Tagged: Animatronics

Stranger Things: Please Use Practical Monster Effects!!

Stranger Things Season 2 finally dropped this Halloween and damn was it good! So much fun and such a total and complete trip down memory lane. The show plays off of the wonder filled nostalgia of the 80’s and almost perfectly captures the magic of movies like Poltergeist, E.T., The Goonies and The Lost Boys to name a few.

This show couldn’t possibly get any better at delivering the ever so sweet 1980’s cinematic magic could it?  Well I say it could do the job way better, after watching the second season it was apparent once again that this show could really up it’s game by ditching a lot of the shoddy CGI effects it uses for it’s monsters.

 

 

The show sure looks and feels like an 80’s Amblin flick, that is until they introduce us to the other worldly monsters. Then it quickly becomes very apparent it’s 2017 and that some questionable CG has entered my 80’s fantasy! So for season 3 of the show, I think they could do better, to really recreate that magic of old, it’s time for the show to incorporate practical creature effects! Puppetry, makeup, animatronics!

 

 

Imagine the creatures on the show if they had the feel of E.T., The Gremlins or Pumpkinhead?! The CG takes me out of the moment, the realism fades quickly and I imagine how much more effective the experience would really be if it just gave this tweak to say 75% of it’s fx work. That alone would give us the ultimate nostalgia trip, let’s face it, fans would go nuts for this and especially those who are real fans of the genre the show’s replicating. So help me spread this idea #strangerthings80sfx & Let’s demand that 80’s special effects magic be utilized for the next season!!!  They’ve come a long way with practical fx work and blending with CG or using CG to eliminate wires & puppeteers would take the show to a whole next level of 1980’s love….

 

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Happy Halloween: The Top 10 ‘Human to Monster’ Movie Transformations!!!

Happpppy HALLOWEEN boys, ghouls and all freaks of nature!! It’s finally here that special day where all things creepy and spooky are considered the norm amongst all other average humans!! Well today we’re going the distance and going to take a look at one of my favorite topics of all time: MONSTERS!! Duh!

So today many will be transforming themselves into creepy creatures of the night and I want to compile the top ten movie “human to monster” transformations of all time!!! Let’s get on with this shit, in no particular order, it’s time to get gross people, because who doesn’t love seeing humans morph into creepy creatures especially on Halloween!!

10. The Howling (1981)

I just NEVER get sick of this awesome werewolf transformation in the Howling! It’s one of the best human to monster transitions of all time, I just love the fact that Dee Wallace watches the whole damn thing instead of getting the fuck outta dodge!! One of the best!

9. The Beast Within (1982)

Check this shit out, one of the best most bizarre transformations for sure! This time though we witness a troubled teenage transform into some sort of bug/human hybrid! Nasty for sure!! Goddamn do I love some good practical fx!!

 7. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007)

What a damn fine movie, I just can’t get enuff of this one, it’s got awesome practical old school monster fx and even features Robert Englund in one of his best (maybe the best?!) post Freddy movie roles. Better yet Englund transforms into a big ass monster that look’s like Chet’s brother from “Weird Science”!!

6. The Curse 2: The Bite (1989)

Damn I love this flick, it’s a sequel only in name to the ‘Will Wheaton’ movie “The Curse” from a couple years before. It’s a fun movie with some superb extra special fx and a finale that’s worth the wait of the often meandering story. If you’ve never seen this one maybe skip watching this here and just seek out the full movie, this sequence is most of it’s awesome finale…

 

5. Tales From The Dark Side: The Movie (1990)

The finale story to ‘Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie’ anthology is super awesome and features a totally memorable monster movie transformation! I still feel bad for the dude who didn’t keep his promise, things were just going so damn well in their relationship! Oh well no amount of counseling could have fixed this deep inner relationship issue! It had to come out at some point!

 4. The Company of Wolves (1984)

This rad and totally bizarre, sometimes forgotten gem of a werewolf movie, has several awesome transformations in it. However this one is my favorite. The snout out of the mouth is an awesome totally disgusting effect that still awes me every time. I’ve got to re-watch this one again SOON! This freaked me the fuck out as a kid…

 3. The Thing (1982)

Here’s a classic! The Norris transformation sequence in The Thing is one of the best most iconic moments in monster movie history! Like it needs any real introduction-here it is again in all it’s gory glory!

2. Black Sheep (2006)

I love this horror comedy and Weta Workshop did an incredible job giving us a totally memorable transformation sequence! The movie is filled with awesome practical fx work and I love the whole “weresheep angle”, if you’ve never seen this indie gem you better check it out asap-it delivers the goods and then some!!

1.An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Considered by most to be the greatest man to monster movie transformation of all time obviously this one needed to be on the list, so here it is one last time for any of you who’ve been living in a damn cave for the majority of your life! Ohhh the pain of it all!!!

 

Still haven’t had enuff? Me neither-here’s a few more I totally dig!!

Oh and Luke Skywalker as he transforms into a bug in the shitty “Guyver”…still damn cool tho!

Oh and Drew Barrymore’s crazy transformation in the underrated “Doppleganger”!! 

 God bless Youtube, Here’s a cool one from The Spookies from 1986~!

Cool one from Waxwork II: Lost in Time!

A great one from the criminally underrated 1987 monster extravaganza ‘The Kindred’!!

….and of course this WHOLE damn movie!!

Movie Review: ‘Mosquito’ the Proper Sequel to ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’!

I finally hooked myself up with a copy of ‘Mosquito’ from 1994 and was quite pleased to find it was worth the effort tracking down. I’d been curious about this movie for a long time, I actually have owned a ‘region 2’ dvd for years but never could get it to play on any player. So recently I found a proper American copy of the movie, which boasts a couple interesting people in major roles. Ron Asheton (R.I.P.), legendary guitarist for The Stooges as a heroic but bumbling park ranger & Gunnar Hansen (R.I.P.), the original Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a tuff guy military dude. What a random combo huh?  That alone was enough to peak my interest.

Being that this movie was released in 1994 I was always a bit skeptical on whether this one would rely on some horrendously shoddy amateur CGI for it’s pesky monster insects. Boy was I wrong, Mosquito ended up being a comically inspiring practical effects creature feature that could have easily been released in 1984. It feels like it’s an 80’s flick in every way imaginable. We get some nifty fx here done by way of puppetry, animatronics, cartoons and full on stop motion animation. Talk about utiltilizing all aspects of the fx spectrum, Mosquito goes the distance or at least tries it’s hardest with the budget it had. That’s not to say the special effects are amazing, quite the contrary, however the movie has some serious charm for the effort it goes to try an make this as epic as possible. This is clearly because the film’s director Gary Jones has been an fx who’s worked on films like Evil Dead II & Army of Darkness. There’s also cool RV crash and a real exploding house too. So yeah they were trying to cover their bases here on the action.

The plot is your basic ‘ufo crashes near a small town and pesky monsters attack the locals’ and that’s a good thing because it’s trying it’s best to be on par with movies like Critters or The Blob. It’s pretty heavy on comedy but at the same time really tries it’s damnedest to be fully bad ass. I really dig Gunnar Hansen in this movie too, he’s a total asset and they make sure to give you exactly what you want from him. A wise choice to give Gunnar his trusty signature chainsaw to do battle with the blood sucking beasts. There’s a line where he comes busting out with his chainsaw and says something like “Man, I haven’t handled one of these babies in 20 years”.

As Hansen never reprised his Leatherface role in a sequel you might be able to say perhaps the man behind the mask made good and helped fight off some killer mosquitos 20 years later! Hey maybe this is cannon in the Texas Chainsaw universe?! The further adventures of Leatherface…Anyway This is a super fun, totally cheezy 90’s monster movie if you are looking for a good party movie ‘Mosquito’ delivers the goods and then some!  

Hooray for Some New “Giant Mutated Animals Attacking” Movies!

Hey here are two cool upcoming horror flicks that look like great throwbacks to a genre that was quite popular in the vintage horror scene of yesteryear! These days we just don’t seem to get enough giant mutated animal horror movies dammit-but that’s clearly about to change with these two creature features!

First we have “Unnatural” which is a giant mutant polar bear movie. This one brings to mind one of my favorite monster movies Prophecy from 1979! Check this one out because it looks like a winner to me!

Next up we’ve got a cool ass “giant wasp” horror comedy called “Stung” on it’s way soon! This movie is boasting a ton of cool old school animatronic effects as well as some pretty sharp looking CG to bring these deadly insects to life. It also stars good ol’ trusty Lance Henriksen if that means anything at all to you anymore. This one looks like it’s going to be ton of fun! Watch for this one in August 2015.

great movie poster too!

oh yeah and here’s a pic of the mutant bear from Prophecy from 1979-now go watch it!!

Let’s Head to The Void and Help Make Some Old School Monsters!

I love that people these days are using online avenues to make cool movies. Nothing satisfies me more than knowing people are getting things done with the help of true fans. In the end it means that most often times people are really getting what they want rather than a big studio pushing its influence on directors and turning a good idea into a load of bullshit. So we’ve got to take some time out from covering the glossy, over hyped, fully bloated flicks that Marvel & DC are cranking out and give some smaller projects some hype here. One such project is called “The Void” which you can help fund directly on Indiegogo if you’re a fan of old school monster movies, the kind we used to get back in the 1980’s back when life was a little more simplistic and the movies were a bit more of an art form. It’s pretty clear just by this amazing poster for the project that these guys are on to something awesome!

 

Here’s a little more info on the pitch:

“Cult indie directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie (Manborg, “W Is for WISH” from ABCs of Death 2) and producer Casey Walker of Cave Painting Pictures (A Little Bit Zombie) have launched an Indiegogo campaign to get a head start on pre-production for THE VOID, an original horror film that pits a small-town police officer against all manner of otherworldly creatures in a derelict, rural hospital.

“We’re launching this campaign early in order ensure that the film’s special effects are achieved practically. It’s important to start building our film’s creatures immediately to ensure we can realize them on set and in-camera,” said Kostanski and Gillespie.”

This sounds like my kinda movie, the type I’m always hunting down, whether it be a lost 80’s flick or a new one this is the kind of stuff I want to talking about here at Universal Dork. This trailer looks like a damn fine time and the effects look quite impressive already-so imagine what could be done with a little more funding. Check this shit out and if you have a few bucks to spare throw it their way! I’ll be watching out for this one!

 

 

Jurassic World’s Special Effects Don’t Look So Special!

I just watched the latest trailer to the heavily anticipated Jurassic World, the fourth film of the franchise. I’m a huge fan of the first movie, it completely blew me away back in 1993. It was the first time I truly felt like I was seeing a real living breathing dinosaur on film.

I was blown away and much of the reason for that was the film’s special effects, which at the time were groundbreaking as CG was taken to a whole new level. But it really wasn’t all because of the CG, it was the way it was used along with incredible practical effects from Stan Winston. Winston actually built giant animatronic dinosaurs to use for many of the shots, they used CG only when needed and blended it together seamlessly. Check this out, it’s pretty  mind blowing…

This is why the dinos were so damn believable. Then the second and third movies followed, and though  not nearly as excellent as the first, I enjoyed them both. Now it’s 2014 and you might expect that over 20 years after the original we’d be more than amazed by the dinosaurs of Jurassic World, however after watching the trailer this certainly is not the case. Thus far this movie looks like pretty much any glossy blockbuster with the standard lazy CG we’ve grown used to over the years. I’m hoping there’s some magic here in Jurassic Park, I can’t help but wonder if it’s really missing Stan Winston’s genius…what do you think?

 

Give Me More Awesome Puppet Horror Movies!!

Let’s face it, puppets totally rule. Period. They are making a big time comeback too. So now that we’ve got that out of the way take a minute to check out this awesome upcoming all puppet horror movie “The Mill at Calder’s End”! Pulling inspiration from HP Lovecraft & Edgar Allen Poe we get something truly unique to feast our eyes upon. This one was funded on Kickstarter and made twice it’s projected goal. Knowing that stuff like this is getting made without the help of major movie studios really make me happy and thankful that Kickstarter exists and has changed the game for film makers and fans alike.

Here’s a brief  synopsis of film:

“The Mill at Calder’s End is a gothic ghost story in the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft that will be told with 30 inch tall bunraku puppets and old fashioned in-camera special effects.Featuring the voices of Jason Flemyng (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,X-Men:First Class) and horror legend Barbara Steele (Black Sunday,The Pit and the Pendulum) , this film celebrates two of my great loves: the art of puppetry and gothic horror.”

millat caldersend

“From my experience working as a special effects artist in Hollywood for over twenty years and now collaborating with some of the most talented creature effects artists,concept artists, and puppeteers in the industry, The Mill at Calder’s End will be unlike any puppet film you have ever seen before.”

Check out this epic gothic puppet trailer! Hopefully the full movie will drop soon!

A little behind the scenes too: