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What a strange movie…
John Landis has been a horror movie luminary ever since he directed An American Werewolf in London in 1981. In the decades since then, he’s seen monsters evolve from elaborate works of costume and make-up magic to elaborate works of CGI.
In his new book Monsters in the Movies, out Monday, Landis explores a century of cinematic creatures, from the currently hot vampires and zombies to apes, genetic mutants, mad scientists, psychos and scary children. Scanning through the book, it’s hard not to be taken by the evolution of how Hollywood monsters are created, from rudimentary make-up tricks to really slick technical feats.
“Technology in movies is always changing,” Landis told Wired.com. “In terms of CG, it’s an amazing technology and like all new technologies, completely overused immediately.”
It’s a transformation the director has witnessed first-hand. When he was in the process of writing his seminal monster movie An American Werewolf in London in 1970, he asked computer-generated graphics pioneer John Whitney if it would be possible for his werewolf’s transformation to be done with CG. The answer was, “Potentially.” By the time he began making the movie in 1981, Whitney had passed away, so Landis asked John Whitney Jr. if it could be done. The answer was, “Soon, soon.”
The technology did not develop soon enough, but maybe that’s a good thing: Landis created his werewolf with make-up artist Rick Baker, who went on to win an Oscar for his work. It was so good Michael Jackson hired Landis and Baker to make his video for “Thriller.” That video turned out to be kind of a big deal, and by the time Landis made Jackson’s “Black or White” video, he got the technology he wanted — it was used to morph the faces of many races at the end of the clip.
“That was really startling for everybody when that video came out,” Landis said. “But within years you can by that software and do it on your laptop.”
Landis adds that there’s a time and place for CG, just like any other movie-making tech, like zoom lenses or Steadicams. Sometimes it works (the director sites Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End as an example) and sometimes viewers walk away thinking, “Well, that looks shitty,” Landis said.
To get a taste of the metamorphosis of movie monsters, Wired.com asked Landis to tell us about some of the best beasts in history. See what he had to say here.
A replica version of the 1989 Batmobile has been put on eBay with a buy it now price of $620,000 (£383,000). The car, described as the world’s only turbine powered bat car, is being sold by its designer Casey Putsch from Putsch Racing. He said of the car:
Having a perfect reliability record, this car is ready to be enjoyed by an enthusiast who is looking for the ultimate luxury in one-upmanship. Construction is in a completely different league than both replicas and of course the movie prop cars.
The design is modelled after the Batmobile driven by Michael Keaton in the Tim Burton version of the superhero tale.
As well as a 365 horsepower Boeing turboshaft engine, the car boasts fibreglass and aluminum coachwork, digital avionics and centrally mounted touch-screen iPad with 3G. It also has an airhorn.
If you fancy putting in a bid, it’s best to hurry as there are only a few hours left to purchase the car.
The next Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, is due for release in the UK on July 20, 2012.
Just imagine: “I AM YOUR FATHER!” XD
The director of the final four Harry Potter films, David Yates, has been chosen to helm the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. As reported by Hitflix, Warner Bros have signed Yates along with Steve Kloves, the writer of all eight films (from seven books) in the series.
The Stand, written by legendary horror writer Stephen King, tells of a post-apocalyptic world where a superflu pandemic has wiped out 99% of the population.
The 823-page novel has previously been made into a TV mini-series in 1994, starring Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald and Rob Lowe.
Since helming Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part Two, now the third most successful movie of all time, David Yates has been rumoured to be developing the World War II drama, St Nazaire.
Before taking on the Potter gigs Yates had made a name for himself in television, directing the mini-series State Of Play, and one-off TV movies, Sex Traffic and The Girl In The Cafe.
Earlier this month, Universal ditched plans to adapt another Stephen King tome, The Dark Tower, which Ron Howard was due to direct.
From Cloverfield to District 9, Monsters to Skyline – we stand in the midst of the biggest wave of alien invasion movies to hit cinemas in almost sixty years. The trend shows no sign of abating – the likes of Battle Los Angeles and Cowboys and Aliens are due before the end of the year, Area 51, The Darkest Hour and Simon Pegg’s Paul follow in 2011.
But what does it all mean? And more importantly, how can you stay safe?
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