WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
When effects designer David Leroy Anderson took his first meeting with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard about their planned horror movie spectacular The Cabin in the Woods, he wasn’t exactly optimistic. After two decades in the business working on everything from Alien Nation and Pet Sematary to Get Smart and Angels & Demons, he’d grown grudgingly accustomed to having his specialty — designing and building practical monsters and makeup — usurped by the unquenchable beast of digital imagery. “You walk into the meeting with a list of 20 things you wanted to talk about,” he says, “and you leave the meeting with two things that you get to build, and everything else goes to visual effects.”
Instead, Whedon (who co-wrote and produced the film) and Goddard (who co-wrote and directed it) pitched Anderson their story — how it was about a bunch of college kids partying for a weekend at what they thought was a secluded lakeside cabin, but in reality was a highly controlled arena for ritual slaughter that could hypothetically employ practically every movie monster in the history of horror cinema. And they wanted Anderson to make all of them.
“I felt like I was being punk’d,” Anderson says. “This is the kind of meeting that you just dream of, and they just don’t happen….My brain kind of went numb.”
Then came the hard part: Actually making all those monsters. Here, in his own words, is how he did it.
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