CREATURE DESIGNERS: THE FRANKENSTEIN COMPLEX [Dead by Dawn]

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

Put simply, Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex takes a look at the work of prosthetic and special effects makeup artists. The concept draws an immediate comparison to the 2011 documentary Nightmare Factory, which focused on the work and history of effects house KNB and in particular its cofounder Greg Nicotero. However, Creature Designers places far more focus on the myriad creations themselves while also taking a dive into the minds of the kind of people driven to create them. 

From the make up work of Lon Chaney who, without any kind of education or training, simply figured out how to transform himself into a legion of tortured monstrosities, through the building of full-scale physical monsters, to modern film techniques utilising motion capture and creating the iconic creatures on a computer screen, the history of the craft of designing creatures, monsters, and humanoids is given a loving discussion by those responsible for some of the most iconic creations of the last several decades.

Major contributors are effects luminaries such as Rick Baker, Tom Woodruff Jr, Phil ‘Raptors in the goddamn kitchen’ Tippett, and Greg Nicotero; directors Guillermo del Toro, John Landis, Joe Dante, and Kevin Smith; as well as actor Matt Winston (son of the late and much-missed Stan), and you can feel the passion the guys have for the craft in every loving description of the conception and development of each idea.

Quite surprising is the lack of actual film footage used to illustrate the points. It was evidently (and quite correctly) felt that the sight of these creations in their dormant but nevertheless meticulously constructed state was enough to inspire suitable awe in viewers without a repetition of the shots for which they are most well known, while the explanations of the exhaustive and intensive process that went into their constructions allows us to fully appreciate just how much work it takes to bring to life even one such creation.

Rob Bottin is mentioned by several contributors throughout but noticeable by his absence, and from a comment late in the film it transpires that he gave up on the industry due to the lack of respect he was receiving. Likewise, Tom Savini is nowhere to be seen (and in fact, is only even mentioned once), which is a little surprising given that he is a name that general audiences are most likely to be familiar with.

A fascinating look into a side of filmmaking rarely granted the prominence it deserves, Creature Designers presents the creation process with as much reverence and enthusiasm as the artists themselves have for it, so much so that it might even inspire people to give it go themselves.

CREATURE DESIGNERS: THE FRANKENSTEIN COMPLEX / CERT: TBA / DIRECTOR: GILLES PENSO, ALEXANDRE PONCET / STARRING: RICK BAKER, PHIL TIPPETT, TOM WOODRUFF JR, GREG NICOTERO, GUILLERMO DEL TORO, JOE DANTE, JOHN LANDIS / RELEASE DATE: TBA

 


Suggested Articles:
Tsunambee is one of those movies which is so howlingly bad it makes your eyes bleed; or at least it
The Transformers films serve as a smug reminder that no matter how criminally unwatchable blockbuste
In the aftermath of an earthquake, strange, disgusting and mostly unrelated events occur. To expla
Frank Pierce (Kevin Interdonato) leads a seemingly normal life in a small town. However, when he hel
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Movie Reviews

TSUNAMBEE 22 June 2017

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT 21 June 2017

KUSO 17 June 2017

BAD FRANK 17 June 2017

ROCK DOG 16 June 2017

THE MUMMY 13 June 2017

NAILS 08 June 2017

KARATE KILL 07 June 2017

WONDER WOMAN 02 June 2017

DEEP IN THE WOOD 30 May 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner