VIDEO: The death of practical effects in horror

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In this episode, the Fear Fan takes a sobering look at the debate between practical effects and CGI, and why horror will always need the latter.

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  • TheRedWorm

    What they did to The Thing was unconscionable.

  • The_Stig

    I’ve always thought that CGI and practical effects used hand in hand is how it should be done. The effects of Jurassic Park, a 22 YEAR OLD MOVIE are STILL better than most of the green screen tennis ball ‘We’ll fix it in post’ crap that’s out today.

  • tcorp

    See link:

    I didn’t see the prequel to “The Thing” precisely because the effects were computer-generated (and it didn’t look good in general). However, I didn’t know Universal completely jettisoned the practical effects they already had! So dumb . . . I don’t understand why they did that.

    That said, if the indications from Disney’s CEO in the link above are both sincere and accurate, then studios are beginning to see that practical effects have a unique and important function in special effects generally.

    On the other hand, did anyone see “The Judge”? They CG’ed a fucking cornfield. As if they couldn’t be bothered to find a random road in Indiana (where the movie is set, but not actually filmed) with corn on both sides of the road. SMH.

  • Dan

    Practical effects would not have made The Thing better. The script was sub-par.

  • Sardu

    Peter Jackson and the LOTR movies were something of a gold standard to me in understanding what should be CGI and what should be practical. The blend of disciplines is all but perfect. If it *can* be practical, do it and then let CGI take over when there’s no other reasonable way. And then PJ himself got either cheap, lazy or both and The Hobbit movies are something of a gold standard in forgetting the lessons of the former trilogy and just doing everything in the digital environment.

  • $36060516

    One thing you didn’t mention was the existence of Laika, which uses practical effects instead of CGI to produce some of its animated films (such as The Boxtrolls).

  • R.D.

    I thought the Thing prequel was okay, better than I was expecting if not a touch on the Carpenter classic, but even as someone who would defend CG, there are a few bits where it did stand out too much. I do agree with the overall gist–people who say ‘no CG at all!’ come across as hipster luddites often, since CG can do awesome things, but for horror, you need something that’s rough around the edges, that’s physical and deformed.

    Nevertheless…I saw the ‘Harbinger Down’ trailer and I wasn’t impressed. I couldn’t actually tell the effects were practical when I first saw it not knowing they were, and the producers seemed more interested in harping on about that than if the film was actually good, and it honestly didn’t look much above another shakeycam mess with monsters going oogah boogah. At the end of the day, regardless of your effects, if your film sucks, it sucks. Now, I might be judging too early, I know, but it did not make a good impression on me, nor did the insistence that it would be good just because it was using practical effects.

    I should point out that some directors still use practical when it’s appropriate, like Nolan. The robots in Interstellar, which some assumed were CG, were actually there for real–and that truck flipping scene in TDK? Also done for real. Even Michael Bay uses practical explosions and the like–not that it makes a difference to the quality of his films. The Phantom Menace, also, used more costumes and props than the original trilogy combined, but again that didn’t make a difference to reception. Still, point is, it’s not quite as dead as some think.

  • NixEclips