Category: Special Effects & Props

Terrify your neighbours & restrain your dog with werewolf “MuzzleMasks”

A. Quinton — Oct. 27th 2015

This Indiegogo campaign launched yesterday, with a target of $45,000 USD and a goal of making your mild-mannered (but rowdy enough that he or she needs a muzzle) dog look like an unhinged lycanthropic killing machine.

The original werewolf MuzzleMasks are designed and hand-made in Moscow, Russia. They are crafted from the finest materials and designed for the maximum comfort of your pet. These MuzzleMasks come in 5 sizes, designed to fit any dog from a Poodle to a Great Dane. MuzzleMasks provide plenty of room for your pet to open their jaw and are created for your dog to make the ultimate bad boy or vicious girl statement!

The makers of the MuzzleMask are raising funds to mass produce these and distribute them in the United States. You can get one of these masks for a pledge of $35 USD. My dachshund turns into a literal trash disposal if left unsupervised, so he could probably use a muzzle, but this one is likely to get me a letter from our strata, sternly-worded and containing the phrase “traumatized children at the playground”.

Bike helmets & CG drool: bringing the “Goosebumps” werewolf to life

A. Quinton — Oct. 21st 2015

The big-screen adaptation of the Goosebumps book series is crammed with as many of R.L. Stine’s monsters as will fit. Via SOLIDASP comes a link to a Cinefex Q&A / interview with MPC production VFX supervisor Erik Nordby and VFX producer Greg Baxter, the two guys in charge of bringing these creatures to life.

In a somewhat dry but interesting discussion, Nordby and Baxter discuss the challenges of creating the Ginormous Blob, the Abominable Snowman, and of course the beloved (by me) Werewolf of Fever Swamp.

Let’s look at one of the creatures in more detail – the Werewolf, for instance?

GREG BAXTER: The initial 2D concept design for the Werewolf was provided by Carlos Huantes. Carlos then built a miniature maquette which we cyberscanned via 3DS in Burbank. This was our initial starting point for MPC to model and augment from.

VFX people, help me out – is “cyberscanned” a term of art, or is Baxter from a CSI Miami episode?

Who performed the Werewolf on set?

GREG BAXTER: John Bernecker was our stunt proxy for the Werewolf. He performed on-camera for just about every Werewolf shot, including running on all-fours atop a grocery store freezer. Erik and MPC Supervisor Pete Dionne built a custom facial capture rig with Go-Pros and a bicycle helmet, capturing John’s snarling for additional animation reference.

Interesting to hear that despite the heavy use of CG, on-set proxies and performers were essential in creating the film’s monsters.

For more on the process, including a wonderful dig at my favourite thing to complain about regarding werewolf morphology, check out the post on Cinefex.

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Complete your werewolf costume with these resin werewolf claws

A. Quinton — Oct. 16th 2015

Tandye, who may or may not be scouring Etsy for new werewolf costume parts for me, found these great resin werewolf claws by Dark Matter Props. These claws

are between 1 1/2 to 1 7/8 inches long from one end to the other, Each set comes with 10 claws (adhesive not included). The claws are marked on the inside to let you know which finger they go on.

The claws are made from a tinted semi-translucent urethane plastic casting resin and then treated to a black/brown wash and sealed. The black/brown wash really brings out the details of the claw-like texture. The result is beautiful. They can be made in black or other custom colors upon request.

According to the product page, these claws can be attached to your own nails with prosthetic appliance/nail glue, and you’re encouraged to further customize the fit with a little sandpaper and squinting. Once you get them on, refrain from doing any Three Stooges routines or vigorous scratching, because these claws “come to a semi-sharp point (such as that found on a plastic fork)”.

These would be a great alternative if you don’t have the patience or the materials to sculpt your own.

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The Wolf Who Came to Dinner

A. Quinton — Oct. 15th 2015

Via perpetual pal Lew DelportThe Wolf Who Came to Dinner, a 2015 short film by Jem Garrard.

Beatrice Barkley is an eight-year-old horror fanatic with a serious problem: her mom’s brought her new boyfriend home to meet the family, and no-one but Bea seems to notice he’s a werewolf. Over the course of the evening, Bea uses her expert knowledge of werewolf weaknesses in an attempt to expose the seemingly innocuous French teacher as a dangerous monster – with unexpected results.

Gerrard is an award-winning filmmaker from London who lives and works in my hometown, Vancouver. Every time I think about the Vancouver connection I get a little outraged and a little embarrassed – how could I have not known about The Wolf Who Came to Dinner, especially considering it was one of the 2015 Crazy8s winners, and one of our two major newspapers wouldn’t stop posting about it in the spring.

I absolutely love the practical werewolf effects on display in the trailer. They were created by Dallas Harvey and his company Vancouver FX Studio. The costume looks like a figment from a child’s imagination brought to life, which could be exactly what’s happening here. For an in-depth look at the process of designing and building the costume, check this interview with Dallas. Also of interest is this interview with actor Adrian Hough, who plays the titular werewolf / French teacher who comes to dinner.

The Wolf Who Came to Dinner is currently being shown in festivals around Canada. For more information, visit the film’s Facebook page.

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Complete your werewolf costume with a custom-painted bodysuit

A. Quinton — Sep. 23rd 2015

I’m putting together a new werewolf costume, and I’m trying not to fall into the same pattern that has screwed me in the past. Like many other amateur werewolf costume people, my instinct is to sink a ton of money into an expensive mask and awesome gloves.  Through budgetary constraints and tunnel vision, everything else ends up as an afterthought. That means my amazing werewolf head and hands are framed by an outfit hastily assembled to hide my lack of fur or grey werewolf skin.

It’s September, there’s still time, and I’m telling myself this now so I don’t spend another Halloween trapped in generic pants and whatever long-sleeved coat I can bear to wear indoors for five hours: I need some kind of werewolf bodysuit.

One option came to me via Tandye, who should know better because we share a bank account: this insanely detailed and highly practical werewolf bodysuit from Snakepit Studios. This particular bodysuit is painted to match a werewolf mask from Immortal Masks, but your $425 USD will get you a bodysuit sized to your measurements and painted to match the rest of your costume.

Snakepit Studios is an Ohio company that started in an engineer’s apartment and now makes dozens of different comfortable, highly-rated custom cosplay bodysuits. Their bodysuits are made-to-order from “lightweight, athletic grade material” that won’t drown you in sweat, and they can be tossed in the wash after a night of getting fake blood and drinks spilled on you.

It might seem expensive, but a suit light this is the literal foundation of a good costume. You can wear whatever you want on top of it, as shredded and torn or fitted and revealing as required, and feel confident that your pasty human skin isn’t showing.

Visit Snakepit’s site for a look at their huge array of pre-made designs, or contact them for a custom job.

Give yourself a werewolf mani/pedi for Halloween, jury duty or a job interview

A. Quinton — Sep. 21st 2015

Thick yellow claws are a timeless and respected nail style for any werewolf looking to make deep, long-lasting impressions on the faces, torsos or locked front doors of friends and colleagues. But what if you’re like me and your keratin situation has cursed you with nails as flimsy and harmless as construction paper?

Don’t worry! You can still get that fresh, ready-to-maul look. In this video submitted by Leticia R, makeup artist Alexys “Lex” Fleming demonstrates how to give yourself a flawless lycanthropic manicure and pedicure with modelling waxPros-Aide (or spirit gum) and some basic cosmetic supplies. These nails won’t hold up to rough wear and tear, but they look appropriately monstrous, and they’ll be sure to impress your professor, orthodontist or bail bondsman.

Check out Lex’s line of ethical, vegan, cruelty-free eyeliner and makeup brushes, plus her other amazing makeup tutorials, including this one that demonstrates how to re-create the look of a werewolf from Penny Dreadful.

Monster Legacy shares everything you want to know about Underworld’s Lycans

A. Quinton — Sep. 15th 2015

The always-fascinating Monster Legacy snuck up on me this weekend with three huge posts dedicated to the werewolves of the Underworld movie franchise. I didn’t see the “Lycans of the Underworld” posts when they first appeared because I sometimes forget that I can subscribe to RSS feeds instead of manually checking sites like a nana with a Dell from 1997, but @Crystalakhanna hooked me up.

As with their Cabin In The Woods coverage, Monster Legacy goes deep on the concept, design, construction and on-set practicalities of the Lycans. From the post on Underworld: Awakening:

For the first time since Underworld, new sculpts for the Lycans were created — based on production photographs of maquettes and suits from the first film. The design, again, underwent some cosmetic changes: different angles and details in the facial structures were added, and the ribcage and pectoral muscles were made more pronounced. The fur on the neck was decreased in mass and length. Certain changes were also applied to the overall color scheme of the creatures, which now featured a darker nose area and different patterns. MastersFX built three Lycan suits, two of which were provided with mechanized hero heads.

This is just a small quote – these articles are long, well-researched, and packed with great photos. You can read equally detailed articles on the Lycan designs from Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Underworld: Evolution, or the original Underworld.

“Snarling Werewolf” is the twisted fever dream of a werewolf costume

A. Quinton — Sep. 3rd 2015

Pretend you have a bad fever and you’ve taken too much cold medicine. You put on a werewolf costume just as the dextromethorphan starts to make the room’s colours fluoresce and walls drip, and then you look at yourself in a mirror. You see the Snarling Werewolf staring back at you.

This half-body werewolf costume was sculpted by Mario Chiodo for BuyCostumes.com as part of their Nightmare Collection. It was almost too trippy for me to post. Its exaggerated, almost reptilian features certainly don’t match my personal werewolf template. It has horns. Horns on a werewolf. At first I scoffed, just as you are likely scoffing – but hang on, my judgemental friend. Learn a lesson with me.

My dismissal undermined the fact that just eight months ago I gave a 45-minute presentation at Howl Con on the subject of “the canonical werewolf”. My thesis: there’s actually no such thing as a “proper” werewolf because they’re not actually real, so they can look however, and that fact is actually extremely fun and cool. Sure, I wouldn’t personally put horns on a werewolf. But I wouldn’t put black olives on a pizza, either. Maybe you’d do one of those things, or even both, and I’m cool with that. It’s a big world!

All of Chiodo’s designs for the Nightmare Collection have a hallucinatory Jim Henson / evil Muppet thing going on. As a child of the 1980s, I can testify that this aesthetic is 100% effective in inducing nightmares in small children, and that, of course, is 90% of any costume’s purpose. Ember The Red Dragon looks like it’s right out of The Dark Crystal, and full disclosure – if I see you on the street in this giant spider costume I am going to hit you with my car. Spiders are problematic.

Whether or not you’d deface a pizza with bitter black trashfruit or put equine ears and a crocodile grin on a werewolf, we can all agree that this Snarling Werewolf is a distinctive and expertly-sculpted vision. It’s available exclusively at BuyCostumes.com for $399 USD, which is much cheaper than a visit to the hospital for taking too much Dimetapp.

1:4 Scale “An American Werewolf In London” bust from Pop Culture Shock Toys

A. Quinton — Jul. 28th 2015

This monster (pun intended) will be available in late 2016 though Pop Culture Shock Toys and is limited to 800 pieces, 300 of which will have swappable heads with open and closed mouths. Either would make a great Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece (for a cool family only, Robertsons).

Details were announced on Sunday through the Pop Culture Shock Toys email newsletter, to which I am not subscribed, so here’s a copy-paste from the folks at Bloody Disgusting, who are subscribed.

American Werewolf in London – Kessler Wolf 1/4 Scale Statue

Will be available through quality collectible retailers

Price : $399.99
Edition Size : 500 pcs
Size : 21.5″ L x 10.5″ H x 9″ D
Est Ship : 3rd Qtr 2016
Pre-Order Discount : Up to 10% for pre-ordering

Features: Open mouth head

American Werewolf in London – Kessler Wolf 1/4 Scale Statue – PCS EX

Will only be available through popcultureshocktoys.com

Price : $399.99
Edition Size : 300 pcs
Size : 21.5″ L x 10.5″ H x 9″ D
Est Ship : 3rd Qtr 2016
Pre-Order Discount : Up to 10% for pre-ordering

Features: Both closed mouth and open mouth ‘switch-out’ heads!

Both photos are marked as “prototype pending approval” and the release date is still over a year away, so there’s no way to get that 10% pre-order discount yet.

Even with the discount, this thing is pricy, but it’s also huge. Just under a foot tall, just under two feet long… imagine this enormous Kessler Wolf protecting the gravy and stuffing at your Thanksgiving dinner next year. “What’s that, Grandma? Why, yes, that is a big werewolf on the dining room table. No you may not remove it. You hosted last year and we had to deal with your tofurky log and miso gravy. Our house, our rules. See, the kids love it.”

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“House of Monsters”, starring Christopher Lloyd, premieres July 28th

A. Quinton — Jul. 13th 2015

Last year, Dawn Brown raised over $20,000 on Kickstarter to produce the first two episodes of a web series based on the House of Monsters stop motion shorts she wrote and directed. The series July 28th on Vimeo, and it look fantastic.

Christopher LloydIn addition to elevated production quality – I mean seriously, check out these incredible puppets – these two episodes feature Christopher Lloyd as the voice of Dr. Gaulstone, “the patriarch of a dysfunctional monster family which includes werewolves, mummies, zombies, and vampires”. As if I needed another reason to watch these.

Both episodes will be available to rent for a combined CAD $2.49, or you can purchase them for CAD $5.00. That’s super cheap, you guys. Like, surprisingly cheap. I believe future episodes are planned, contingent upon the success of these two episodes, and the generation of some more funding. Frankly, I think the trailer alone should be enough to secure them another eight episodes.

For more updates and lots of behind the scenes photos, follow House of Monsters on Facebook and Twitter.

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