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A Guide To Rick Baker: Monster Maker
Biding farewell to a special effects legend

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From B-movies to Mos Eisley and onto a galaxy of space creatures and movie monsters (misunderstood and otherwise), make-up maestro Rick Baker scarified our dreams for more than 40 years. But all good things come to an end and the special effects legend has just announced his retirement. To celebrate his work and bid farewell to the great man, here's a look back into the archives at some of the monsters Mr. Baker has breathed life into...

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A Guide To Rick Baker: Monster Maker | King Kong (1976)
King Kong (1976)

Rick's cinematic love affair with gorillas and their other hairy friends was first seen on the big screen in 1976's King Kong. Although the effects were considered impressive for the time, Rick was never entirely happy with them, refusing to take credit for its realistic quality and instead praising the film's cinematographer, Richard H. Kline, for any lifelikeness that might have slipped through.

Rick Baker fact... Working with fellow special-effects genius Carlo Rambaldi (of E.T. and Aliens fame), the robotic Kong was 40 ft tall and over 6 tonnes in weight, and cost $1.7million. But that's mechanical monsters for you, eh?

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Your Comments

1 Wow,
Pardon my ignorance, but I didn't know he did King Kong?!!!! :-O Kudos Mr. Baker, but you scared the shit out of me countless times as a kid whenever I TRIED to watch the movie. lol! More

Posted by rosiecotton on Tuesday May 22, 2012, 01:36

2 Nice feature, but ...
Where's "The Nutty Professor" starring Eddie Murphy? Whatever you think of the 1996 movie or its sequel (funny and atrocious, respectively, imo), the make-up for the various characters all played by the same actor is beyond reproach. I mean, come on, if you deem "Norbit" worthy of a mention ... More

Posted by Dropje on Sunday May 20, 2012, 20:09

I never have got it- WHAT'S wrong with The Wolfman? More

Posted by Cyberleader on Friday May 18, 2012, 14:59

I think you'll find that Rick's "cinemtaic love affair with gorillas" was actually first seen on the big screen in 1972 in the Thing With Two Heads, where Rick built the costume and then played the gorilla. He also actually played King Kong in King Kong, as the robot didn't work and they mostly just had Rick in a monster costume crashing through miniature trees. More

Posted by trouserpress on Friday May 18, 2012, 10:39

5 Thank You Empire.
Well done Empire for dedicating an article to someone who actually deserves the praise. This is a very nice piece and a suitable tribute to one of the genuine genius' that work in Hollywood. My personal favourite work has to be the Tim Burton remake of Planet of the Apes. The make-up in that was incredible. I watch that film just for the look of the Apes. Thanks you Rick Baker for all the many hours of entertainment you have provided us. Now how about an article on a cinematographer or composer? More

Posted by TheSomnambulist on Friday May 18, 2012, 08:04

Err where's Greystoke? Some of the most impressive make-up effects work I've ever seen. More

Posted by swhib on Thursday May 17, 2012, 13:26

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