If you've ever been to a movie theatre between the months of June and August, chances are you owe Stan Winston a debt of gratitude. You know how the effects in the Terminator series were awesome? You know how Jurassic Park blew your mind? You know how even though Small Soldiers sucked, the little animatronics were pretty good? He did all of that.
Stan Winston was the weird kid who spent all his time in class building little models out of sticks and ignoring his English teachers. And while he went on to make millions of dollars, his English teachers exhausted their meaningless existences in the same tiny room reading the same eight books to endless waves of ungrateful brats. Score one for Stan.
Only now he's dead. Im sorry to report that Stan Winston passed away a few weeks ago of a massive heart attack, although his death wasnt reported until this week, as most of his friends had assumed it was just a spectacular special effect. This confusion was compounded by the fact that Mr. Winston had rigged his body with astoundingly lifelike animatronics. In fact, its been reported that through a combination of robotics, miniatures, and seamless CG integration, Mr. Winston will actually be officiating his own funeral.
But before that ghastly event unfolds, I thought this would be a good time to look back on some of Stans most generous contributions to film, and what we might have been stuck with if he hadnt stepped in.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: The movie was pretty terrible with him, and without him youve got no predator, which would basically reduce the movie to Danny Glover policing Los Angeles. And weve already got Lethal Weapon for that.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: First of all, the title would make no fucking sense. Secondly, Johnny Depps character would just be a really quiet, whiny goth kid, and it would be a lot harder not to cheer when he gets beaten up.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: Yet another installment in the Chucky tradition of dolls gliding across floors, never moving their mouths, and shaking as if held by a grip just off camera.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: It probably would have stayed a book, where it belonged. Apes and lasers dont mix on film; just ask the producers of Laser Chimps: The Reckoning.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: Considering that the only things I remember from A.I. are the awesome-looking robots and an incredibly lame, drawn-out ending, Id say a shitty movie.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: Still awesome, but with far less potential for action figure branding and live action role-play.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: It would have just been called John Carpetners The.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him:Batman and Robin. Or, alternately, the classic Batman, when the penguin looked like an oil baron and sported a monocle and purple cummerbund. I cant decide which is worse. No, wait, I can: Batman and Robin.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: They might have given him antennae or claws or some shit, and that just dont fly.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: Watch a movie from the 90s that relied totally on CG for its effects. Didnt hold up, did they? The fact that we can still watch Jurassic Park and be awed by the dinosaurs is thanks to Winston at some point shouting Fuck you! Im building it!
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: Without the robot skeletons to fall back on, theres a good chance the filmmakers would have just used actors to play all of the robots, and then what would you have? Answer: Battlestar Galactica. Which might not have been so bad, actually.
What The Movie Would Have Been Like Without Him: Well, the guy who actually designed the look of the aliens, H. R. Geiger, would still be around, so Im thinking they would have just used cardboard cutouts. Of course, Geigers etchings also included many depictions of robot babies strapped into a device that forces them to perform felatio (Im not joking; look it up), so it was probably best that Stan was there to modulate the content.
Thank you, Mr. Winston, for everything. Heres hoping that by the time I get to Heaven, youve constructed enough animatronic robots, dinosaurs and aliens to make it actually worth my while.
When not blogging for Cracked, Michael designs and operates a robotic doppleganger who is head writer and co-founder of Those Aren't Muskets!