Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on August 11, 2009
Laura MacInnis – Miramichileader.com
Avenue Q is wrapping up on Broadway after a hugely successful stint internationally.
The Tony award-winning musical is a comedy in which the characters are puppets.
But don’t be fooled. It isn’t for young kids.
Though the colourful puppets are certainly inspired by Sesame Street, creators Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx have placed their hipster characters in a dingy New York dealing with real adult problems. The final performance will be held September 13.
But Avenue Q certainly isn’t the first or the last time puppets will be used to entertain a grown up audience.
Hand puppets, marionettes, animatronics and other techniques have been used in family fare as well as stuff you wouldn’t want your kids watching.
Just think of all the wonderful creatures we were introduced to by Jim Henson in the original Star Wars trilogies. No amount of CGI ever truly breathed life into Yoda the way Henson did. Those eyes, those ears, that wrinkly skin— the animation was just to shiny on the big screen during the Phantom Menace.
Then there’s that other childhood favourite Labyrinth, starring a freaky David Bowie and some even freakier puppets again from Henson.
In the last decade new movies have emerged with sprinklings of the art of puppetry here and there. In Being John Malkovich John Cusack’s character is a struggling artist who uses marionettes.
His job, of course, is a metaphor for the way he manipulates Malkovich’s brain but there is a beautiful scene in the beginning of the movie where two of his marionettes yearn for each other as one lies trapped in a castle. The performance on the street quickly angers a parent who has stopped to watch with their child on the street when the marionettes start getting sexual. Hilarious moment.
Later Jason Segel would create a special musical/comedy about Dracula for his 2007 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Watching a female women plop out 3 vampire puppet babies is worth the price of admission. I only wish that musical actually existed so I could go to it.
It was really Matt Stone and Trey Parker who took puppet movies for adults to new heights with Team America:World Police. The MPAA in the US was so taken aback by a puppet sex scene it was removed from the film altogether. All in all though, there’s almost nothing funnier than the ferocious puma played by a small cute black cat who attacks the puppet heroes. Well, that and puppet Kim Jon- il singing “I’m So Lonely”.
Here’s my list of favourite movies that include some masterful puppetry:
1. Being John Malkovich
3. Star Wars (original trilogy)
4. Team America:World Police
5. The Sound of Music
6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
7. Muppets Christmas Carol
8. Meet the Feebles
10. The Dark Crystal
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Posted in Monsters, New Releases, Special Effects | Tagged: animation, animatronics, art of puppetry, Avenue Q, Being John Malkovich, colourful puppets, creators Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, David Bowie, Dracula, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, freakier puppets, goremaster, Gremlins, Hand puppets, Jason Segel, Jim Henson, John Cusack, Labyrinth, marionettes, masterful puppetry, Matt Stone, Meet the Feebles, Muppets Christmas Carol, original Star Wars trilogies, Phantom Menace, puppet heroes, puppet Kim Jon- il singing "I'm So Lonely", puppet movies for adults, puppet sex scene, Sesame Street, Star Wars (original trilogy), Team America:World Police, The Dark Crystal, The Sound of Music, Trey Parker, vampire puppet babies, wonderful creatures, Yoda | Leave a Comment »
Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on August 7, 2009
Erik Buckman – ReelLoop.com
Brian Henson, son of the late Jim Henson, told MTV that the Jim Henson Company is currently working on a follow-up to the 1982 favorite The Dark Crystal.
“We have a Dark Crystal sequel, called The Power of the Dark Crystal. It has a very strong script.”
You’re right, that’s not much. However, if you live in a world where all you live for is muppet news, this nugget is a bombshell. Henson went on to say The Power of the Dark Crystal, along with his other project, a little thing called Fraggle Rock, are in “very active development.” Henson also told MTV that the script for Fraggle also has a “very strong script.”
That’s two, count ‘em, two strong scripts.
“Both of those projects… are very close to going into pre-production,” Henson said. “They’re both really ready to go. [The studio is] just [in the process of] putting together the final finance pieces and the final distribution pieces.”
Posted in Monsters, New Releases, Special Effects | Tagged: Brian Henson, Dark Crystal sequel, Fraggle, Fraggle Rock, goremaster, Henson, Henson ‘Fraggle’ ‘Dark Crystal’, Jim Henson, Jim Henson Company, muppet news, The Dark Crystal, The Power of the Dark Crystal | Leave a Comment »
Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on July 11, 2009
Alan Groves is an amazing sculptor and dinosaur/creature creator. His began his career in film during the 1980s with the Jim Henson Co. His journey has taken him on a different path now creating impressive life size dinosaur sculptures for displays and National Geograpic pictorials.
Here are some excerpts from GoreMaster.com’s interview with Alan Groves:
GM: How have you gotten work in the industry?
Alan: ”To get work in the film or television industry you have to keep at it. It’s a full time job, which takes constant long hours and hard work. Never give up. It’s a tough career, but nevertheless a very rewarding one.”
GoreMaster: How did you get started working in the Special Effects industry?
Alan: ”I got a job on Labyrinth (1986) with Jim Henson. I was in the right place at the right time.”
Alan Groves: ….”Try not to stick to one area of expertise. Most people just want to sculpt and apply make up. Find out about animatronics, robotics, pyrotechnics and physical effects. Learn how to make plaster and silicone moulds. The more you know, the more you have to offer”
Alan talks about working with earthenware clays, sulphur free plasteline (Chavant NSP medium), silicone rubbers (Wacker and Dow Corning) and isophthalic resins with fiberglass and more!
GoreMaster.com http://www.goremaster.com is a site dedicated to special effects artists, creature creators, makeup gurus and the films, television shows, and theater productions they enhance and make fun!
Posted in GoreMaster people | Tagged: 2001 a Space Travesty, Alan Groves, Altered States, Amicus horror films, An American Werewolf in London, animatronic Psammead puppets, animatronics, Chavant NSP medium, Christopher Lee, creature creator, creature creators, David Naughton, David Warner, Dawn of the Dead, Death Star, Deinonychus, Dick Smith, dinosaur, Dr Who, Driller Killer, earthenware clays, Greg Cannom, Hammer, I Spit On Your Grave, isophthalic resins, Jackie Jekyll, Jacques Tourneur, Jim Henson, Jim Henson Co, Kazuhiro Tsuji, Labyrinth, Life Casting, makeup gurus, making prosthetics, maquettes, Millennium Falcon, Nick Dudman, Night of the Demon, Peter Cushing, physical effects, plaster molds, Psammead, Pteranodon Ingens, pyrotechnics, Raptor attack, ray harryhausen, Red Dwarf, Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, Robotic Wolf, robotics, Ron Mueck, rubber puppet, Scanners, science fiction, sculpting aliens, sculpture, silicone moulds, silicone rubbers, Special Effects, special effects artist, special effects artists, special effects movies, Spitting Image, Starship Troopers, sulphur free plasteline, THE OMEN, The Thing, theater productions, Tie Fighters, Velociraptor, Zombie, Zombie Flesh Eaters | Leave a Comment »