5 Family Movies That Were Pure Nightmare Fuel Behind-The-Scenes
Movies are a great way to spend time with your family. One that doesn’t necessitate sharing your thoughts, feelings, or even having to converse with each other at all for at least 90 minutes. And except for pretty much every kid’s movie from the 1980s, family entertainment is usually terror-free, often about harmless subjects like basketball-playing dogs or babies who are also somehow geniuses. But even the most innocuous of movies can be secret horror shows behind the scenes, such as how …
Babe – Babe the Talking Pig Looks Like a Terminator
Rather than spend arduous months, years, or decades teaching a pig how to talk (and also to read scripts, learn lines and avoid working with Chevy Chase), the filmmakers behind the 1995 family classic Babe opted instead to use visual effects to bring their chatty swine protagonist to life. This required using computer technology to manipulate real-life animals' mouths, while also creating lifelike animatronic creatures that could "articulate their mouths in order to convincingly pronounce words."
But, in real life, these loveable animals basically looked like they were made by Skynet. Yeah, underneath their skin, Babe and company straight-up looked like Terminators, complete with metallic skeletons and eyes that seemingly betray an unnerving thirst for human blood.
And it wasn't just Babe that looked ultra-creeptastic, the animatronic sheep were straight out of Clarice Starling's nightmares.
Maybe these photos will inspire some Hollywood executives to greenlight a revenge thriller in which Robo-Babe hunts down whichever Denny's employee came up with the Grand Slam.
The House With a Clock in its Walls – Baby Jack Black Was Far More Terrifying in Real Life
Based on John Bellairs' spooky chapter book about a recently-orphaned 10-year-old kid who's forced to live in a gothic mansion with his eccentric Uncle Jonathan, Eli Roth's The House With a Clock in its Walls features a scene in which Jonathan, played by Jack Black, gets zapped by a magical clock and turned into a baby – but his head remains a full-sized Jack Black noggin. Truly the most disturbing movie baby since the teeny-tiny abomination from American Sniper.
Well, it turns out that this creation wasn't just CGI; they actually built baby Jack for real – presumably because digital technology can only traumatize children so much. The animatronic puppet was a weirdly accurate recreation of Black's head – albeit one stuck on top of a genital-less baby body.
And footage of the crew passing around this bearded monstrosity as if it were a loved one's newborn sure adds to the ick-factor.
Hopefully, the producers kept the prop stored safely somewhere, just in case they ever get the go-ahead to make High Fidelity Babies.
The Santa Clause Crew Showed Off Santa’s Dismembered Torso (Butt And All)
It’s no secret that the Santa Clause franchise is a tangled web of yuletide lunacy, so perhaps it’s appropriate that the making of the movie also straddled the line of madness. First of all, the offices tasked with coming up with the film’s many impressive special effects looked less like a Christmas-y wonderland and more like a serial killer’s basement. Hopefully, no one brought their kids to meet Santa’s eight (headless) reindeer.
And rather than have Tim Allen go full DeNiro in Raging Bull, or simply push a portly gentleman off of a roof to obtain all of his attributes, Tim Allen’s Santa bod was achieved via prosthetics that, at some stages, gave him a real “heading over to Leatherface’s place for dinner” vibe.
Not to mention the truly distressing sight of Santa’s dismembered torso, seemingly purchased from the Buffalo Bill collection, which shook like a bowl full of jelly when groped by reporters.
And the same goes for Santa’s flabby butt, apparently.
The Sandlot – “The Beast” Was Two Dudes in a Giant Costume
When you think of scenes in the beloved coming-of-age baseball movie The Sandlot, you probably think of – well, that scene where the kids disgustingly puke all over each other, which probably didn’t do wonders for concession sales at movie theaters back in ‘93. But the other most memorable sequence involves “The Beast,” the mythical baseball-devouring monster, who turns out to be just a misunderstood doggy who was probably just a metaphor for puberty or something.
Some shots required, not the real-life dog, but two dudes in a giant dog costume that kind of looks like a depressing, gritty reboot of Clifford.
Between takes, the actors, and their dog-like half-bodies, resemble bored mythological creatures. And the sea of headless dogs seems like a still from an all-mastiff remake of Apocalypse Now.
Instead of being burned at the bottom of a pit and never spoken of again, the terrifying prop was put up for auction just a few years ago.
And it was apparently sold, either to a collector or maybe just someone who was in desperate need of a way to keep those damn neighborhood kids away from their property.
Jumanji – Behold: The Skull-Faced Lion Animatronic From Hell
The 1995 family adventure (and low-key Vietnam War allegory) Jumanji is full of amazing effects; from the stampeding animals to the deadly exotic plants to the two children who are somehow willing to play a dusty old antique board game even when Super Nintendo was already an established thing. But one of the most impressive elements at the time was the lion that magically shows up in the kids' attic and, in a dark turn that the Narnia books never dared to take, tries to eat them.
Obviously, some of the shots used a CGI lion, but for the practical ones, only the lion’s head was animatronic; the rest was a person in a lion suit crawling on all fours.
While the effects team was testing out their fancy lion suit, sometimes they just used a skull in place of the full head – and, really, judging from this footage, Jumanji is just a simple prop tweak away from becoming a full-on Lovecraftian horror story.
Jumanji’s animatronic lion was such a hit that it even made a guest appearance on Oprah in 1996.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the disembodied head of a fake lion was far more well-behaved than some of Oprah’s other guests …
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Top Image: Universal Pictures