Classic Horror & Sci-Fi Unplugged

MetropolisRecently while Googling myself (wouldn’t have been as fun had I been on the Internet), I stumbled upon some fascinating behind-the-scene photos from some of horror and sci-fi’s classic movies. (Credit: got ’em from

These are rare, hardly ever seen photos by the unwashed masses, so I felt it appropriate to re-post here for all to see, whether you regularly deprive yourself the glory of the washcloth or not.

The above photo is from the German expressionist film Metropolis (1927), one of the first and most iconic sci-fi movies ever made. Turns out the chick robot is in fact a real chick. Interesting to note the use of a hand-held hair dryer. That’s how technologically advanced Germans were back in the late ’20s; we owe them for all things contemporary hair-grooming.

The ShiningHere’s a cool rare photo of Jack Nicholson in-between shooting scenes during The Shining (1980). The shot was taken moments before Jack hacked them up with an axe. It was a helluva stroke of luck that Jack the actor had the same first name as Jack Torrance, his movie character. What are the odds of that ever happening again?

The Birds, King KongThese next two shots are incredible – Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren on the set of The Birds (1963), surrounded by angry birds, and a miniature model of King Kong (1933) climbing up a fake mountain, using the principles of forced perspective to his advantage. The shots you didn’t get to see: Alfred and Tippi covered in seagull poop and King Kong slipping on a banana peel of all things, and plummeting to his splattery airplane model death.

The Gate, 2001: A Space OdysseyThen we have a full-scale set from The Gate (1987), which has human-sized demons (wearing people costumes underneath their own skin) terrorizing an over-sized bed and dresser. No word on who had to make the bed after they were done shooting.

Then we have a backstage look inside the gravity-defying space ship in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). A space odyssey or no, the problem with a round room is that you can’t find a corner to piss in. I’ll leave it to future science to find a work-around.

Superman, GhostbustersHere’s Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent-plus, zooming around the set of Superman (1978). This photo is extremely rare as it depicts the Fortress of SolitudeSuperman’s condo – as a warehouse. It looked kinda different in the movie, though.

Talking a page from Godzilla’s play book, the giant Stay Puft™ Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters (1984), is literally a fat sack of sugary goo that crushes fleeing citizens on the scale modeled set. Fact: death by giant marshmallows causes cavities – in your face.

The Howling, The Empire Strikes BackOn the set of The Howling (1981) director Joe Dante tries to keep the werewolf from biting his neck off by telling the lycanthrope a joke (“How do you keep a werewolf from attacking? Throw Nair™ in his face.” Man, that still cracks me up to this day. And by the looks of the photo, the werewolf as well.)

And finally, the special effect behind the signature opening prologue to The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Back then they used a 400-pound camera to pull off the scrolling narrative. Today, they can do it on an iPad™. You don’t need one of those expensive devices to emulate the effect – most 400-pound waffle irons have that as a standard feature. Toasters, too.

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