A little over a year ago we ran a Kickstarter Spotlight for a creature feature titled Harbinger Down from Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. through their studioADI.
The movie celebrates the art of practical effects by creating all of the creatures that appear in the movie with human hands instead of inside of a computer, and only using digital effects to enhance the visuals, as it should be.
Now a trailer for Harbinger Down has been released, and can be seen below along with a movie poster.
A group of grad students have booked passage on the fishing trawler Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on a pod of Orcas in the Bering Sea. When the ship’s crew dredges up a recently thawed piece of old Soviet space wreckage, things get downright deadly. It seems that the Russians experimented with tardigrades, tiny resilient animals able to withstand the extremes of space radiation. The creatures survived, but not without mutation.
Now the crew is exposed to aggressively mutating organisms. And after being locked in ice for 3 decades, the creatures aren’t about to give up the warmth of human companionship.
Gillis, whose credits include Aliens, The Monster Squad, Tremors, Death Becomes Her, Alien 3, and Starship Troopers (the latter two scoring him Academy Award nominations), wrote the script and makes his directorial debut on the project, with Woodruff Jr., who shares the same credits (winning an Oscar for Death Becomes Her and sharing the nomination for Alien 3), producing. The pair is also behind another movie titled Fire City: The Interpreter of Signs with Woodruff Jr. making his feature directorial debut and Gillis producing. Fun fact: Woodruff Jr. was also the man inside the Pumpkinhead costume that likely scarred you as a child and may still haunt you to this day!).
The movie stars Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Pumpkinhead), Matt Winston (Star Trek: Enterprise, John from Cincinnati), the son of the late effects legend Stan Winston, and Camille Balsamo (Murder in the First, Beautiful Creatures).
If watching this you’re reminded of The Thing, that’s because it was inspired by it in multiple ways. The filmmakers’ effects shop Amalgamated Dynamics was hired to work on the 2011 prequel/remake of The Thing, but after doing some phenomenal work Universal Pictures decided not to use most of what they had created and went with computer generated effects instead.
As you might imagine, putting so much effort into something only to be told it was all for nothing didn’t go over so well. And so they were convinced to turn to Kickstarter in order to make a movie in the same vein as classic ’80s creature features and inspired by the likes of Aliens and The Thing full of the practical effects they love, while also completely avoiding any movie studios telling them what to do or change.
If you have a love for practical effects and this is your first time learning of all of this, be sure to spread the word on Harbinger Down and visit the studioADI YouTube channel for tons of great videos of their work on many movie projects.