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The Crazy 1970s Horror Film That Haunts Werewolf By Night's Makeup Head - Exclusive

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Ellen Arden, the head of the makeup department for "Werewolf by Night," is a fan of horror films — otherwise, there wouldn't have been much of an incentive for her to join the new Marvel Studios special on Disney+. With more than 60 screen credits since kicking off her career in 2005, Arden has brought her makeup expertise to several high-profile horror projects, including "The Walking Dead," "Stranger Things," and "The Vampire Diaries" on TV, and such films as "Scream 4," "Army of the Dead," and the trilogy of "Fear Street" movies.

Directed by Michael Giacchino, "Werewolf by Night" is a departure for Arden as a makeup artist in that it's mostly presented in black and white. Modeled after classic Universal Monster movies, "Werewolf by Night" — adapted from the Marvel Comics series of the same name — follows a group of monster hunters vying to claim the powerful Bloodstone, a supernatural gem that gives its possessor greater strength and thus the power to control monsters. Among those seeking the Bloodstone is Jack Russell (Gael García Bernal), who is hiding the fact that he is cursed to become the Werewolf by Night.

Arden told Looper in an exclusive interview that "Werewolf by Night" was right in her wheelhouse because she grew up with an affinity for black-and-white monster movies, thanks to the remote geographical location where she was raised. "It happened very early because I grew up in the middle of nowhere. I'm from the middle of Michigan," Arden said. "We had 'Midnight Madness' on TV. We didn't have cable — we had four channels."

It was on "Midnight Madness," Arden recalled, where she first saw a scary movie that haunts her to this day.

Arden was frightened as a child by a movie with giant killer rabbits

While Ellen Arden said "Midnight Madness" naturally included its share of black-and-white movie classics like Bela Lugosi's "Dracula," the weekly program would also air "random movies." Among the odder selections was a terrifying tale featuring mutated versions of a popular childhood pet — a feature frightening enough to create a lasting impact on the young Arden.

"One of the movies that made a huge impact on me as a little kid was 'Night of the Lepus,' which I had to go back and revisit recently," Arden recalled for Looper. "It's crazy. It's about these giant killer rabbits. It's from the '70s. I was like, 'God, this played such a huge part of my life.' That was one of the first things I had nightmares about."

Released in 1972, "Night of the Lepus" starred such film luminaries as Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, Paul Fix, and Stuart Whitman, as well as TV icon DeForest Kelley in his first film role after the end of the original "Star Trek" series. Arden never disclosed whether she was bothered by the killer rabbit scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," which was released three years after "Night of the Lepus," in 1975.

"Werewolf by Night" is streaming exclusively on Disney.