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Monday, October 15, 2012

More Than Just A Diorama

"Elvira, watch out for the Pumpkin-Snowman!"

In the Elvira area, two gentlemen stood before this display.  If they spoke at all, their conversation was sparse and subdued.  Mostly they just studied it.  I can understand their fascination.  When I find a piece of artwork that impresses me, I want to drink in every detail. 

The diorama caught my eye too, and after awhile, I noticed it was credited to the Chiodo brothers.  These three brothers, all talented men working in Hollywood, have their own special effects company.  They’ve even made their own movie together: “Killer Klowns from Outer Space.”  But mostly they work on other people’s projects.  I was particularly wowed by all the mouse dioramas they made for the movie “Dinner for Schmucks.”  Building dioramas involves a lot of skill, and the dioramas for “Schmucks” were lovingly crafted, with great attention to detail.  They not only helped the audience care about Barry, the so-called schmuck who made them, but they also elevated the movie into more than just another comedy.

Yesterday, the idea took hold of me that the above scene might be more than just a diorama.  After all, the Chiodo brothers are special effects gurus and animators.  One of their idols is Ray Harryhausen, the stop-motion animation genius.  It took a little time, but finally my efforts were rewarded.  I found a short video on Youtube, called “Elvira’s Scary Christmas,” that the Chiodo brothers made for “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” in 2010.  It’s a fun, if offbeat, take on Christmas from the Comedy-Horror Queen.  I watched it several times, and saved the link so I can find it again.  Enjoy.

Now I know that the display is more than a diorama, but a movie set created by the brothers for making their stop-motion animated short.  But back on that day in the convention hall, I kept walking around those two guys who kept hogging the diorama.  I studied the other items on display.  I photographed it from the side.  Finally, I asked them (courteously!) if I could grab their spot directly before it for a moment, and they quietly obliged, stepping back so I could get the photograph I wanted.  Then, just as quietly, they returned to their former positions of study and contemplation.  I wonder if they were aspiring filmmakers, or just loved dioramas.  I wonder how long they stood there.

Dragon Dave

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