MM Remembers: Stan Winston (1946-2008)


His creations are legendary. Just to name a few…The Terminator, the Jurassic Park dinosaurs, Edward Scissorhands, Aliens, The Monster Squad, Predator and, most recently, Iron Man.

Stan Winston, the Oscar-winning make-up and special effects artist and the father of many iconic movie monsters, died of cancer on Sunday. Winston’s death immediately struck a chord, both among Hollywood moviemakers who collaborated with this creative genius and passionate movie fans who were in awe of Winston’s technical mastery. Although Winston was a seasoned professional, many of his Hollywood friends have noted the childlike enthusiasm and pure joy he still held for his work, even after more than 35 years in the business.

Growing up, Winston idolized ingenious movie monster craftsmen like Ray Harryhausen. Now a whole new generation looks to Winston as a pioneer in special effects, an inspiration to others that one can truly make the seemingly impossible (e.g. photo-realistic dinosaurs) possible with dedication, passion and hard work.

In an age where nearly every summer blockbuster’s special effects are created by computers, Winston’s carefully hand-crafted make-up and practical effects are reminders of a more inventive period, when FX wizards had to actually sculpt their own creations rather than make them with a click of a mouse. As Rick Baker, another movie make-up pioneer and close friend of Winston’s, stated on Ain’t It Cool News.com: “It is hard to imagine the make-up effects industry without Stan. His presence will surely be missed. I feel like it is the end of an era.”

Winston, and his legion of creatures, monsters and robots, will never be forgotten. His larger-than-life legacy will continue to live on the big screen for all to see, his magnificent dreams and beautiful nightmares forever woven into our movie memories.

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