It's easy to lose sight of the pioneering wizards working in practical effects as CGI creatures and makeup effects drown out the quaint-looking ghosts, ghouls and goblins of classic horror films over the past decades. Even the most convincing aliens and androids rendered digitally owe a sincere debt of gratitude to the groundbreaking work accomplished by generations of dedicated SFX geniuses.
A new documentary from filmmakers Gilles Penso and Alexandre Poncet, titled Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex, hits stores this fall and hopes to re-awaken your respect and awareness of some of the legendary masters who conjured up so many frightful silver screen creations.
From Joe Dante, Rick Baker, Phil Tippett and Dennis Muren, to John Landis, Guillermo del Toro and Greg Nicotero, this 107-minute retrospective takes us on a whirlwind historical tour of the art and craft of creature magic from those who made a career out of delivering scares to innocent audiences. It contains some rare behind-the-scenes footage of the artists in their working studios, surrounded by their horrifying handiwork, sprinkled with absorbing anecdotes and little-known stories about how the craft has evolved from crude stop-motion animation to latex masks, motorized jaws and miniature models, to sophisticated audio-animatronic mock-ups and into the current digital age and next-generation robotics to come.
Here's the official synopsis:
From King Kong to Avatar, from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings, movie creatures have never been as popular as they are today! Yet the art of creating monsters for the big screen is as old as cinema itself… From early experiments with apes and dinosaurs to the birth of special make-up effects, from the pinnacle of animatronics to the digital revolution, ‘Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex’ explores a century of human imagination, cinematic thrills and wonders.
Based on interviews of all the greatest artists in the genre and hours of exclusive footage from classics like Gremlins, The Abyss, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Starship Troopers, Spider-Man 2 …, the documentary focuses on the stunning relationship between the creatures and their makers: like modern Frankensteins, special effects wizards create life out of raw material, art and complex machinery.
(Via Bloody Disgusting)