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:
It’s 1961 and the Space Race is proceeding apace. But NASA has taken a tumble and the Russkies hav
It’s 1933 in small town America. Prohibition is soon rumoured to end, which is a blow for a cop li
Inspired by Irish playwright John Millington Synge’s ‘Playboy Of The Western World’, Sean Bros
John Wick (2014) was a lethal cocktail of modern kinetic thrills and 1970s action cinema influences,
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Movie Reviews

KING COBRA [London Film Festival] 22 February 2017

HIDDEN FIGURES 18 February 2017

BLOODRUNNERS 13 February 2017

MY FATHER DIE 13 February 2017

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 09 February 2017

SUN CHOKE 07 February 2017

HAVENHURST 06 February 2017

DRIFTER 06 February 2017

RINGS 05 February 2017

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER 04 February 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner