Tag Archives: Heather O’Rourke

Horror Movies Dominated The Oscars Special Effects Award In 1987

Welp, it’s Oscars season folks and you and I both know, for the most part, deserving horror films worthy of such an honor get the almighty snub. Albeit, the snooty Academy has thrown us horror fans a bone via recent years with at least acknowledging that the genre is more than blood and guts, there’s still no excuse to snub a perfectly deserving film to appease what Hollywood deems as true art. Given their stance on the subject, it’s even rarer when a horror movie sequel gets that kind of recognition. But, as a matter of fact, that did indeed happen 35 years ago at the 1987 Academy Awards when the horror genre, two of them a sequel and one a remake, were all competing for the Best Visual Effects Oscar!

The Nominees

Poltergeist II: The Other Side

Although the visually terrifying film didn’t take home the win, it’s a bit of a breath of fresh air to know it was even considered, as this sequel to the Hooper/ Spielberg classic is gorgeously shot and beautifully terrorizes you in all the right places- mostly thanks to Julian Beck and his portrayal of the malevolent reverend, Henry Kane.

Alongside the Boss Film Corporation of effects team,(Richard Edlund
John Bruno, Garry Waller, and Bill Neil) the Swiss magician of horror imagery H.R. Giger was the key designer for ‘The Great Beast’ version of Kane, and it most certainly stands out as an unholy bundle of nightmares from the film alongside the slithery worm that protrudes from Steven’s projectile vomit from the movie. Although it’s been noted in interviews that Giger was for the most, displeased with the end result of the monster creations, it just goes to show that even Giger’s less than impressive standards according to him, are still some of the best horror visual and practical effects that we’ve seen in the wonderful decade of ’80s monster magic. And hey, the Academy board thought so as well, so that’s something I guess.

Early design of The Great Beast by H.R. Giger

Little Shop of Horrors

Nominees Lyle ConwayBran FerrenMartin Gutteridge had some stiff competition up against not one, BUT TWO H.R. Giger-inspired designs in the effects department. However, the Audrey II mechanical puppet in itself is a monumental accomplishment more than worthy of being in said company and if anyone was gonna take that sort of threat on, it was going to be master muppet-men Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

The movie utilized multiple animatronic versions of Audrey II, ranging from a tiny bud to the enormous version for the climax. Though not an official Creature Shop production, many of the same designers and technicians worked with Oz on the film. As Jim Henson stated in a 1987 interview, he didn’t have a hand in the puppetry for Little Shop, but “I was very close to some of the people in that production.” These included Jim’s own children Heather Henson, in a bit part as a dental patient, and Brian Henson, who served as a principal puppeteer on Audrey II.

If anything Audrey II should have won an Oscar just for those one-liners.



When someone like Stan Winston is involved in a H.R. Giger design, we may as well just hand that Oscar on a silver platter. Along with effects specialists John Richardson and Suzanne M. Benson, the trio took home the naked-man gold for their marvelous efforts on Ridley Scott’s Aliens.

Aliens featured extensive use of miniatures and puppeteering, redefining the whole aspect of special effects. Queen Mama Alien was incredibly complex, requiring anywhere between 12 to 14 different operators in order to get the puppet to function properly. It’s been stated by the crew in numerous reports that James Cameron’s ability to shoot the Queen without capturing all of the wire riggings that were present, is a testament to his directorial capabilities.

The alien facehugger samples, which the marines find suspended in glass tubes early in the film, were also brought to life through puppetry. Interesting to note, A Spydor vehicle, which was part of the He-Man toy line, was purchased and used as a model to serve as a visual example of how the facehuggers should walk.

So, can we get an Oscar nod for the Masters of the Universe toyline?

For the most part, I hate the Oscars. But every season when it comes snaking it’s Hollywood ass around the corner, I like to remember that in one point in time, the horror genre absolutly destroyed the special effects category.

{Video} Behind the Scenes VHS Retail Promo For “Poltergeist III”!

In February of 1989, video shop owners were targeted with the promise of immense Poltergeist profits with the final installment of the trilogy ready to be consumed by movie aficionados looking for their perfect Friday night scare at the local video rental outlet. With today being the 30th anniversary, a monumental milestone for tragically Heather O’Rourke‘s final film, I figured let’s rewind back to the film’s initial era and take a look at the exclusive VHS promo given to multiple video store chains to get this film in their shops!

{Video} Behind the Scenes Video Store Promo For "Poltergeist III"!

Taken straight from a VHS copy belonging to the curator (unadjusted tracking and all) of Poltergeistiii.com, it truly is a beautiful vintage piece of history that unfortunately, makes me a little sad at the same time. Of course, all horror fans are aware of the untimely death of the genre’s favorite young demon attraction Heather O’ Rourke before the film was ultimately finished. So anytime I see the film, or promos regarding it, that’s always in the back of my mind. After the passing of O’Rourke, the director, cast, and crew didn’t even want to continue and the film was almost scrapped altogether. But, the powers that be pounded too much money in the project, and insisted the film be finished so here we are. While many consider the rounded out trifecta the weakest installment of the trilogy, I for one, appreciate the film for what it is, (and come on, it’s a fun popcorn flick) and have all the respect in the world for Heather’s final on-screen appearance.

Anyways I’m rambling. On to why you’re even here beloved VHS heads!

The seven-minute retailer promo offers some really cools facts, behind the scenes shots (not seen in other featurettes), interviews with the cast and crew, and of course details on the monster magic used to perform in the film! Including the infamous garage puddle scene! The retail price for the video was advertised to shop owners as $89.95 a piece, (and now you know what contributed to those pesky overdue fees) and purchases included a rad as hell 6-foot tall standee of Reverend Kane, an original theatrical poster to display, and a custom-made mobile counter display of the film to grab the attention of rental goers! What I wouldn’t give to own one of those retro rental artifacts!

Check out this national piece of VHS treasures below and give Poltergeist III a revisit today!

In-Between Poltergeist, Heather O’ Rourke Charmed Us With Rainbow Brite Commercials

In 1984, the first Apple Macintosh computer went up for sale commercially, Madonna humped the stage at the first MTV video awards, and Ghostbusters rocked theaters around the world. But, most importantly, a little toy was introduced to millions of young girls all over the world that was about as glorious and magical that can only be compared to Rambo riding a Unicorn. That toy my friends, was Rainbow Brite.


Image result for rainbow brite doll gif

Image via Yellow80s

Introduced by Hallmark and following the success of Care Bears, phenom toy company Mattel acquired the license to make a line of unique and colorful dolls that every little girl would run their grandmother over to own. The Rainbow Brite line launched in 1984 alongside the animated series with originally just Rainbow Brite and four color kids (Red Butler, Canary Yellow, Patty O’ Green, and Indigo) with sprite friends included.

Might I add, if you’ve managed to keep these dolls over the past 30+ years WITH their sprites, kudos to you because in a lot of cases those little bastards get lost over time.

Of course, the franchise that vomited rainbows and star sprinkles all over the shag carpet advertised countless other toys, books, and audio tapes for Rainbowland seekers. However, the dolls themselves are the holy grail of the merch line. And we needed someone just as adorable and endearing to pawn these 10′ plush dolls with plastic heads to young girls on a national level. Who better than Heather O’ Rourke? Because hey, she knows a thing or two about interdimensional traveling to other worlds, am I right?

Check out the Poltergeist star below spreading Rainbowland love commercially!