How The ‘Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’ Monsters Were Created | Movies Insider

How The ‘Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’ Monsters Were Created | Movies Insider

Narrator: What makes “Scary
Stories to Tell in the Dark” so, well, scary are the monsters. The disfigured Jangly Man
and the bulbous Pale Lady look as if they’ve been simply lifted from the ’80s children’s books and dropped onto the big screen. But getting those creatures from 2D to 3D was no simple feat. To do it, producer Guillermo del Toro and director André Øvredal enlisted the help of Spectral Motion. Through a process of sculpting, painting, and careful scrutiny
of the original images, here’s how the monsters for
“Scary Stories” came alive. This is Mike Elizalde, president and creative
director of Spectral Motion. You’ve seen their work. Mike Elizalde: The film that
we’re known for is “Hellboy.” Since then, we’ve done several
other high-profile films, including “X-Men,” “Fantastic
Four,” “Attack the Block.” We worked on the first
season of “Stranger Things.” Narrator: For “Scary Stories
to Tell in the Dark,” del Toro picked Spectral Motion to bring the book’s iconic images to life. Now, usually, when creating characters from an existing source, like
in the case of “Hellboy,” his team would have
hundreds of illustrations to inform their designs. But for “Scary Stories,” in most cases, they had only one illustration
by artist Stephen Gammell. So, to start, Spectral enlisted
special-effects designers Mike Hill and Norman Cabrera to help bring the monsters to life. Mark Viniello: He was very
vocal about, you know, the art direction, and we would constantly send him updates. But what I recall is the first edict was they have to be as true to the
source material as possible. Like, that’s bottom line. They have to be a representation
of that original art. So, we had the pictures
everywhere as a constant reminder to everybody, like, this
is what we’re going for. Norman Cabrera: You have
one picture per story, but they were just such great,
strong, iconic single images that it was just really
important to capture that feel. Narrator: One of the first things they had to decide was
what type of creature they were going to make. Instead of making puppets, Spectral Motion wanted each one to be a performer, which dictated how they
would create the character. Cabrera: We would
literally take the drawing, the Stephen Gammell
drawing, and in Photoshop, like, lay it over to make
sure that all the lines are right where they should
be and that sort of thing. Narrator: But these
characters are gonna be in 3D. In the case of the Scarecrow design, Norman created a digital
art version in this program, ZBrush, to start designing the angles not captured in the illustration. But the most important thing
was to nail the front shot. Once they got approval
from del Toro and Øvredal, they finished a more detailed sculpt, made a mold, and filled
it with foam latex. The pieces are designed
to fit specific actors. In some instances, the actor’s
physicality directly informs the look and feel of the
character they were playing. The Toeless Corpse, for example, was played by Javier Botet, who’s worked with del Toro
on “Crimson Peak” and “Mama.” Viniello: Javier Botet is an incredible creature-suit performer. He has very unique
physical characteristics that we were able to, starting with that as our foundation, really helped in the translation from a 2D drawing into something 3D. Narrator: Another creature
actor, Troy James, who played the Jangly
Man, brought a new level of physicality that
required more attention because of the amount
of bending and twisting the character had to do. Viniello: We had some new ground to break, as far as having him come in
maybe a little more frequently than we normally would for a creature suit because of the unique
physicalities of the character and how we had to work around that. So, it’s just a matter of
having the actors available to come in repeatedly. And we’ll put him in the
suit and we’ll take video. We’ll see, OK, this is
working, this isn’t. We’ve got to address this. Narrator: I want to point
out that these moves are not done with wires or CGI. He can really move like that. Elizalde: When we first learned about what the Jangly Man had to do, we started scratching our
heads and asking each other, “Who’s gonna play this character?” And then we became aware of
an actor named Troy James, who had done a spot on
“America’s Got Talent,” and we took a look at
his work and we thought: “He’s the guy. This guy can do anything.” Narrator: Once in costume,
the next stage was painting. Both the suits and the performer’s skin were painted with acrylics. This stage had its own set of challenges. For the Pale Lady, del Toro
and Øvredal wanted it to appear as if the creature’s dress
had merged with her skin. To do so, Mike Hill had to
create a smooth paint job void of any garment lines on her skin. Cabrera: It was really cool. I know Guillermo was
particularly happy with this one, because it was such a large and, not abstract, but, you know,
it’s one of those things that could be widely interpreted, like, what you’re looking at. Stephen’s drawings, they
have a sketchy vibe to them, so not every line is
realized, so to speak, you know, in the real world. Narrator: The Pale Lady costume had to be put on almost
like a giant snowsuit. Once in, to create the seamless look, they glued up the seams
and painted over them. Now, keep in mind, these are
black-and-white drawings. For a character like the Toeless Corpse, they chose a color palette to give her a “nicotine-stained” feel, using rotted browns
and earth-toned colors. They also had to tackle the challenge of giving this character’s
face a skeletal look. To do so, they added pronounced teeth outside the actor’s mouth, a technique used for zombies
on “The Walking Dead.” They painted a majority
of the actor’s body and covered him with almost
30 individual applications to create the finished look. But the one thing crucial to the design required a missing toe. So Spectral designed a foot that would be finished
later in post-production. The hair for those two
were custom-made wigs by Lynne Watson. She’s done costume hair work
for “Planet of the Apes,” “Lone Ranger,” and my personal favorite, “Team America: World Police.” Each wig took over three weeks to make and are both made with human hair. When designing the Scarecrow, Cabrera and the team asked: What would farmers in
the world of this movie make a scarecrow out of, and how well would they have built it? They decided to give the Scarecrow a look as though it had
a 2-by-4 skeletal frame and was completely beaten
up by the elements. For the Jangly Man, the character made up of
different limbs and body parts, each segment of the creature would therefore have
different levels of rot. So, although several designers
all worked on this one suit, they would each work on
various limbs separately, focusing on a unique level of rot. Del Toro would visit and guide the artists on how rotted certain parts would be and how they should look. Once they were in the suit, painted up, detailed, and ready to shoot, the final step was getting the movement of the characters right. Along with the direction
of Øvredal and del Toro, production hired motion coaches
to develop the performance. The actor, director, and
even the creature designer would all work together
to give the monster that perfectly terrifying
presence on camera. Cabrera: It is like a Dr.
Frankenstein kind of thing, you know? Like, you’re making a monster. This thing has to live. And even though it’s
not living in real life, it’s living in a movie. So, you’re taking this from nothing that didn’t live before,
and now it’s alive. And that’s, like, a great feeling when you finally see it on film and it’s this living, breathing
thing that’s convincing ’cause it’s in the dramatic
context of a movie. And that’s the best reward there is.

98 Replies to “How The ‘Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’ Monsters Were Created | Movies Insider”

  1. LMAO me and my sister couldn't stop laughing when Chuck got stuck in the red room (We were laughing at the costume) ????

  2. I just saw the movie yesterday and my god, the horror genre has been redeemed. The sheer effort put into making the costumes and overall aesthetics of the monsters was so spot on to the books, I am SO GLAD they remained so loyal to the art of the books!

  3. Saw the movie last night. It definitely portrayed the books really well!!! Like stepping back into your childhood..

  4. I loved the movie and the jaggly man did an amazing job, he was on AGT America got talent. He really can bend his body that way, amazing!

  5. The one that always scared the shit out of my was the pale lady. I put sticky notes over the photo of her. I HATE THIS. but my favorite one was always Harold 🙂 great job guys.

  6. the dream story in the movie scared me couse im a kid as soon i got a full look of The Pale Lady I WAS SCARED CAUSE I KID BTW HOW DID THEY DO THE RED LIGHTS

  7. I love all the Practical makeup and costume here if it was another movie the actors would just be wearing black coveralls with dots and balls on them.

  8. this is so cool! im not great with horror movies but im going to see this tonight. hopefully having watched this i wont be tooooo scared lol. the whole process makes me want to learn how to design costumes and stuff!

  9. I thought reading the scary book is terrifying, but nope these unique scary horror suit even more scarier this is whole another level beyond terrifying. image you walk outside middle of the night you seen one these creepy creature. I will be running outta dodge or fight through make it home.

  10. I was really excited for this movie after this video, and I was kind of let down that they put all of this work into the toeless corpse to make her look exactly like the most iconic picture from all the books, and in the movie you only get a good look at the face for like 4 seconds and it’s too dark to really appreciate how much detail they put in. I wish they would’ve focused more on the scary scenes and less on the kids solving the mystery. It ruined the flow of the movie, and I think I would’ve liked it a lot more if it was more of an anthology than another “group of kids in a nostalgic time period fight evil monsters” movie..

  11. I bought a ticket for this movie at 12 AM I just realized there is only 5 people watching this movie and we were sitting separately from each other 1 guy sitting next to me in G line and 3 guy sitting in C line it is truly a terrifying experience ?

  12. Saw the movie can 100% say it’s scary. Not the jumps scares horror movies have, it’s more eerie and lingers on the creepy. Overall amazing!!

  13. The toeless monster was never shown. The Big Toe story showed a picture of the little boy about to pluck the toe from the ground. The picture they're using is from The Haunt story, which I was really excited to see brought to life but clearly it won't be in it ?

    Also the Pale Lady is a story where she was trying to warn a woman not to buy a certain house. So she shouldn't be scary. I'm just annoyed because I love these illustrations and stories so much but I'll obv still see the movie.

    Also the Jangly Man is a "composite" of Gammell's illustrations. So he's not even from the books.

  14. I freaking hated that pale lady from when I read the books in like the 3rd or 4th grade… seeing her exactly as she was in the book, in the movie, was nightmare fuel… I freaking LOVED that movie

  15. They probably spent too much money and time on these monsters for them to only have1 minute of screen time. The movie was more about the decade it was based in rather than the stories?

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