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Special Effects and Makeup in Film/TV History: Rob Bottin & John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (Release date: June 11th, 1982)

Bottin is arguably one of the greatest special effects artists in modern film history. Much of his work throughout the 1980’s utilized groundbreaking techniques & pushed the medium to extremes never before attempted at the time. His work remains iconic, inspirational, and greatly loved by sci-fi & horror movie fans worldwide.

Bottin began his career in special effects at age 14 by studying under Rick Baker (who won an Academy Award in “Best Makeup & Hairstyling” for his work on the 1981 film “An American Werewolf in London”). At age 22 he was hired by Carpenter to produce the 5 critical creature effects in his new film “The Thing”, giving young Bottin significant creative control in how the mutated alien life forms would look and move. Bottin worked non-stop on The Thing for 57 weeks, from April 1981 to May 1982 (in fact he worked so continuously that upon completion he checked himself in to a hospital for 2 weeks due to exhaustion). As the effects budget for The Thing swelled from $750,000 to $1.5 million, Bottin’s effects crew grew to over 40 sculptors, illustrators, designers, painters, and mechanical effects specialists.

The grotesque & paranoid vision presented in “The Thing” proved to be too grim for most audiences at the time, especially considering Stephen Spielberg’s family-friendly “E.T” was released only 2 weeks prior to “The Thing”. Despite it’s commercial failures, the film has risen to cult-classic status & is totally a must-see for anyone who appreciates expert SFX make-up and practical effects!

{tune in every Friday for a quick ‘n tasty write-up on our fav SFX make-up & practical effects artists/work in film & tv!}

-Mayar Baynham

Costumes on Haight, San Francisco, CA

(via cinemastatic)