Stan Winston RIP (7 April, 1946 - 17 June, 2008)

We showcase the work of Hollywood’s most revered special-effects artists, the late, great Stan Winston.

  • Another director to frequently collaborate with Stan Winston was Tim Burton, who employed the visual-effects maestro on Edward Scissor-Hands, Big Fish and Batman Returns. For Batman Returns, Winston received yet another Oscar nomination for his memorable makeup work (including the impossibly slinky Catwoman).

  • Eeeeeeeek!

  • Fresh off the success of Terminator, Stan Winston again teamed up with James Cameron to create the visual effects for Aliens, the visceral follow-up to Ridley Scott's original 1979 space-horror flick.

  • It is not often that we report on movie news, but the passing of special-effects expert Stan Winston is certainly worthy of remembrance. The award-wining film veteran and special-effects guru died today at the age of 62, after battling multiple myeloma, a plasma cell cancer, for seven years.
    Winston was responsible for creating the special-effects, animatronics and creature costumes for countless memorable movies, including Alien, Predator, Terminator, Titanic and Jurassic Park. Over his 40-year career, he worked alongside such illustrious directors as Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Tim Burton, as well as cult favourites like John Carpenter and Joe Dante. For a trip down memory lane, check out the following slideshow for some of Stan’s most enduring creations.

  • Predator render (are those tentacles or dreadlocks?).

  • Stan received one of his biggest breaks when he teamed up with James Cameron to create the iconic Terminator robot, in the film that catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger to stardom. While the stop-frame animation looks a bit ropey by today’s standards, the design of the murderous exoskeleton remains one of his most memorable moments. Stan was also responsible for the pioneering work in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, for which he won two Academy Awards (Best Makeup Effects and Best Visual Effects).

  • Stan Winston was one of the many makeup artists responsible for the astonishing special effects in John Carpenter’s 1981 horror/sci-fi flick The Thing. Even in today’s climate of seamless CGI trickery, the practical effects in this film — including a head sprouting legs and decapitating itself from its body — remain truly jaw-dropping. Stan Winston received a 'special thanks' in the film credits for his sterling work.

  • Eeeeeeeek! (etc.)

  • Stan Winston was responsible for designing the imposing Alien Queen. Standing at 14 feet, it was operated using a mixture of puppeteers, control rods, hydraulics, cables, and a crane above to support it. His work on the film led to his first Oscar win, for Best Visual Effects.

  • The Rastafarian-influenced Predator is undoubtedly one of Winston’s most eye-catching creations. According to Hollywood legend, the distinct mandible-infested mouth was suggested by James Cameron while the two were on a plane trip — Stan was on his way to pitch his Predator design, and promptly incorporated Cameron's idea!

  • Stan Winston also worked on the poorly received Terminator 3. (We’re betting it wasn’t mentioned in his obituaries.)

  • One of Stan Winston’s final contributions was to the film Iron Man, based on the Marvel comic of the same name. In addition to building the Iron Man costume, Winston’s studio also constructed a three metre, 360kg animatronic of the film’s mechanical villain.

  • Stan Winston will be sorely missed by the film industry and lovers of cinema alike. As California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a press statement: "the entertainment industry has lost a genius. Stan's work and four Oscars speak for themselves and will live on forever." Stan Winston, RIP.

  • When it comes to pure visual effects, Stan Winston is perhaps best known for his work on Steven Spielberg’s phenomenally successful giant lizard flick, Jurassic Park. In particular, the show-stopping appearance of the Tyrannosaurus Rex must go down as one of the most impressive animatronics in movie history. The model stood 6.1 metres high and weighed nearly 6000kg. Once again, his work on the film led to an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

  • Stan Winston also designed the subtly effective vampire makeup for the film Interview with the Vampire. His work received a BAFTA nomination.

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