Wish granted: Boy becomes fearsome creature for a day

The characters were nightmarish, but for Matthew Yarber, it was a dream come true.

The 12-year-old Colorado native, who suffers from a degenerative muscular disorder, was treated Thursday to a tour of a Glendale-based prop and makeup shop, where he got an up-close look at some of the most fearsome creatures in film.

“We watch tons of movies, scary movies,” his mother, Chayla Yarber, said. “Matthew loves them.”

The company, Spectral Motion, was founded 15 years ago by Mike Elizalde and specializes in prosthetic makeup and creature effects, action props and set pieces. Spectral Motion’s work has appeared in movies such as “Fantastic Four,” “X-Men” and “Hellboy.”

“It is a shot in the arm for us, as far as enthusiasm in the shop, to welcome somebody like Matthew and share what we do with him,” Elizalde said. “He is such a fan of the movie monsters, it is nice for him to have that behind-the-scenes look and see how things are done.”

The visit, facilitated by the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, included stops in the machine, prop and makeup shops. Employees created a cast mold of Matthew’s hand, which they used to form an exact plaster replica. And they demonstrated for the Yarber family how machinists engineer the movements of robotically controlled characters.

The family also got to meet two of the actors they have seen in numerous films. Brian Steele and Derek Mears, who between them have played dozens of villains and monsters in films including “Predators,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Men in Black,” and “Blade,” showered Matthew with memorabilia between posing for photographs.

“It makes me remember how much I loved doing what I do when I first came out here,” Steele said. “It makes me feel young again.”

The visit culminated with Matthew having his face professionally done up in the likeness of the Joker, a character from the Batman films who is among his favorite villains.

“It is very emotional for all of us involved to do something like this,” Elizalde said. “Kids have such an innocence about things and how they perceive things in the world, and with a special case like Matthew, it is especially important for us to be able to share something with him.”

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World