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Lycans of the Underworld — Underworld: Awakening

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Patrick Tatopoulos and his special effects Studios did not return to provide effects for the fourth chapter of the series, Underworld: Awakening. Although the french artist was attached to the production of the 2012 Total Recall film, he managed to create designs for two of the new Lycan ‘types’ introduced in the film — the ‘Tunnel’ Lycan and the ‘Uber’ Lycan. MastersFX replaced Tatopoulos Studios in creating the new practical effects for the film; Todd Masters, the founder of the company, had precedent experiences with Werewolves in the production of Howling VI: The Freaks.

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Lycans of the Underworld — Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

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Tatopoulos Studios and Luma Pictures once again returned to bring to life the Lycans for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Set in ancient times, the film also marks the new appearance of the first generation of Lycans — the original, feral strain of Werewolves. Seven ‘first generation’ Werewolf suits and only one hero animatronic head were used for the film. They were based on the moulds used for the creation of the William suit, with the single hero head actually being the William suit’s head used in the precedent film — appropriately repainted with the new Werewolf colour scheme.

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Lycans of the Underworld — Underworld: Evolution

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The success of Underworld quickly led to the production of a sequel. Len Wiseman returned as the director of the new film, and with him Tatopoulos Studios to bring the Lycans to the screen again. The same basic design for the creatures was used, and most of the moulds were actually reused. An innovation in the design was represented by the greater quantity of hair on the bodies of the Werewolves. This aesthetic modification was implemented to portray the first generation Lycans of the prologue scene, as well as the climax of the film. “We changed up the Werewolves a little bit, made minor alterations to them,” Wiseman said, “because a lot of the Werewolves in this one were in some flashbacks that show the past, and we wanted them to look a little less evolved.” For issues of time and budget, the same suits were used to portray both the newly mutated first generation Lycans as well as the second generation Lycans.

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Monster Gallery: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

An Army of Nightmares

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In the third act of The Cabin in the Woods, all the monsters, and supernatural characters kept in the facility are unleashed, resulting in a bloody massacre. The characters and creatures were brought to the screen through both computer-generated imagery and practical effects, although the AFX Studio crew focused primarily on the latter technique. “I’ve never been in a crew that was trying to make so many creatures for a single film,” said David Leroy Anderson, lead of AFX Studio. “[I have] never been involved in something that was so all-encompassing. I have no way of even calculating how many zombies or mutants we did, because once we were in the thick of things, it came down to as many as we could possibly make in a single day! I think the hard number for types of creatures was somewhere around sixty, but it was well into the hundreds, probably close to a thousand, in individual people turned into various things.”

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Monster Gallery: Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Monster Gallery: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

Monster Gallery: Underworld: Evolution (2006)

Lycans of the Underworld

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“I have a background in genetic engineering,” said Kevin Grevioux, co-writer of Underworld — and the actor portraying Raze in the series. “Given that, I wanted to take a different approach to the worlds of Werewolves and Vampires in this film. I wanted to use science as a basis, rather than mysticism.” However powerful and durable in nature, the Werewolves of the Underworld films are not supernatural entities, but rather “oddities of nature” — as Alexander Corvinus states in the second film — grounded in the ‘unlikely’ reality of Science Fiction. Even before the design process for the monsters actually started, director Len Wiseman was adamant about how his Werewolves should be brought to the screen: practical effects — performers inside suits — were to be largely used.

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