Sloth’s Makeup Test for The Goonies Has Been Unearthed, 35 Years Later

Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video / Warner Home Video

A few days ago, Twitter user Eyes on Cinema posted a 39-second clip of football-star-turned-The Goonies-actor John Matuszak’s makeup test for Sloth.

The clip is dated January 31, 1984; the film was released on June 7, 1985. The volume-less, behind-the-scenes footage shows makeup artists applying finishing touches to Matuszak’s latex mask and non-symmetrical eyes, and him blinking his prosthetic eye. Basically, Matuszak spent the entire movie only able to use one eye. He didn’t seem to mind, though; after the makeup application, he cracked a smile through his fake jagged teeth.

The Baby Ruth-loving Sloth—who looked nothing like Matuszak—became one of the 1980s' most beloved characters. In The Goonies, Sloth saved Sean Astin and his pals from The Fratellis, a criminal gang led by Sloth's mom and his two bickering brothers.

In a better clip, from 2010’s The Goonies—Making of a Cult Classic, Richard Donner explained the process. He said it took five hours for the makeup to be applied every day, and referred to the 6’7” and 300-pound defensive end as “a sweet, gentle lion.” Donner called the makeup process “extraordinary.”

“When we did the sequence in the water, when they first see the ship, I said to the kids, ‘Whatever you do, don’t get John’s makeup wet. Because if you do, it’s going to get ruined,’” Donner said. Well, the kids did get John’s makeup wet, but John wasn’t mad at all.

Sloth was an intimidating character, so Donner posited the question: How do you make this grotesque figure real? “Well, he had to believe it, and everybody around had to believe it,” Donner said. “And I totally believe Mama gave birth to him. And I totally believe that Chunk fell in love with him.”

Sadly, Matuszak died on June, 17, 1989, just four years after the release of The Goonies, from an accidental overdose from the now-banned opioid Darvocet and a contributing factor of an enlarged heart. He was just 38 years old. But Matuszak’s gift to pop culture will live on forever.