How To Make a Monster

I don’t like Nicholas Cage.  I don’t think he’s particularly talented in the art of acting.  However, I found myself intrigued in watching the last five minutes or so of Knowing.  And in watching the end credits of the movie, I may have discovered why – the company in charge of  visual effects for the “strangers and chariot” was Tatopoulos Studios.  While I’m not certain if Patrick Tatopoulos himself was involved in the creation of the effects, I’ve been noticing as of late that when I appreciate a really good creature special effect, it’s likely Tatopoulos behind it.

I personally first started to take notice of him and his designs in 2006 when he was involved in the production of Silent Hill.  Touted as one of the most faithful and best video game to movie adaptations at the time (and I think still is), Silent Hill owes some of that credit to Patrick.  The creature effects are incredible.  They along with the atmospheric effects combine to give viewers the sense that they are in the world of Silent Hill.  Creepy. 

In addition to Silent Hill and Knowing, Patrick Tatopoulos Designs and Tatopoulos Studios have been creating organic effects and creatures in loads of movies:  Independence Day; Godzilla (1998); Pitch Black; They; Underworld; I, Robot; The Messengers; I Am Legend; 10,000 BC; The Ruins; Trick ‘r Treat; among others.  Some of these movies aren’t the most stellar examples of storyline, plot or acting, but there’s no doubt that the creatures and effects are brilliant.  On top of his creature designs, Tatopoulos has recently begun a foray into the world of directing with Underworld 3:  Rise of the Lycans.  He is currently working on I, Frankenstein, and has also been tapped to direct upcoming eco-horror The Colony.  To be honest, I’m not sure of his directorial skills, as I’ve not seen the Underworld sequels.  However, it takes a great imagination and vision to create believable film, and I’m certain Tatopoulos has both.  I look forward to his future design work – particularly the Stan Winston produced Speed Demon, scheduled for a 2012 release. 

Below are a few comparisons between the Silent Hill catalogue of games creatures and those created by Tatopoulos.  Copyright for the images goes to Konami, Sony, Alliance Atlantis, etc.  

Top two images are nurses from the game (Silent Hill 2 from the looks of it); third image is a still from the movie. I don't recall the nurses looking like this when I've been in the hospital...though I suppose that's a good thing.


Mumblers from Silent Hill (left); Grey Child from movie (right) - played by dancer Yvonne Ng with digital effects to burn her up. I feel like this some mornings before work...


The lying man from the game (top); armless man from the movie (bottom). Either way, you're not going to have a good day.


Mannequin from Silent Hill 2 (top); janitor from the movie (bottom). The mannequins didn't make an appearance in the movie, and the janitor wasn't in the game, but I wouldn't want to run into either in a dark alley or bathroom stall.


Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2 (top); the live(?) incarnation in the movie (bottom). Arguably the most badass being in the Silent Hill universe, if only for its first appearance in the game - a "how'd he do that?" exploit of a four-legged, no-torsoed mannequin (similar to the one posted a few pictures above). Fantastic.


7 thoughts on “How To Make a Monster

  1. Pingback: Over and Over « Massively Attacked

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