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How Cult Horrors Were Made: Practical Effects

October 30, 2019
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  • 4 min
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Are you going to get into the Halloween mood watching good old horror movies? Great idea! 

But have you ever wondered how they managed to make them so eerie even without CGI? Let us tell you about some cool practical effects used in cult scary movies. 

The Ring: The Creepy Walk

There are a lot of things that will make you feel uncomfortable and scared while watching the Japanese movie The Ring (1998). Even the way Sadako, the girl from the well, walks is pretty creepy and disquieting. That’s because in some scenes the actress Rie Ino’o was walking backward. Then, the moviemakers played the film in reverse which created that effect of very unnatural and jerky motion.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Double Exposure Secret

When making the famous movie version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Francis Ford Coppola wanted to use only practical effects. For example, for the scene where Harker is walking downstairs in the background and in the foreground there are three rats running on a beam, the creators used the classic double exposure effect. Basically, to make that scene, two different shots were combined – the first one showing what’s happening in the distance and the other one featuring the rats. By the way, the reversed walk effect was also used in this movie. 

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Alien: Disgusting Yet Beautiful 

If you’ve ever watched Alien by Ridley Scott (1979), you will never forget the xenomorph, an aggressive extraterrestrial with quite frightening appearance. The alien was designed by the Swiss artist H. R. Giger. He tried to make the creature not only scary and disgusting but also kind of sexualized. The alien doesn’t have eyes because for the viewer it is very unsettling when they can’t understand what the monster is looking at. Also, its body is fully covered with slime – to reach that effect, filmmakers used a lot of lubricant gel on the set.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Inverted Fountain 

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) was Johnny Depp’s first big movie where he played a side character, Glen Lantz, who dies in a very memorable way. Glen was sucked into his own bed and after that a geyser of blood shot out of his mattress. To create that effect, moviemakers used a set built upside down and then just flipped over the image. That technique, by the way, was borrowed from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. 

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