John Landis and Rick Baker on the set of Schlock (1973)

(Above) A monkey-masked John Landis guides the action on the set of his directorial debut Schlock (1973). Landis, who also wrote the script and played the simian lead, was only 21-years-old at the time the monster movie spoof was shot in 1971. Makeup effects master Rick Baker, seen standing to the left of Landis, was only 20. Baker had the budget for just one ape suit, part of which was constructed by gluing hair and a rubber chest piece onto a pair of long johns worn by Landis.

Here’s Baker’s recollection of Schlock, from Anthony Timpone’s book Men, Makeup & Monsters: Hollywood’s Masters of Illusion and FX.

“We shot in Agoura during a heat wave, like a hundred and twenty degrees. And John was sweating like mad – the hair was dripping wet and just kept falling off. We lost about half the hair on the first day! And it took a while to lay all that hair on there. So we started taking the suit off him between takes if we could, and fortunately it cooled down some. It was an experience.” – Rick Baker

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Behind the Scenes: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

American Werewolf in London (Rick Baker twitter)

Photo courtesy of Rick Baker’s Twitter feed.

(Above) Director John Landis prepares to push effects artist Rick Baker and his lycanthropic pal into the Piccadilly Circus-set finale of An American Werewolf in London (1981). Landis first gave the script to Baker in 1971 when the pair were working on Landis’ directorial debut Schlock! Baker, in turn, told Landis about the Change-O heads he was developing, which would ultimately make An American Werewolf in London’s transformation scenes a new benchmark in special effects. Continue Reading ›