Zombie king loves to have a ghastly time
Greg Nicotero and cast. Picture: Gene Page.

The award-winning special effects artist of cult zombie series The Walking Dead says the highly anticipated third season will see the shuffling hordes become "black and crispy" or "liquidy and gooey".

After taking out his second Emmy for the show's eerily realistic prosthetic make-up, Greg Nicotero reveals he likes to take on new challenges with each season of the zombie apocalypse survival series set in America's Deep South.

The first season featured the zombie "bicycle girl", who was missing the lower half of her body. Last season revealed a bloated zombie trapped in a well.

For season three, Nicotero has created people who burnt to death before turning into zombies, or "walkers", as they're known on the show.

"I feel part of my responsibility is to keep changing it up," Nicotero says.

He is not only the special effects make-up supervisor of the AMC series based on the graphic novels of the same name but also co-executive producer and director of several episodes.

Nicotero, who started his career on George Romero's 1985 cult film Day of the Dead, even dresses up as a walker to play a cameo role in each season.

Last season's cliffhanger saw the clash between alpha males culminate in righteous group leader Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) killing rival Shane.

It also ended with the realisation all survivors are infected with the zombie virus and the dead can come back without being bitten.

The farm where they sheltered all season was overrun by walkers and Andrea was left behind, only to be saved by a mysterious hooded woman.

Season three sees the group move from the bucolic setting to seek shelter in a prison, resulting in a territorial battle with other survivors.

As the apocalypse is moving on, the zombies have decayed further. For the more desiccated ones, animatronic puppets have been created.

"We really do spend a lot of time trying to make sure that the things look authentic and look real and look particularly ghastly," Nicotero says.

Season three of The Walking Dead premieres at 5.30pm on October 16 on pay TV channel FX.

The West Australian

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