Tag Archives: Amalgamated Dynamics

StarBeast — Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, the Predalien

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Whilst Alien Vs. Predator marked the first film appearence of an Alien birthed from a Predator host — abbreviated in ‘Predalien’ — the concept had already been explored in the eponymous comics and video games, starting from the 1995 run Aliens Vs. Predator: Duel. Shortly after the publication of that series, freelancer concept artist and illustrator David Dorman, was approached for the very first attempt at making a film version Alien Vs. Predator. Dorman was assigned the design of the Predalien — which he produced over the course of a few months.

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StarBeast — Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

With the worldwide success of Alien Vs. Predator, a sequel was greenlit by Twentieth Century Fox. Due to their familiarity with both the Alien series and the first AvP film, the special effects artists of Amalgamated Dynamics were again hired to bring the creature effects of the new film to the screen. Accompanying them in the task was Hydraulx — directors Greg and Colin Strause’s own visual effects company, which provided digital counterparts for all the Alien creatures. Requiem would feature the least stages of the Alien life cycle — with a script devoid of both Eggs or a Queen; despite that, it would introduce to the screen the so-called ‘Predalien’, an Alien born from a Predator host, which only had been portrayed in the AvP comics up until the film’s release.

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StarBeast — Alien Vs. Predator

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Alien Vs. Predator was born as a successful comic book series by Dark Horse, which pitted the two iconic film Monsters against each other within an organic backstory. When the film version was being written, Dan O’Bannon, the original writer of Alien, suggested to the filmmakers a new twist on the relationship between the two titular creatures. The idea was — for perhaps obvious reasons — discarded. O’Bannon told Fangoria: “the most obvious creative thing you have to solve on a movie like this is: what’s the connection between the species? What they came up with was that Predators bred Aliens as part of a complicated ritual. But my idea was, what if the Predators are the Aliens? In the first Alien movie, there’s a part in the end when they blow up the ship. And it still has one stage left, and my idea was that if it metamorphosed one more time it would have become the Predator, but they didn’t use it. It was good, though! My one great idea for them and they didn’t use it.” Despite that, O’Bannon still ultimately enjoyed the final product.

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Monster Gallery: Alien: Resurrection (1997)

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StarBeast — Alien: Resurrection

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Amalgamated Dynamics returned to provide the creature effects for the fourth chapter in the Alien series. The special effects artists were only allowed a tight production schedule. Tom Woodruff Jr. explained to Cinefex: “production told us that, due to Sigourney’s schedule, we would have to be ready to start shooting with a very short prep. We did a breakdown of the script and realized that the job was enormous — just way too big. And then that original shooting date came and went. Unfortunately, when they came back later, it was the same story. We were very worried about having enough time to do the job right. We knew that if we rushed it, the work would look bad, and we’d be the ones who ended up hurt. So we outlined some cuts, identified what was needed up front when Sigourney had to start, and pushed all the other stuff to later in the schedule. It was understood that we’d be showing up literally two days before shoots with very little time for tests or changes.”

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Monster Gallery: Alien³ (1992)

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StarBeast — Alien³, the Dragon

Like many other aspects of Alien³, the creature effects department was plagued by constant changes in direction and contradicting studio decisions. Gillis recalled in an interview with Fangoria: “Fox never had a problem with coming back and saying ‘sorry guys. We know you built these things, but there’s a new direction, and we’re not going to use them’. We had to keep ourselves and the crew orally afloat, because people put their blood, sweat and tears into the stuff, and have a tendency to get upset when an effect’s cancelled. There were six stages of Aliens, count them! But we’re not griping about the script changes, because any story should constantly be honed. That only shows us the film’s getting better, and if the effect doesn’t serve the plot, then there’s no reason for it.” Even though Giger’s Alien designs for the third film were not used as he conceived them, some of their characteristics made their way into the final creatures devised by Amalgamated Dynamics. First to appear in the film is an Egg, placed ambiguously in the Sulaco — built as a static model, as the only sequence showing it was a very late addition to the film.

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