Horror Movies give us shocks and brings out our worst fears.
Horror movies are as popular as other Genre films among the audience.
From the earlier days, films used Visual effects to produce illusions and tricks that have startled audiences over the years.
At the beginning of cinema, the Father of special effects, George Méliès successfully created ‘tricks’ within his films like ‘The Haunted Castle’, ‘A Terrible Night’ etc.
Méliès used his camera to produce haunting effects.
In early films mainly camera was used to create effects such as simple jump-cuts or superimpositions; after that optical effects came such as dissolves, wipes, skip frame, blow ups, double exposures etc.
Modern techniques like Cel animation, scale modeling, claymation, digital composition, animatronics, prosthetic makeup, morphing and computer-generated Imagery are used widely for creating amazing visual special effects.
Some of the best VFX used Hollywood Horror movies are ‘The Conjuring’, The Ring’, ‘Alien’, ‘Sinister’, ‘The Fly’ and the list goes on.
One of the early 1970s film ’The Exorcist’ directed by William Friedkin, is the first horror film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Many publications regarded it as ‘one of the greatest horror films of all time’.
The filmmaker used practical effects like a rubber dummy of Linda Blair was used when Regan’s head twisted 360 degree which looked real due to lighting on set, a hidden tube was attached to Linda Blair’s chin that shot out the thick green slime for the vomiting scene.
Dick Smith was the makeup artist in this film.
The most horrible scene of Regan’s spider walk down the stairs of the MacNeil home was created with the help of wires but later wires were erased with the help of CGI.
The Horror filmmaker James Wan made ‘The Conjuring’ (2013) and ‘The Conjuring 2’(2016). In ‘The Conjuring’ film VFX artist Juan Vargas created computer generate Chair (which moves of its own), Glass and Crucifix. VFX artist David Ridlen created CGI sheet, bird and necklace.
The scene of Lorraine’s visions; shot completely in front of green screens and the special CGI effects were added with VFX in the post-production stage.
The demon Valak was produced by visual effects. CGI helped to show demon coming out of portrait and flying.
Actor Kevin Bacon was digitally removed from the footage to capture the effect of invisible Sebastian.
Motion Capture technique was widely used in the film.
Visual effects Supervisor Craig Hayes replaced actor Kevin Bacon with a digital clone to form an outline of his performance.
Every body parts of Kevin Bacon were scanned to make the clone more like Bacon.
The crew used Volume-rendering software to replicate inside of Bacon’s body.
Special effects supervisor Scott Anderson created three-dimensional digital model of the inside of Bacon’s body to create the ‘transformation scene’ where Sebastian becomes invisible.
Special effect of the ghost appearing and disappearing in the film ‘Lights Out’ (2016) was done by using a split-screen technique.
The filmmaker took the shot with Diana and without Diana, the Director simply turned the camera on with Diana and turned it off and she walked off and again he turned the camera on.
The director of the film David F. Sandberg utilised different forms of light sources from flashlights to cell phones and gunfire.
In the film when Diana appears in Rebecca’s room, the crew replaced passing car headlights with the flashing neon sign in the post-production stage.
Another commercially successful film is ‘Poltergeist’ made in 1982
It received BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects.
The sequence of ‘Flying Objects’ took nine month for optical department to get right.
The crew worked on wide range of tonalities for the background.
There was a closet in the film which had all the glowing blue spectral light and to get that effect, technicians used strobes lights, Las Vegas spotlight, smoke machines, four large wind machines and fish tanks were put in front of the beams to give the light a ghostly presence.
At the time of the film ‘Poltergeist’ CGI (Computer generated Imagery) was not much in use, the technicians had to depend on the props and physical effects.
A 6-foot model home was constructed for the end shot of destruction.
The FX crew decided to put thick cables through the model and to simply pull it into a funnel attached to a high powered vacuum.
FX members worked for extra two month to make the effect perfect after the model destruction shot was completed.
Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) worked on VFX of this film.
Kevin Mack, Visual effects supervisor of the film ‘Ghost Rider’ (2007) and Visual effects team at Sony Pictures Image-works handled the difficult task of creating Computer-generated fire on a shot-by-shot basis.
Directed by Mark Steven Johnson, this film is based on Marvel Comics character.
VFX team designed the skull flame smaller and blue to display emotion not fury.
Kevin’s team also created computer-generated motorcycles, chains, water, dementors and buildings.
There were 800 Visual effects shots.
The film had lot of fire and smoke effects created by Australia’s Iloura, the main VFX house of the film.
Iloura’s VFX supervisor Glen Melenhorst worked on 450 visual effects shots of which 30 percent were fire related.
For compositing The Foundry’s Nuke was used.
From mid 1990s, the power of Computer generated Imagery allowed filmmakers to create new creatures, new world and more scares.
The best visual effects can be achieved by using both practical and digital effects.
Today, CG tools are used more as an ‘enhancement’ to the existing live action.
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