Monday, July 31, 2017

PLANET OF DINOSAURS (1978) Behind-The-Scenes Effects Gallery

Animator Jim Aupperle
I'm very fond of the 1978 sci-fi film Planet Of Dinosaurs. Sure, it's cheap as hell and the script is banal and the performances by the subpar cast are marginal, at best. But it is one of the last, great stop-motion animation special effects movies, with tons of terrific FX sequences by Jim Aupperle, Doug Beswick and Stephen Czerkas (Aupperle & Czerkas had both worked on Flesh Gordon and would go directly from this production to create stop-motion sequences for Filmations' Jason Of Star Command, while Beswick went on to The Empire Strikes Back).

Space: 1970 is proud to share this gallery of behind-the-scenes shots, courtesy of Mark Wolf, with the Star Kids Alliance and other Old School effects fans. For my money, there's nothing like practical, handcrafted miniatures and animation models, brought to life by skillful artists and technicians "in camera."

I'm not going to go off on a long-winded rant about today's "soulless CGI"... but no matter how spectacular and entertaining much of it is, consider this: I can't name a single computer effects creator I admire, while I can name several dozen practical effects artists whose work I can recognize on sight and enjoy over and over again.

Countdown: this is Space: 1970 post #999...


  1. I saw this film for the first time a couple of months ago and I loved it. It's on Amazon Prime right now, but I got the dvd. I hope a bluray it's on the future. I would love to see those special effects in high def. These photos are great, excellent post.

  2. Terrific! Those films have a certain look that could never be fully duplicated by CGI!

  3. Thanks a million (B.C.?) for posting! Makes me wanna watch my old VHS again!

  4. A fun Saturday afternoon B movie.

  5. A stop motion dinosaur film with location shooting at Vasquez Rocks?! How did I miss this one? Thanks for calling it to my attention!

    1. Found a DVD of this film and watched it last night; a most enjoyable experience! Man, do I love stop-motion, and there's quite a bit in this otherwise low budget venture -- and very good animation to boot! I was vey impressed with how well the dinosaurs were matched to the live action, though not surprised since Jim Danforth was credited as the matte artist.
      Some fun homages to Ray Harryhausen to be found throughout. The sinking of the spaceship is clearly patterned after the similar sequence in 20 Million Miles To Earth. And one of the dinosaurs is a rhedosaur; Harryhausen's fictional dino from Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.
      The story itself is reminiscent of World Without End, and like that earlier film makes some intriguing observations about humanity and the line between civilization and raw survival.
      Again, thanks for making me aware of this movie!

  6. I never saw this until now. After reading this I watched it on youtube. Classic b-grade monster movie. Horrible script, worse acting, but then it has those stop-motion dinosaurs. I just have to get a copy. These films are fun to watch and required creativity that is just simply lacking in CGI- too many of which are just boring chases. And the old standby- filmed at Vasquez Rocks.

  7. Hi. I'm a longtime fan of your site. You do a great job at presenting this important cultural information in a fun and fascinating way. It's a great dose of nostalgia, and I wasn't born until the 80's. Keep up the good work.

  8. I can't believe he found more pictures! These are terrific! I had asked Aupperle once about the Struthiomimus if there were any photos and I can't believe he found one!

    It's hilarious how Derna's model is meditating at the T.Rex's lair like nothing ever happened! Lol