Film writer Steve Pratt gets a bloody nose - and lots of other bloody bits - when he undergoes a monster makeover to become of the the great 'infected'.

DARREN didn't want to get blood on the carpet, so he took me to another room. As I walked along the hotel corridor, people gave me funny looks - surprise mixed with revulsion. Hardly surprising as I was not a pretty sight.

I looked like I'd stepped out of your nightmares. Not so much Shaun of the Dead as Steve of the Dead, you could say. I couldn't say very much as Darren was pouring blood into my open mouth and watching it spill out like a waterfall down my body.

If anyone had come into the men's washroom in this posh London hotel at that moment they'd have called the police or thrown up. Quite possibly both, considering what they saw.

My blood-drenched shirt was bad enough. Then there was my face with its bulging veins, blood coming from my eyes, ears and nose, and yet more red stuff dribbling down my chin and chest. You might be thinking zombie, but don't. The z-word is banned when talking about the British horror movie 28 Days Later and its sequel, 28 Weeks Later.

I was made up to look like one of the 'infected', not so much undead as under the weather and definitely unwelcome, and not just because of dripping blood on the carpet. The infected, in the world created by director Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland, turn nasty after contracting a virus that makes them bleed from every orifice and become angry, flesh-eating monsters keen to tear uninfected plague survivors limb from limb.

Darren Robinson, a sculptor turned make-up artist, was part of the team who worked on the films and, as 28 Weeks Later is released on DVD, was giving me a makeover and a taste of life - death? - as one of the infected, with the aid of choreographer Paul Kasey. With as many as 40 infected extras, the team worked in pairs on the film set - "one person each side for speed" - to make them up. I had Darren's attention all to myself.

"How will we know when they've done it?," mocked colleagues when told I was going to be transformed into a bloodthirsty monster. Not that I can see what Darren is doing as I sit in the make-up chair, denied a mirror to watch him at work in his makeshift studio in a hotel suite.

Hints of his horrible handiwork come as PRs enter the room and shriek with horror. "Ooh, those veins look realistic," says one. "Aagh, your ear is repulsive," says another. How come, I wonder, other people get makeovers to give an impression of youth and beauty while I get turned into Frankenstein's monster, Dracula and a zombie all rolled into one gory, grisly package?

The 20 minutes Darren takes to work his make-up magic is not uncomfortable, apart from a slight tickling from the brush. He begins by painting the veins with an alcohol-based tattoo ink that washes off with soapy water.

Next comes the dirtying down. The water-based, sludge-coloured make-up is dabbed all over my face, arms and hands with a sponge. "It breaks up the skin and takes the freshness out of your face," he explains. Drinking too much has much the same effect, I find.

Then comes the first blood transfusion. He takes what looks like a pot of strawberry jam, dips his brush into the sticky gunge inside and dabs it around my mouth and on my bare arms. More is applied until I seem to have blood running from my eyes, ears and nose. The blood, a mix of glucose syrup, alcohol and non-staining dyes, is very sticky. "We used to make blood from golden syrup, treacle and food colouring. Now you can just buy it ready made up in many types of blood," he says.

The final touch, which necessitates moving to the men's washroom as the process involves dripping and splattering blood, is much messier and gooier - as Darren applies what he calls 'bloody gloup'.

He squeezes it from a plastic bottle like putting ketchup on chips. The mint-flavoured taste isn't unpleasant, but the visual effect is. My new look is certainly startling when I pluck up the courage to peer in the mirror. I am now a short-sighted infected person as glasses aren't considered desirable for a blood-crazed fiend.

This is only half the makeover. Movement expert Paul Kasey must instruct me on how to move like one of the infected. The popular image of zombies has them slowly shuffling around, arms outstretched. The infected, too, have their trademark movement thanks to Paul's choreography. He also appears in the film as an infected who's seen attacking survivors in a cottage at the start of 28 Weeks Later.

The acting lesson is a surprise. Paul explains that I need to find my motivation for behaving like an infected. They are angry (so would you be if you were bleeding from every orifice). Very angry. As angry as someone who's got the winning Lottery numbers only to discover his wife has thrown away the ticket.

I must think of something or someone that really annoys me, makes me angry. This isn't too difficult considering the frustrations daily life throws up. To tap into my inner rage, I must first concentrate that anger in my feet, then feel it travel up my body and consume me until I'm literally shaking with anger.

Then I must add a roar of rage. Paul suggests a growl from the back of the throat. My first effort sounds more like a constipated Teletubby than an animalistic killer. We try the whole thing several times, culminating in building up a head of rage-fuelled steam and then moving across the room to attack Paul.

By this point, I'm getting the hang of this motivation thing and am carried along on a wave of violent anger. I can see how people who've killed in a jealous rage tell the court that they can't remember doing it.

Robert Carlyle, the star of 28 Weeks Later, was a good pupil. I recall him telling me, while doing publicity for the film, how he'd made himself so angry during one scene that he lost control and ripped to pieces the dummy of his screen wife, gouging out her eyes in his anger.

Darren, who's worked on movies as diverse as Gladiator and Saving Private Ryan, was on set throughout filming. When Carlyle attacked his wife, Darren was under the table pumping blood into the "body" being torn apart by Carlyle.

And, of course, he needed to top up the bloody state of the infected during filming. "We followed them everywhere," he recalls. "Between shots, we'd be squirting more blood into their mouths."

* 28 Weeks Later is now available to buy on DVD from Fox Home Entertainment.