Bringing Legacy to Life 2021 – Stop the Suit: Hierarchies of Special Effects in King Kong

Benjamin Pinsent

Benjamin Pinsent is a third-year PhD student at the University of East Anglia with a special interest in special effects. His Thesis is entitled Examined by the Light of the Moon: Comparing and Contrasting Critical and Production Reception of Practical Creature Effects in the films of Rick BakerIt is a historical materialist study of the critical reception of the special effect of Rick Baker and charts how it changed over time, as well as how it is affected by other external factors. He also has interests in animation and how the two are often intertwined.


Producer Dino De Laurentiis when marketing his 1976 version of King Kong (John Guillermin) had called Willis O’Brien’s stop motion puppetry “jerky”, and instead promised a 40ft animatronic Kong. What was delivered was Rick Baker, in “a hastily knitted monkey suit so unconvincing that audiences kept looking out for the zipper”. By examining the critical discourses that surrounded the effects of 1976’s King Kong, this presentation seeks to explore the technical nostalgia for stop motion effects, as well as explore the fine line between animation and special effects.

Benjamin will present as part of Panel One, 11:20-13:00 Thursday 29th April.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.