makeup artist Rob Fitz.
That meant turning students into zombies for the day.
Fitz invited students to his Derry studio early in the day to show off his gory designs and talents with fake blood and gaping wounds.
Students then got their own grotesque looks to wear back to campus for a day of roaming and filming, part of a video project that would eventually be on Fitz's website.
The "monsters" were scheduled to roam campus, visiting the Astro Cafe and classes as part of their filming work.
All staff members and school visitors knew there were zombies at large.
"They know we have professional makeup," senior Miranda Ronan said as she waited for a bloody touch-up on a nasty neck wound.
Fitz stood nearby, a container of fake blood ready.
Pinkerton video production staffer Chris Lord met Fitz at a New Hampshire Film Office meeting. They joined forces to give students experience with film makeup and to teach them how to create horror scenes on film.
"I wanted to connect students with Rob's talents," Lord said.
Fitz, a Salem native, went to film school and then settled in Derry, opening up a studio of ghoulish gore and makeup magic.
Showing off his craft makes him happy.
"I want to show people what's possible in the world," he said.
With horror films being popular today, it's only natural to show off what he does.
His career has given him opportunities to work in the film industry with many great people, he said.
"And I get paid to make people up to look gory," he said.
Pinkerton junior Breanne Mullen stood outside the Astro Cafe, waiting to go inside and visit the guests. She said she liked being a zombie.
"But it's hard, you can't smile because your face is all crusted over," she said.
Fitz encouraged students to follow their dreams and work hard, no matter what field they want to follow.
"I've been very lucky in my career," he said. "And learn as much as you can, just keep at it and you'll get there."
With so much that young people are exposed to today, Fitz said it's great they have so many opportunities.
"I never had this in high school," he said. "And now, that a high school teacher could ask me to come and do a class on zombies, that's cool."
• • •
Join the discussion. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to derrynews.com.