The front cover shot for Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark At The Moon catches an almost unrecognisable Ozzy heavily made up as a snarling werewolf. Taken by renowned snapper Fin Costello, the photograph was taken in 1983 during a lengthy nocturnal session at a freezing-cold Shepperton Studios.
It was one of three covers that Fin created for Ozzy – he also shot Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman – and but because of the amount of work involved to produce the desired visual effect it was the most memorable.
“It was hilarious, and like shooting Ben Hur,” Fin laughs. “The original idea was to have Ozzy looking like something from a Roman epic, wearing a wolf skin on his head like a cloak. But Ozzy had met the guy who did the make-up for the movie Nightmare On Elm Street and was impressed with his work, so we decided to do a spoof of all the werewolf movies instead.”
The transformation from Osbourne to beast and the shoot itself took more than six hours to complete and cost around £50,000, with an extensive array of equipment such as four smoke machines, generator trucks, cranes and lighting rigs adding to the cost. But even after Ozzy’s make-over was finally finished, the session took around five hours to finalise.
“In one of the shots, Ozzy was playing a wolf, on his hands and knees with these Rottweilers behind him,” Fin recalls. “But what I didn’t realise was that Ozzy was terrified of dogs. Now, when he could see the dogs he could deal with it, but when they were behind him it was completely different!
“By this time it was five in the morning, and eventually he got up and said he couldn’t do it any more. So we ended up having this bizarre, early-hours conversation with him dressed like a werewolf, his wife Sharon, who’d just given birth about two days before, a nanny holding the baby in a Moses basket, and with a tea lady wandering around the set giving out drinks.
“We eventually finished, but it was all very surreal!”