by Count Gamula
Okay, gang. Here's a rare treat courtesy of multiple Academy Award winning make-up effects artist and first class Monster Kid, Rick Baker. The amazingly talented Mr. Baker is always experimenting with the latest creative computer software in order to stay on top of the new movie-making technology and techniques of blending traditional make-up with digital effects. When he purchased the editing program Final Cut Pro at the end of the nineties, he decided the best way to learn it quickly would be to dive right in and start creating.
First, testing the audio editing software that came with the program, Rick decided to record his own rendition of Bobby "Boris" Pickett's 1960's hit, THE MONSTER MASH. He then decided to take it a step further. Having his own replica of the FRANKENSTEIN lab from the 1931 Universal classic to use as a backdrop, he decided to create a complete music video throwing in as many startling digital effects as he could.
Unfortunately, after almost all the digital effects and animation were completed, the close-to-final version was lost during a software upgrade. Rick never found the time to re-do the lost effects so he stresses that what you will see here is an unfinished version that is missing several bits of animation and additional digital effects.
“There was more animation in the more finished version”, Rick reveals. “The intro animation was better and the door of the castle opened up. I had my face matted on the crummy bat animation at the end and I also did an animated shot of the monster walking and an animated mad scientist. I had more film clips stuff like the villagers slap dancing when I said ‘The party had just begun’ and better transitions between shots.
“It was fun doing this and I learned a lot” Rick continues. “I started some 3d animated stuff for the ending which really only has place holders in there now. I also did a much better chorus part in the song – less annoying and a little closer to being on key. My original thought was that these monsters shouldn't sing well but it hurts to listen to that first version so I redid it.”
I would be great to someday see the video as Rick intended it to be (Rick is still trying to locate missing parts which may have been preserved on video tape) but we think you'll agree that it's pretty impressive as is.
Just as impressive as the digital work is the fact that Baker did this project entirely alone. He sang the song, played all the parts and did all the camera work himself in addition to the editing and digital effects. After seeing the weird stuff Rick came up with for the film, some people agreed that doing things all alone might be the best thing for Rick. All alone in a little room with padded walls, that is.
Luckily for us monster lovers, Rick's is still walking around free and dreaming up more bizarre and frightening creations. He is currently at work creating the make-up for the big budget remake of THE WOLF MAN starring Benicio Del Toro as Larry Talbot and Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot. The make-up design is still top secret but Rick says he thinks fans of the original version will be pleased with it.
We can't wait. Thanks, Rick!
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© Rick Baker
SELECTED RICK BAKER MAKE-UP EFFECTS CREDITS
It's Alive (1974)
King Kong (1976)
Star Wars (1977)
The Incredible Melting Man (1977)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
The Funhouse (1981)
Michael Jackson's Thriller (1983)
Harry and the Hendersons (1987)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
The Rocketeer (1991)
Ed Wood (1994)
The Frighteners (1996)
Men in Black (1997)
Mighty Joe Young (1998)
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Men in Black II (2002)
The Ring (2002)
The Haunted Mansion (2003)
The Wolf Man (2009)