The newest adaptation of Stephen Kings IT hits theaters this week, and the horror films Pennywise is set to scare audiences worldwide.
The shape-shifting entity was brought to life in the film with both practical make-up effects and CG, and with that in mind, SYFY WIRE looks back at how some of the best horror movie effects in history have been made.
In part one, we revisit a few of the most memorable "old-school" creature effects from the 1970s and '80s, and talk to Chris Walas, a master of make-up effects and animatronics and the man behind Jeff Goldblums transformation in The Fly.
Bursting onto the scene
Hollywood has been cranking out scary monsters and make-up effects since the beginning, but a set of horror films starting in the 1970s captured moviegoers' imaginations so much that they wanted to know just how those effects -- all practical -- were created. The incredible chest-bursting creature in Ridley Scotts 1979 sci-fi horror Alien is a classic example.
That scene, in a film that also features fantastic full-sized animatronic puppets, saw actor John Hurt convulse in pain mid-meal as a tiny alien bursts from his chest and then dashes away. It was made possible by having Hurt first lie in a custom-made chair. A false chest piece and table were then positioned to make it look as if the dramatic moment was happening directly to him.
For the actual chest piercing, a prosthetic baby alien was fixed to the top of a hydraulic ram. The effects crew, hidden under the table, set up special blood tubes and pumps that squirted at just the right moments. Scott had also made a request to use real pieces of animal intestines, liver and offal -- dont worry, it was all cleaned and sanitized beforehand.
Perhaps the most convincing part of the effect, however, was that the other actors were kept in the dark about exactly what was about to happen -- when it did, their reactions were real and visceral, partly because they all become covered in fake blood. Its a sequence that has been copied, and parodied, in many films since, but never matched in scariness.
A transforming era of horror effects
Effects were easily the star of John Landis An American Werewolf in London (1981). The movie showcased elaborated make-up effects, a werewolf creature that convincingly walked and attacked on screen, and most notably, a horrifying man-to-wolf transformation.
The artist behind that work was the revered Rick Baker, who won a make-up effects Oscar for the film (in fact, hed go on to win another six Academy Awards for films such as Men in Black and The Wolfman). Equal parts comedy and horror film, An American Werewolf in London is still terrifying to watch for its confronting and bloody creature scenes and close-up looks at gory make-up.
The transformation itself relied on several methods of effects artistry, from gradual layers of hair and make-up being applied, to animatronics behind prosthetics that would gradually push out sections to make it appear as if the actors face and body were painfully changing. The most amazing feat? None of this was CG, which is almost surely how it might be done these days.
Keeping it old-school
The Fly (1986)
David Cronenbergs The Fly (1986) is another classic horror pic that made ample use of transformation effects, this time to turn Jeff Goldblums scientist character into a fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes awry.
Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis shared an Oscar for the make-up effects work, where they not only allowed Goldblums eccentric acting to shine through but also created a terrifying and sometimes fragile character in fly form. Walas told SYFY WIRE that, once fully transformed, the final creature -- nicknamed "Spacebug" -- actually involved two separate puppets.
One was a full sized mechanical rig operated by 12 people which was used for wider shots, says Walas. The other was a waist-up puppet with rod arms that was more articulated in the head and face that was used for close-ups. The very last puppet, which we called the Brundlepod, was a separate rod puppet that was operated from beneath the floor and that used the same head as the close-up puppet.
Again, that stunning work for The Fly was absent any digital visual effects, but developments in realistic digital creatures were not too far away. Walas, who had also crafted the Gremlins in Joe Dantes 1984 comedy horror film of the same name, is uniquely placed to have been part of what he calls the "practical effects heyday" of the 1980s, and then see the march into CG.
While its absolutely astonishing what can be done these days digitally, says Walas, its fascinating for me to see that the fans are screaming for more practical effects, even those raised in the digital age.
The effects master is indeed adamant that practical solutions are far from dead, especially in horror films. With the advances of both techniques and materials in practical effects, much more is possible. That, added to the explosion of incredible talent on the scene now, bodes well for the future of practical creature effects, I think.
Go here to read the rest:
Syfy - Horror Movie Magic: The practical effects behind the grossest ... - SYFY WIRE (blog)
- 16 Horror Movies Coming In 2019 (And 9 Possibilities) - May 19th, 2019
- Amazon.com: Watch Scary Movie | Prime Video - May 14th, 2019
- Scary Movie (5/12) Movie CLIP - Wazzup! (2000) HD - April 29th, 2019
- Scary movies locations that you can visit - INSIDER - April 23rd, 2019
- Why Watching Scary Horror Movies for Halloween May Help ... - April 21st, 2019
- Best Horror Movies of All Time, Ranked: Scariest ... - Thrillist - April 2nd, 2019
- Scary Movie (6/12) Movie CLIP - Wanna Play Pyscho Killer? (2000) HD - April 2nd, 2019
- Everything to know about the 'Scary Stories to Tell in the ... - April 2nd, 2019
- Scary Movie - Official Site - Miramax - April 2nd, 2019
- Halloween 2018: How Scary (& Violent) Is The New Movie? - March 29th, 2019
- Insidious (2010) - IMDb - March 8th, 2019
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Mini-Trailers Reveal Movie ... - February 5th, 2019
- 2019 horror movies: Are you ready to scream? - CNET - January 20th, 2019
- The Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now - collider.com - January 14th, 2019
- Top 10 Best Horror Movies of 2018! | Arrow in the Head - December 30th, 2018
- The Best Horror Movies of 2018 - filmschoolrejects.com - December 23rd, 2018
- Scary Movie - Everything2.com - December 3rd, 2018
- Scary Movie (1/12) Movie CLIP - Femme Fatality (2000) HD - November 28th, 2018
- Horror movies: What was the first scary movie you saw ... - October 29th, 2018
- The 35 Scariest Movies of All Time | Reader's Digest - October 15th, 2018
- Amazon.com: Scary Movie 4: Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Craig ... - September 26th, 2018
- Scary Movie 3 (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes - September 24th, 2018
- Amazon.com: Scary Movie [Blu-ray]: Anna Faris, Jon ... - September 14th, 2018
- Scary Movie 3 - Wikipedia - August 23rd, 2018
- Scary Movie Movie Review - Common Sense Media - August 22nd, 2018
- Scary Movie 3 (11/11) Movie CLIP - Down the Well (2003) HD ... - August 19th, 2018
- The Best Horror Movies of 2017 (So Far) - Vulture - August 1st, 2018
- Scary Movie 2 (2001) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb - July 28th, 2018
- Scary Movie (2000) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb - June 22nd, 2018
- Scary Movie 4 (2006) - IMDb - June 19th, 2018
- Scary Movie (2000) - IMDb - June 18th, 2018
- Bafana: A horror movie where nobody survives - Sport24 - September 7th, 2017
- Here's Why You Should Be Watching A Scary Movie During Your Next Workout - Elite Daily - September 7th, 2017
- 'It' May Be Scary, but Nothing Beats Your Childhood Fears - The Ringer (blog) - September 7th, 2017
- Tennessee teen has starring role in upcoming horror movie 'It' - WBIR-TV - September 6th, 2017
- It: a superb Stephen King adaptation fueled less by scary clowns than by real-life evil - Vox - September 6th, 2017
- 17 Horror Movie Remakes That You Should Actually Watch - Vulture - September 6th, 2017
- How Get Out Inspired a New College Course on Racism and Horror - Gizmodo - September 6th, 2017
- Scary 'It' does Stephen King largely by the book: movie review - New York Daily News - September 6th, 2017
- 'IT' Movie Reactions Are Scary Good - Uproxx - UPROXX - September 6th, 2017
- An Expert Explains Why You're Scared of Creepy Clowns and Other Horror Tropes - Slate Magazine (blog) - September 6th, 2017
- Don't let 'killer crown' craze return just because scary movie IT reaches cinemas this week - Gloucestershire Live - September 6th, 2017
- Kill Me Please is a dazzling teen nightmare, and the first great horror film of fall - The Verge - September 6th, 2017
- 10 Awesome Horror Movie Deleted Scenes You Won't Believe Were Cut - WhatCulture - September 6th, 2017
- How American Horror Story: Cult Handled Election Night 2016 in Its First 7 Minutes - Vulture - September 6th, 2017
- Tobe Hooper: How the director created horror's ultimate serial killer - The Independent - September 5th, 2017
- Scary stuff: Bloomington studio creates official 'It' movie poster - Bloomington Pantagraph - September 3rd, 2017
- IT Filmmakers on Adapting Stephen King, Delivering a Scary Pennywise and Earning Their R Rating - IGN Africa - September 3rd, 2017
- HELLRAISER Gets Mondo Soundtrack and Poster Release for 30th Anniversary - Nerdist - September 3rd, 2017
- IT Filmmakers on Adapting Stephen King, Delivering a Scary Pennywise and Earning Their R Rating - IGN - September 2nd, 2017
- IT movie: The TERRIFYING reason the original Pennywise star QUIT new film - Express.co.uk - September 2nd, 2017
- 'It was wonderfully scary': Tim Curry, Rob Reiner and Kathy Bates on the joy of adapting Stephen King - The Guardian - September 1st, 2017
- Stephen King's scary movie reboot provokes tears from 'legit clowns' - The Register - August 31st, 2017
- Stephen King's IT Poised to Be One Heck of a Scary Movie - TVOvermind - August 31st, 2017
- PG-13 Horror Movies That Prove You Don't Need an R-Rating to Be Creepy AF - Collider.com - August 31st, 2017
- How the Original It Miniseries Traumatized a Generation of Kids - Vanity Fair - August 31st, 2017
- The Hollywood Tastemaker You've Never Heard Of - Vanity Fair - August 31st, 2017
- Screenwriter Gary Dauberman is the new 'It' man - The Ottawa Herald - August 31st, 2017
- The Unpopular Opinion: 'Dead Silence' is One of James Wan's Best Movies - /FILM - August 31st, 2017
- Horror movie season in full swing in Sept. - Graffiti - August 30th, 2017
- Defining IU's breakthrough - South Bend Tribune - August 30th, 2017
- "Scary as sh*t" - the first It movie reactions are in and it's good news for King fans - GamesRadar - August 29th, 2017
- 'It' Clips Show Off Pennywise the Clown, Terrified Children, Etc. - /FILM - August 29th, 2017
- WAMG Giveaway Win the LIFETIME SCARY MOVIE SET From Lionsgate - We Are Movie Geeks - August 28th, 2017
- Ne Obliviscaris' Xenoyr On His Top 10 Epic Horror Films - Dread Central - August 28th, 2017
- In 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre,' Sympathy for the Devil - New York Times - August 28th, 2017
- Annabelle: Creation - This is the REAL story behind the incredible film scaring people across Essex - Essex Live - August 28th, 2017
- Innocence lost: Stephen King's IT and the real-life horror of kids in Hollywood - The Guardian - August 28th, 2017
- Early reactions to It praise Stephen King film: 'Totally terrifying,' 'scary as sh--' - EW.com - August 28th, 2017
- Now they're really asking for It: film fuels scary obsession with Stephen King's 1986 novel - CBC.ca - August 28th, 2017
- Tobe Hooper, the horror filmmaker behind 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,' is dead at 74 - Mashable - August 28th, 2017
- The First Reactions To It Are Scary Good - Gizmodo - August 26th, 2017
- EXCLUSIVE: Lakeith Stanfield Reflects on Breakout Year and 'Crown Heights' - 9NEWS.com - August 25th, 2017
- The Mist - Stephen King's adaptation oozes a familiarity in which old-school horror fans will be happy - review - Telegraph.co.uk - August 25th, 2017
- Schlock & Awe: PIECES is a Bananas and Baffling Chainsaw Massacre - Nerdist - August 24th, 2017
- Eli Roth Puts Horror Classics 'in a Blender' in Terrifying New Trailer for Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights - PEOPLE.com - August 24th, 2017
- These Horror Movie Bath Bombs Are Terrifyingly Awesome - Simplemost - August 22nd, 2017
- James Van Der Beek's Daughter Has 'Great Taste' in Movies: Find Out Which (Scary!) Film She Loves Makes Him ... - PEOPLE.com - August 22nd, 2017
- The Horror Movie Jump Scare Actually Has a History - TVOvermind - August 19th, 2017
- 15 Best Horror Movies on Hulu Right Now - Den of Geek US - August 19th, 2017
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero