Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Master of the creature feature

A picture of special effects legend Stan Winston caught my eye when I was sorting newspapers for my office this morning. Unfortunately, the story was a report on Winston's death at age 62 from blood cancer; apparently this was the end of a seven-year battle with illness. I just posted a blog on Jurassic Park on the occasion of its fifteenth anniversary last week; Winston created the makeup and animatronic effects for that film as well as its two sequels, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Edward Scissorhands, and Predator. He also directed one film, the memorable horror flick Pumpkinhead, which centered on one of his unique creations: a tall, spindly demon resurrected to wreak vengeance by an old witch. Many of Winston's films were part of my childhood; after all, in addition to watching the movies themselves I had action figures of the T. Rex, the Terminator, and the Alien Queen. Being the sort of geeky boy that I was, I knew exactly who Winston was from reading behind-the-scenes coverage on Jurassic Park and Batman Returns, for which he designed the makeup for Danny DeVito's Penguin. (Winston was nominated for an Oscar for his work on that film but lost to Death Becomes Her; he won four over the course of his career and was nominated for several others.) Thanks for the memories, Stan. You may be gone, but you're far from forgotten by me and countless fans.

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