Because it came out in the ‘90s and now people old enough to remember it are running websites, a lot of Internet ink has been spilled recently over the 20th anniversary of The Sandlot, writer/director David Mikey Evans’s 1993 remembrance of baseball, boyhood friends, and the summer of ’62. But the most interesting discovery of all of this nostalgia bathing was the unveiling of three photos (by Mr. Evans himself) of the elaborate puppets they used to create “The Beast,” the giant English mastiff that terrifies that neighborhood kids. Looking at those images (and you can check them out after the jump), we get a little nostalgic ourselves — for a time when computers weren’t the solution for scaring an audience, leaving artists and puppeteers to create the horrifying creatures of moviedom. Let’s take a look at how it used to be done.
On his blog, Sandlot writer/director Evans writes, “I had several ‘GIANT THE BEAST PUPPETS’ built for the movie. One was a completely articulated ‘Giant The Beast Head’ and another was a full over-sized ‘Giant The Beast Puppet Suit’ brought to life by two brave puppeteers actually inside the suit. They were designed and built by my friend and puppeteer genius Rick Lazarini.”
Jaws was one of the most famously difficult shoots in movie history. Three practical, mechanical prop sharks were built for the production — and seldom worked, prompting Steven Spielberg to show the shark as little as possible (which ultimately added to the considerable suspense) and emphasize character over effects.
The title character in Alien was designed by surrealist artist H.R. Giger; in these stills from Alien and Aliens, we’re reminded that even if you’re a guy in an alien suit, the bulk of a time on a movie set is spent sitting around and waiting.
An animatronic double of Linda Blair was built for production of The Exorcist, primarily for the unforgettable “rotating head” image. Here’s Blair hanging out on set with her robot double, like ya do.
Makeup effects designer Mark Shostrom and his crew on the set of Don Coscarelli’s 1988 cult classic Phantasm II.
Robert Englund on the set of A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge, as his Freddy Krueger make-up is carefully applied…
… and then not-so-carefully removed.
Little Leo DiCarpio on the set of Critters 3. (It was his first movie!)
Screenwriter/co-star Stephen King makes friends on the set of Creepshow.
Hitchcock, cast, crew, and The Birds.
A man with a mullet manipulates Chucky on the set of Child’s Play.
Michael Myers (played by Nick Castle, who would go on to direct The Last Starfighter and Dennis the Menace) gets parched on the set of the original Halloween.
Pennywise (Tim Curry) gets a touch-up on his terrifying clown makeup for It.
Our top image finds Lon Chaney Jr. getting a little help from his co-star on the set of The Mummy’s Curse (1944). Below, original Mummy Boris Karloff gets a drying-off and a cup of tea. The “monster having his tea” shot was a popular one on the Universal lot…
… as we see in this shot (of Karloff again) on the set of Frankenstein…
… and in this image of Karloff and occasional co-star, occasional rival Bela Lugosi on the set of their 1934 team-up The Black Cat.
Hair mats: occupational hazards of being The Wolf Man.
Toho Studios effects director Eiji Tsuburaya on the set of Kingu Kongu tai Gojira, aka King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Sophisticated underwater photography for Revenge of the Creature (Clint Eastwood’s film debut!).
The great Ray Harryhausen manipulating a stop-motion dragon for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
William S. Burroughs meeting a Mugwump on the set of David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch adaptation.