20 Jaw-Dropping Special Effects from the pre-CGI Era

A look at the BJP (Before 'Jurassic Park') years.
20 Jaw-Dropping Special Effects from the pre-CGI Era

One can really not stress enough the radical transformation that CGI has meant for special effects. No longer do we live in the days when you had to use horses to show cows on film or just tie a bunch of cats together if you needed something that looks like a horse. No, now we live in the future – and so contemporary filmmakers can just say out loud “uhm, computer?”, give their order, and boom, new blockbuster with hyper-real, photorealistic images to desensitize us from anything real. Or at least that’s how we think modern special effects work, we don’t know, we haven’t caught up on our Movie Magic in years. The point is: special effects have friggin’ evolved.

Indeed, at the end of the day we can almost divide the history of special effects into pre-Jurassic Park and post-Jurassic Park (“Young Sherlock Holmes? Sure, great CGI for a movie that came out in the year 8 BJP”). As it is known, even George Lucas started conceiving of Episode I after witnessing Spielberg’s lifelike dinosaurs. So the question appears clearly: How did they manage to do special effects before CGI? In this Pictofact, we offer several approaches to this question through 20 amazing, flawless, sleek-looking, jaw-dropping examples of pre-CGI effects built just on human ingenuity. Well, ingenuity, but also condoms and lube. Be on the lookout for the condoms and lube. In general, you know, as life advice, but also and specifically in this list.

An American Werewolf in London

Amazing effects made without CGI An American Werewolf in London The iconic, game-changing werewolf transformation used prosthetics, animatronics, reverse photography, and a fake floor. FX wizard Rick Baker worked for months on these two minutes - and got an Oscar for it. CRACKED.COM

Source: Ranker

Little Shop of Horrors

Amazing effects made without CGI Little Shop of Horrors The carnivorous plant Audrey II is animatronic, which makes her fluid, smooth lip motions amazing. To achieve that, the animatronic was shot at 12 to 16 frames per second, then sped up to the regular 24. CRACKED.COM

Source: Moviefone

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

CRACKED.COM Amazing effects made without CGI Close Encounters of the Third Kind Besides the insane model work, the alien ship was shot on 70 mm film, which has a greater resolution than the 35 mm film used for the rest of the movie. This allowed it to keep a good deal of sharpness and detail in the final composition.

Source: Wikipedia

Back to the Future II

CRACKED.COM Fake DeLorean Amazing effects made without CGI Back to the Future II That lamp post isn't random - it's there to hide the change from the flying fake DeLorean to a real car. The transition is seamless, with shadows and details perfectly matched. God damn, we love this trilogy. Real DeLorean

Source: BuzzFeed

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