GoreMaster Archives

 

Face Off Season 2

In its second season, Syfy’s “Face Off” introduces a new crop of rising special effects make-up artists, embarking on elaborate feature challenges that will test the limits of their imaginations. They’ll be judged every week by industry veterans who have worked on such films and TV shows as The Hunger Games, Pirates of the Caribbean, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and more. Find out more about the show, and visit the official site — the new season of “Face Off” starts tonight at 10/9c on Syfy.

U.S. Census Bureau: Halloween Facts 2011

 

halloween census bureau facts 2011

FROM: www.census.gov

Halloween: Oct. 31, 2011

The observance of Halloween, which dates back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of witches, ghosts and vampires. Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals have changed dramatically. Today, Halloween is celebrated many different ways, including wearing costumes, children trick or treating, carving pumpkins, and going to haunted houses and parties.

Trick or Treat!

41 million

The estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2010 — children 5 to 14 — across the United States. Of course, many other children — older than 14 and younger than 5 — also go trick-or-treating.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census, <http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml>.

116.7 million

Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2010 — all potential stops for trick-or-treaters.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census, <http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml>.

92%

Percentage of households with residents who consider their neighborhood safe. In addition, 78 percent said there was no place within a mile of their homes where they would be afraid to walk alone at night.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States, 2005, Table 4,
<http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/extended-05.html>

Jack-o’-Lanterns and Pumpkin Pies

1.1 billion pounds

Pumpkin production by major pumpkin-producing states in 2010. Illinois produced an estimated 427 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. California, New York and Ohio were also major pumpkin-producing states, each with an estimate of more than 100 million pounds.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
<http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/VegeSumm/VegeSumm-01-27-2011.pdf>

Where to Spend Halloween?

Some places around the country that may put you in the Halloween mood are:

Candy and Costumes

1,177

Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2009, employing 34,252 people. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 135, followed by Pennsylvania, with 111.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns: 2009, NAICS codes (31132 & 31133), <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>

409

Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate confectionary products in 2009. These establishments employed 16,974 people. California led the nation in this category, with 45 establishments.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns: 2009, NAICS code (31134) <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/> NAICS code (31134)

24.7 pounds

Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2010.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Industrial Reports, Confectionery: 2010, Table 1,
<http://www.census.gov/manufacturing/cir/historical_data/ma311d/index.html>

1,719

Number of costume rental and formal wear establishments across the nation in 2009.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 County Business Patterns, NAICS code (53222)
<http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women’s History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
    St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother’s Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father’s Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)

 

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

 

May is Zombie Awareness Month

Dawn of the Dead

May is the official Zombie Awareness Month of the Zombie Research Society.

Many films important to the evolution of the modern Zombie are set in the month of May, from the original Night of the Living Dead, 1968, to the well received Dawn of The Dead remake of 2004.

Also, because Spring naturally brings with it a sense of renewal and hopefulness, May is the perfect month to emphasize continued vigilance in the face of the coming Zombie Pandemic.

zombie awareness month gray ribbonSupporters of Zombie Awareness Month wear a gray ribbon to signify the undead shadows that lurk behind our modern light of day.  From May 1 through May 31, Zombie Research Society Members and friends take this small step to acknowledge the coming danger.

Despite common misconceptions, Zombies – and the threat they represent – are not connected with the late October pagan tradition of Halloween.  Witches, ghouls and monsters, all Halloween staples, are otherworldly creatures of old, filled with mysticism and superstition.

Zombies, on the other hand, are biological entities, made of flesh and blood, and functioning under the same laws of science and reason that all worldly beings must.

- Zombie Research Society

Star Wars Day May 4


Star Wars Saga poster

 


Star Wars Day may refer to one of several dates or events honoring or involving Star Wars.

This day is considered an unofficial holiday by Star Wars fans to celebrate Star Wars culture and remember the films.

May 4 is called Star Wars Day (also sometimes known as Luke Skywalker Day) because of the popularity of a common pun spoken on this day. Since the phrase “May the Force be with you” is a famous quote often spoken in the Star Wars films, fans commonly say “May the fourth be with you” on this day.

Despite efforts to start a Jediism Church with May 4 as its Star Wars Day, and despite the Catholic origin of the phrase, as of 4 May 2010 (2010 -05-04) there is no religion-supporting organization that promotes May 4 as Star Wars Day apart from the Church of Jediism.

The joke has been recorded in the UK parliament’s Hansard.

In 2005 German news TV channel N24 interviewed George Lucas and asked him to say his famous sentence, “May the Force be with you.” The translator simultaneously translated to German: “Am 4. Mai sind wir bei Ihnen”. (We shall be with you on May 4). This was captured by comedy show TV Total and aired on May 18, 2005. However, the “May the 4th be with you” joke was already a known yearly joke to many before 2005.

On social networks like Twitter and Facebook the hashtag #starwarsday is used for this day.

The Los Angeles City Council declared May 25, 2007 as Star Wars Day, in honor of the May 25, 1977 release date of Star Wars: A New Hope.

A countdown to May 4, 2011 was started on maythe4th.starwars.com with a message stating that “all will be revealed”. This was an “official” announcement since it was stated on starwars.com. After reaching zero, the site crashed due to high levels of traffic. This also affected FoxMovies.com, from which the site was initially directed to.

It had been announced that the entire saga will be released in a 9-disc blu-ray edition set in September 2011.

 

Conor McCullagh Syfy Face Off Winner

Conor McCullagh is Syfy Channel's first Face Off Winner

FROM:  Florida Sentinal

Conor McCullagh, 40, of Apopka, Florida says he knew he had a good chance to win “Face Off,” the Syfy contest for special-effects makeup artists.

And yet, he was tense. “I can say when we were in the competition, there were so many things I didn’t expect,” McCullagh says. “I didn’t always know what the judges were going to say. It played with my head. Right up to end, I was nervous.”

He is nervous no more. He triumphed and collected $100,000.

faceoff winner Conor McCullagh

Conor McCullagh reacts to winning Face Off's first season

 

“I feel great that I can finally break my silence,” he says. “It does weigh on you if you can keep a secret for four months. I’m relieved, even though I knew how the competition went.”

He knows what he’ll do with that money. “I’m going to clear up all my debt, and I’m way overdue for a car,” he says. “I’m also overdue for a real vacation. Beyond that, I’m going to save some money.”

His credits range from “The Vampire Diaries” to “Seed of Chucky” to “Adaptation.” He recently stopped teaching at Joe Blasco Makeup School in Orlando and is weighing career options. “I’m not just sitting back,” he says. “I have my feelers out. I’ve talked to people involved in the show.”

Another bonus: He was happy with the way he was edited. “I can’t complain. Overall, they were very fair,” McCullagh says.

GoreMaster's Halloween Costume Picks 2010

Iron Man

“The truth is…I am Iron Man.”

iron man costume adult maleYou are Tony Stark. You’re Brilliant. You’re a Billionaire. And you have the Baddest Suit ever created. Women want you and men want to be you! The Iron Man Mark 6 Costume is Red and Gold. You’ll get a chiseled PVC molded muscle chest andiron_man_costume_adult_male lots of gold embellishments. The emblem on your chest will glow with power. A realistic mask is also included in this heroic ensemble.

Includes: Jumpsuit, Mask. This is an officially licensed Marvel™ product.

The Classic Wolfman

Ow-ow-ow-ooooh!

wolfman deluxe adult costume maleCould this be the scariest werewolf, yet? Find out for yourself wearing this Wolfman Deluxe Adult Costume. And if you’ve been bitten by the bug (or the wolf, as the case may be), this costume has your name on it! It includes a hairy-armed shirt, with attached period-men’s shirt (all torn up, because as we know, that’s what happens when you change from man to beast!), a pleather vest, a very scary overhead latex wolf mask, and 10 gnarly wolf-claw fingertips!

* Available in Men’s Sizes: Standard and X-Large.
* Includes: Shirt, Vest, Mask, Fingertips (10).

Star Trek Classic Gorn Deluxe Latex Mask

Star_Trek_Classic_Gorn_Deluxe_Overhead_Latex_Mask_AdultA cold-blood reptilian species from Star Trek, the original series!
They look like lizard-people, but they are intelligent, sentient beings, so do not underestimate them! Kirk had to use all his skills to defeat this classic enemy. Be a classic character from the original Star Trek series when you don this deluxe ’lifelike’ latex Gorn mask! Sculpted features, comfortable fit and authentic design will make this mask a sensation at your next party. The classic “Hisssss” sound is up to you!

* Boldly go where no group has gone before – Be sure to look for all our Star Trek costumes, props, and costume accessories to complete your cosmic cast this Halloween!
* This is an officially licensed Star Trek™ mask.

Wickedly late for an important date!

Wicked White Rabbit

Wicked_White_Rabbit_Adult_CostumeMeet all your evil wicked wonderland friends at the tea party massacre this Halloween! This scary costume includes a black suit jacket with an attached burgundy vest, a matching jabot, black pants, a crazy psycho bunny mask, and a black top hat. Guaranteed to be a bone chilling thriller at your next costume party!

* Available in adult sizes: Small, Medium, and Large.
* Includes: Jacket, jabot, pants, mask, and hat.
* Does not include: Chain clock, nails, or shoes.
* Pair with your favorite wicked wonderland costumes for the ultimate crazy group theme this Halloween!

It’s time to reap the bad seeds you’ve sown.

The Bad Seed

Bad_Seed_Creature_Reacher_AdultThe Bad Seed Creature Reacher costume includes: highly detailed oversized pumpkin face latex mask with open jaw and long tongue, gnarly & root-like foam latex hand and arm extensions, ragged burlap overshirt, brown undershirt, and rope belt.

* Available in Adult Standard One-Size.
* The foam latex hands move with you to give you that extra long reach.
* Keep an eye out for our other Creature Reachers™ costumes (sold separately).
* This is an officially licensed Creature Reachers™ product.

Jabba The Hutt Inflatable Adult Costume

He fancies himself a crime lord.

Jabba The Hutt Inflatable Adult CostumeBut he’s a lot like a giant pustule with a face, and full of hot air. Aside from that he’s mean and nasty, and has a stinky sense of humor. The Jabba The Hutt costume includes a Jabba headpiece, a body with tail, and a battery operated fan–for a force all his own.

  • Available in One Size Fits Most Adults.
  • Approximate measurements are: Chest – 60″, Waist – 68″, Length – 71″.
  • Includes: Headpiece, Body Suit with Tail, Fan.
  • Invite friends to dress as Star Wars characters for an intergallactic group costume!
  • This is an officially licensed Star Wars™ costume

KISS – The Authentic Demon Adult Costume

Become the blood-spitting, fire-breathing rock god: Gene Simmons!

KISS_Authentic_Demon_Adult_CostumeMake your way to Detroit Rock City in this tongue wagging base guitarist’s ensemble which includes: A studded vest with attached wings that feature metallic silver spikes, studded bodysuit, choker and front & back studded cod pieces. A collector’s carrying case is also included to ensure that you’ll look Hotter Than Hell whenever you wear this retro Rock ‘N Roll ensemble.

  • Available in Adult Standard Size: One Size Fits Most Adults.
  • Includes: Vest/Wings, Bodysuit, Choker, Front Cod Piece, Back Cod Piece, Carrying Case.
  • Makeup, wig and shoes are sold separately.
  • This is an officially licensed KISS product.

Skeleton Zombie Adult Costume

He will not be contained to his crypt, grave or mausoleum!

Skeleton_Zombie_Adult_CostumeOne of the creepiest classic costumes you will find!  The Skeleton Zombie costume includes ‘deathlike’ Skeleton mask with gauze. The shirt looks like it is rotting right off your decaying body. Add the ‘showing through rib cages’ and gauze, pants with gauze and leg bone showing through, and gloves to make your hands look like skeleton bones and no cemetery or crematorium will turn you away

  • Available in one-size adult Standard.
  • Includes: mask, shirt, pants, and gloves.

“I am the sea!”

Davy Jones Child Size Costume

Davy_Jones_Child_CostumeNow you can be ruler of the seas with this Quality Davy Jones Child pirate costume! Includes: Jacket with shirt, belt with buckle and Davey Jones character mask. Have your friends dress up as Captain Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann, and Marcus Sharkman for a Pirates of the Caribbean themed group Halloween costume.

  • Available in Child sizes Medium (7-8), Large (10-12), and XL/Pre-Teen (14-16).
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Pirate’s Sword costume accessory sold separately.
  • Pants and shoes not included.
  • This is an officially licensed Pirates of the Caribbean™ costume. ©Disney.
  • Check out our other Pirates of the Caribbean costumes and accessories for more pirate fun!

Dog Riders Headless Horseman Costume

Ride as fast as you can!
Dog Riders Headless Horseman CostumeHere comes The Headless Horseman! He is the most feared rider in all the land. When he stops destruction is sure to be his plan.

  • Available in One-Size Fits Most Medium size dogs.
  • Includes: Harness with a headless horseman riding on a saddle.

Twilight Zone first aired October 2, 1959

Twilight Zone Logo

Twilight Zones first episode aired October 2, 1959.

The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. Each episode (156 in the original series) is a mixture of self-contained fantasy, science fiction, suspense, or horror, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist. A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to serious science fiction and abstract ideas through television and also through a wide variety of Twilight Zone literature. The program followed in the tradition of earlier radio programs such as The Weird Circle and X Minus One and the radio work of Serling’s hero, dramatist Norman Corwin.

Buy this Title Now!

Buy this Title Now!

The success of the original series led to the creation of two revival series: a cult hit series that ran for several seasons on CBS and in syndication in the 1980s, and a short-lived UPN series that ran from 2002 to 2003. It would also lead to a feature film, a radio series, a comic book, a magazine and various other spin-offs that would span five decades.

Aside from Serling himself, who crafted nearly two-thirds of the series’ total episodes, writers for The Twilight Zone included leading genre authorities such as Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Jerry Sohl, George Clayton Johnson, Earl Hamner, Jr., Reginald Rose, Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury. Many episodes also featured adaptations of classic stories by such writers as Ambrose Bierce, Lewis Padgett, Jerome Bixby and Damon Knight.

Twilight Zone Creator Rod Serling

Twilight Zone Creator Rod Serling

The term “twilight zone” predates the television program, and originally meant simply a “gray area.” (Intelligence analysts in the early Cold War labeled a country a twilight zone if there was no definite U.S. policy on whether to intervene militarily to defend it.) Rod Serling himself chose the title of the series, and said that only after the series aired did he discover that the “twilight zone” was also a term applied by the US Air Force to the terminator, the imaginary border between “night” and “day” on a planetary body.

Complete Collection on DVD!

Complete Collection on DVD!

CBS purchased a teleplay in 1958 that writer Rod Serling hoped to produce as the pilot of a weekly anthology series. The Twilight Zone episode “The Time Element” marked Serling’s first entry in the field of science fiction.

The story is a time travel fantasy of sorts, involving a man named Peter Jenson (William Bendix) visiting a psychoanalyst, Dr. Gillespie (Martin Balsam), with complaints of a recurring dream in which he imagines waking up in Honolulu just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. “I wake up in a hotel room in Honolulu, and it’s 1941, but I mean I really wake up and it’s really 1941,” he explains, concluding that these are not mere dreams; he actually is travelling through time. However, Dr. Gillespie insists that time travel is impossible given the nature of temporal paradoxes. During his

Twilight Zone T-shirt

Twilight Zone T-shirt

dream, taking advantage of the situation, he bets on all the winning horses, all the right teams and, eventually, tries unsuccessfully to warn others — the newspaper, the military, anyone — that the Japanese are planning a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. His warnings are seen as crazed ravings, and are either ignored or met with physical violence, as he is punched out by an engineer who works on the USS Arizona, after insisting that it will be sunk on December 7. Jenson’s dream always ends as the Japanese bombers fly overhead on the morning of December 7, prompting him to yell out “I told you! Why wouldn’t anybody listen to me?”. Jenson finally discloses to Dr. Gillespie that he was actually in Honolulu on December 7, 1941. While on the couch, Jenson falls asleep once again, only this time, Japanese planes flying overhead shoot inside the windows of his room and he is killed. When the camera cuts back to the doctor’s office, the couch Jenson was lying on is now empty, and Dr. Gillespie looks around, confused. Although Jenson had smoked earlier, the ashtray is empty. He looks in his appointment book and finds he had no appointments scheduled for this day. Gillespie goes to a bar and finds Jenson’s picture on the wall. The bartender said that Jenson tended bar there, but was killed in Pearl Harbor.

William Shatner in ''Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.''

William Shatner in ''Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.''

With this script, Serling drafted the fundamental elements that would distinguish the series still to come: a science-fiction/fantasy theme, opening and closing narration, and an ending with a twist. But what would prove popular with audiences and critics in 1959 did not meet network standards in 1957. “The Time Element” was purchased only to be shelved indefinitely, and talks of making The Twilight Zone a television series ended.

This is where things stood when Bert Granet, the new producer for Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, discovered “The Time Element” in CBS’ vaults while searching for an original Serling script to add prestige to his show. “The Time Element” (introduced by Desi Arnaz) debuted on November 24, 1958, to an overwhelmingly delighted audience of television viewers and critics alike. “The humor and sincerity of Mr. Serling’s dialogue made ‘The Time Element’ consistently entertaining,” offered Jack Gould of The New York Times. Over six thousand letters of praise flooded Granet’s offices. Convinced that a series based on such stories could succeed, CBS again began talks with Serling about the possibilities of producing The Twilight Zone. “Where Is Everybody?” was accepted as the pilot episode and the project was officially announced to the public in early 1959. “The Time Element” is rarely aired on television and it was only available in an Italian DVD box set titled “Ai confini della realtà — I tesori perduti” until it was shown as part of an all night sneak preview of the new cable channel TVLand.

Throughout the 1950s, Rod Serling had established himself as one of the hottest names in television, equally famous for his success in writing televised drama as he was for criticizing the medium’s limitations. His most vocal complaints concerned the censorship frequently practiced by sponsors and networks. “I was not permitted to have my Senators discuss any current or pressing problem,” he said of his 1957 production The Arena, intended to be an involving look into contemporary politics. “To talk of tariff was to align oneself with the Republicans; to talk of labor was to suggest control by the Democrats. To say a single thing germane to the current political scene was absolutely prohibited.”

Twilight Zone’s writers frequently used science fiction as a vehicle for social comment; networks and sponsors who had infamously censored all potentially “inflammatory” material from the then predominant live dramas were ignorant of the methods developed by writers such as Ray Bradbury for dealing with important issues through seemingly innocuous fantasy. Frequent themes include nuclear war, mass hysteria, and McCarthyism, subjects that were strictly forbidden on more “serious” prime-time drama. Episodes such as “The Shelter” or “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” offered specific commentary on current events. Other stories, such as “The Masks” or “The Howling Man,” operated around a central allegory, parable, or fable that reflected the characters’ moral or philosophical choices.

Despite his esteem in the writing community, Serling found The Twilight Zone difficult to sell. Few critics felt that science fiction could transcend empty escapism and enter the realm of adult drama. In a September 22, 1959, interview with Serling, Mike Wallace asked a question illustrative of the times: “…[Y]ou’re going to be, obviously, working so hard on The Twilight Zone that, in essence, for the time being and for the foreseeable future, you’ve given up on writing anything important for television, right?” While Serling’s appearances on the show became one of its most distinctive features, with his clipped delivery still widely imitated today, he was reportedly nervous about it and had to be persuaded to appear on camera. Serling often steps into the middle of the action and the characters remain seemingly oblivious to him, but on one notable occasion they are aware he’s there: In the episode “A World of His Own,” a writer with the power to alter his reality objects to Serling’s unflattering narration, and promptly erases Serling from the show.

The original series contained 156 episodes. Seasons 1, 2, 3, 5 were half hour shows. The fourth season (1962-1963) contained one-hour episodes……Source(s) Wikipedia

www.goremaster.com_black

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark (also known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark) is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas, and starring Harrison Ford. It is the first (chronologically the second) film in the Indiana Jones franchise. It pits Indiana Jones (Ford) against the Nazis, who search for the Ark of the Covenant, because Adolf Hitler believes it will make their army invincible. The film co-starred Karen Allen as Indiana’s former lover, Marion Ravenwood; Paul Freeman as Indiana’s nemesis, French archaeologist René Belloq; John Rhys-Davies as Indiana’s sidekick, Sallah; and Denholm Elliott as Indiana’s colleague, Marcus Brody.

The film originated with Lucas’ desire to create a modern version of the serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Production was based at Elstree Studios, England; but filming also took place in La Rochelle, Tunisia, Hawaii, and California from June to September 1980.

Released on June 12, 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark became the top-grossing film of 1981; it remains one of the highest-grossing films ever made. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards in 1982, including Best Picture, and won four (Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects) as well as winning a fifth Special Achievement Academy Award in Sound Editing. The film’s critical and popular success led to three additional films, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), a television series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992–1996), and 15 video games as of 2009. In 1999, the film was included in the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as having been deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Trivia:

Tom Selleck was Steven Spielberg’s second choice for the role of Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford was his first, but George Lucas objected, since Ford had been in both American Graffiti (1973) and Star Wars (1977). Selleck was not able to take the role because he was committed to “Magnum, P.I.” (1980). However, that series did not go into production until Raiders’ filming had already wrapped. Selleck was in fact in Hawaii waiting for the series to start as the final scenes to be filmed (the opening sequence) were being shot in Hawaii. “Magnum” did an episode called “Legend of the Lost Art” that parodied “Raiders”, complete with hat, whip, booby traps, etc.

 

Actors considered for the role of Indiana Jones included Nick Nolte, Steve Martin (who chose to do Pennies from Heaven (1981) instead), Bill Murray (who dropped out due to scheduling conflicts with “Saturday Night Live” (1975)), Chevy Chase, Tim Matheson, Nick Mancuso, Peter Coyote, and Jack Nicholson. Harrison Ford was cast less than three weeks before principal photography began.

 

When Indy is dragged under and then out behind a moving truck, it’s a tribute to Yakima Canutt’s similar famous stunt in John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939). In fact, it was a stunt that stuntman Terry Leonard had tried to pull off the year before, and failed to do so, on The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981). He was thrilled at the chance of having another shot at it, but only agreed to do it if his friend & colleague Glenn Randall Jr. was driving. The truck was specially constructed to be higher above the ground than normal so as to allow clearance for Indiana Jones to pass underneath safely. The center of the road was also dug out to allow more clearance. In Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (TV) we see, on the camera slate, that the camera was set at 20 frames per second instead of the traditional 24 fps; in other words, the shots were done in “fast motion,” so the truck was not really moving as fast as depicted on screen. Harrison Ford was actually dragged behind the truck for some of the shots, badly bruising his ribs. When asked if he was worried, Ford quipped: “No. If it really was dangerous, they would have filmed more of the movie first.” During the chase, Harrison Ford dispatches all three of his stunt doubles, all of which are playing German soldiers. Terry Leonard plays the driver of the truck, who gets punched out of the cab by Harrison. Vic Armstrong and Martin Grace play soldiers hanging onto the side of the truck before being knocked off. The truck chase took approximately eight weeks to film.

 

For the DVD release, over 970,000 frames were cleaned up by Lowry Digital Images, the same company that cleaned up Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), North by Northwest (1959) and Sunset Blvd. (1950) for DVD.

 

To achieve the sound of thousands of snakes slithering, sound designer Ben Burtt stuck his fingers into a cheese casserole. This was augmented by applying wet sponges to the rubber on a skateboard.

 

Originally intended as a small low-budget adventure, production costs tripled to $22 million.

 

1981′s biggest grossing film.

 

George Lucas first dreamed up the idea of an adventurous archaeologist about the same time he came up with the idea for the Flash Gordon-type space story which became Star Wars (1977).

 

On the Bonus Features DVD, John Rhys-Davies talks about how when he auditioned for the role of Sallah, he was concerned since the script originally described Sallah as a “5-foot-2, skinny, Egyptian digger”. Steven Spielberg mentioned that when he first heard Rhys-Davies speak, he reminded him of the Shakespearean character Falstaff. Spielberg then told Rhys-Davies that for his performance as Sallah, to combine his earlier role as “Vasco Rodrigues” from the miniseries “Shogun” (1980) with the character of Falstaff.

 

The opening scene in the lost South American temple is partly based on a classic Disney Ducks adventure written by the legendary artist Carl Barks, many of whose comic books have inspired George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Exploring a lost temple, Donald Duck, his nephews, and Scrooge McDuck must evade a succession of booby traps, like flying darts, a decapitating blade, a huge boulder, a tunnel flooded with a torrent of gushing water, etc., in the story “The Prize of Pizarro” (“Uncle $crooge” no. 26, June-August 1959), which hit the newsstands when Lucas and Spielberg, both avowed fans of that comic book, were respectively 15 and 12 years old. Another Barks story, “The Seven Cities of Cibola” (“Uncle $crooge” no. 7, September 1954), has a native American lost city and a valuable idol that triggers a giant round rock to smash everything in its way.

 

George Lucas did some second unit work on the film.

 

Philip Kaufman shares story credit with George Lucas because they originally dreamed up the film together in the 1970′s. Reportedly, it was Kaufman’s idea to pursue the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Originally, Kaufman was going to direct.

 

Indy’s battered leather jacket was actually brand new and had to be artificially aged by the costume department. There were 10 jackets for general wear and tear and stunt purposes.

 

Indiana Jones’s hat came from the famous Herbert Johnson hat shop in Saville Row, London. The hat was the shop’s Australian model. On the Bonus Features DVD, costume designer Deborah Nadoolman said that in order to properly age the hat, she grabbed and twisted the hat, then she and Harrison Ford both sat on it, and it eventually looked like “a very lived-in and well-loved” hat.

 

Alfred Molina’s screen debut. His first scene on his first day of filming involved being covered with tarantulas.

 

The giant boulder that chases after Indiana Jones at the start of the film was made of fiberglass. On the Bonus Features DVD, sound designer Ben Burtt said that in order to get the proper sound effects for the giant boulder, he and the sound crew tried pushing boulders down a hill, but the sounds they were getting weren’t up to par with what they were looking for, and later that day, as they were leaving in a Honda Civic that they coasted down a gravel embankment, Burtt noticed that the sound was just what they were looking for, so he grabbed a microphone and held it near one of the Civic’s rear tires to record the effect.

 

The out-of-control airplane actually ran over Harrison Ford’s knee, tearing his ligaments. Rather than submit to Tunisian health care, Ford had his knee wrapped in ice and carried on.

 

Production designer Norman Reynolds had found a rusty looking ship that was perfect for the Bantu Wind. However, when the time came for this sequence to be filmed he was horrified to discover that the ship had been repainted and now looked pristine. It had to be swiftly repainted to achieve its distressed look.

 

In a deleted scene, where the character of Sallah is confronted by a Nazi soldier, John Rhys-Davies who was suffering from cholera at the time was required to bend down. Unfortunately this prompted the very sick Rhys-Davies to soil himself.

 

Indy’s whip is 10 feet long, although some shorter versions were used, depending on the shot required.

 

Three different stunt men were used to double for Harrison Ford: Vic Armstrong when riding the horse; Martin Grace at the falling statue and Terry Leonard when pulled behind the truck.

 

Most of the body blows you hear were created by hitting a pile of leather jackets with a baseball bat.

 

To create the sound of the heavy lid of the Ark being slid open, sound designer Ben Burtt simply recorded him moving the lid of his toilet cistern at home.

 

The spirit effects at the climax were achieved by shooting mannequins underwater in slow motion through a fuzzy lens to achieve an ethereal quality.

 

The original name of the lead character in the script was Indiana Smith. His name was changed to Jones on the first day of production.

 

Indy’s line to Marion when they are on the ship – “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage” – was ad-libbed by Harrison Ford.

 

During filming in Tunisia, nearly everyone in the cast and crew got sick, except director Steven Spielberg. It is thought that he avoided illness by eating only the food he’d brought with him: cans and cans of Spaghetti-O’s.

 

Indiana Jones never loses his hat as an homage to the classic serials of the 1940s. In those serials, the heroes’ hats stayed on heads through virtually any assault. This was done for continuity reasons, but also because it was considered poor taste for a gentleman to be without his hat in certain situations – even on the silver screen. It eventually becomes a running joke through the series. Indy does, however, lose his hat once each in both Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

 

The building used for one of the exterior shots of the university is the large music conservatory on the campus of The University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

 

Begins with a shot of a peak in the jungle which is reminiscent of the Paramount Pictures logo. See also Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

 

Indiana Jones’ name comes from the name of George Lucas’ dog and is a play on Steve McQueen’s eponymous character name in Nevada Smith (1966). Indiana the dog, who was a Malamute, also served as the inspiration for Chewbacca in Star Wars (1977). In the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), it is revealed by Indiana’s father that Indiana is really named Henry Jr., but went by the name of his dog, Indiana.

 

An early draft of the script had Indy traveling to Shanghai to recover a piece of the Staff of Ra. During his escape from the museum where it was housed, he sheltered from machine gun fire behind a giant rolling gong. Also in the same script, Indy and Marion flee the chaos caused by the opening of the Ark in a wild mine-cart chase sequence. Both of these scenes were cut from the script, but ended up in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

 

Director Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying: “I made it as a B-movie… I didn’t see the film as anything more than a better made version of the Republic serials.”

 

The crate in which the Ark is placed at the end of the movie has the number 9906753.

 

Indiana Jones’ kangaroo-hide bull whip was sold in December, 1999 at Christie’s auction house in London for $43,000. His jacket and hat are on display at the Smithsonian.

 

The musical theme for the Ark of the Covenant is heard several times throughout the film. Each time, it either trails off, segues into a different theme, or modulates into a different key. Only at the climax of the film is the entire theme heard and resolved in its original key.

 

George Lucas made what was at the time an unusual deal for this film. The studio financed the film’s entire $20-million budget. In exchange, Lucas would own over 40% of the film and collect almost half of the profits after the studio grossed a certain amount. It turned out to be a very lucrative deal for Lucas. Paramount executive Michael Eisner said that he felt the script for this film was the best he had ever read.

 

Just before the fight around the flying wing, Gobler (Anthony Higgins) says to Dietrich (Wolf Kahler) in German: “The plane is ready. It can be loaded.”

 

In the submarine pen, the German who comes upon Indiana says, in German, “Good day” “Tired? Why do you sleep? Wash yourself! And straighten your shirt, so that you don’t look like a pig at your court martial…” “Stand up… straight” He is cut off by Indiana’s punch.

 

Amy Irving and Debra Winger were considered for the role of Marion. Sean Young was used as Marion in the screen test for all who auditioned for the lead role of Indy. Tim Matheson and John Shea were used for Karen Allen’s screen test. Young would later star opposite Ford in Blade Runner (1982).

 

In the map room, one of the buildings has red graffiti written on it that says, “Nicht stören”, which is German for “Do not disturb”.

 

The truck used in the chase scene from the excavation is actually a WWII 2 1/2 ton GMC CCKW-353, with the hood and cab converted to approximate a pre-war Mercedes truck.

 

The floatplane in the opening sequence has the registration prefix “OB-”, which indicates that the action takes place in Peru.

 

Although the Nazis speak German in many scenes, most of the lines were dubbed for the German versions of the film because the actors spoke very bad German with a very strong American accent. Some lines were simply wrong. On the recent DVD release, no German lines are wrong. The majority of the German lines seems to be spoken by native German speakers with a slight south German accent.

 

WILHELM SCREAM: as one of the German soldiers falls out the back of the truck Indiana Jones is driving.

 

The name Marion Ravenwood was a combination of two names: Marion was the grandmother of Lawrence Kasdan’s wife, and Ravenwood was from Ravenwood Court, a small street off Beverly Glen.

 

Instead of the standard Blue Mountain opening logo used between 1975-87, the opening logo was a version of the Paramount logo used in the 1940s or 1950s which read: “A Paramount Picture”. The only difference is that it also read “A Gulf+Western Company”. This logo was also used in the sequels instead of the Blue Mountain logo or the CGI Majestic Mountain (in the case of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

 

The scene where Jones fires at the truck was a botched stunt. The truck was supposed to flip over by means of a telegraph pole being fired by explosives through the floor. The explosive wasn’t powerful enough and it simply forced the truck to tip over at an angle as can be seen in the finished movie. Time did not permit any further attempts at getting it right.

 

The instructions for the construction of the Ark are found in Exodus 25:10. The clothing that Belloq wears while acting as a high priest during the ceremony at the end is found beginning in Exodus chapter 28.

 

The last line to be added to the script was Dietrich’s “I am uncomfortable with this Jewish ritual” because after reading through the script, the screenwriters realized that there was no mention of Jews or the Nazis’ hatred of them.

 

The words that Belloq slowly recites before opening the ark are (badly pronounced) Aramaic, and are part of a paragraph recited in many Synagogues today when the Ark that holds the Sefer Torahs (the Old Testament handwritten on Parchment) is opened as part of the Sabbath service.

 

For the conceptual process/drawings, Ralph McQuarrie was not brought in but, instead, George Lucas brought in Marvel artist Jim Steranko.

 

Voted number 20 in Channel 4′s (UK) “Greatest Family Films”.

 

In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #66 Greatest Movie of All Time.

 

Harrison Ford actually outran the boulder in the opening sequence. Because the scene was shot twice from five different angles, he had to outrun it ten times. Ford’s stumble in the scene was deemed to look authentic and was left in.

 

Renowned British wrestler Pat Roach gets killed twice in this film – once as a giant Sherpa left in the burning Nepalese bar and once as the German mechanic chewed up by the plane’s propeller.

 

The Pan American seaplane that Indiana Jones flies to Nepal in is a Short Solent Mark III flying boat modified by matte effects to resemble a Boeing 314 Clipper. The producers contacted the owner of the craft about using the flying boat for the movie and though he responded that he was happy to help out, he informed them that only one of the flying boat’s engines had been restored to working order, therefore, for the shot used in the movie, we see only that single engine running. Additionally, in order to convey the fact that it was a passenger aircraft, the director had several production assistants dressed in period clothing and filmed them simply walking through the doorway of the plane.

 

The monkey raising his paw and saying (in his own language) “Heil Hitler” was thought up by George Lucas and is one of Steven Spielberg’s two favorite scenes (in the video box set, he says his other favorite is the “where doesn’t it hurt” love scene on the ship). In Empire magazine, Frank Marshall said that they got the monkey to do the Nazi salute by putting a grape on a fishing pole and getting the monkey to reach for the grape, which was dangling just out of camera range. This took about 50 takes before it actually looked like a Nazi salute. Voice-artist Frank Welker provided the chattering sounds for the monkey, including the “Seig Heil”-like chirp that the monkey gives when it raises its paw in salute. (Welker later provided similar monkey chatter for Abu, the spider monkey in Disney’s Aladdin (1992).)

 

During the scene where Indiana threatens Nazis with bazooka, you can clearly see a fly creeping into the mouth of Paul Freeman, and he swallows it. Empire Magazine chose this scene as one of the most common scenes people press “Pause” button on their VCR for.

 

In order to make it match the follow-up movies in the DVD collections, 2008 DVD cover artwork changes the film’s logo to read “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” instead of just “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

 

Steven Spielberg originally wanted Danny DeVito to play Sallah and DeVito was set for the role, but he had to drop out due to conflicts with “Taxi” (1978). DeVito later appeared as a second banana to Michael Douglas in the Raiders tribute/derivative, Romancing the Stone (1984).

 

In filming the Well of Souls sequence, the producers scoured every pet shop in London and the South of England for every snake they could lay their hands on. Hence there are snakes that are identifiable from many different geographical areas. However, once all the snakes were on set, it became clear that there were not nearly enough of them, so Steven Spielberg had several hoses cut into lengths, and these were used as well. Looking closely, you can tell which are the real snakes and which are not. Some of the weeds in the scene were lifted by Lawrence Kasdan from the Dagobah set of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980). A sheet of glass separates Harrison Ford and the arched (and highly dangerous) cobra when he falls in. The snake actually did spray venom onto the glass.

 

Traditionally when one of his films is about to open, George Lucas goes on holiday to get away from all the hoopla. As Star Wars (1977) was just about to open, Lucas went to Hawaii where he was joined by Steven Spielberg. When the grosses for Lucas’s film came in, and it was clear that his movie was going to be a hit, Lucas relaxed and was able to discuss other topics with his friend. It was at this point that Spielberg confessed he always wanted to direct a James Bond film, to which Lucas told him he had a much better idea – an adventure movie called “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The conversation came up while the two were making a sand castle. After their trip, they got together and developed the script with Lawrence Kasdan.

 

Steven Spielberg originally envisioned Giancarlo Giannini for the role of Dr. Rene Belloq and then considered French actor/singer Jacques Dutronc who turned out to not speak a word of English. Spielberg then chose Paul Freeman because he thought Freeman had “striking eyes”. Also at one point, Spielberg was concerned if Freeman could act with a French accent. Spielberg then contacted Freeman (who was on vacation at the time) and asked if he could come back to London to meet with him and act out some lines in a French accent for him.

 

Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison wrote a script during shooting breaks on the location of this film. Mathison was there to visit her husband, Harrison Ford and Spielberg dictated to her a story idea he had; that script was eventually called E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

 

Despite having the dream team of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg behind the film, it was initially turned down by every studio in Hollywood. Only after much persuasion did Paramount agree to do it.

 

The first time Steven Spielberg ever directed in the UK.

 

Shooting in Tunisia proved to be so stressful and so hot that Steven Spielberg managed to compress a six-week shoot into four-and-a-half weeks. This helped the production complete principal photography 12 days ahead of schedule.

 

The advance trailer for this film played up Steven Spielberg’s earlier films with the exception of his previous film, 1941 (1979), which was considered a failure at that time.

 

The name of the sadistic Nazi interrogator is never mentioned in the film, but it is Toht, pronounced like Tod, the German word for Death. The role was offered to Klaus Kinski, who writes in his book “Kinski Uncut” that Steven Spielberg offered him a part in this movie, but he turned it down. “… as much as I’d like to do a movie with Spielberg, the script is as moronically shitty as so many other flicks of this ilk.” Kinski chose to appear in Venom (1981) because the salary was better. Michael Sheard also auditioned for the role. Ronald Lacey, who had given up acting to become an agent, was chosen because he reminded Steven Spielberg of Peter Lorre. Toht only speaks a total of fourteen lines in English. The rest of his dialogue is in German.

 

The famous scene in which Indy shoots a marauding and flamboyant swordsman was not in the original script. Harrison Ford was supposed to use his whip to get the swords out of his attacker’s hands, but the food poisoning he and the rest of the crew had gotten made him too sick to perform the stunt. After several unsuccessful tries, Ford suggested “shooting the sucker.” Steven Spielberg immediately took up the idea and the scene was successfully filmed.

 

All of the German vehicles in the desert chase sequence are replicas of actual pre-WWII German vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz 320 staff car is actually a Jaguar MK9 with a modified MK5 body; two were built for the movie by Classic Cars of Coventry. The cargo truck is a Mercedes-Benz LG3000 replica built on a GMC CCKW. Gobler’s troop car is a replica of a Mercedes-Benz G5 ‘Gelaendewagen.’

 

Voted #2 on Empire magazine’s 500 Greatest Movies of All Time (September 2008).

 

The well-known line “Indy, they’re digging in the wrong place!” is in fact a misquote. The true line is simply “They’re digging in the wrong place,” and is spoken by both Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) and Indiana (Harrison Ford).

 

John Williams had actually written two themes for the film. He played them both for Steven Spielberg on the piano and Spielberg loved them so much, he suggested that Williams use both of them. He did and the result was the famous “Raiders March,” performed by Star Wars (1977)’s London Symphony Orchestra (who did not perform in any more Indiana Jones films). The March has become one of the most popular movie themes of all time.

 

The German plane that the Ark was going to be transported on is an experimental flying wing design by Blohm and Voss, a shipbuilding company that designed some rather unorthodox aircraft in the 1930s and 1940s. This particular model only exists in the film, but borrows various design elements from authentic period aircraft.

 

Ishaq Bux is crediting in the end titles as playing Omar but it is impossible to spot him in the film.

 

According to Graham Hancock’s book “The Sign and the Seal”, the Lost Ark of the Covenant actually resides in the city of Axum (Ethiopia), at the Saint Mary of Zion church.

 

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas argued over who Indy’s companion should be. One idea was that she was to be a Nazi spy. After discarding that idea, they couldn’t decide if they wanted the character to be Indy’s former mentor, or an old lover. It was Lawrence Kasdan’s idea to combine the two ideas, by making her the daughter of Indy’s teacher.

 

Jeff Bridges turned down the role of Indiana Jones.

 

Early concept art for the character who ultimately became Toht depicted him as a uniformed Nazi officer with a mechanical arm that doubled as a machine gun and a radio antenna built into his head.

 

While filming the snakes scenes inside the Well of the Souls, First Assistant Director David Tomblin at one point had a python bite his hand and latch on without letting go. Tomblin then calmly asked someone to grab the python (still attached to Tomblin’s hand) by the tail and whip it, so that the snap would send a wave up the snake’s body and force it to let go. A stage hand did just that and the python released its bite from Tomblin’s hand. Tomblin then got medical attention on his hand and the python itself was not injured.

 

Director Steven Spielberg admitted in the “Making of” DVD that watching the stage hands preparing the Well of Souls set by laying out the thousands of snakes for the scene really made him nauseous–even to the point where he nearly wanted to puke a few times.

 

Many of the snakes in the Well of Souls are not snakes but legless lizards (look for the earholes, which snakes lack).

 

During filming of the Well of Souls sequence, one of the pythons died after being bitten by one of the cobras.

 

Cameo

Frank Marshall Pilot of the flying wing. All the stunt men were sick on the day that Indiana Jones hits the pilot of the Flying Wing over the head, so producer Frank Marshall agreed to do it. Unfortunately for him, the shot took three days and a lot of it involved him sitting in a cockpit that was in excess of 100 degrees.

 

Dennis Muren Appears as a Nazi spy who is tracking Indiana Jones on the airplane. Only his eyes can be seen, though, as most of his face is hidden behind the magazine he’s reading, which is Life volume 1 number 2 (30 November 1936), which has pages 42-43 dedicated to the water color paintings of Adolf Hitler.

 

Glenn Randall Jr. the stunt coordinator appears as the mechanic with the monkey wrench at the flying wing.

 

Frank Welker prolific voice actor provides the monkey’s sounds, uncredited.

Spoilers:

In a 2001 “making of” special, it was revealed that the effects used in the three antagonists’ rather gruesome deaths (Dietrich, Toht, and Belloq) were a vacuum machine, heat gun with time-lapse photography, and shotgun, respectively. When the movie was submitted for an MPAA rating, it was given a rating of “R” because of the exploding head. In order to lower the rating, flames were superimposed over this image. The result was the appearance of a head exploding behind a dense curtain of flames. The rating was lowered to “PG” (at the time, the PG-13 rating did not exist).

 

According to the novelization, the writing on the headpiece of the Staff of Ra included a specific warning not to look into the Ark. This is why Indy and Marion survive the conflagration at the end simply by closing their eyes. It may be an allusion to 1 Samuel 6:19, where God “smote” the men of Beth Shemesh for looking into the Ark.

 

The submarine pen on the island where the Ark is taken and finally opened is not a set, but in fact an actual German U-Boat pen left over from World War II in La Rochelle, France. Producer Robert Watts was amazed at how preserved the submarine pen was (even down to the graffiti on the walls) that he described it as “a actual set in existence”.

 

Savage Harvest released May 23, 1981

Savage Harvest

Savage Harvest is a 1981 film by Robert Collins.

A family in Africa is besieged by a group of lions, driven mad by the drought. They have to survive multiple attacks but some colleagues are eaten by the lions.

Tana Helfer, who played the role of daughter Kristie, is the daughter of producer and animal trainer Ralph Helfer.

Willow released May 20, 1988

Willow

Willow is a 1988 American fantasy film directed by Ron Howard and produced/co-written by George Lucas. Warwick Davis stars in the film, as well as Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh and Patricia Hayes. With a sword and sorcery setting, Davis stars as the eponymous lead character and hero Willow, a reluctant Nelwyn (halfling) farmer who plays a critical role in protecting a special baby from a tyrannical queen.

Lucas conceived the idea for Willow in 1972, approaching Howard to direct during the post-production phase of Cocoon in 1985. Lucas believed he and Howard shared a relationship similar to the one Lucas enjoyed with Steven Spielberg. Bob Dolman was brought in to write the screenplay, coming up with seven drafts before finishing in late 1986. Willow was then set up at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and principal photography began in April 1987, finishing the following October.

The majority of filming took place at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England, as well as Wales and New Zealand. Industrial Light & Magic created the visual effects sequences, which led to a revolutionary breakthrough with digital morphing technology. Willow was released in May 1988 to box office disappointment and mixed reviews from critics, but received two Academy Award nominations and cult film recognition.

Trivia:

As Val Kilmer was getting out of his crow cage between takes, the chain snapped and the cage came down on his foot. His resulting limp is evident during the scene in which Madmartigan and Willow arrive opposite Fin Raziel’s island.


The six-month-old twins playing Elora Danan were too young to have a full head of hair. They wear a wig, which was applied using syrup, as normal wig adhesive would be too harsh for the babies’ skin.

 


The earlier drafts of the screenplay contained more background information on the characters Madmartigan and Sorsha. Madmartigan was originally a knight of the kingdom of Galladorn (the kingdom that General Kael mentions having destroyed to Queen Bavmorda) and that the character Airk was the only real friend he had, but Madmartigan’s recklessness got him into trouble, as did his love affair with an Eastern beauty that tainted the family name. Madmartigan had a chance to regain his honor in battle, but he ruined the chance by deserting; this explained some of the bitter antagonism between Madmartigan and Airk. Sorsha was originally the daughter of the king of Tir Asleen, who was a good man (he is in fact the regal old man seen at the end after the fall of Bavmorda and Tir Asleen is restored, and can be briefly seen in stone), which suggested that Sorsha had the capability to be good; during the battle at Tir Asleen between Bavmorda’s troops, Madmartigan, and the monster, Sorsha encountered her father and he struggled through the stone to ask her for help, which prompted Sorsha to switch alliances from her evil mother to the good side. All of this was lost in the final film but does appear in the novelization as well as the comic book mini-series by Marvel.

 


The character of the evil general Kael is said to have been named after film critic Pauline Kael.

 


The devil dogs were actually Rottweilers in rubber masks and suits.

 


Warwick Davis wore a wig for the movie – the long hair is not his own.

 


Willow originally said, “Goodbye, Elora Danan” when handing her over to Madmartigan. During editing, it was realized Willow wouldn’t have known her name yet, and so it was redubbed, “Goodbye, little one.”

 


David Steinberg, the actor playing Meegosh, slammed into the side of an ice rink while ice-skating during production and cut his eyebrow open. The stitches were concealed with makeup for the scene where Meegosh makes his departure for home.

 


Joanne Whalley accidentally stuck her sword in a stuntman’s foot while sticking the sword into the ground at the tavern.

 


During the close-up shots of the scene where Madmartigan and the soldier are being dragged behind the wagon, Val Kilmer was kneeling on a pedestal behind the wagon, while his stunt double was dragged behind letting the stunt man’s legs take the beating.

 


The original wand was a real piece of wood. Eventually they feared it could break and replaced it with several fiberglass props.

 


A 13lb animatronics baby capable of moving its head and opening its mouth was used for the action scenes. This baby weighed more then the actual baby. And a more flexible prop baby was used in scenes where Willow falls with it.

 


The large group of pigs outside the castle continuously tried mating. Buckets of cold water were used to separate them.

 


Blackroot is actually vanilla.

 


According to the press kits and subsequent novels, the two-headed dragon was named “Eborsisk”, a reference to the movie critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. The word does not occur in the film but made it into some reviews.

 


After meeting on the set of this film, Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley were married (but later divorced).

 


Kenny Baker (of R2-D2 fame) played a Nelwyn.

 


This was the first feature film to use the “morphing” process developed by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).

 


The box office receipts were less than expected, so writer George Lucas continued Willow’s story in books rather than in movie sequels.

 


In preparation for the movie, Warwick Davis had to learn a modified accent, how to take care of a baby, how to ride a horse, how to sword fight, and how to perform magic.

 


Val Kilmer improvised a lot of dialogue.

 


Rick Overton and Kevin Pollak’s scenes were done against blue screens and sound stages and added into the scenes with full-size characters in post production editing.

 


Warwick Davis’s future father-in-law and wife appear as Nelwyns.

 


WILHELM SCREAM: It is heard three times: 1, during the chase scene after the escape from the tavern as the soldier’s chariot crashes and he is sent flying, 2, At Tir Asleen, when the Brownies trigger the large spear shooter that hits several soldiers, and 3, In front of Nockmaar Castle as a horseman is cut down by the Army of Galladoorn, three seconds after the Brownies emerge from under a helmet.

 


Word from Ron Howard is that part of the two-headed dragon “Eborsisk” was modeled after Clint Howard, his brother. He stated that since Clint has had many cameo appearances in his films, and Ron couldn’t find a part for him in this one, he modeled the dragon after him.

 


Ron Howard’s wife and Warwick Davis’ sister both appear as extras atop the snowy mountaintop village.

 


John Cusack tested for the role of Madmartigan, but lost to Val Kilmer

 

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