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Image of the Day: Rare concept test shots for demonic Poltergeist villain

Contributed by
Jan 10, 2017

The creative limitations of a pre-CGI filmmaking world produced some incredible special effects and also some embarrassingly bad ones.  Not that CGI can't be used to disastrous effect as well. (Ahem, Moff Tarkin!)  Sorry, had a tickle in my throat. Anyway, some new images have surfaced showing an alternative monster design for 1982's Poltergeist created by ILM SFX legend Richard Edlund. The giant skull creature at the climax of Tobe Hooper's suburban supernatural film ended up being mostly a humongous puppet head that was somewhat effective but not the huge reveal we were all hoping for.  

Check out these film stills for concept art created for the screenplay's third act and purchased online by Poltergeist fan Matt Knowles, intended for the scene when The Beast is unveiled upstairs in the Freeling home. It's clearly a different direction with the use of a malevolent human-like face, albeit a disturbingly distorted one. This rare test footage and concept art was discarded and replaced with the skull monster after executive producer Steven Spielberg thought this version of The Beast looked too human. Here's the auction description below:

THIS LOT IS FOR RARE RICHARD EDLUND TEST 35MM FRAMES AND HIGH-GRADE 11 X 14 PRINT (LOOKS LIKE HIGH-GLOSS CIBACHROME)! THIS INCREDIBLE MATERIAL DOCUMENTS THE EFX DEPARTMENTS FIRST LOOK AT THE DEMON IN DOORWAY

Take a look at the test shot and original negatives and tell us if you like this hellbound beast better.

(Via Bloody Disgusting)