"The creatures survived, but not without mutation."
That's only part of the description for a new horror movie called Harbinger Down, but you can already picture a movie in your head. And if you're a fan of movies from the '70s, '80s and '90s, you no doubt picture it having some pretty badass physical creature effects in it. And were the movie made during that time, chances are Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. would have brought those creatures to life.
Between the two of them, they've made the twisted masterpieces at the center of movies like Aliens, Tremors, The Monster Squad, Starship Troopers, The Terminator, Predator and dozens more. And now they're making a movie in the vein of those sci-fi/horror classics, and they need your help. Why do they need your help? Because Hollywood doesn't care about practical special effects anymore.
Take 2011's The Thing, for example. Gillis and Woodruff Jr.'s company, Amalgamated Dynamics, was hired to make a suite of realistic creatures that could be puppeted in person to match the incredible work from John Carpenter's original film. And they did just that. And it looked incredible. But then, for reasons that were far beyond their control, the studio decided to just CGI over all of their team's hard work, and that's why the movie looks so... artificial.
It was a slap in the face to lovers of practical special effects and a wake-up call to Gillis and Woodruff Jr. -- if Hollywood won't make creature movies like it did in the '80s anymore, then they'll just make it on their own. Well, relatively speaking. They're still looking for some support from genre fans, and that's where Kickstarter comes into play.
Harbinger Down is about a team of grad students, led by Lance Henriksen (!), aboard a research vessel in the Bering Sea who come across a piece of recently thawed wreckage from an old Soviet space experiment; wreckage that happens to be infested with "aggressively mutating organisms." So, it's kind of like The Thing, but on a boat. And we are 10,000% okay with that plot description.
The team are already making the movie -- there's a proof-of-concept trailer in front of the below video -- but they're looking to raise a mere $350,000 on Kickstarter to help along the way. Keep in mind that Zach Braff was asking for $2 million for a movie about a father having a midlife crisis. These are Oscar-winning effects artists asking for a fraction of that to make an old-school monster movie. We're really, really, really hoping fans can get behind that. It would be an absolute shame if Gillis and Woodruff Jr. could not only not get a movie made through the traditional Hollywood system, but they couldn't even go the fan route, either.
Check out Gillis' pitch for the movie below, and please consider supporting this project. There are a lot of interesting things on Kickstarter these days, but for our money (literally), this is one of the most interesting.
Oh, and here's ADI showing off what its version of The Thing looked like before the studio decided to ruin it with CGI.