Visual effects, without them, most Marvel releases would be set entirely in Best Buy parking lots, and the Transformers movies would have just been My Dinner With Andre-esque dramas but with reaallllly stupid people. As we’ve mentioned once or twice (or more), when films are stripped of their technical wizardry, they often look goofy as hell. And some all-time cinematic classics aren’t immune from this trend, such as how …

Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers – Gollum’s Stand-In Was Kermit The Frog

Although previously played by a filthy half-naked Finnish man, for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Gollum was, of course, a fully-digital creation performed by Andy Serkis. And while the scenes looked pretty ridiculous when Serkis performed the part on-set, rolling around in the dirt with Sean Astin while dressed in a skintight onesie –

New Line Cinema

– things got even stranger a little deeper into the production process. Visual effects artists used, as a digital stand-in for Gollum, a janky CGI Kermit the Frog. 

New Line Cinema

And while it’s odd to see Gollum look like he’s about to burst into a rendition of “Rainbow Connection,” it’s even weirder to see Ms. Piggy’s boyfriend violently tackle a guy over a piece of enchanted jewelry.

New Line Cinema

Although, in retrospect, adding in cartoon Muppets would have drastically improved the Hobbit movies.

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The Ghostbusters Look Real Weird Without The Streams

Unless you work for the EPA, there’s a good chance you enjoy the original 1984 Ghostbusters starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Dan Ayrkroyd’s exposed crotch for some reason. The movie was chock-full of visual effects, not least of which being the streams of the Ghostbusters’ proton packs, which allowed the team to ensnare ghouls while presumably also flooding innocent bystanders with deadly levels of radiation.

But in real life, of course, there were no streams. So the Ghostbusters cast just had to awkwardly shoot absolutely nothing – hell, even kids in the ‘80s got proton packs that shot styrofoam choking hazards.

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

Also, it’s a little harder to buy into the illusion of Slimer once you see the mustachioed ‘80s dude hanging out inside his gaping mouth. 

Columbia Pictures

Try selling even a single Ecto-Cooler with that guy’s picture on the box. 

The Climax Of Raiders of the Lost Ark Looked Like A Janky Haunted House Behind-The-Scenes

The rare blockbuster that climaxes with its hero simply closing their eyes as tightly as a child who just walked into their parents’ bedroom on date night, Raiders of the Lost Ark memorably ends with a bunch of Bible ghosts melting the faces off of an army of peeping Nazis.

Well, behind the scenes, this necessitated hanging fake ghosts from the ceiling like a suburban McMansion on Halloween.

Paramount Pictures

As for the Nazis, the filmmakers had to put busts of the actors next to powerful heaters, which slowly melted their faces as if they were common vagina-scented candles.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

This process was later recreated to illustrate the technique and provide a visual representation of what it feels like to wait in a DMV with no air conditioning.


The footage was eventually sped-up, so Spielberg’s adventure movie didn’t end with 20 minutes of prolonged bloody torture.

Back to the Future – A Stuntman Had To Go Full Furry For One Scene

Early on in Back to the Future, Doc sends Einstein the dog on the Delorean’s first-ever trip through time – because apparently, the same scientist who burned down his house in order to bankroll his wacky schemes with insurance fraud isn’t above illegal animal testing. 

While you might assume that filmmakers in the ‘80s would simply attempt to teach a dog how to drive a car, film the resulting stunt, and compensate the victims’ families at a later date, the far more responsible crew of Back to the Future instead got a stuntman to fill-in for Einstein. And because this was back in the pre-CGI days, this required dressing him up like a sheepdog, meaning that the behind-the-scenes photos that day look not unlike an ‘80s-themed furry party. 

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Presumably, driving a car at 88 miles per hour while wearing a giant dog mask at night was no easy feat. Thankfully it went off without a hitch, probably because there were no manure trucks parked nearby. 

The Matrix Baby Will Haunt Your Dreams

The classic story of how accepting unlabelled medications from random strangers can only improve your life, The Matrix was a major turning point for movie special effects – and also for guys in trench coats and sunglasses who enjoyed loitering next to payphones. 

But on-set, some of the coolest moments were … less cool. Like Like the creepy scene in which Neo gets an insectile robot implanted in his body by Agent Smith –

Plays a tad differently when it just bounces off of Keanu Reeves’ tummy and falls to the floor. 

Warner Bros.

And since the production didn’t want to shove a giant metal into Reeves’ cranium, they built an eerily lifelike dummy head, which we believe later went to star in Constantine. 

Warner Bros.

And the less said about this animatronic infant, the better. Which is probably why Matrix Babies never got the green light.

Warner Bros.

But it’s still way less horrifying than the baby in American Sniper, to be honest. 

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Thumbnail: Warner Bros.


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