7 Special FX That Were Made Out Of Food (And Super Gross)
When it comes to enjoying a good film, the most important sense isn't sight or even hearing -- it's smell. More specifically, the fact that you can't smell what's on the screen. If you could, the magic of cinema would instantly be broken, as the noisome stank of rancid foodstuffs ravaged your nose. Yes, believe it or not, some of the most iconic special effects in movie and TV history were achieved not through complex camera techniques or computer animation, but by throwing unlikely (and often gross) combinations of food products together. For starters ...
The Turds On Game Of Thrones Were Made Out Of Wet Fruitcake
Game Of Thrones has so much CGI going on that we wouldn't be too surprised if it turned out the actors shoot every scene in the nude and the clothes are added in post-production to save money. But there are still some things that are accomplished through good old-fashioned practical effects. For instance, the turds.
In Season 7, Samwell Tarly finally makes it to the Citadel, only to get assigned to a bunch of really shitty jobs. As in, they put him on latrine duty. To make the poop nuggets that Sam would be cleaning out of chamber pots look as realistic as possible, the team took fruitcake, dunked it in water, and then molded it into little turds. At this point, we have to question the logic of not using real feces, since their solution sounds even more repulsive.
And you thought this show would stop showing you little turds when Joffrey died.
To make matters worse, this required about 50 or 60 hours of shooting to create a roughly 90-second montage. That meant wet, molding fruitcake was sitting around all week. You know when was a good time to film this? As the rest of the cast was hanging out at the 2016 Emmys. Sucks to be you, Sam.
Movies Slather Babies In Grape Jelly And Cream Cheese
Babies are disgusting. This is not even up for debate. The problem is that they're a particular breed of disgusting at the exact moment they pop up out the womb, and that's a disgusting that requires some attention to detail if you're going to get it on film. After all, you can't exactly shove the baby back inside to get multiple takes. The much easier solution is to take a an already-born baby and cover them in grape jelly and cream cheese like a goddamn bagel. When Katherine Heigl was ready to pop in Knocked Up, for instance, the producers had to make sure they got only the freshest organic schmear for the babies.
This was supposed to be Seth Rogen's kid, so they also rubbed some dank nugs on her forehead.
Oh, that's right, we mean babies plural -- there's always more than one, because of that whole "multiple takes" thing. New mothers sign up for this shit, seemingly unconcerned that their offspring may permanently imprint on some boom operator as their mama. Naturally, SAG takes putting food on newborn actors very, very seriously. Grape, red currant, and cherry jelly are all good, while strawberry and raspberry are banned due to allergy concerns. KY Jelly is also frowned upon, because that's supposed to be an aid in making the baby, not birthing it.
The Shawshank Redemption's "River Of Shit" Was Chocolate Syrup And Sawdust
The Shawshank Redemption remains the gold standard of prison escape movies, and at the climax, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) has to climb through a lengthy sewer pipe flowing with raw sewage. Realism, man.
Unfortunately, when they did a test run, producers discovered that the stream Robbins was going to flop out into was in fact super toxic, and he'd have to swim through the very pipe that made it that bad. The only way to prevent Robbins from emerging transformed into a giant muscular turtle was to clean the pipe and fill it with something decidedly less shitty.
That less-shitty thing was chocolate syrup and sawdust, both of which are technically consumable (if you're a beaver). It worked out really well -- the unholy combination produced just the right amount of reflectivity and matte finish to totally pass as poo. Keep that in mind for your next Shawshank-themed party!
Related: 5 Bitter Truths About Chocolate
Alien Used Caviar And Pasta For Robot Innards
Because the first Alien wasn't unnerving enough with just the giant dick monster going around killing everyone, there was also that whole "creepy android" plot going on. At one point, science officer Ash (Ian Holm) tries to kill Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), only to have his head lopped off. When Ash's neck starts spewing a white substance resembling a bodily fluid that isn't blood, the others knock him the rest of the way out and discover he's an android. His instructions: Bring the alien back to his bosses, who couldn't give less of a shit about what happens to the rest of the crew.
The important thing is, Ash now looks like this:
Don't worry, it's supposed to be good for your skin.
Director Ridley Scott knew that the big reveal that Ash was a total shitlord would have a bigger emotional impact if he could gross us out beyond belief. He wanted it to seem familiar and gross, but also not bloody, because this thing wasn't really human. So rather than going with a deep red marinara, he went a little more Alfredo. The gunk seemingly pouring out of Ash is a mixture of white-dyed water, pasta, cheap black caviar, and some glass marbles. Heck, he might as well have ordered takeout from Olive Garden, if that's all he needed.
"You see, the android's gonads are located in the neck, and they have like 20 of them."
Cinematic Snow Used To Be Painted Cornflakes
As you may have heard, a ton of movies are filmed in a part of California called "Hollywood," which doesn't get a lot of snow. When the plot absolutely requires snow, the filmmakers have two options: get off their asses and go film elsewhere, or fake it. But in the past, snow-making techniques used to be a lot more elaborate. Also, delicious.
Going back to the 1940s, It's A Wonderful Life required about 6,000 gallons of sugar, water, and soap flakes mixed with something called foamite (the stuff in extinguishers) to make California in July look like December. This was a huge challenge, since California in December doesn't even look like December. Still, it worked.
They also took advantage of Jimmy Stewart's dandruff problem.
Prior to this groundbreaking discovery in soap-as-snow, the industry standard was painted cornflakes. The biggest problem was that corn flakes are kind of, you know, crunchy. They'd have to film the snow scenes, record dialogue separately, and dub it in later. As image quality improved and the falling cereal became easier to recognize for what it was, those using practical effects needed to move on to more convincing solutions. Now they've got scientists working on artificial snow, which we have to say is way less fun. Who wouldn't want to build a cornflakeman?
Related: CRACKED ROUND-UP: Snowed In Edition
The Wizard Of Oz's Purple Horse Was Dyed With Jell-O
The Wizard Of Oz was a breakthrough in color film, and damned if they weren't going to milk this newfangled process for all it was worth. They also thought it'd be fun to use color to illustrate how starkly different Oz was from Kansas. The roads weren't dirt, they were made of yellow brick! This horse isn't brown or white, it's purple! This whole city is green, because fuck it, why not! They were mad with power.
Somewhere over the rainbow, You're all high
But how did they get the horse to look like that? They couldn't simply paint it (horse torture was only allowed on Ben-Hur adaptations, apparently). Feeding the horse nothing but beets for a month was also out of the question. So they dipped into the handbook of preteen girls in the early 21st century and figured out a way to make purple hair dye out of Jell-O powder. There was obviously a little trial and error -- imagine nobody telling you to bleach your hair before using that blue hair dye the summer after seventh grade, but on a horse -- but eventually they figured it out.
Once they got the horses the proper shade of purple, the only problem was that the animal actors started licking their delicious hair. It seems nobody told the horses that Jell-O is essentially the bones of other farm animals. Fortunately, they figured out a way to keep the horses apart before the licking escalated to a full-blown Jell-O-fueled equine orgy.
Day Of The Dead Made Actors Hang Out In Big Piles Of Rotting Pig Intestines
When the late great George Romero was going to make the zombie flick Day Of The Dead, he had to make sure everybody looked as dead as dead could be, because it's right there in the title. The movie isn't called Day Of The Badly Wounded But They'll Probably Make It. And what better way to do that than by stuffing all available body cavities with real dead meat?
The way this worked was that actors would lay down with a false floor above them, so that only their body from the shoulders up stuck out. Then they'd be attached to a body cavity that needed to look like it featured some real people guts. The closest thing was pig guts, which we're sure the actors found flattering.
Pig intestine is already a common sausage casing, so there was a lot of that (along with hollowed-out intestine) strewn about in the most murdered-y way possible. It looked absolutely great, but the problem was that for these extended shoots lasting hours upon hours at a time, actors had to basically sit directly below these piles of rotting meat. That shit got rancid, and fast. Hence the mask in this photo:
Honestly, it's a miracle they didn't end up accidentally creating a real zombie virus.
PAs were walking around Febreezing it as best they could, but this was still rotting meat they were dealing with. Then, when it came time to film, these actors had to play dead. That means no choking on the smell of the rank-ass meat rotting in front of them. When you're about to get sick while half of you is tucked inside of false floor and the other half is covered in pig entrails, it's not pretty. But hey, that's movie magic!
Isaac wanted to be in special effects as a kid but that was before CGI. He's on Twitter now instead.
Try to dye your own hair or just make a delicious mold with copious amounts of Jello. You'll probably get a bunch of Instagram posts, especially if you take the photos with a dope vintage camera. Double boo-yah!
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