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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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Monster Gallery: Dune (1984)

Sandworms of Arrakis

Sandwormcropped

Static electricity is IGNITING in the air and the sand is swirling around the harvester. Then they see it. A wide hole emerges from the sand, glistening spokes within it. The hole is twice the size of the harvester. Suddenly the machine turns and slides into the hole, parts of it EXPLODING. The SOUND is deafening.

This is what Paul Atreides witnesses in his first ‘close encounter’ with a Sandworm, in David Lynch’s final script for the 1984 film adaptation of Dune. In the universe of Frank Herbert’s eponymous novel series, the Sandworms are the titanic inhabitants of the desert planet Arrakis. Their name among the Fremen is Shai-Hulud, a term actually derived from Arabic, and literally translatable as ‘eternal thing’. In the Fremen language, however, the term can have different meaning, depending on the size of the worm itself. ‘Old Man of the Desert’, ‘Grandfather of the Desert’ and ‘Old Father Eternity’ are among the known translations. The term also alludes to the Fremen belief that the Sandworms and their actions are embodiments of God.

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