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Author Archives: omega

Darwinian Nightmare

Preliminary drafts of Evolution by Don Jakoby elaborated the premise of the story with a much more serious tone compared to the final film. Upon being hired for the project, director Ivan Reitman requested screenwriters David Diamond and David Weissman to shift the script into a comedic adventure sci-fi story, in the same vein as Reitman’s Ghostbusters films. With only a full year before the film’s intended release and a whole alien ecology to bring to life for it, Reitman immediately began seeking the right effects craftsmen for the project. “This wasn’t about one dinosaur,” Reitman said, “or even a bunch of dinosaurs. It was about creating a whole new world.”

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Monster Gallery: Evolution (2001)

The Zorgons

Director Jon Favreau wanted to maintain a generally physical vibe for Zathura‘s special effects — aesthetically, they would also have to homage pulp science fiction from the 1950s and 1960s. The Zorgons — the reptilian creatures that invade the children’s house — were no exception. As with other character effects for the film, they brought to the screen by Stan Winston Studio. Based on vague references in the script of “green scaly space pirates”, concept artists at Winston Studio — including lead artist Joey Orosco — extrapolated an organic creature design that combined humanoid characteristics with anatomical traits and textures from various species of reptiles.

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Monster Gallery: Life (2017)

Calvin of Mars

“When we encounter Calvin in the beginning, he’s not maleficent,” said Daniel Espinosa, director of Life. “I think that in the other sci-fi movies, the unknown is always a threat. In my movie, the unknown is created somewhat by us. It’s not a question of what unknown does to us, but what do we do to the unknown.”

The central pitch for Calvin is, thus, that of an animal isolated from its original context. This creature finds itself in a new, alien environment where it simply tries to survive. “I loved that how we relate to it, is how it relates to us,” said Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays the main character in the film. “I mean, imagine what it would feel like to be taken from your home, put into a strange space station in a box, and then poked, prodded, and electrocuted, like how would you try to survive?”

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Monster Gallery: It (1990)

Pennywise Unbound

He cried out, staggering back, one hand going to his head, and his first incoherent thought was No wonder Stan committed suicide! Oh God, I wish I had! He saw the same expressions of stunned horror and dawning realization on the faces of the others as the last key turned in the last lock.

Then Beverly was shrieking, clinging to Bill, as It raced down the gossamer curtain of Its webbing, a nightmare Spider from beyond time and space, a Spider from beyond the fevered imaginings of whatever inmates may live in the deepest depths of hell. […] It was perhaps fifteen feet high and as black as a moonless night. Each of Its legs was as thick as a musclebuilder’s thigh. Its eyes were bright malevolent rubies, bulging from sockets filled with some dripping chromium-colored fluid. Its jagged mandibles opened and closed, opened and closed, dripping ribbons of foam.

-Stephen King, It

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Exclusive: Interview with Adam Johansen

Monster Legacy had the privilege and honour to interview Adam Johansen, head of Odd Studio, about their work on Alien: Covenant. For the film, Odd Studio merged with Conor O’Sullivan’s Creatures Inc. to create a series of practical creatures that would serve both as onscreen effects and as reference for the digital effects.

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Monster Gallery: Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)

Quetzalcoatl

“The Empire State building had their monster,” Larry Cohen, director of Q: The Winged Serpent, recalled, “but I thought the Chrysler Building was a better-looking building, so I thought, ‘well, they should have their own monster!’ And if you’re going to have a monster that’s a bird, what better place to have it nest than up at the top of the Chrysler Building? It’s kind of designed with a bird-like motif: It’s got gargoyles that look like giant bird-like creatures around the sides of it, and the whole top of it is kind of centered. If I was a giant bird and I was going to pick a nesting place, that’s where I’d go.”

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