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Special: Monster Legacy’s Monstrous Hundred – Part 3

The Monstrous Hundred continues with the 90s, a turning point in effects-making with the advent of CGI.

Tremors (1990)
Kicking off the 90s roster of creature features on a fabulous note, Tremors is one of the most brilliant, all-around engaging monster movies of all time. From the witty dialogue penned by S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock, to the colourful performances of the cast, to the absolutely brilliant creature designs and effects by none other than the team at Amalgamated Dynamics in their first solo outing, Tremors never once gets boring. A real classic.

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Special: Monster Legacy’s Monstrous Hundred – Part 2

We continue with the second part of the Monstrous Hundred. Now we dive in he 70s and the glorious 80s, which saw a renaissance of practical effects.

King Kong (1976)
Probably the weakest of all Kong films (not including the abhorrent Skull Island), and one with a remarkably extended and multi-limbed controversy behind it. Regardless, this 70s colossal doesn’t fail in portraying the lonely and tragic nature of its main character, whose death is particularly well-orchestrated and effective.

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Exclusive: “The Mechanics of Monsters: From Carlo Rambaldi to Makinarium”

“Three years ago, when I was here for King Kong,” humbly said Carlo Rambaldi at the 1980 Academy Awards, “I don’t know English, and I said ‘Thank you’. Now I learn very well English, and I say, ‘Thank you very much!'”. Carlo Rambaldi (September 15, 1925 – August 10, 2012) was an Italian special effects artist, and in many ways, a pioneer of the craft. In his 30-year-long career, Rambaldi collaborated on a great many films, some more well-known and others more obscure, with directors such as Mario Bava, Federico Fellini, Dario Argento, Ridley Scott, and Steven Spielberg.

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StarBeast — Alien: Covenant, the Alien

“No one understands the lonely perfection of my dreams. I found perfection here. I’ve created it. A perfect organism.”

“They want Aliens, I’ll give them fucking Aliens,” said Ridley Scott of the eponymous creature’s return in Alien: Covenant. Previously, the director had said that “the beast is done. Cooked,” something that resulted in the complete excision of the Alien from the final script for Prometheus. However, the lack of actual Aliens in the prequel film backfired and became a widespread complaint among enthusiasts of the series; as such, Twentieth Century Fox pushed for the inclusion of the original creature in the sequel. “It went straight up there, and we discovered from it that [the fans] were really frustrated,” Scott said. “They wanted to see more of the original [Alien] and I thought he was definitely cooked, with an orange in his mouth. So I thought: ‘Wow, OK, I’m wrong.'”

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StarBeast — Alien: Covenant, the Neomorph

From the start of Alien: Covenant‘s production, it was known that the monsters in the film would be mostly digital effects. “We knew from the outset that we were going to do fully CG versions of all the creatures,” said visual effects supervisor Charles Henley, “but Ridley also wanted to have something there on set that he could frame on and direct, and that could interact with the actors. We started with the idea of reference puppets; later, this evolved into high-quality creature suits.” Scott said: “sometimes the physicality of an actor doing something odd that you haven’t thought of or you don’t want to do digitally, is useful; so whenever you can, always shoot the monster.”

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Monster Gallery: Alien: Covenant (2017)

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: Independence Day (1996)

Invaders on the Fourth of July

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The question of
whether or not
we are alone
in the universe
has been answered
.

The Alien invaders of Independence Day are not seen up close in the film until Hiller knocks one down after its craft crashed. The creature is subsequently seen within a laboratory where the film recreates a key sequence concept common to science-fiction classics it homages — a close encounter with one of the invaders. Patrick Tatopoulos, production designer of the film, designed the entirety of the extraterrestrial elements of Independence Day, including the Aliens themselves.

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StarBeast — Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, the Predalien

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Whilst Alien Vs. Predator marked the first film appearance of an Alien birthed from a Predator host — abbreviated in ‘Predalien’ — the concept had already been explored in the eponymous comics and video games, starting from the 1995 run Aliens Vs. Predator: Duel. Shortly after the publication of that series, freelance concept artist and illustrator David Dorman was approached for the very first attempt at making a film version Alien Vs. Predator. Dorman was assigned the design of the Predalien — which he produced over the course of a few months.

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