The Digital Dorm's John Law had the chance to chat with puppeteer Frank Meschkuleit from The Thing redux; here's what he had to say about the effects in the film.
Fans of John Carpenter's The Thing have been griping for months about how the prequel appears to be CGI overload, which the trailer does nothing to disprove. Rob Bottin's genius makeup effects in the 1982 classic are a huge reason the film endures, and doesn't feel dated.
But according to Canadian puppeteer Frank Meschkuleit, part of the massive special effects crew on the prequel, don't be surprised to see some old school scares in the new film, which opens Oct. 14. In addition to the CGI will be the type of practical puppet work Bottin made so memorable last time.
"The challenge for the producers was to match or beat that," said Meschkuleit during a recent chat. "Now, you'd be a fool in this day to do a special effects film that has the weight of that great film in front of it and not elect to do some CG, because CG can work miracles. However, they elected to do a lot of practical effects and enhance them. I think this film is going to blow people away."
Asked for some examples, Meschkuleit wouldn't bite: The producers and crew want the thing(s) to be a surprise ("you're going to see more of the creatures ... and I'm not sure they want me to say more than that"). But there were times the director was going to go the CG route but liked the look of the puppets instead, which should ease fears it will an all CG-Thing. Some of the creature designs got under his skin.
"You look at it and go, 'That's spooky.' I'm not a huge horror film fan, but I've seen my share, and when I looked at this stuff I went, 'That is just eerie and crazy.'"
Meschkuleit is the voice of Toopy in the animated kids show Toopy and Binoo, but got his start as a puppeteer working under Jim Henson on Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock. His credits include Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Max Payne and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
He rewatched Carpenter's film before starting work on the prequel, "and I thought, man, all those effects still hold up."
He's confident the new Thing will work some magic of its own: "The stuff I saw, I haven't seen better practical effects from a building and design standpoint."
Thanks again to John Law for sending this in! THE THING opens on OCTOBER 14th.