Darren (Ruste Dowg) Laken brings professional mask painting to Jason fans (Interview Included)

(photo by Kyle Roginsky)

There was a time when finding a hockey mask that looked authentic (outside of paying big bucks for an actual movie used prop) was virtually impossible. Then out of the woodwork came Special FX artist Ken Tarallo at Frightstuff.com. Ken is a man who gets little credit in the Friday the 13th world, yet it was he who originally created the mold for Jason’s first hockey mask in Friday the 13th part 3. In recent years, Ken has launched the site http://www.frightstuff.com. There you can buy the most authentic hockey masks on the planet taken directly from the mold created by Ken. While the masks come completely blank, have no fear. You can hop over to the frightstuff message board and commission one of the outstanding artists there to make the mask even more authentic. One of those such artists is Darren “Ruste Dowg” Laken of Ruste Dowg Productions. Read on to find out more about Darren and how YOU can get your hands on some of his amazing work from painted frightstuff hockey masks to the ultra amazing Undermask known as “The Hood”

FRIDAY THE 13TH FILMS: Judging by your work, you’ve definitely done your homework when it comes to the Friday the 13th series. What is your favourite film in the series and why?

RUSTE DOWG: Friday the 13th was one of the first ‘Slasher’ films i watched and yes i have watched them many times and studied reference pictures. It’s hard to pick out one film as being my favourite, i like them all for one reason or another, some for the story line others for special effects but i guess it comes down to the portrayal of Jason in the movie that defines which would be my favourite of the series, Richard Brooker, Ted White and CJ Graham were all great as Jason, for me personally i liked Ted White as Jason in the final chapter, he was really intense and i think the audience really came to fear Jason in that film, that was the film that got me really hooked on the series and i have watched the most so, based on that, i guess that would be my favorite.

F13F: What services does Ruste Dowg productions offer? Tell us about your own personal website and the working relationship you have with the folks at Frightstuff.com

RD: The services i offer as an independent artist at the moment are just hockey mask painting, i set up my own website a few years ago (RUSTE DOWG PRODUCTIONS) now but have recently just had it updated by Redcrow designs, they helped me bring it up to a more professional look and added in some great animation at the start of the site which i was really pleased with, the whole idea of having my own site was really to show case what i do and also i think having the forum is a great help for potential customers to be bale to get some feedback on my products and service from regular customers and have the chance to chat with me also.
I have a great relationship with Ken Tarallo at frightstuff

(Ken Tarallo of frightstuff.com)

He really is an amazing guy to work with, he has done so much for the fans of the series by making his blanks available at such reasonable price, he spends an incredible amount of time out of his already busy schedule to speak to the fans and help with insights and tips and it’s not just Friday the 13th fans that enjoy what Ken is building on that site but all movie fans.
I feel really privileged to be recommended artist there and work beside the other guys, we all get along really well and speak on a regular basis helping each other out, we all have the same goal to bring the fans something that is as close to owning the original mask as possible.

F13F: Which mask design do you prefer to paint?

RD: I really enjoy the final chapter design, when someone commissions me to paint that style of hockey mask i really look forward to working on it. When I’m shaping the final chapter mask from blank form you really see it coming to life and once you start to shape the eyes it just has this amazing look about it all shiny and white with not a mark on it and the eye shape is so menacing, for me it really has something in common with a shark, it’s the eyes, as Robert Shaw’s character Quint in Jaws says ‘you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes’

The mask has all the elements i like doing involved from the weathering to the blood work


I also really enjoy custom work too, it’s really refreshing when i get a request to do something out of the ordinary, i had a customer once ask me to make a hockey mask based on all the damage Jason had received through out the series, i had great fun making that mask.


F13F: You spoke of people making unique requests when it comes to painting these masks. What would be the most off the wall or unusual request you have ever gotten from a customer?

RD: I had someone ask me about making a Mr.T hockey mask with mohawk and earrings not that long ago! That was bizarre!!

F13F: The Friday the 13th “hoods” that you guys make appear to be top notch. What goes into making such a product?

RD: Well that’s Neal’s area of expertise really!
I had the idea to offer fans a hood that would accompany the hockey masks so they looked more convincing when worn (people will shave their heads around Halloween time!) and something to display them on too.
I contacted Neal at Rubber Gorilla masks over here in the UK about the project as i had little time to attempt it myself. We spent a couple of weeks discussing how to get the look we wanted. Neal sculpted the design from reference pictures i supplied and then he made a mold from that to pull the final latex piece. He then paints the mask and will even add patches of hair on request. I’m really pleased with the final product and how it’s been received in the mask collecting community.

F13F: Are there any other “hoods” planned? And what hood would you guys like to tackle next?

RD: For sure, the success of our first project has had us discussing ‘what’s next?’
One of the great things about the our original hood is that it can pass as a part 3, part 5 and even v’s with Neal’s talented paint work, so that leaves us with only a few other styles to try and match, i think a part 6 or maybe a part 9 could be our next project but you’ll have to wait and see!

F13F: How long have you been doing prop/costume making? Did it start as simply a hobby before you started making things for the general public to purchase?

RD: I have always been a fan of prop making and special effects ever since i saw star wars as a child. I had a friend who’s father owned a small breakers yard/ scrap dealers beside his property, when i went to play at my friends we used to be allowed to pick up bits and pieces we found laying around and tried to make light saber handles and droid callers from the scrap we found.
I was always taking things apart when i was younger and trying to make things, doing custom paint work on my toys.
As i grew older i attempted model kits and home made projects but only ever as a hobby.
I painted a hockey mask as part of a Jason costume for a fancy dress party. After the party i decided to sell the mask as i was not 100% happy with the paint style and was surprised at the interest i received. As a hobby i started to paint masks and it lead me to where i am today.

F13F: How long is your mask painting process?

RD: Really does depend on the style of mask, something with a lot of work involved like a toxic part 8 or part 9 can take a long time, i have to build up on the detail and weathering or the final product will not be good quality, i see a lot of masks on the market that have little or no time put into the detail and that is what a reproduction relies on to be accurate.
Something like a part 3 style mask will not take as long but as an average i would say from start to finish i spend around 6 hours in total on painting a mask but that does not include the drying times and the time in between trying to be a good Dad and a good husband!

F13F: Any type of mask that you haven’t painted that you would like to attempt? Custom ideas or perhaps a scene in a movie that you just never got around to trying?

RD: There are a couple of styles from the series i have not made yet but i really can’t wait to have a go at Derek Mear’s hockey mask from the new Friday film that’s coming out.

F13F: What advice would you give someone who is attempting to paint their mask on their own?

RD: Patience is a must, don’t expect the mask to turn out perfect on your first attempt, if you do you will only be setting yourself up for a fall!
Take your time and enjoy what your doing, don’t put yourself under any pressure at all to get it finished in a certain amount of time.
Use water based acrylic paints.
Clear coat every stage your happy with so if you get it wrong on the next stage you can just wash it off and not have to start all over again.
Allow enough time for paint to dry and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

F13F: Outside of being a painter of hockey masks, what can you tell us about yourself?

RD: Well trying to be a good husband and a good dad and paint hockey masks really doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else in my life! I enjoy spending time with my family and meeting up with friends but i guess my priorities are family then customers and then anything else after is a bonus!

F13F: Anything else you would like to say to fans of your work, potential customers, and Friday the 13th fans in general?

RD: Just that i appreciate all the support i have had from my customers over the years, all the comments on the forums and pictures that have been posted have really helped my reputation. Potential customers should defiantly check out my section on frightstuff as well as my forum to get feedback from past costumers, i am a fan and a collector too so I understand what is expected and always pride myself in my service.I would just like to thank all my family, friends, forum members, Ken Tarallo and the fright stuff artists too and everyone else that has posted on forums with kind words for all their support.


NOTE: I would like to truly thank Mr. Darren Laken for taking the time to do this interview. He is truly a class act as is Ken Tarallo of Frightstuff.com . For more information on these guys and other mask painters, visit Frightstuff.com, The Fright Stuff Forum , Ruste Dowg productions or Rubber Gorilla.

Here is another look at my own personal “Hood” from Ruste Dowg prodcutions complete with a Frightstuff.com hockey mask that I painted myself. I added a shirt to display it like a “bust”. I can’t say enough about how awesome these things look when worn as well. I will do my best to update this article with some pics of me wearing this thing in the coming days.

-Tony Carroll


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About the Author

Tony Carroll

Huge horror fan. Mainly the slasher sub genre. Die Hard Friday the 13th fan. I'm not like a lot of viewers. I love the entire series. Yeah, there are things about some films that I don't like. But I can honestly say that I don't hate a single Friday flick. I love to write and to bring info to people. So this site and my love for that go hand in hand. You will also find me over at my site http://www.benevolentstreet.com Feel free to drop me a line at tony@benevolentstreet.com

48 Responses to “ Darren (Ruste Dowg) Laken brings professional mask painting to Jason fans (Interview Included) ”

  1. Woot! Dowgy!
    Cool interview Tony and thanks Darren.

  2. Great interview! I love that opening picture!

  3. Great stuff! I love this site keep up the great work!

  4. Wow…I am impressed. I have got to get hooked up with one

  5. Now that shit would freak my girlfriend right the hell out, lol.

  6. Don’t really need “The Hood” undermask, now that Jason has long hair again.

    Glad I didn’t cut my hair.

  7. This question isn’t really related to the topic but does anyone know what Jason figures those are to the right of the Jason mold(2nd to last pic has the best view)? Mainly the one figure next to the Mcfarlane toys Jason X, it looks like something from pt.7. And the 2 in front are from what company, it looks like a figure from pt.3 and pt.6? Thanks guys!

  8. Those figures are from my personal collection. On the shelf to the right of the hood I have the NECA Cult Classics Jason from part VII, Mezco Cinema of Fear series 1 Jason from part IV, Cinema of Fear series 2 Jason from part VI, Jason X from McFarlane and Jason from the Freddy vs. Jason box set. On the left I have the Friday the 13th 1 and 2 anniversary box set featuring Jason from part 2 and Pamela from part 1. The NECA Cult Classics Jason from part 2 with alternate head, Movie Maniacs series 1 Jason from McFarlane.

  9. We will be making a remake hood with hair and no axe cut available very soon, infact there will be a give away starting 1st september that may interest you guys, be sure to check my forum for more details between the 1st and 13th of september :)

  10. Sounds GREAT Ruste!! I can’t wait to check in!!

  11. It will be a lot of fun guys don’t miss out, something big is coming round my forum…..

  12. Yea you said in September right?

  13. it looks good except for that dumb ass strip of hair.Real jason is F ing bald

  14. I actually really dig the strands of hair. It adds a certain creepiness to it. The hood was previously available with no hair and I would imagine it can still be purchased without the hair. Anyone interested in getting one should definitely contact Dowg.

  15. Awsome interview

  16. Awesome
    Darren’s the man
    one of THE BEST mask makers out there

    keep it up Bro

  17. Jason DOES have hair. Remember Part 2??? For some reason he decided to shave it off for Part III. Lol…

  18. the mask with all the damage from the series is absolutley incredible.

  19. Jason has hair in part 4 too, you don’t get to see that much of the back of his head but if you check the scene at the end of the final chapter where Jason’s hockey mask is knocked off you see the back of his head for a few seconds as they do the reveal of his face and there is hair on the back of his head, you can also thin out the hair on our hoods, you can have as little or as much as you like :)

  20. Thanks again for all the kind comments guys, i really appreciate it.

  21. Thanks Tony. I guess that is the same Jason from pt.7 that I have (by Neca), it’s huge (I forget how many inches tall it is) and has sound effects. I never opened mine actually so I’m not sure if it just makes the forest sound effects or other sounds from the movies. How much do the pt.4 and pt.6 figures from Cinema of Fear go for? I’m assuming the usual $12.99 to $14.99? That’s about what I paid for my Mcfarlane Jasons and Pt.2 Jason by Cinema of Fear (give or take a few bucks). I can’t find that Freddy vs. Jason deluxe set anywhere lately. Maybe I’ll try ebay again. I pretty much have everything else that’s in those photos. From one collector to another, awesome collection man!

  22. Thanks dude. That’s just one section of my horror room. I have a Freddy wall and a “everything else” wall as well. But that Jason from part VII is the similar to the one you have, but the one I have is only 7-8 inches as opposed to the 18 incher that you have. The Cinema of Fear figures are 6 inches and run about 15-20 depending on where you get them. They are great though. Check out my other articles on here. I have some reviews of some of the Mezco stuff scattered about.

  23. Hey Ruste Dowg! How’s it going? I haven’t been on the Frightstuff forum for a while, I guess I’m just lazy. That hood amazes me every time I see it. Great work!

  24. Thanks mate and don’t be a stranger :)

  25. Cool. I’ll check those articles out. Thanks! ;)

  26. Hey Ruste, how much is the classic hood and how do I go about buying one? I can’t find it on your website.

  27. You can PM him on the frightstuff message board or the message board on the Ruste Dowg site for price quotes etc ;)

  28. Ok thanks bro

  29. Ok well I to PM Ruste on the Frightstuff message board but you need to register to do that. So I tride to do that and it calls for an authorization coad: what color is the sky? and I emaild them about how to get that and they NEVER got back to me so.. It’s a shame because I realy want to get a hood.

  30. Ok well I tried to PM Ruste on the Frightstuff message board but you need to register to do that. So I tried to do that and it calls for an authorization coad: what color is the sky? and I emaild them about how to get that and they NEVER got back to me so.. It’s a shame because I realy want to get a hood.

  31. hockeymask doesnt look right with hair flowing out from behind it takes away from the mask.

  32. once again yes he had hair in part 2 but part 2 did not make jason iconic.i have never noticed hair on him in part 4 which just means it wasnt present enough to effect the look

  33. Splitskull,

    Go here and use the contact page on the rustedowg website


    Or email him directly at lakendarren@aol.com

  34. Ok thanks again bro

  35. Anytime man. I appreciate you reading the article :)

  36. Once again, yes there was hair on the p4 Jason just like in the picture of the hood on it\’s own in the interview above the main picture at the top with myself and Jason has a hood with a lot of hair on it that can be thinned down to get the look you want. The hood used to have no hair on it but when we did a custom one with hair for a customer and i showed the pictures a lot of people asked for this so we made it the standard copy, if you don\’t like the hair we can make a copy with out it :)

  37. I’ve always thought it was common knowledge that he had a little hair on the back in part IV. I really dig it. It’s creepy looking.

  38. great interview dowg, your work is amazing you are a ginius at what you do mate .

  39. I think Nohair really doesn’t like hair on Jason. I wanna change my name to Nojacket because I hate how New Line insists on making Jason wear one. LOL!!! Yeah Jason went from having hair in 2 to no hair in 3 to a little hair in 4 and back to no hair in 6, 7, and 8. Then New Line acquired the rights to Jason and gave him hair again in 9 (JGTH). Jason looked the worst in that movie in my opinion. His head was all swollen and bubbly looking. He had a good amount of hair too. They continued the trend and gave him hair in 10 (Jason X)and 11 (VS). Now with the reboot they have given him the most amount of hair we have seen since part 2. At least it\’s not hillbilly red like 2 was. No offense to red heads. LOL!!!

  40. I think he had hair in part 6 too.


  42. Yeah seriously!!!!

  43. There’s not a lot to report on the new movie at this time folks. All we can do now is play the waiting game until it’s released. Perhaps somewhere along the line we’ll get something good to bring you.

  44. Now that the new film is coming, so is new documentary about our beloved jason: http://www.fangoria.com/news_article.html?id=7139

  45. That sounds awesome

  46. Awesome Darren! It’s good to see you’re getting the recognition you deserve. Keep up the hard work! It’s a pleasure being on a team with you at Frightstuff. Sky’s the limit!


  47. Thanks again guys for all the support :)

  48. nice…..frightstuff’s a great site. dowg has amazing work.

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