Monday, June 16, 2008

Stan Winston, RIP

Like most really intelligent people, I get my news from AINT IT COOL. And they have just received word that special effects master Stan Winston has passed away.

You may not know Stan but you definitely have seen his work. He created the creatures for Alien, Predator, Edward Scissorhands, the penguins (and look of the Penguin himself) in Batman Returns, the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, the list goes on and on. He recently made the Mark One armor for Iron Man.

A few years ago, when I was going to direct EVERYBODY'S DEAD for Artisan, Stan invited me and the producer of the film to his studio to talk about either (A) Stan going low budget and making the zombies for us or (B) putting us in contact with one of his sister effects houses that could handle the zombies. I didn't care WHAT we were going for, I just knew we were going to STAN WINSTON'S STUDIO.

On the way there, not even the sight of a dog getting hit by a car could bring us down (well, much...I pretended it was a Stan Winston creation, obviously set up by the man himself to impress guests).

Once there, we sat in the waiting room for Mr. Winston. Staring back at us were the actual creatures from all his movies, including a full-sized T-Rex head coming in through the wall. I was most excited about the MONSTER SQUAD creatures, and this made Stan very happy.

We then got to go on a tour of the facility. It was an hour full of seeing monsters come to life (okay, we saw the Budweiser frogs come to life, but they're kinda monstrous), key cards to allow entrance into top secret rooms for the JURASSIC PARK sequel (then called "Extinction").

Stan was proud of each and every creation, and a sweet guy. I remember thinking that, in the middle of a somewhat annoying pre-production process (the executives didn't "get" aspects of the script, and were fighting to change the name of the movie to DEAD MAN'S PARTY or PARTY AT GROUND ZERO), the producer and I realizing that these kinda days should be appreciated. If you told 8 year old Brian Lynch he got to spend a day with all those creatures, he would have (a) crapped his pants because he was a pussy but also (b) had trouble waiting to get to that part of his life. Hollywood seemed all the cooler that day.

Also, when we went to lunch right after, Danny DeVito walked through the restaurant. I'm a huge fan of his, but considering I just spent a few hours with Raptors and Small Soldiers and Predators, I didn't get too excited.

Check out Stan's official site HERE to see how brilliant the guy was.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Winston.


Fenderlove said...

It's a shame about Mr. Winston. He really was a credit to his field and will be sorely missed. ;_;

Julian Smith said...


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