Nowadays movies come rife with so much special effects that are either too much or of such poor quality. But back then, special effects were more than just visual viagra. They were a means of furthering the story. Even today, the special effects in these classic movies look so cool they still hold up.
John Carpenter will always be the true conqueror of the horror genre. After the masterpiece that was the slasher-thriller Halloween, Carpenter returned with a horror-sci fi flick that still wows viewers to this date. The Thing is a romance of detailed editing and bleeding edge practical effects. A group of Antarctic researchers were being slowly pick off one by one as a shape-shifting creature starts possessing and killing them. The Thing is still considered the epitome of body horror with practical effects that leave you debilitated and unhinged.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Judgement Day is perhaps the greatest movie sequel of all time. And that is thanks to the movie using some advanced special effects that had recently hit Hollywood. Newly discovered computer generated imagery could increase the quality of special effects in certain scenes. And Judgment Day used it to full effect, bringing to life Robert Patrick’s liquid monster – the T-1000. Every time Patrick’s T-1000 appeared on screen, we all screamed in excitement. Judgment Day was a ballad of many good things but it is best remembered for making bang-on use of CGI in the right amounts.
Ridley Scott’s vision for the future of humanity was annoyingly bleak. There were LED umbrellas, flying cars, robotic clones, and humongous skyscrapers that blew fire right into the heart of the skies. The future of humanity was full of technology and it was not just laser blasters, space crafts, and light-sabers. Blade Runner achieved this level of complicated special effects using a variety of technique in conjunction. From full scale models to matte paintings, dollhouse parts and a layer of motion controlled cameras, the movie employed every form of special effects available under the clear blue sky to make it possible.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
Back when George Lucas came up with the idea for Star Wars, people laughed at him. Some even claimed the movie was impossible to make because the technology was not advanced enough yet. Lucas proved everyone wrong. He teamed up with a host of special effects supervisors to come up with creative new ways for creating each iconic scene. From World War Two aerial dog-fight footages to life-size models and cosmetic make-up, A New Hope dabbled in a lot of disciplines to make itself a reality. The movie remains a testament of Hollywood’s persistence to attain excellence against all odds.
Years after the release of Star Wars, Ridley Scott came up with another solid idea for a special effects laden science fiction horror movie set in space. Alien was a movie about a space crew who come across a derelict space installation where an alien monster is killing off all humans one by one. Scott resorted to using innovative techniques to create the visual artistry that became the movie later on. Most of the special effects’ success could be credited to the work of H R Giger, whose artworks and designs ended up becoming the basis for the 1979 film.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Some may find the movie to be unflinchingly drawn out but others call the film a milestone of special effects. Stanley Kubrick‘s space drama is a masterpiece of art and fiction. The movie’s special effects still hold up after multiple viewings. Even in 2021, 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s special effects feel so damn modern. Considering the movie was released even before the actual moon landing, that is a feat not many directors other than Kubrick could boast of.