The Walking Dead is a show that requires its audience members to suspend their disbelief. In order to watch The Walking Dead you have to allow yourself to believe that the zombie apocalypse CAN happen. You also have to believe that Rick, Carl, Daryl, and everyone else can survive the impossible time after time after time. You have to believe a lot of things that are, well, pretty unbelievable. To its credit, The Walking Dead makes it easy to believe in zombies, Negan, and survival. Through amazing camera work, special effects, and stunning makeup, the show produces a fully imagined zombie world. In order to get to the final product, there is a lot of fudging that goes into it. Many behind the scenes photos of The Walking Dead reveal some stunning images of exactly how they create the show and it definitely changes the experience of watching it.
The seventeen following photos of The Walking Dead are of the behind the scenes magic. You’ll see zombies getting zombie-fied. (Zombies are much less scary when they are sitting in a makeup chair.) You’ll also see the way the action shots are done and, spoiler alert, the group isn’t always running from a zombie extra. Sometimes, they are running from a completely normal looking person off-screen. We don’t want to ruin The Walking Dead for you or anything, but the following seventeen photos will definitely change the way you watch the show.
17. The Zombie Glam Squad
Just like Kim Kardashian, the extras who play zombies on the show have to sit in a makeup chair and let the glam squad work their magic. Unlike Kim Kardashian, their makeup is a little more on horrifying side. The special effects makeup department are the true unsung heroes of The Walking Dead. Every single day, they transform normal looking people into terrifying zombies. The makeup is so spectacular that they’ve truly produced a world of grotesque zombies. Also, who thinks up the disgusting individual zombies – y’know, like the well zombie or the zombie who literally had his guts tied around a tree? The mastermind behind those scary creatures has one sick brain!
16. Beth Greene In Action
This behind the scenes photo is from Beth Greene’s solo plot that received so-so reviews from fans and critics alike. After ditching Daryl, Beth ends up at Grady Memorial Hospital, which helped expand the universe of The Walking Dead. In this storyline, Beth grew into a stronger, much more independent character. It was great to see a once soft, innocent character finally come into her own.
In this particular scene, Beth and Noah escaped the hospital and started running for the fence. Beth, of course, let herself get caught in order to help Noah escape. While this scene was action-packed, seeing a camera man directly behind Beth’s showdown with a zombie definitely takes away some of the intensity. It reminds you that it is still, indeed, just a television show.
15. This Makes That Scene Slightly Less Gross
Ugh, so speaking of Noah…
In Beth’s final scene, Officer Dawn refused to let her go unless Rick gave back Noah. Noah agreed to this, but Beth didn’t think it was fair so she stabbed Officer Dawn. Blah, blah, blah then Beth died and it was really sad. Long story short, Noah went with the group.
Noah seemed like a well-rounded character with a strong moral center. He was a great addition, right? Well, his time on the show was mega short-lived. After joining Alexandria, Noah goes on a run and it comes to a horrifying end. Noah is eaten by a group of zombies in a revolving door. Meanwhile, Glenn chills on the other side and watches Noah’s face literally be ripped off. Like, a zombie legit ate Noah’s cheek. It was pretty gross.
This photo was taken in between takes. Even though it looks about as gory as it did on the TV, seeing the clapboard reminds us that Noah didn’t really have his face eaten off even if it really looked that way.
14. Run From Greg Nicotero!
In this photo, Glenn is running from… Greg Nicotero?
It shouldn’t shock you to see Greg Nicotero in quite a few of these photos. He is one of the masterminds that helps bring the comic book to the screen. He not only worked in the special effects department for a majority of the show’s run thus far, but he also works as producer and has directed quite a few episodes. Most notably, Nicotero directed the season six finale and the season seven premiere. In other words, Greg Nicotero ruined your life and killed Glenn. Okay, technically Robert Kirkman killed Glenn in the comics years ago, but still, Nicotero directed the episodes so you can be mad at him too!
In this behind the scenes photo, Nicotero is taking the zombie work into his own hands. It doesn’t necessarily matter that Nicotero isn’t rocking zombie makeup since Steven Yeun’s reaction is the only thing that made it on the screen.
13. The Zombie Director
This is yet another photo of Greg Nicotero, only this time he’s rocking a zombie look. In fact, Nicotero has appeared as a walker on the show quite a few times.
Nicotero first appeared as a walker in season one. He played the walker that eats Daryl’s deer in Daryl’s very first scene. Daryl is pretty pissed that the walker ate the deer he shot and he even suggests simply cutting around the part that the walker munched on so they could eat the rest of the deer. No one else was down with that idea.
Nicotero also played the walker that killed Amy, Andrea’s sister. His next big walker debut happened during the infamous “Is Glenn dead?” scene. Nicotero plays one of the hungry walkers who is grabbing for Glenn as he stands on top of the dumpster. This photo is of Nicotero rocking his zombie makeup from that specific episode. Though he didn’t direct the episode, he was clearly helping out with camera work. Obviously, Nicotero is a team player.
12. Check Out The Dude Holding A Bloody Axe
First of all, check out the guy holding the bloody axe. He’s works in production, is wearing a Batman t-shirt and he’s holding a bloody axe prop. We should all love this guy. He is the coolest person on the set. Meanwhile, Nicotero is checking out the bloody, dismembered body on the ground. The body is clearly a prop and not an extra. I mean, the detached limbs are a give away, right?
So, the next time there is a gross, dismembered body, remember that it’s all just a prop. Remember that Greg Nicotero was, at one point, rocking a great ponytail and looking above the body and trying to figure out the best camera position. Remember the dude in the Batman t-shirt holding the bloody axe. See guys, it’s not as scary as it seems.
11. Some Touch Ups For Bloody Rick
There’s Greg Nicotero again. Honestly, we should have just named this article Photos of Greg Nicotero Being Awesome, because that’s basically what it is.
In this photo, Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) is getting his makeup touched up in between scenes. Lincoln looks cool as a cucumber as he is getting covered with fake blood. Considering he has his headphones in, we’re wondering what he’s listening to that is putting him in such a relaxed state – some smooth jazz, or Taylor Swift maybe? The possibilities are endless.
Judging from the makeup and costume, this was during Rick’s crazy Alexandria scene. No audience member can forget bloody Rick, falling to his knees and screaming in the middle of Alexandria. Throughout season seven, he’s been much more composed but we’re hoping bloody/crazy/vicious Rick comes back during the war on Negan.
10. Denise Is Still All Smiles
“LOL, I have an arrow in my eye,” said Merritt Wever, who played Denise. Okay, so there’s no word on if she actually said that, but her face says it all, right?
In this gruesome scene, an arrow from the Saviors went straight through Denise’s head. This may have shocked even some of the comic book readers, as the arrow had gone through Abraham’s head in this scene in the graphic novels. The switching of deaths meant that Abraham would be killed in that brutal Negan scene. Still though, Denise’s death sucked for many reasons. First of all, she was a nice character who, like Beth, was starting to be more independent and strong. She was also in a relationship with Tara, making them the first lesbian relationship on the show. Her death was also the death of this progressive relationship.
9. That Time Bob Lost His Leg
Who can forget tainted meat?
The Terminus plot was one of the most disgusting on the show. Rick and the gang found themselves being held prisoner by the people of Terminus, who promised safety and shelter, only to eat all the people who come there. Yep, cannibalism because no zombie show is complete without it.
The group successfully gets away from Terminus, but poor Bob falls victim to them. He wakes up at a campfire, where the Terminus people are roasting meat and eating it… only it’s meat from Bob’s leg. Bob, of course, has the last laugh because he had been bitten earlier that day and thus the Terminus people are eating tainted meat. In this photo, you are clearly see how they faked Bob’s eaten leg, by putting a blue sock on his real leg and placing a prop leg on top. Lauren Cohan seems to find it extra hilarious.
8. Rick Grimes Being Rick Grimes
Has Andrew Lincoln ever looked more like Rick Grimes in his life? We think not. Between the facial hair, the rolled-up button down shirt, and the cocked gun, he is Rick Grimes to the extreme. Of course, to ruin the illusion of his Rick Grimes-ness in this photo, there’s the dude with camera.
The actors on the show all give knockout performances, which makes it easy to fully indulge in the world of The Walking Dead. Lincoln’s Rick Grimes is an especially strong performance. Lincoln is a classically trained actor, who studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Seeing photos like this is a great reminder that these actors are acting with crew and camera constantly surrounding and disrupting the scene. Lincoln, and the other cast members for that matter, have yet to receive any love from the Golden Globes or Emmy Awards, which is a shame.
7. Not Scared Of The Zombie Extra
In this photo, Alanna Masterson, who plays the badass Tara, clearly doesn’t seem to be afraid of zombies when the cameras aren’t rolling. Masterson is pictured here with Greg Nicotero and a zombie extra. The zombie extra looks extra gnarly, as his hands are gross and bloody. Oh, and you can also see his spine and ribs, and there’s a hole in his back. Yeah, he’s a gross zombie. The special effects makeup isn’t stopping Masterson from having some fun, though. In fact, you should keep this photo in mind next time there is an especially disgusting zombie on The Walking Dead.
6. Alanna Masterson Kissing Her Dummy
One more of Alanna Masterson because girlfriend loves to have fun on set. Here is Masterson with a dummy version of herself on set, which looks very unrealistic. In fact, we probably wouldn’t even know it was her if it wasn’t for the fact that they are wearing the same exact clothing.
The 28-year-old actress joined the show in the fourth season. She was fighting on the side of the Governor but quickly flipped when she realized what a total asshat the Governor was. Since then, Tara has more than made up for her rocky introduction. She’s a vital part of the team and all about the group survival rather than individual survival. She also adds so much needed humor to the show, which is awesome.
Her name was officially added to the main created in season seven, so it’s likely that she’ll be sticking around for some time. Well, as likely as it can be for any character on a show that regularly kills off anyone and everyone.
5. Just Bit Someone’s Throat Open, LOL
Andrew Lincoln looks all fun and games, but this photo was taken after shooting one of his most vicious scenes ever.
In season four, a group called the Claimers were introduced. They were baddies and lived by the rule of “claiming” what is yours. When Rick ran into the Claimers, he killed one of them then escaped without being seen. Meanwhile, Daryl joined their group without knowing just how truly bad these guys were. This all came to a head in the finale of season four, when the Claimers stumble upon Rick, Michonne and Carl. In a heated exchange, it’s clear that they are planning to murder every single one of them and possibly rape Carl. Hey, we never said The Walking Dead was a family friendly show.
How do they get out of this sticky situation? Well, Rick bites the leader’s neck open. Like, literally takes a big ol’ bite out of the leader’s neck. It was one of the most gruesome scenes to date. After biting someone’s neck open, Rick sits against a car covered in blood, a la this photo. In this photo though, Lincoln is having his blood makeup touched up and he looked about 100% happier than Rick was in that moment.
4. Zombie Extras Aren’t So Scary
Morgan ain’t afraid of no zombies. Here is Lennie James, who plays Morgan, kicking back with an extra on set. Considering the fact that, in terms of the show, no one would ever be sitting this close to a walker, it’s interesting to see James sitting next to a “walker” without a problem. Of course, all of these walkers are just regular ol’ normal extras who are trying to come up in the entertainment industry. We’re guessing that the main cast probably socializes with them a lot more than we’d think. I mean, they’re all just actors right?
If you’re turning to the source material to find out how much longer Morgan has left on the show, you’re out of luck. The show has gone a different path with Morgan’s character all together. In the comics, he doesn’t preach the do-not-kill way of life that has become an essential part of his character on the show. He also hooks up with Michonne and dies before Negan is introduced. The television Morgan as outlived the comic book character, but since it is uncharted territory, we have no way of knowing what will happen to Morgan.
3. Zombie Makeup Looks Relaxing
Just one more photo of the zombie glam squad because it’s too good. First of all, this zombie looks zen AF. This zombie makes it look like getting the zombie makeup done is the best part about working on the set, which it very well could be. The makeup takes anywhere between one to two hours to do (for every zombie), but we’re guess that the hard part is actually getting the makeup off. Does it hurt when the makeup comes off? We want to know!
It’s definitely much harder to be a zombie on the show than it seems. The extras are told to never blink, as zombies wouldn’t need to blink. Of course, blinks may happen (because the extras are mere humans) so the editing team edits that out. If you rewatch the show, you’ll see that the zombies never, ever blink.
Nicotero actually instructs the zombie extras to act like they are drunk. Yes, during that slow walk they do on the show, they are just thinking about being drunk. That should change the way you watch the show.
2. Steven Yeun Acting Into The Camera
It’s hard not to miss Steven Yeun’s Glenn. To many, he was the heart of the show. He was an Every Man who was surviving the zombie apocalypse alongside badasses like Rick, Michonne, and Daryl. He also didn’t let the whole zombie thing stop his swag. He fell in love with Maggie, got married, and she got pregnant all in the course of killing zombies and staying alive.
While Glenn had many close calls throughout the course of the show, one of the closet calls – other than with Negan because we all know how that ended – was when he was on top of the dumpster with Nicholas. Zombies surrounded them. Seeing no way out, Nicholas shot himself but Glenn somehow lived by hiding under the dumpster. (Whatever, we’ll just ignore that plot hole.) This photo is during the filming of that scene. Yeun has to act directly into the camera, as they were shooting him talking to Nicholas. The fact that Yeun can believably act straight into a camera is a true talent. Most people wouldn’t be able to muster up the emotional quality needed unless we were acting with another person.
1. The Fake Blood Is In A Heart-Shaped Bucket!
That pink, heart-shaped bucket is so cute. It’s the type of thing a 4-year-old girl would bring to the beach. Well, The Walking Dead took that totally adorable thing and made it a little bit twisted, which is what The Walking Dead does best if we’re being honest. Apparently the special effects department applies fake blood to people from this adorable, little bucket. There’s Glenn getting bloodied up from the 4-year-old girl’s bucket.
Blood is a huge part of The Walking Dead and they pay special attention to it. In fact, walkers and humans have different colored blood, as human blood is brighter. The decomposition of the zombie also effects the type of blood used. So, if you’re ever watching a particularly gory scene on The Walking Dead, don’t close your eyes. Open them up and pay attention to the different types of blood. It’s kind of fascinating in a way, right?
Knowing the secrets behind the scenes of The Walking Dead may ruin some aspects of the show, but it also makes you appreciate how much tremendous effort goes into producing the AMC show. Keep doin’ you, The Walking Dead.