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Dead Ringer
At the center of the mystery of "The Ring Two” is Samara herself, whom Ehren Kruger regards as "the avenging angel—or rather demon—of all abandoned children. In many respects, her behavior, cruel and destructive as it is, is entirely understandable from the perspective of a wronged child. Despite her monstrous appearance, she is a tragic figure.”

Hideo Nakata agrees. "We can feel fear, but we can also feel sympathy—these are key elements in Japanese ghost stories, and because ‘The Ring' was originally a Japanese novel, we do have that kind of duality.”

"Probably more than anything, it comes down to the juxtaposition of innocence on the one hand and pure evil on the other,” Parkes says. "There is the innocence of this little girl in a white dress with long black hair that covers her face and her true intentions…the powerless little girl who is, in fact, more powerful than anything you can imagine.”

Kelly Stables, an actress who had served as one of the "evil” Samara's doubles in "The Ring,” returned to take on the role again in the sequel. Though ironically terrified of watching horror movies, Stables prepared for her role by watching both "Ringu” and "The Ring,” to capture Samara's physical idiosyncrasies. "Samara's peculiar physicality is so important to the role,” she says. "Samara has very distinct movements; she moves in a very staccato way. And when I was in full makeup, I spooked even myself.”

In "The Ring Two,” Samara is seen only in her most malevolent state, requiring Stables to endure at least five hours of makeup every day. Six-time Academy Award®-winning special effects makeup artist Rick Baker had created the look of Samara, as well as her victims' grotesque, distorted death faces in the first "The Ring.” For "The Ring Two,” he and his team were charged with transforming the attractive, 20-something Kelly Stables into the specter of a young girl who bore the scars of a terrible death and afterlife in a dark, dank well.

Hideo Nakata relates, "Rick and I discussed at length how much we should show Samara's face and we both reached the conclusion that probably less is more. He liked that I only showed one eye of Samara in ‘Ringu,' so Rick and his team were more focused on the look of her whole body—the way her hair covers her face, and the detail of her arms and legs. It's very elaborate work, and they had to fix Samara's makeup for almost every take.”

Rick Baker notes, "I thought the scariest stuff of Samara in the first movie was when you just see that hair and don't know what's underneath. You can never make anything scarier than your own imagination.”

Stables' long hours in the makeup chair began with her being literally spray-painted in a ghostly white pallor. The makeup team then airbrushed the blue veins that show through her translucent skin. Because the actress is in her 20s, special appliances were created for her face to make her look more childlike, even though her face was usually concealed under her long, dark hair.

For Samara's body, Baker did a lot of forensic research about what happens to the skin of a body immersed in water for a long time. "You know when you take a long bath and your hands get all puckered—it gets much worse over time,” Baker explains. "We wanted that look.” To achieve that look, hundreds of individual appliances had to be created for each section of Stables' hands, arms, legs and feet. There were so many separate pieces, Baker says, "it was hard to tell what was what and where it went, so we had them laid out on little maps so we knew the order to put them on.” In addition, every appliance had to be duplicated many times over because each one was used only once and then thrown away.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the makeup team was to make the appliances last in water. "We developed a new technique, casting our appliances out of the same material we use as

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