ByMatthew Clancy, writer at
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Matthew Clancy

It is a rarity today to go to a movie and see practical effects. Movies today are glossy and pumped full of CGI, which makes much more possible in terms of what the Director wants to show, however is not nearly as impressive. The limitations that practical effects put on the filmmakers forces them to get creative. With CGI you can create ANYTHING fairly easily. With practical effects the filmmakers need to use suggestion, lighting, make up, and most important of all…imagination. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can’t be imaginative with CGI or make amazing pictures. There’s just something more impressive about using practical effects to make us squirm.

Here are the top 10 most memorable movie scenes using practical effects.

Aliens - 1986 - Ripley vs. The Queen

The movie as a whole was more than amazing and iconic, however nothing can top the battle between Ripley in the power loader vs. the Queen. The effects that were used to create the Queen won the special effects team the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. It took between 14 and 16 people to operate the Queen including hydraulics and puppeteers. Not to mention that they pulled this off while having the Queen 100% in camera. Talk about impressive!

A Nightmare on Elm Street - 1984 - Johnny Depp’s death scene

A Nightmare on Elm Street remains to be one of the scariest movies ever made. And this scene in particular made anyone in the 80’s think twice about sleeping on a water bed. To create the geyser effect the filmmakers had to use food coloring and water since movie blood would have been too thick. How did they get it to gush like that? The room was a rotating room and the blood was pumped out of the bed downward with high pressure. Pretty cool right?

The Shinning - 1980 - The elevator blood scene

9 days to set up, one year to complete and approximately 3,000 gallons of blood for each take. Sounds exhausting! Well, word on the street that filming anything with Stanley Kubrick is exhausting but none of us fans are complaining! Oh, and the “blood” that was used was actually rusty water.

The Thing - 1982 - The chest defibrillation scene

This movie set the bar for special effects, and honestly, still sets the bar to this day. The chest defibrillation scene in particular goes down in history for being so shocking, gory and awesome.

Curious how that scene was made? Check out this video:

Alien - 1979 - The chest buster scene

Easily one of the most iconic scenes in Horror or SciFi, the chest buster scene was unexpected, graphic and horrifying. Ridley Scott wanted the scene to be as realistic as possible, and he succeeded. He actually brought in REAL animal organs to fill the fake chest cavity on the table. Combine that with blood being pumped out into the room and bam! You have your famous chest buster scene.

Jaws - 1975 - Jaws eats Quint

There was no fear to go into the water until Spielberg came around with the movie Jaws. This movie STILL to this day makes people think twice before going into the water. The shark may have been an animatronic puppet hidden in the shadows most of the movie, until this scene. When Quint gets eaten its hard to not squirm in your seat. By the way, three animatronic sharks were made for this movie…and they were all named Bruce.

The Fly - 1986 - Brundle’s final transformation

Talk about a horrifying and tragic movie. Watching Seth Brundle slowly slip into madness and transform into the terrifying fly creature is gut and heart wrenching. The Fly won the Oscar for Best Makeup and rightfully so.

Dead Alive - 1992 - The lawnmower scene

Before the famous Lord of the Rings Trilogy Peter Jackson made this blood soaked masterpiece in New Zealand. Not only one of the goriest and most f****** up movies you’ll ever see, but also one of the most fun. Once scene in particular where Lionel takes a lawnmower and cuts down an entire room full of zombies. Movie blood was pumped out at 15 gallons per second during this scene. Whew. Thats a lot of blood. Party’s over!

Night of the Living Dead - 1968 - Karen Cooper kills her mom

This scene may not be the most graphic on this list, but for 1968 it was intense…and realistic. In 1968 no on was really ready to see a child turn into a zombie and brutally murder her father and mother. By the way, the blood used was chocolate syrup. Yum!

The Evil Dead - 1981 - Shelly eats her arm

The Evil Dead was silly, scary and unforgettable. There’s nothing like a cabin in the woods themed movie full of demons, terror and ASH! There’s nothing like seeing a girl eat her own arm right?

Which scene is your favorite?


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