Published on Monday, 27 October 2014 00:00
Pop culture is obsessed with zombies and the thoughts of an imminent zombie apocalypse. People have basically tried zombifying almost everything, even cuddly teddy bears. English artist Phillip Blackman uses zombie-flick special effects makeup to turn the snuggly plushies into creepy, blood-thirsty zombies that will force you sleep with one eye open at night.
The undead teddy bears are adorable in a macabre sort of way. The zombie teddies' creator, 45-year-old Phillip Blackman from Suffolk, England, says that he came up with the idea from a silly joke between himself and his spouse a couple of years ago.
“She had a terrible cold at the time and we’d been talking about a gift for a friend’s baby. With a very stuffy nose ‘teddy-bear’ kept coming out as ‘deady-bear’, and we joked about zombie teddies that creep from under your bed at night to feast on your brains while you sleep,” the artist recalls.
The more he thought about it, the more intrigued he was in actually creating these zombie teddy bears, so he bought a bunch of normal teddy bears from eBay. But it was during that time that his girlfriend became pregnant with his child, and in the chaos of moving to a bigger house and starting a family, the undead teddy project was left to rot in the recesses of Phillip's mind. It was only until years later when he was organizing his son's old toys and deciding which to donate to charity that he came across the pile of teddy bears he bought previously. He decided to delve back into the project and that is how the wonderfully grisly Undead Teds were born.
If you think that there is no way someone would fork out a substantial sum of money for these little terrors, you are very wrong. Phillip said that the response is overwhelming and he is way over his head trying to churn out as many of these cuddly nightmares as he can to fulfill the demand.
“The demand is astonishing – as soon as I make them, they’re gone,” Phillip said. “I put up three new bears on my website this week and they were all sold within 90 seconds.”
Most of his clients, he found, are men and women in their 20s looking for unique gifts. It comes to no surprise too to learn that it is this age group which are clamoring to buy his mutilated teddies, since it is this very particular age group that make up the majority of the zombie obsessed audience.
This past Valentine’s Day has been a very busy time for Phillip, but the zombie creator says his favorite undead teddy-bears are those created specially for the romantic holiday, with their torn-out hearts as a present for the receiver of this grisly gift.
Despite frantically trying to meet the every increasing demands for his teddy bears, Phillip does not compromise on the time and care spent on hand crafting every Undead Ted. To transform a normal teddy into a zombie one, Phillip uses film-standard special effects makeup. He sculpts the bones, teeth and other organs by hand, from polymer clay or latex, then opens the bear’s carcass, takes out some of the stuffing and fixes the gory details in place with glue. Finally, he paints on the blood and adds a layer of varnish to achieve a wet effect.
“Each Undead Ted takes in excess of eight hours to make, not including the time it takes for glue, paint and varnish to dry, and I price them individually depending on size, complexity, materials used and time taken”, the artist says.
These zombie teddies do not come cheap since it requires a lot of time and a grueling process just to create one of them. And since they are all created differently, you can be sure that the one you are going to get is one of a kind. They start from around £49 and up, but if you want to get your hands on one of Phillip's unique creations, you will have to be on the page constantly refreshing when a new collection is said to be coming out at a given time and date. Whether you manage to purchase it or not depends on the fastest fingers first. Fans of the bears can also send in their own teddies or request for particular plushies to be ordered and specific injuries, and Phillip will customize them according to their requests starting from £150 here
Get your very own terrifying Undead Ted here!