The Science Behind Monsters in Hollywood Movies
By Space Coast Daily // December 12, 2019
Adventure and action are some of the most popular movie genres around the globe. People now love to watch the enormous monsters in movies while playing the Blackjack game on their smartphone.
The city-levelling monsters such as King Kong and Godzilla are one of the biggest tropes of modern cinema. The giant things might come from the far reaches of space or from the deep sea, but they’re by-products of home-grown science gone away from the usual course.
Monsters Have Scientific Origins
Most of today’s most bizarre visions of alternative landscapes and monsters come from the workshop of Hollywood effect studios. Behind the scenes of offices and warehouse spaces, skulks the team whose job is to create tomorrow’s monsters. The monster’s look is the creative handiwork of a team of costume designers, makeup artists and set designers.
“Without real science, these monsters would not have been as terrifying as they’re shown in the movies,” says Beth Werling, collections manager of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. “To one degree or another, all of these monsters have scientific origins.”
The Spectral Motion effect house is responsible for some of the most stunning animatronic creatures seen in feature films today.
Based in a small strip of an anonymous one-story warehouse, Spectral Motion has developed effects and monsters that have since become household nightmares. Since its founding in 1994, the firm has worked on various films, such as Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Attack the Block, The Watch, X-Men: First Class, Blade 2 and Blade: Trinity.
A Single Creature Often Requires Many Dr Frankenstein
Bringing the creature to life in movies is a great job, usually beyond the capacity of a single person. Various traditional skills such as concept design, body casting, sculpting, moulding and painting are required to create a monster while modern skills like computer design and animation now make the list complete.
“Many people think that you’re going to be building a creature from design to completion, but that’s not normally the case. It’s very faceted,” says Lino Stavole, a creature engineer at spectral motion.
Of course, some artists have various skills in them. “My business relies on mostly myself,” says Stuart Rowsell, founder of the Bloodhound FX. “So, I have all the quality control and I only have myself to blame if it goes wrong!”
The Best Designers Think in Two Different Ways
Regardless of speciality, the best artist is the one who is able to think in two different ways. Stavole compares the two brains to aliens living on two different planets.
“You have an alien on one planet who is like a Vulcan (the god of fire),” he says, “as Vulcan likes science, this brain of the artist knows about the scientific part of creature design.” The other planet has an artistic type of alien.
“They communicate with pictures and sculptures, but they also have to communicate history and character with creature design,” says Stavole. He explains that as a natural Vulcan, he works to help the designers understand which sort of structures will make their design move in a natural manner.