BySamuel James Harries, writer at
Twitter: @samueljharries
Samuel James Harries

As one of the world's greatest ever practical FX artists, Stan Winston will always be remembered for his colossal influence on the industry. In 2008, The Stan Winston School was created in order to:

'Preserve Stan's legacy by inspiring and fostering creativity in a new generation of character creators." —

For fans of practical effects, this is hugely important. Having been a part of cinematic history with the likes of Aliens's xenomorphs and The Terminator's T-800, the Stan Winston School continues to honor the FX master's legacy in an industry that now often favors CGI. While the school continues to educate aspiring FX artists, it's also a fantastic resource for fans to see some incredible behind-the-scenes images, exclusive test shots and under-utilized creations. If you don't want to sleep tonight, here are some of The Stan Winston School's most startling Instagram images that show the immense value of practical effects.

1. A (Very) Bad Hair Day From 'Leviathan' (1989)

Effectively The Thing underwater, this beast is from George P. Cosmatos's 1989 creature feature Leviathan. Whether you're a fan of the movie or not (it currently has 5.7 on IMDb and just 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), you have to admit that this marine life hybrid is creepy as hell.

2. Some Smokin' Prosthetic Applications On The Set Of 'Pet Sematary' (1989)

While shooting Stephen King's Pet Sematary, Brad Greenquist was able to take a cigarette break despite missing a portion of his head! Hardcore Star Trek fans might also remember Greenquist as Demmas in Star Trek Voyager, where he sported another impressive prosthetic application that gave him nostrils all the way up to his forehead.

3. Steven Yeun's Eye-Popping Performance On 'The Walking Dead' (2016)

Poor Glenn! For the past 25 years, the KNB EFX Group have been bringing disgustingly impressive works of art to film and television. They've worked on movies like Sin City and Predators, and shows such as Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. As you can see here, they did a fantastic job with Steven Yeun's final performance as Glenn.

4. WTF Scenes Straight Out Of Steve Johnson's Twisted Mind

This transformative use of prosthetics comes from Steve Johnson, who is also known for his must-see work on An American Werewolf in London and Cronenberg's Videodrome, to name a few. Steve, you have a twisted mind and we love you for it.

5. This Tooth Fairy, Who Has Not Aged Gracefully

It's a huge shame that this particular creation wasn't used in production. Personally, I think Russ Shinkle and Steve Wang's animatronic beast might be the scariest facial work on the entire list.

6. A Dentist's Worst Nightmare

This might only be a commissioned recreation, but Steve Wang still created a truly terrifying likeness to what can originally be seen in Blade. As a Star Wars fans, I have to mention his secondary mouth, which resembles a smaller version of Phil Tippett's Sarlacc from Return of the Jedi.

7. Monkey Business Behind The Scenes Of 'Planet Of The Apes' (2001)

This is a perfect example of how The Stan Winston School continues to be a great resource for film enthusiasts. Here we're shown a revolutionary technique that, according to the school itself, is still yet to be used on a major production. Let's hope we get to see this makeup technique on the big screen at some point in the future.

8. This Petrifying Witch In Dire Need Of Nail Scissors

I can't imagine the work it took to create those hands, blemishes and imperfections. Although slightly more otherworldly, this makeup personally reminds me of The Shining's terrifying bathroom scene:

9. You Can't Beat A Classic Creature Feature

As well as a fantastic Instagram page, The Stan Winston School has some great blogs about iconic scenes throughout film history, such as this post about Aliens's "chestburster" homage. I highly recommend taking a look if you're interested in knowing more about how some of film's most iconic scenes were brought to life.

10. Are You Lookin' At Me? A Demonic Stare Created By Joel Harlow

This monster was created for a tutorial by Joel Harlow, whose work you will certainly recognize from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and the rebooted Star Trek franchise. His next project is Marvel's Black Panther, so keep an eye out for some fantastic prosthetic work throughout the film.

11. A Real Head-Scratcher! 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day' (1991)

Yes, that really is a Schwarzenegger dummy! The effect is a moment in film history that will never be forgotten, showing a notable development in prosthetic quality since The Terminator, released five years earlier in 1984.

12. 'Pumpkinhead' (1989): 'Don't Tag Me In That Photo!'

Tom Woodruff Jr. is a creature character designer who has worked on practical effects-heavy pictures such as Jumanji, Alien vs Predator, Aliens and The Terminator. Lance Henriksen stands on the left, and you might remember his less attractive best friend from Pumpkinhead. Actually, I've changed my mind — this is definitely the most fear-inducing creature on this list!

If you want to see more from The Stan Winston School, be sure to visit their website, follow them on Instagram and check out their Youtube channel.

Enjoy your sleepless nights!

What's your favorite practical FX creature from a movie? Let me know in the comments below.


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