Kids these days, with your fancy computers and CGI. When I was a kid, we didn’t have fancy computers or CGI, we had practical effects. And we liked it! Special effects are an art form, usually practiced by scary-looking guys carving up some foam into grotesque creatures so they wouldn’t go home and carve up random victims (probably). And I still say movies are better with practical effects — I will say that until I die — so in no particular order, here are some of my favorite special effects artists.
Probably best known for his amazing dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, or the Terminator, Stan Winston really shines with monsters. Having crafted monstrous beasts in movies like Predator, Monster Squad, and Lake Placid, the guy’s finest achievement came in making Pumpkin Head. You know, the ridiculously slow-moving demon who kills teenagers? It’s a classic!
This guy did the special effects for Friday the 13th and Dawn of the Dead, which would be enough to cement anyone in the hall of fame, but he worked on so many movies. Tom Savini is a genius with gore and make up. If you haven’t seen them, go watch The Prowler and The Burning — great effects and great movies!
Those old movies with the weird stop motion creatures that moved all jerky-like? Those were Ray Harryhausen. And Clash of the Titans rules! I will fight you! The owl is so cute!
He did the werewolves in An American Werewolf in London, which in my mind is still one of the best werewolves out there. It’s so easy to mess up a werewolf transformation, and too many people don’t put the right snout on them. That is why Rick Baker is an artist. He does just beautiful snout work.
Rob Bottin created the alien from The Thing. Honestly, that’s all you have to do to be great, just make that one monster. But this over-achiever went ahead and worked on a bunch more like The Howling, Total Recall, and Robocop. Such great special effects!
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