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The Thing From Another World – Part 1

Is that a man in there or something?

“I first became aware of a movie called The Thing when I saw the original film,” said John Carpenter. “It was 1952 and I’d been about four or five years old. I think I saw it on a re-release. It was one of those films that, as you watch it, it was so frightening that my popcorn went flying out of my hands. When they’re up to the doorway and they had this Geiger counter — they open the door and he’s right there — I went nuts. Crazy. Then I read the short story in high school and I realized it was a lot different from the movie. What they’d done in the first film was make the James Arness monster more like a Frankenstein-type of creature. Yes, it was a kind of vegetable that could reproduce various lifeforms but he wasn’t the imitator; the creature that could imitate any lifeform from the original story. The John W. Campbell story Who Goes There? was basically Ten Little Indians with a creature in their midst; and it’s imitating either one or all of us; who’s human and who isn’t? That kind of idea fascinated me. We went in a sense back to that idea with the Bill Lancaster screenplay.”

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Monster Gallery: Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015)

Subterranean Terror — Tremors 5: Bloodlines

Tremors 5 is the first film in the series not to involve in its production the original Tremors creators — S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. In an official press, they said that “for all of us at Stampede, this is a bittersweet development in our long connection with the franchise, since we, the creators, are not involved.” As early as 2004 — shortly after the release of Tremors 4 — the writers had developed a script for another Tremors sequel; the story, set in Australia, would have revealed the Assblaster egg-laying process. In 2012, Wilson and Maddock attempted to negotiate with Universal to produce an independent theatrical film, but the studio refused the offer — preferring to continue the series with more straight-to-video films.

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Hunter — Predator

“A monster from another planet that kills for sport.” This is the brief, poignant description of the Predator given by producer Joel Silver in a promotional interview. Shortly after the release of Rocky IV, a joke made its way in Hollywood claiming that, since Rocky had run out of Earthly opponents to fight, the next one should come from another planet. Said joke unwittingly inspired the Thomas brothers — Jim and John — to write their first script: Hunter, later retitled Predator. “We had an idea about doing a story about a brotherhood of hunters who came from another planet to hunt all kinds of things,” Jim said, “but we realized that wouldn’t work very well, so we picked one hunter who was going to hunt the most dangerous species — which had to be man, and the most dangerous man was a combat soldier.” The first-time writers, devoid of agents, slipped the script under the door of Fox executive Michael Levy – who shared it with John Davis and Joel Silver, the future producers of the film.

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Monster Gallery: Predator (1987)

The Dragon at Gringotts

A gigantic dragon was tethered to the ground in front of them, barring access to four or five of the deepest vaults in the place. The beast’s scales had turned pale and flaky during its long incarceration under the ground, its eyes were milkily pink; both rear legs bore heavy cuffs from which chains led to enormous pegs driven deep into the rocky floor. Its great spiked wings, folded close to its body, would have filled the chamber if it spread them, and when it turned its ugly head toward them, it roared with a noise that made the rock tremble, opened its mouth, and spat a jet of fire that sent them running back up the passageway.

-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Monster Gallery: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Thestrals

The coaches were no longer horseless. There were creatures standing between the carriage shafts. If he had had to give them a name, he supposed he would have called them horses, though there was something reptilian about them, too. They were completely fleshless, their black coats clinging to their skeletons, of which every bone was visible. Their heads were dragonish, and their pupil-less eyes white and staring. Wings sprouted from each wither – vast, black leathery wings that looked as though they ought to belong to giant bats. Standing still and quiet in the gathering gloom, the creatures looked eerie and sinister.
-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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The Lake Folk

A cluster of crude stone dwellings stained with algae loomed suddenly out of the gloom on all sides. Here and there at the dark windows, Harry saw faces… faces that bore no resemblance at all to the painting of the mermaid in the prefects’ bathroom…

The merpeople had grayish skin and long, wild, dark green hair. Their eyes were yellow, as were their broken teeth, and they wore thick ropes of pebbles around their necks. They leered at Harry as he swam past; one or two of them emerged from their caves to watch him better, their powerful, silver fish tails beating the water, spears clutched in their hands.
-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Tribute to Carlo Rambaldi at the 2017 Romics

At this April’s Romics Comic Con — held as usual in Fiera di Roma — I had the great chance to attend a tribute gallery to Carlo Rambaldi, organized by his children. The exhibition was focused on Carlo’s most well known special effects work — E.T: The Extraterrestrial, Alien, and the 1976 King Kong — and featured a painted E.T. sculpture and a replica of King Kong’s hand (mechanized to grab people!), as well as several prints of photographs of Carlo’s work on said films, and of magazine pages with articles on them.
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