ByGenevieve Van Voorhis, writer at
Game of Thrones, ASOUE, and all things '00s. Twitter: @gen_vanvee Email: [email protected]
Genevieve Van Voorhis

There's so much CGI in films these days, sometimes it seems like movie sets might just be one big green screen. But even in the digital age, sometimes filmmakers need real physical monsters to pull their scenes together. Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis co-founded Amalgamated Dynamics, and they are two of the best animatronic monster makers in the biz.

Woodruff and Gillis made the creepy creatures in Tremors, Alien, Predator, and numerous other Hollywood horrors. Check out their work in action in this scene from Jumanji (1995).

But these guys don't just make the creatures you see on screen — sometimes, they're inside them. Their specialty? The gorilla.

Woodruff explains that they found that many stuntmen couldn't quite figure out how to manipulate the suits to make them look real, so he and Gillis decided to step into the fur themselves. Gillis added:

"It would be very weird for us to say we're going to build something and then bring it to set and say 'Now what?' If you're a digital animator you build the character and you follow through and you make it move and you bring it to life. So that's our philosophy. The final step is performance, because that's where it lives."

So why would filmmakers choose to go with practical effects in the digital era? Woodruff summed it up:

"Digital effects can do things that we can't possibly do. Practical effects have a presence to them that even the best CGI work gets close to but doesn't completely achieve. In other words, there's more emotion, I believe, to a practical creature than to a digital creature."

What did you think about the process of making practical effects creatures for movies?

Source: Great Big Story


Latest from our Creators