Written by Margarita Hirapetian

Horror artist Darrin Willgues of Ghoulish Creations would probably love to scare the living daylights out of you. He could do it easily, too – just take a look at any one of his stunning yet truly nightmarish creations. Horrifying, and yet…thoroughly intriguing as well. You honestly can’t look away even as the fear grips you!

It’s probably not far-fetched to say that Darrin has a love and appreciation for the macabre. From a young age, he would sneak and watch horror movies with his brother when his mom wasn’t home. He remembers having “many nightmares about Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Leatherface.” And even though the death scenes always scared him as a boy, he was also drawn to and fascinated by the how of it all. He often wondered, “How did they make it look so real?” In Friday the 13th part 4, Darrin found himself especially identifying with Corey Feldman’s character Tommy Jarvis, who made different types of masks. Darrin recalls, “…ever since I saw those masks I was hooked. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Since that introduction, Darrin has been creating constantly, making masks, props and costumes, in addition to painting and drawing. He also does makeup, having graduated from Joe Blasco’s makeup school in Hollywood, where he had to complete 330 hours of makeup training to really master his craft. While in California, Darrin also completed 16 hours of hands-on training of airbrushing makeup at the DinAir Institute to further hone his skills. Darrin’s work has been utilized in a variety of short films and low-budget horror flicks, and he continues to push the boundaries of terror.

Despite his obvious experience, skill, talent and love for his work, the life of a horror artist is not without its challenges, as Darrin explains, “I would say the biggest challenges are what I am going to bring to the table that stands out from the rest. I’m always pushing myself as an artist, and what I can do to keep people interested in the work that I’m doing. I’m always trying different things, and I tend to do more obscure works so they don’t become repetitive or oversaturated. At the end of the day, I go by what is pleasurable to my eye, and if people dig it, that works for me.” Sounds like a foolproof formula, and it hasn’t failed him yet. 

Darrin also describes himself as a perfectionist, and that’s good or bad, depending on whom you ask. Nevertheless, it has sometimes frustrated Darrin. He says, “It’s really hard for me to call a piece finished. I’m obsessed with adding detail. It’s hard for me to stop adding even the littlest of things once I get started.” The perfectionism may feel like a hindrance at times, but it’s also what gives Darrin’s work such nuance and what ultimately draws people to his creations. As he looks to the future, Darrin is interested in making latex masks and to continue to grow as an artist in every aspect and area. He says, “I want to get better, not just for me, but for you guys as well.”

Darrin is currently working on a Leatherface painting, an endeavor that proved especially difficult for him, as he was going through some personal struggles at the time. He elaborates, “I’ve been working on it since 2015. It sat untouched for years. When I first started it, I was in a toxic situation, insanely depressed, I felt like a corpse being drug around. I lost interest in practically everything. Fast-forward to a year and a half ago, I bounced back and feel I have all the love and support I need from friends, family, and loving girlfriend. They keep me alive, and my girlfriend really helped me crawl out of the grave I was laying in. In a lot of ways this Leatherface painting is symbolic of me gaining the courage to keep going.” Darrin adds that the painting will always symbolize courage to him and will be very hard to part with when it’s time to let go. But letting go of something you love takes a lot of courage too, and Darrin can most likely appreciate the truth in that.  

Love of horror has taken Darrin far, even though he admits that nothing really scares him anymore. When he was younger, he loved being scared because, “It made me feel alive. I’ve been chasing that feeling throughout my adulthood.” Even the carefully executed jump scares in horror movies fail to elicit a reaction from him these days, but he still holds out hope that one day a movie will terrify him again. Still, Darrin acknowledges that whether you are easily scared or not by horror films, the characters are always someone to root for (possibly even the villains). He explains, “Everyone’s so desensitized from even the stuff you can watch on cable TV, what are they going to possibly do in a movie to shock you anymore? People love the characters though. I’ll always support what I love. Horror always gets stigmatized, but it’s a highly marketable genre. I’m all horror, all of the time.” 

Darrin’s one fear though? Sharks. 

Scared? Intrigued? Wanting more? Then follow him and check out Darrin’s work on his Instagram (@ghoulish_creations), and prepare to become fully immersed in his eerie world.