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Main article: Brundlefly
I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over – and the insect is awake.
Screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue first approached producer Stuart Cornfield to produce a remake of The Fly, one of the most influential science-fiction films of the 1950s. The core concept the two agreed on was to have a progressive transformation, as opposed to a sudden one. Cornfield told Cinefex: “when Chuck Pogue came into my office and said he wanted to remake The Fly, we screened the original film and decided a straight remake wouldn’t be as interesting as a change of the basic premise from a head-switching to a metamorphosis.” From there, Pogue’s pitch evolved around an introvert scientist having to deal with the progressive corruption and transformation of his body into that of a monstrous hybrid of man and fly. This idea was influenced by David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, as well as Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast, two films that dealt with the contrast between the ‘inner man’ and the ‘outer appearance’.
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Main Article: Son of Brundle
Having been at the helm of the gruesome special effects of Cronenberg’s The Fly, Chris Walas not only decided to attach himself the sequel, but to direct it — assuring to confine the expenses within the same budget of the first film ($12 million) but with more action involving the monstrous creature. A sequel “in the class of Aliens,” as producer Steven-Charles Jaffe told Cinefex. The role of director restrained Walas from collaborating extensively in the special effects department, or at least not as much as he would have wished. He recalled: “design has always been the most satisfying and enjoyable phase of my work, and here I was basically delegating that aspect to my colleagues while I figured out the logistics of the shooting schedules. I visited my studio occasionally — and it got to the point where I regarded my two-day stays there as a vacation because I could sit down and push some clay around.”
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Main Article: Vermithrax Pejorative
Despite all the issues the crew met with the full-size models, the biggest challenge for Dragonslayer would be animation. “We knew the dragon had a lot more importance to this film than some of the incidental things that appeared in only a few shots in Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back,” Johnson said. “The dragon had to be presented in a way that the audience would be absolutely stunned.” Since the beginning, Barwood and Robbins were convinced that the technique that should be used was dimensional animation.
Paramount struck a co-production deal with Walt Disney Productions; as such, full-scale models of the dragon were commissioned to Disney’s special effects company — headed by Danny Lee. Tippett’s final dragon maquette was shipped to the Disney shop — where construction of the full-size models began. “They have a fantastic facility there, with a mill, and a mold shop and a metal-working shop,” Barwood said to Fangoria. “They’d had long practice building dinosaurs for the various Disney parks, so they were fully prepared for the job.” Read the rest of this entry
By the early 80s, spanning from The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad to The Brothers Lionheart, there was an ostensible lack of iconic dragon villains in motion pictures. Audiences had yet to see a fire-breathing beast that would terrify them — and this was the objective Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins set for themselves: they wanted to create a memorable, formidable dragon using the most advanced among the available technologies.
The duo thus embarked in what would become a quest to bring to the silver screen a monster audiences would never forget.