weekend we headed over to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
for some wine (quite a splendid oaken bouquet, though I must admit it was a bit
robust for my tastes), cheese (a delicately aged ewe's milk cheese which
complimented the wine perfectly) and philosophical discussions about the
ramifications of violent literature in modern society.
Ok, that's a
complete load of horse shit. We went there to check out the "It's
Alive! Bringing Animatronic Characters to Life on Film" exhibit
which was featuring many of the actual creature creations used in some of
Hollywood's most famous flicks. So without further delay, here's a gallery
of all the nifty animatronics we saw there:
They sure had a nice swanky setup for all these twisted creatures on
When Adam and Barbara ask
Beetlejuice if he can be scary, he responds by
having his face explode with all sorts of weird, spiky snake-like
Well, this is the animatronic contraption from that scene!
An oldie but a goodie, "Hugo" the ventriloquist dummy character
from Dead of Night.
Some "Vogon" characters from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
A couple o' creatures from
Chronicles of Narnia.
All this gadgetry to control some puppets.
I think they also use equipment like this to break into bank vaults.
Yoda from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back!
And this Star Wars guy clearly had too much to drink at the
One of my favorite sights of the day: The Trash Monster from the
infamous trash compactor scene in Star Wars. I couldn't believe
thing still even existed, let alone was on display at an exhibit. That
thing looked like pure evil to me as a kid and actually seeing it
in-person was definitely a real treat.
Note: the creature is actually called a "Dianoga"
but the cards at the exhibit just called it "Trash Monster".
(thanks for the tip Jeff!)
A ghoul from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger and
some dinosaurs from The Valley of Gwangi.
Jason and the Argonauts! Damn did I ever love those
skeletons when I was a kid.
Skeksis head, arm and hands from The Dark Crystal.
I never saw Return to Oz - but by the looks of things,
this animatronic chicken didn't have it easy.
Just in case someone in Hollywood is reading this:
We've had Alien vs. Predator. We've had Freddy vs. Jason.
Isn't it about damn time we had Fizzgig vs. Critters?
"Find the love of your life on eHarmony."
Another unexpected delight - one of the Door Knocker creatures from
Come on Sir Didymus, please let me pass!
What's weird about animatronics is that the stuff that goes on underneath
all the layers of masks & make-up often looks scarier than the end result.
The Change-O Head mechanism from An American Werewolf in London
is a perfect example of this.
Remember when Barbara ripped her face off in Beetlejuice and the
eyes popped out?
Yep, this is the animatronic from that scene. Keen!
I always thought that the Preacher character from Beetlejuice
screen-time in the movie, especially with those awesomely huge
hallowed-out eyes and his muffled voice. It was good to see him again,
even if it was just his severed head.