Flesh-ripping fangs are a prominent feature of many creatures of the night, such as horror film staples werewolves and demons. Most notorious for fangs are vampires, a species currently enduring a sunny spotlight thanks to the Twilight series. Turning an actor into a convincing monster usually involves specially made prosthetic fangs which needs to allow speech and look good even in close-ups.
Unlike the toy fangs sold at Halloween, special effects fangs are made for a specific individual and purpose. The process is much like making regular dentures. An impression in putty is taken of the performer’s mouth, which is used to create an accurate model of the teeth and mouth. The special effects artist then builds the prosthetic fangs around the model, creating a tight fit to the unique shape of the performer’s mouth. The fangs may be attached to a gum-coloured plastic plate to help them stay in place. At first it can be tricky to speak with a prosthetic in place, due to the slight changes to the shape of the mouth, but a little practice can often overcome this!
Prosthetic fangs aren’t just for the stage and screen. High quality fangs are also in demand among cosplayers, roleplayers and even those just in search of the ultimate Halloween costume.