On a frigid October night in 1983, Ozzy Osbourne, still reeling from the death of guitarist and friend Randy Rhoads the previous year, was covered in hair and prosthetic werewolf makeup, and squatting on a fallen tree to boot. The occasion was the photo shoot for Bark at the Moon, the Prince of Darkness' third solo studio album.
The location chosen for this hirsute happening was Shepperton studios, a facility just outside London that had hosted the filming of Ridley Scott's Alien, two Pink Panther movies, and Led Zeppelin's fake live concert film, The Song Remains the Same, among many other productions, but on this particular night it was commandeered by British rock photographer Fin Costello and his crew. Costello had already made a name for himself by shooting the covers for Ozzy's two previous solo albums, 1980's Blizzard of Ozz and 1981's Diary of a Madman, not to mention Kiss's quadruple-platinum 1975 live album, Alive!, but the Bark at the Moon shoot required more extensive preparation than most.
"Ozzy and Sharon were very involved," Costello recently told Revolver. "Originally, CBS art director Roslav Szaybo wanted to put a wolf's hide, complete with head, on Ozzy and shoot that, [but] Ozzy wasn't too happy with that and wanted something more extreme."
According to Costello, Sharon Osbourne had recently met special-effects makeup artist Greg Cannom, who had done the prosthetics for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video and would go on to sharpen his werewolf-makeup skills on the sets of The Lost Boys and a 1987 made-for-TV movie entitled Werewolf. "He did all the molds and fake bits, such as the fingers, in L.A.," Costello says. "Meanwhile, Ozzy and I got together in the pub with a load of reference books from werewolf movies and literature to knock some ideas about. All of this took a month, on and off."
On the day of the shoot, Ozzy arrived for makeup at 6 a.m., but the shoot didn't get started until 10 p.m. "All Ozzy had on was a pair of black tights, as the rest of him was covered with hair," Costello recalls. "He was freezing, but never complained—even after five hours of shooting, mainly outdoors."
The iconic image that resulted from all this was actually a combination of two photographs. The shot of Ozzy was a production still from a roll of 35mm film ("It was rough and looked more like the werewolf had been surprised by the photographer," Costello says); the background shot of the moon was from a previous session, when Costello had photographed Ozzy's entire band at Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey, where Bark was recorded. "Technically it's terrible, but it works perfectly for the cover in question," Costello says of the final result. "Like the Kiss album, it's taken on a life of its own after all these years."