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Creature Suit Analysis - Part 1 - Fur


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Guest peregrine

For those who may not be familiar with Bill Munns, Russell Ciochon chose Munns to work with him in creating what Gigantopithecus may have looked like.

As stated by Ciochon in this article, "To gain a more complete image of what the giant ape looked like, we sought the help of Bill Munns, who creates highly realistic, life-size models of existing endangered primates - gorillas, orangutans, and the Chinese golden monkey - for zoos and educational institutions."

Along with many others, I believe we are privileged to have a person with Munns's skills and extensive experience providing his professional perspectives.

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This so called 'Bottom of suit upside down "V" at leg' is actually Patty's left hand on the backswing.

Correct.....and the "Thigh pad edge" is actually (IMV) dies or inks from the background mixing with the dies or inks of patty's thigh. Watch, in the attached clip how the "edge" moves up the thigh right along with the background where they join. Remember, on film they are on the same plane (the film plane). I'm not sure what this anomaly is called, or what causes it, but it is clear to me that it is NOT a thigh pad or a skin "flap", nor is it a hernia. It is simply a film anomaly and I see it in other places in the PGF.

Edited by Jack
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CrimsonGoblin

I will agree a skeptic's point of view is essential to any true understanding. It positions a person to review their own ideas from a different perspective, and often leads to a cleared understanding.

Jack

Haven't seen the Phillip Morris thing mentioned, so can't comment. But commercial costuming characters and high end film suit costumes are two different worlds, in terms of farication methods and final appearances.Patty's not a commercial costume.

Sac-squatch

You are welcome.

Melissa

Maybe it's a point of view, but I find real gorillas charming too. Maybe "charning" isn't the right word. How about "intriguing"?

:blowkiss:

Drew

The bulge in the thigh is not connected to any problem in suit construction I am aware of. In a furcloth suit, you'd take one piece of cloth right down the leg seamlessly (except for some tailoring darts and wedges to hlp it wrap around the leg curvature a bit). If it were bearskin or other animal pelt, it's possible the pelt section only went that far and the fabricator had to patch another section about there. With real pelts, your seam placement is dictated by the specific pelts and their usable shapes, so you compromise a lot on seam placement to accommodate that. But if that's the case, it would appear what's on film is a big flap of pelt that broke loose and nobody glued it back in place before the filming. Seems odd, if it was staged, that nobody would check this out and re-glue it before the "performance". And suit parts and glued fur sections don't just "break away and "pop up" during a filming scene. They more likely break away and show when the mime is getting into the suit, because that's actually more rigorous and stressful on the suit than wearing it.

Jack:

There isn't any strong backlight in the PG film. Based on sun angle (and the sun's the only bright light there) any "glare or flaring " would be a reflective sheen of the fur, but not a backlight bright spot.

Mike2k1

Carrying on with the original theme of the thread, as requested.

:D

Drew

My notes may be answering some of Dfoot's ideas with different views on some subjects. But I leave it to the readers here to compare my notes to his and make their own conclusions.

Peregrine

Thank you for bring the quote from Russ.

Bill

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Jack

Haven't seen the Phillip Morris thing mentioned, so can't comment. But commercial costuming characters and high end film suit costumes are two different worlds, in terms of farication methods and final appearances.Patty's not a commercial costume.

Bill

Following are quotes from this article. Beginning on page 5 *there's more on page 4 and 6, but you get the idea.

Philip Morris picks up the story: "He wanted to know how to fix the eyes. He said, 'You can see the white of the skin, when he [his Bigfoot actor] looks through the eye holes.' I said, 'Well, take some black makeup and put it around the person's eyes, and also have him close his eyes and put the makeup on his eyelids. That should do it.' A couple of months later, October '67, I was watching TV, and this film is being shown, and I see my gorilla suit. 'That's my suit!' I yelled." His wife came in and, upon seeing the broadcast, agreed.
The Bigfoot thing just wasn't a big deal in my life," Morris now reflects. "In the 1980s, the film didn't have the momentum it had at first. I decided to start talking about it. In the last few years all these documentaries have come out. Most people by now know the film is a hoax, or they should know. We're at a point in the public's relationship with the Bigfoot story, it's time to tell my story. I've been thinking about the story for forty years."
Morris adds: "The heel [of the creature] is too square-looking. It's a dead giveaway. Those are definitely my feet that I sold Patterson,

Then there's the Morris Costume website. Morris Costumes It's interesting that in the above article he says it was an off the rack sale to Patterson, but on his website it is called a "Custom" suit.

Edited by Jack
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Jack:

There isn't any strong backlight in the PG film. Based on sun angle (and the sun's the only bright light there) any "glare or flaring " would be a reflective sheen of the fur, but not a backlight bright spot.

I was thinking that bright spot was a reflection of the sun on something shiny......it definately is directly under that "popout" in one frame only and I was thinking it was the reflection (bright spot) showing through fur.

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Wolftrax:

They were done in England, by Stuart Freeborn, and they were good enough to intimidate the Hollywood people who wanted to uphold the illusion John Chambers' Palnet of the Apes work was th definitive ape work (it was fine, but Stuart's work is the precursor of all the industry standard techniques now, and that pretty well settles which one was better.)

So when I was starting out, asking others is Hollywood how Stuart did his suits and especially the face masks was usually met with a wispered "we don't talk about that here" suggestion. And Cinefex wasn't being wrtiien then, so the depth of industry behind the scenes info wasn't available.

So what I know is generalized and I can't say categorically it's exactly correct.

I've heard the suits were hand tied (or ventilated, as we say) into stretch spandex bases, making then essentially the first flexible fur suits ever done. Very costly and time intensive. The masks were one of the earliest and still fine examples of s kull substructure holding the teeth and a foam latex lip on top which has some animated component to move the foam lips. I have heard of a simple counter-sturng connection (mime opens the mask jaw with his own, and each jaw (upper and lower) has a string that pulls the opposing jaw's lip open. So the lower jaw, as it drops, pulls the upper foam lip away from the teeth, and vice versa. So when the actor opens his real jaw, the mask jaw opens and the mask lips curl away from the teeth.

But I've also heard about some inner mouth toggle switches the mime's tongue moved to curl the lips even when the jaw didn't move (to do a snarl, for example) but I don't know any details of the mechanism. It was later used by Stuart for Chewbacca in Star Wars.

I've heard of a breast pouch in the female suits so a real baby chimpanzee could nurse through the suit breast nipple, but I can't verify that as actually having worked.

That's pretty mush as much as I know about that job, other than the fact that it revolutionized the makeup creature business and became the industry standard for masks by the 1980's.

Bill

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Guest OklahomaSquatch

This is an excerpt from an interview with Stanley Kubrick:

"We spent an entire year trying to figure out how to make the ape-heads look convincing, and not just like a conventional makeup job. We finally constructed an entire sub-skull of extremely light and flexible plastic, to which we attached the equivalent of face muscles which pulled the lips back in a normal manner whenever the mouth was opened. The mouth itself took a great deal of work -- it had artificial teeth and an artificial tongue which the actors could manipulate with tiny toggles to make the lips snarl in a lifelike fashion. Some of the masks even had built-in devices whereby the artificial muscles in the cheeks and beneath the eyes could be moved. All the apes except for two baby chimps were men, and most of them were dancers or mimes, which enabled them to move a little better than most movie apes."

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Bill,

Do you know how the costumes were made for the movie Skullduggery (1970)? From what I understand, these were made by Bud Westmore and later re-used for the TV show Land of the Lost (1974).

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Awesome input, Bill and welcome.

DFoot, where's the suit you said you could easily build? I'm not hating here I've just half assed been waiting for some 'too good to be true' sasquatch sighting to happen. You let me down.

Anyway, someone with a better knowledge of this forum than I needs to make a thread with all of DFoot's 'suit anomalies' and all of Apeman's 'real live ape photo's that exhibit the same characteristics' for Bill so we don't have to rehash this again.

I'm not trying to get Apeman in trouble here, for the record. He's a scientist that has never come down on anyone. He just has an extensive library of photos that might help here.

I'm going to sit back and read now. I have nothing else to offer.

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Wolftrax:

I don't recall seeing "Skullduggery", so I'm not sure what they looked like. If it came out of Universal, Bud Westmore got the credit, whether he did anything on it or not. Department Head credit policy back then. Mike Westmore was assistant department head then working the makeup lab, so he probably did work on it. ANd I believe mike did some of the Land of the Lost too.

Moosemen:

Thanks for the note. Hope you enjoy the read, on the other threads and notes too.

Bill

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Guest colobus

I believe this image is from Skullduggery. It was based on the novel of the same name, and had Burt Reynolds in it. Miners, I think, put these "hominoids" to hard labor as I recall. A simple morality play.

Jack Young is also listed as a makeup artist on the film.

Anyway... here you go.

Edited by colobus
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If you look closely at the image Colobus posted above, the girl on the left, her left wrist, you can see what looks like the edge of a sleeve of stretchy material.

Another image from the film:

Edited by wolftrax
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