The Walking Dead: How the Whisperers’ look will vary from the comics

- The Walking Dead _ Season 9B, Key Art - Photo Credit: AMC
- The Walking Dead _ Season 9B, Key Art - Photo Credit: AMC /

The Walking Dead special effects guru Greg Nicotero and his team created a more sinister look for the Whisperers that makes them even more terrifying.

As if people wearing human skin masks wasn’t scary enough, The Walking Dead makeup and special effects czar Greg Nicotero wanted to up the ante for the Whisperers in their television debut. TV Guide reveals how Nicotero changed the look from the comics so that the television translation of the villains would be even more harrowing.

In The Walking Dead comics the Whisperers are a group of people who wear walker skin masks so that they can move freely among them. While fans have already seen people move among walkers using walker blood to prevent detection, the Whisperers take things to the next level as their masks make it impossible to distinguish between a regular walker and a person disguised as a walker.

Dressed as walkers and fully integrated into herds, the Whisperers can actually control the herd’s movements. In a fight, they have the element of surprise working in their favor to keep their opponents off balance.

The Whisperers actors have an entirely different look from walkers, since they are wearing masks rather than decaying flesh makeup. The masks, notes Nicotero, give the Whisperers an even creepier feel: “The face doesn’t move, so you cannot judge any kind of emotion.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Nicotero wanted to make sure that his Whisperers looked different than those depicted in the comics, which have more of a melted skin look. To achieve this, Nicotero gave the Whisperer masks a structural support system that work like bones in the face, creating deep eye sockets “so that when you look at the faces…you get nothing there.” The skin of the masks is textured rather than smooth, giving it a leathery appearance rather than the look of decaying flesh.

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There’s no question that The Walking Dead is about to take a step forward in the second half of season 9 as the Whisperers signal a whole new level of terror on a show known for exposing the horrors of the zombie apocalypse. Once again it’s not just the walkers that are terrifying, it’s other people. And these people believe that living among walkers is the next step in evolution.

The Walking Dead returns on February 10 at 9pm on AMC.