Scary Dinosaur

A genuine movie-making challenge is to make monsters scary.  Guys dressed up in dinosaur costumes seldom scare any one. More often they appear comical. It is the element of suspense that creates the emotion. In Jurassic Park, Spielberg put great effort into making his T-Rex scary by not showing the creature until suspense had been built. He did this by first  showing its shape lit by lightning, the goat disappearing, and most importantly the vibrations in the cup from the heavy footfalls.

The scene above tries to make the dinosaur scary by making it look like a creature that’s been surprised eating its prey. It rears up and exerts its authority by roaring. 

Author Stephen King described the role of imagination in horror as: “What’s behind the door or lurking at the top of the stairs is never as frightening as the door or the staircase itself”. (Danse Macabre).

The scene above was created with puppetry using an old brown sock and a dinosaur finger puppet for the head. These were filmed against a sky/cloud  image on a computer screen. The foreground foliage was photographed out the window on a clear blue sky day. The blue sky therefore acted as a blue ‘chroma-key’ so the dinosaur appears behind. Because the trees are real they give a size perspective to the dinosaur. The voice was mine, growling into a microphone then pitch-shifted down.

Additional elements could be added to make it even scarier – use night-shot instead of daylight … have the ‘explorers’ whispering or laughing loudly ‘what dinosaur?’ … make a story line about the scene … this is the challenge.

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